University: Riga Stradins University
Field of study: medicine
Study type: Other courses
I never dreamed that one day I would study medicine in English, and certainly not in Latvia. I could only vaguely guess where Latvia was and I didn’t know much about the mentality of the Latvians.
I’m Dominik, 21 years old and I graduated from the first semester of medicine at Riga Stradina Universitate. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Estonia higher education.
As far as I know, for the application process you have to write a letter of motivation in English, send a recommendation from a doctor or your teacher in English, which states that you are suitable for the course and of course have your high school diploma certified in English. You should allow yourself 3-4 weeks for this, otherwise you could come under pressure and miss the closing date. However, the university will inform you exactly what is required. A TEOFL test is not required.
I arrived in Riga (Latvia’s capital) on a snowy, freezing January. It was the 25th, so 2 days before the start of the course. I checked into the Green Apple, a hotel that I would recommend to anyone as it is very easy to connect with. Later, however, you should definitely look for your own apartment with your fellow students. It is worth moving into the apartment with three people, because they are usually designed for 3 people and it is quite difficult to find one for two. The apartments are very good for the price, so take your time when looking for an apartment and do it at the beginning of the semester, since you still have a lot of time then. I would also get a SIM card for my cell phone, which would allow me to contact my fellow students at low cost. I had decided on “Goldfish”.
The university is very small compared to the German universities and the anatomy department, in which you also take a large number of courses, is outside the university. At the beginning you will be assigned a mentor, a Latvian who is also studying at the university and whom you can ask if you have problems. Furthermore, the “Student Office” is always available to listen, as are the lecturers, who usually look after you very personally and conscientiously. At the beginning there is a short introduction to the university, in which you will be informed a bit about your rights as a student, in which you will be shown the university campus….etc.
During your studies you will take the following courses:
Molecular Biology, Anatomy, Physics, Chemistry, Cell biology, First aid, Latin, Latvian, Intercultural Relations, Legislation and Ethics.
A few of these courses are taught at the Anatomicum, First Aid at the hospital and the rest at the university. The course is very schooled, every week around 2-3 small tests are written, which test the knowledge of the past hours. Or a colloquium, a larger test that summarizes the knowledge of several hours. At the end of the semester you will write exams in addition to the colloquia. Attention: exams (and in most cases also colloquia) can only be written twice! If you fail the second time, you have to repeat the semester. All I can say to your general disquiet is that you can do anything with learning. And if you also do this continuously every day, no stress builds up at all. Even before the exams I slept very peacefully. And that’s the advantage which I appreciate so much at this university: The constant inquiries don’t get you into the learning rhythm, the material deepens and the great pressure before the colloquia didn’t happen for me. In the first semester, great importance is attached to anatomy and molecular biology, and these will also be the subjects in which you will invest the most learning effort.
As for the books, take your time. I almost didn’t need my books for cell biology and molecular biology. Perhaps the most important thing would be to know which anatomy altas would be the best for you.
The following can be said about it: For me, Riga is a beautiful city (at least the city center) with 2 faces: It can get really hot in summer and very cold in winter. And that’s exactly how the face of the city changes. In summer it has a southern flair, there are tourists everywhere, music plays and people even dance sometimes. In winter, on the other hand, the city is snowy and quiet. The blue light chains throw a dreamy light on the city park and the cafés and restaurants immerse the city in a quiet atmosphere. You can go out practically every day in Riga and the connections by tram, bus or other means of transport are really convenient and good.
All in all, I can recommend this course to you. The students among themselves are very helpful, as are the lecturers. The infrastructure is okay, the internet is slower than in Germany but still easy to use, the Latvians are very reserved, but you can find enough connections during the semester. So: Try it out, read through the reports of the other students on this topic. Studying medicine is a privilege that deserves its sacrifice, and if that consists only in trying English or studying in distant countries, it should not be a great sacrifice.