University: Riga Stradins University
Field of study: medicine
Study type: Other courses
Labdien and hello future medical students!
I’m Clara, 22 years old and I’ve been studying medicine at Riga Stradins University, RSU for short, for one semester. After two years of waiting in vain for a place to study medicine in Germany, I was finally able to bring myself to apply to the RSU at the last minute in 2011. After four rejection notices from the ZVS/ hochschulstart.de, I no longer expected to be accepted abroad. Surprisingly, I was accepted two weeks before the start of my studies and I had to make a quick decision. I had already come to terms with continuing my teacher training course, which I had started in Göttingen in the meantime. However, after a few very helpful phone calls with MicroEdu, I decided to go to medical school. I asked a few questions during the phone calls. Are the study contents comparable to those in Germany and are they also credited there in the case of lateral entry? Do you get a proportion of your tuition fees back if you get a place in Germany shortly after starting your studies in Riga? Is the degree recognized in Germany? Based on the experiences of the last few years and the current state of affairs, the answer to everything was yes. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Norway higher education.
So after I had cleared the last doubts out of the way, everything had to be organized quickly at home. Does the health insurance cover, is the passport valid, etc.? MicroEdu compiled a checklist for this purpose. I found a cheap flight with Ryanair, but it was difficult with the accommodation at such short notice. The typical places like the Green Apple, the A1 Hotel and NB were all fully booked, so I stayed at Hotel Prima in the Moscow suburbs in south-eastern Riga for €190. That was fine there, but the location was very unfavorable and since there were hardly any RSU students there, it was more difficult to make contacts. The orientation week organized by the university is very helpful for this. Unfortunately, I had missed a few days and you could tell that the people had gotten to know each other well. The university tries very hard to give the students a good start in Riga and at the university. Everyone is assigned a so-called buddy (a student from a higher semester) and it is advisable to do things with them, such as opening a bank account (e.g. at Swedbank) and buying a bus ticket and a mobile phone card.
You can find an apartment very quickly. After four weeks I lived in a very well located, very large apartment. Internet sites like http: //www.ss.lv/, http: //www.rentinriga.lv/en/home, http: //www.kivi.lv/en and
http: //www.aparta.lv/ can help pretty good on the search.
The Latvians you meet on the street are very reserved and you don’t see many smiling faces. At the beginning I was very surprised about that and even today I notice clearly how much the Germans smile when I’m in Germany!! However, one learns to understand this behavior of the Latvians if one looks at Latvia’s history with its many occupations by Sweden, Germany and Russia. If you then get to know them better, they are usually very cordial, helpful and friendly. The young people mostly speak good English, the older mostly not at all. It is definitely worth learning the language, simply to be able to integrate well.
The cost of living here is similar to that in Germany. Expect a bit higher cost for groceries and clothes as there is nothing like Aldi and H&M here.
After the first exciting days in which everything seems new to you, everyday university life soon returns. Subjects such as anatomy, physics, chemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, Latin, Latvian, first aid, law and ethics as well as an introduction to the country and studying in an international degree program are on the schedule. There are both lectures and lessons in small groups, which I really appreciate. I’m lucky enough to be in a group of six, but there are also groups with a maximum of twelve students. My fellow students are from Sweden, Finland, Norway, a few from Sri Lanka and the UK and many from Germany.
What I didn’t know from my previous studies was the school structure, which I think is very good. There are regular tests and so-called colloquia that drive you to study regularly. This is particularly important in anatomy and Molbio! Apart from a good anatomy atlas and an anatomy book, which is recommended by the university, you do not need to buy any other books, as you can also borrow some from the university. Some things take some getting used to at first, for example the chemistry labs. You shouldn’t expect the German university standard! However, a lot is currently being rebuilt and expanded.
It is advisable to communicate well with each other, because one person knows this and the other that regarding the university and private life. Platforms like Dropbox help to exchange materials.
Even in normal everyday university life, it can be seen that the university makes an effort to look after its students and regularly sends out a newsletter by email with information on studying and leisure activities as well as housing offers etc. You can go to the person responsible for international students with any problems and you will always be helped in a friendly manner.
Since more and more Germans are studying abroad, be it in Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic or now also Latvia, more and more people are applying for the few places after the Physician in Germany. I came here with the intention of studying in Riga for the full six years, since the chances of getting a place in Germany are now very slim. Like many others, I’ll try anyway, but don’t count on being so lucky.
All in all I can say that I haven’t regretted going to Riga for a minute! And I had big doubts at the beginning. Have the courage, you will be well received here and you will not be alone! And you get a lot closer to your dream! I hope I was able to give you an impression of student life here in Riga and I look forward to meeting new faces!