University: Riga Stradins University
Field of study: medicine
Study type: Other courses
After waiting a long time for a place to study medicine in Germany and the situation not getting any better, after a few other stations I decided to apply in Riga. I had never been willing to do this before because of the quite high costs, but at some point the “suffering pressure” is high enough to be willing to incur high debts for the dream job. So I got information about the university through MicroEdu and then applied with their help as well, which made the whole process very easy.
After a few weeks I had my acceptance for Riga on the table and went to Riga at the end of January 2011 with mixed feelings. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see 6 best universities in the middle east.
For the sake of simplicity, I stayed at the “Green Apple” hotel, which is a kind of student hostel integrated into a normal hotel. The price (around €250 a month) is ok and the location in the old town couldn’t be much better. It is definitely recommended to start with. After a month, I moved with two fellow students to have my own kitchen etc. and just not live like in a hotel anymore. In Riga you can find quite cheap apartments if you don’t have exaggerated expectations. For example, I live in a 95 square meter apartment with two others and each of us pays around €253 warm with internet and everything.
The city itself is also very beautiful, not too big and with 800,000 inhabitants not too small. There are nice bars and pubs and the prices are comparable to Germany.
In winter it is quite fresh with up to minus 28 degrees, but in summer it is fantastic and the sea can be reached in half an hour.
To the essential: the study! At first glance, the university is a bit dusty in some rooms, but overall it makes a good impression. Many renovations have also started in the first half of 2011 and there is general investment in new construction and better premises.
The professors all speak fairly good English, some better – some worse. But overall you get along very well. The university also does a pretty good job of integrating freshmen and has a mentoring program where every newcomer has a mentor from higher semesters (not necessarily from medicine) to help them. Personally, I have had very good experiences with it and had a mentor who was a great help for every question and problem – whether it was related to the university or more generally to Riga and Latvia. Others, on the other hand, were not so lucky and had little contact with their mentors. But I would definitely recommend taking advantage of this help, because the mentors also make it easier for you to get in touch with Latvians (if you want to).
The Latvians themselves are very nice people, friendly and reserved, but always willing to help. The language is very different from what you are used to and not that easy to learn. You have lessons at the university, but it depends a lot on yourself how much of it you take with you.
I can personally say that the subjects in the first semester are a mixed bag: there are some simple but annoying subjects (e.g. physics, ethics/law, cell biology). There are also much more demanding subjects such as anatomy and molecular biology. For me personally, anatomy was the subject in which I had to invest the most time and energy, but on the whole the first semester is very doable with a lot of effort.
The course of study is structured similarly to that in Germany, after two years of theoretical preclinical work, four years of clinical work follow.
I can’t say much about the move to Germany, as I learned from the higher semesters, the best time to do so seems to be after the second year, when you can theoretically enter the clinic in Germany.
All in all, I have to say that I don’t regret my move to Riga for a second and that my worries about finances have receded. I spoke to many fellow students from other countries whose home country is even more expensive to study medicine. Therefore, we have a luxury situation in Germany, and the high costs in other countries prove that it is quite feasible to start your professional life with debt.
I would only advise everyone to take this step to Riga before doing nothing and losing more semesters.