University: Riga Stradins University
Field of study: medicine
Study type: Other courses
In January 2011 I finally started my long-awaited medical studies in Riga. I had a pretty good idea of what city I was heading into as I had been there for a few days a few months earlier to see the university and the city which was really helpful. As soon as I entered the university, the staff were very friendly and showed me the entire building during a tour. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see vocational education in Norway.
To the University:
The main building of the university is on the left side of the Daugava about 15 minutes from the old town and can be easily reached by tram or (trolley) bus.
The building is modern in some parts and dated in others. In the first semester there are lectures and lab classes in a wide variety of subjects, such as molecular biology, Latvian, Latin, chemistry, etc.. Other subjects (first aid in the hospital, anatomy in the Anatomicum) take place in other parts of the city, but you quickly realize that the distances between the university facilities are not too great and that everything can be easily reached by public transport.
In the main building there are also various canteens for lunch, a library and a supermarket opposite, so you can spend a good couple of hours there. Personally, I had a pretty good schedule in that I only had about one day a week when I was actually in the main building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The English of the professors / lecturers varies greatly, but you quickly find your way around so that you can understand the material. The most important subjects in the first semester are anatomy and molecular biology, so it is really worth bringing a multilingual anatomy atlas from Germany and maybe a few books on biological and molecular biology. Histology.
The city of Riga is not a booming tourist city for nothing, as it is really beautiful in summer and life is relaxed in the numerous parks and cafes or beer gardens in the old town.
Sometimes it can happen in the mornings and afternoons that you get stuck in traffic with public transport, but that’s the only problem, because otherwise everything is actually easy to reach on foot or by bike. There are also some ways to diversify your free time, either with sports activities, visits to museums or a trip to the beach in Jurmala. In the evenings, several pubs lure people into the old town every day, so that a visit is always worthwhile, if only to meet fellow students.
In the winter, however, life in Riga is really more limited, the snow sometimes lies meters high on the sides of the parks/roads and at night it is quite slippery through the area. Unlike us, however, the Latvians have adapted very well to winter, snow, ice and smoothness and take it easy. In addition, it can also get very cold in Riga, for example I experienced a week in February with temperatures down to -25 °C, which was less pleasant. Ultimately, the summer and the associated long days (sun sets after 11 p.m., sometimes rising again before 3 a.m.) and temperatures of around 30°C make up for the less eventful days of winter.
About the accommodation:
Many students spend the first few weeks in the so-called “Green Apple” hotel, right next to the opera. Pros are the good location (right in the old town), the price and the other students you meet there, making it easier to explore the city and settle in. Right from the start, my goal was to find an apartment in Riga within the first four weeks, which I was able to do with the help of two brokers after three weeks and several apartment visits, so that I have been living in Riga with two other Germans for about 6 months now live in a very large apartment in the city center at an affordable price. In any case, a tip is to grab a real estate agent immediately (in Latvia the landlord pays the commission!!) and look on various websites. Apartments are plentiful
Since you have the most time in the first few weeks of your studies, it makes most sense to look for something right at the beginning, as this could become difficult in the middle of the semester. In addition, at the beginning of each semester there is a high probability that another student will have finished / will leave and a few places in shared accommodation will become free.
After a certain adjustment phase, Riga is very bearable and I have also enjoyed my studies so far. The city itself is really beautiful and with the help of fellow students you can survive the colder days!