University: Riga Stradins University
Field of study: dentistry
Study type: Other courses
Hello to all future students of Rigas Stradina University.
To start, I would like to tell you something about the application process at the university. When I wanted to apply to the university, there were quite a few things to do first. There are also some medical conditions that must be met, such as Chest X-ray, color recognition test, update vaccinations, etc. What you still have to do and what has to be included in the application can all be found on the university’s homepage. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see cost of living in Amsterdam.
In my opinion, the most important part of the whole application is the letter of motivation. In the letter of motivation you have the opportunity to tell the university all the reasons why YOU should get the place at the university. The letter of motivation is the most important way to convince the people at the university who look at all the applications.
Once the application has been sent, you have no choice but to wait for a response from the university.
In my case, the confirmation came two weeks after I sent off my application.
Once I knew I was accepted, my next priority was finding an apartment. I knew from the start that finding an apartment in Riga that would meet my needs can be stressful. I still had 3 months from the time of my confirmation until the start of my studies. In the beginning I looked for a lot of apartments on the internet.
Searching for an apartment on the Internet is also a very good way to get an overview of the real estate situation in Riga. However, in order to get an apartment you have to show yourself in person in Riga. It happened to me not only once that I had reserved an apartment, booked the next flight to Riga and received a call at the airport that the apartment was rented to another client at short notice. At some point it was enough for me and I made an appointment with a broker directly in Riga. I flew there and kept the appointment. After about an hour of searching through the agent’s database, we found what we were looking for and immediately called the owner of the apartment to arrange a viewing appointment for the next day.
My tip for finding an apartment
If you’ve found something good that you’re happy with, don’t hesitate and sign the contract for a year. I’m telling you, nothing sucks more than living in a youthostel/studentdorms during your studies. Luckily I didn’t have to find out, but every one of my fellow students who didn’t have their own apartment or shared flat at the beginning complained to me about their suffering almost every day.
The fact is: as soon as you start studying, you will no longer have time to look for an apartment. So make sure to do it beforehand!
Once you have an apartment, the rest is actually quite easy, set it up however you want, etc.
You will find out on your own within the next few days where the nearest supermarket is and which bus/train lines you have to take. What is very helpful when settling in and finding your way around is contact with your “buddy”. With the buddy system supported by the university, every new student is assigned an older student as a “partner”, who will help you with all the new challenges in a foreign city and will support you with words and deeds.
Of course, it is best if you get a Latvian buddy. My buddy is a dentistry student from a year above me. She comes from Riga and is therefore extremely knowledgeable about everything here and has never been too embarrassed to answer my sometimes unusual questions. Without them I would not have managed or tackled many things. So direct your questions to your buddy.
If you have not been assigned a buddy due to a lack of older students making themselves available, please do not hesitate to reach out to people at the university and ask. In fact, 99% of the people at the university are very friendly and helpful.
However, if you just talk to someone in the city and ask them, you may get a stupid look and hear some Latvian/Russian words, as Latvians are a rather closed people.
Studying Dentistry at RSU is HARD! Of course, some people learn faster than others, but nonetheless, please don’t think that just because you’re paying a lot of money to the university, it’s going to be easy here.
It is best to learn continuously and not just shortly before the exam. That might work for one month, at most two months, and then you’ll even think twice about going to bed at all because otherwise you won’t have enough time to catch up on all the material.
The lectures themselves are mostly well structured and easy to understand if you pay attention. Unfortunately, however, there are two types of professors here at the university. Those who speak good, understandable English and can therefore also teach their subject in an interesting way and where you can tell that they enjoy what they are doing.
Unfortunately, there are also professors who only have sufficient or insufficient knowledge of English and therefore unfortunately do not have the opportunity to make it interesting for the students. Fortunately, however, these professors are not represented in the subjects that are decisive for their studies. In the really important subjects you will ALWAYS have a professor who speaks understandable English, if not without an accent.
You will generally make friends quickly at the university and also get in touch with one or the other people from older semesters. I can only say one hand washes the other, you will understand or know everything else when you are here;) So you help each other among the older and younger semesters.
About the city of Riga, life, costs etc.:
Riga itself is a really beautiful city. To be honest, before I considered studying here, I had never heard of Riga and knew nothing at all except that it is the capital of Latvia. Now that I’m here, I’m so overwhelmed by the beauty of the city that I wonder how it was possible not to know anything about Riga or never been there for so long. The old town in particular is beautiful, because thanks to the EU funds that have flowed here, a lot could be renovated or rebuilt and made more beautiful. The old town is also ideal for going out in the evening and for having a beer every now and then, although I have to say that the local brew really takes some getting used to.
To go out and learn: YES, you will have time in the evening (once twice a week) to have a drink with friends and colleagues and YES from time to time you can also afford to go partying and half sleep the next day, THAT However, both require that you can party or go drinking with a GOOD conscience because you have learned enough beforehand;)
All I can say about the costs in Riga is don’t let anyone tell you anything. You hear everywhere that Riga is so cheap, Riga is a bargain paradise, Riga is not expensive at all, Oststadt…..etc.
Unfortunately, that’s all nonsense. Thanks to the EU funds that have been invested here in Riga, Riga has become incredibly popular in recent years and prices have risen as well.
In terms of price, Riga can be put on the same level as any other capital in Europe (Rome, Madrid, Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, etc.). So please don’t let anyone tell you how easy it is to live here with little money. You don’t have to be rich to be able to live well here, but you won’t get the bargain of your life here with the apartment, shopping or going out in the city. It should also be noted that the lats (currency in Latvia) is stronger than the euro. So don’t be fooled by the low numbers on the price tags.
Latvia is a country of extremes, it gets very hot in the summer and sometimes it gets as cold as -30 degrees in the winter.
Just yesterday I was walking with a few friends on the river “Daugava”, which is completely frozen.
Finally, my most important tips:
- Be sure to look for and secure an apartment before you start your studies (!!!!!!!!)
- NO MATTER what, ask Buddy or other students (!!!!)
- To learn !!!!!! Life in Riga can be so much fun, but only if you don’t have to worry about college!
- Dress decently, the Latvians and especially the professors don’t like it when you don’t value your appearance. For women and men, that doesn’t necessarily mean putting on Louboutin shoes or Armani suits, but simply going to university well-groomed, shaved and fresh. A university is an official institution, so keep that in mind and dress accordingly.
Thank you for reading, I hope I was able to answer some questions or take away any fears.