University: Riga Stradins University
Field of study: medicine
Study type: Other courses
my name is Katharina and I will start my 3rd semester in autumn. So I thought it was time to share my experiences. Like probably many, I was looking for an opportunity to study medicine abroad, since there are so few opportunities in Germany. That’s how I came across the Collage Contact site. After a few conversations via email, I decided to apply to study medicine in Riga. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see what is GMAT.
Collage Contact helped me a lot, especially with the application. I have had personal contact with the team for months and I am still very grateful for all the help and support I received there.
At this point, I would recommend everyone to take care of all the documents in good time. I underestimated the time at the beginning and in hindsight should have started much earlier. In my case, I also had to do the Toefl test because my grade in English was not good enough, which unfortunately dragged on for a long time.
The Collage Contact team checked my application documents and helped me a lot to complete the papers. At least I had the certainty that my documents were in order.
When I finally got an answer with the promise, I was of course very happy. But I didn’t have much time to think about it, because the flight had to be booked and accommodation had to be found. I got my acceptance just a week before the start of the program, which was at the end of August.
A lot was new and exciting in the first semester, here are a few details about the university and the course of study:
At the beginning of the semester there was an orientation week that I would recommend to everyone. This is where you get to know your group members. You will be with them for the rest of your studies. We had a lot of fun for a week and looked at the city. Each new student is provided with a “buddy”, a student from the higher semester. However, the commitment of those looks very different. My buddy helped me get a card for my cell phone and set up a bank account. You should do this in the first week if possible, since you will be in the middle of your studies much later.
Organization of studies:
In general, a distinction can be made between “lectures” and “classes”. Much of what is said in the lectures, you will also deal with in the classes.
In almost all cases, the classes only consist of the people in your groups. This means that there are only 10-15 students and the professor. Attendance is compulsory in almost all subjects (also in some lectures), which is often checked every hour. If you don’t show up, you are often given additional tasks such as “1000 words essay”.
The learning material is checked by means of colloquiums, normal tests (which can also be unannounced) and exams. It should be said here that all performance queries must be passed with at least 4 points (i.e. at least half) – with a maximum of two attempts. If you fail any test twice, in almost all cases it means that the course must be repeated.
Here at RSU, failing means that you join a new group and are only allowed to attend the courses you failed in the next semester. Example: You failed anatomy in the first semester. This means that you are not allowed to switch to the second semester in the next semester. So you stay in the first semester and only attend anatomy. (however, you only have to pay for anatomy, so not the whole tuition fees)
At the end of each semester there is an “exam period”. Normally, all exams must be written and passed by this time. Ie you must have completed all collquiums and debts. Depending on the subject, the examination times can be set independently during this time. After these two weeks, there is a week for retaking failed exams. That means you have something in your own hands, whether you have holidays in January or whether you are already in the second semester a few days after your last exam.
-> Most important subjects in the first semester: Anatomy and Biology
In principle, it is expected that you already know the content of the lesson. This means that you are expected to come to class prepared. For the especially anatomy this is very advisable.
Weather, temperatures & light conditions:
I have been living here for almost a year now and therefore I would like to address the weather in particular. Here there are two really extremes between the cold season and the warm season.
I was lucky that I started studying in September, so I was able to adjust to the weather conditions to some extent.
It rained a lot in autumn and the closer winter got to, the colder it got and the higher the rents because of the heating costs. This year has been really cold for a long period of time (we had freezing temperatures between late October and early April). Normally it is about -10 – 15 °C during the day, in January, February it can go down even further (-28 °C). In winter very good shoes, a very good jacket and other winter clothing are recommended.
In winter there were hardly any daylight hours. The sun rises between 9-10 a.m., then the sky is often overcast during the day and at 3 p.m. the sun sets again. There were months when you hardly saw any natural light.
Spring and summer, on the other hand, really make up for the winter. The summer is really nice, so you can also go to the beach at the weekend. The sun rises around 4: 30 a.m. and in the evening it only slowly gets darker between 10: 30 p.m. and 11: 00 p.m. So also pack summer things or have them forwarded. Winter will end at some point!
Tips for the first semester:
- It is best to organize two white coats before you start your studies
- Get some good anatomy books as soon as possible, as you will need them quickly and regularly
- Bring proper winter clothing
- There are monthly passes for the e-tickets for the bus, for one line, one means of transport, two means of transport or all means of transport. Remember that you also have to “beep” the monthly tickets. Your buddy will usually give you the e-ticket. Fare dodgers have to pay up to 5Lats.
- If you have any questions or anything, contact the “International Office” at the university, they can help with a lot of things.
- There are many useful groups on Facebook that can help you with finding accommodation, etc.
- Have fun!!!
If you started studying in autumn, the transition to the second semester will be smooth, since there are no real semester breaks in spring. The only real longer holidays are in the summer.
In the second semester there is significantly less free time than in the first semester. The most important subjects are: genetics, anatomy and histology, which will cost you a lot of hours. The scope of learning should not be underestimated here, as it is becoming more and more. It is advisable to learn from the beginning.
You now know the study process and it’s not as new as it was at the beginning. The second semester is over in no time, just like the first year of study.
My personal opinion on studying, the university and Latvia:
Personally, I’m quite positive. The study is my dream study and I still love it now – just like on the first day. I now speak English fluently, although I struggled a bit with it at first. My group is great, we’ve grown together over time although it didn’t seem like it at first and we have a lot of fun together – even outside of the university. The university itself is being renovated and many things are being changed for the better for foreign students. Suggestions for improvement were listened to and several were also implemented (we received microwaves for the canteen, the red course book for the achievements will be replaced by online procedures, etc.).
My international group is also very great, although I heard that the semester after me contains a lot of Germans, so that a quota for Germans is being considered. But that doesn’t apply to my semester and my group. With me are people from Norway, Sweden, Latvia-Russians and Germans.
I like Latvia very much, especially in summer, the beach is really great and I can now communicate in Latvian thanks to the help of my roommates. Unlike many others, I live with Latvians, which I like very much.
Just be open to new experiences, see things in a positive perspective, don’t compare everything to Germany, you will have a unique time!!!