University: Riga Stradins University
Field of study: medicine
Study type: Other courses
Hello dear readers,
I’m Carina, twenty years old, graduated from the first semester of medicine at Riga Stradins University and now I would like to tell you about my experiences. Check toppharmacyschools.org to see vocational training in Japan.
A good six months ago, in mid-December 2010, I found out that it had worked and that I would soon be able to start my medical studies at Riga Stradins University. Of course, at first I was totally over the moon and also really excited, because that meant that I would probably have to move to Latvia.
So at the end of January I stood on my packed suitcase and threw myself into the adventure!
I flew there a week before the official start of the course. During this week, I first got to know my mentor assigned to me by the university (a really, really friendly Latvian who I’m still in contact with!) and a few other fellow students, and last but not least there were the orientation days organized by the university. Including city tour, university tour, speech, etc. a very good thing to get used to. After that, it wasn’t long before the real studies started.
Riga as a city itself is quite pretty, there are many well-kept parks, a nice little old town and many old buildings with curved arches, gates, etc..
February was the coldest month I have experienced there, but in June it was up to 30 degrees and you could lie on the beach in a bikini. In general, it seemed to me that it would rain a lot less than in Germany.
We started in the summer semester (late January to mid-June) with over 80 new students from many different countries. There are Swedes, Norwegians, Finns, Spaniards, Portuguese, a Dutchman and a Belgian and last but not least, of course, Germans. The lessons are held in English.
My subjects in the first semester were: Molecular Biology, Anatomy, Physics, Chemistry, Latin, Latvian, Intercultural Relations, Legislation, Ethics, Cell biology and First aid. Lectures on the larger subjects (biology, anatomy, chemistry) are held once a week, but these are not compulsory courses. Otherwise there are always lessons in small groups. There were ten people in my group, I thought that was great! In other groups, on the other hand, there are up to 15 people as far as I know. When teaching in small groups, attendance is compulsory and there are also regular tests or colloquia. By the way, you only have two tries for this one! Almost anything is possible with learning.
Most subjects are taught at the university, First Aid takes place in the hospital and anatomy and cell biology in the so-called Anatomicum. There you can also borrow human bones to practice anatomy and that often helps more than an anatomy atlas.
Lessons start at 9 a.m. on average, sometimes earlier or later and can last until 6 p.m. But in between you usually have a few hours break and it’s not at university every day that long.
The university also has its own library. There you can borrow books, use the internet for free and print and copy something for a little money.
Letters sent to Germany with the Latvian Post arrive within a few days, but it can take a little longer for parcels. In my experience, parcels or parcels sent from Germany to Latvia take even longer, sometimes over a week.
In the beginning I lived in the Green Apple hostel, but that wouldn’t be for me in the long run. I now live with two fellow students in a nice apartment 10 minutes’ walk from the center and less than 15 minutes by bus to the university.
There are many leisure and excursion possibilities: There are a few bars and discos for going out. But it has to be said that there is much more going on in the entire old town in summer than in winter. In summer you can actually meet a few German-speaking holidaymakers. Otherwise, the sea is not far away either, about a twenty-minute train ride from Riga’s train station takes you to Jurmala, a small town right on the Baltic Sea. The same applies here: tourists are only there in summer, in winter the whole beach and the sea is frozen as far as you can see and you can even walk on it. The university also had another trip planned to Tallinn, which I took part in, and for the first time in my life I played paintball about 20 minutes outside of Riga. There are also some museums and good restaurants in town. There is also a cinema with English films and several shopping centers. And there are lots of gyms!
At the end of the semester, the final exams were due and it really wasn’t without what you had to be able to do for it. Nevertheless, everything was somehow doable, even though the time before the exams is definitely the most stressful.
From time to time I get homesick, of course, but I haven’t regretted my decision to this day and I’m very happy over there. I’ve also made a lot of new friends, would have to wait six years for a place at university in Germany, and moving back home later in the semester isn’t impossible.