University: Riga Stradins University
Field of study: medicine
Study type: Other courses
Hello everybody. My name is Sina, I’m 20 years old and I’m studying human medicine at Riga Stradins University. In this report I would like to tell you about my experiences from the first semester in Riga. Check toppharmacyschools.org to see Brock University study abroad opportunities.
After applying to Riga Stradins University with the help of MicroEdu, I didn’t have high hopes of getting a place. I have already received rejections from other countries.
But now everything was different: fate had taken my side. My acceptance for the 2011/2012 winter semester arrived at my house at the end of July. A new chapter in my life began full of excitement and joy.
The first priority was to find suitable accommodation in Latvia. The Green Apple Hostel, located in the middle of the beautiful old town, was recommended to me through previous reviews and friends who are already studying in Riga.
It continued with equally important things such as international health insurance or the right flights to Riga.
The first week at the university was designed as an introductory week, you first get to know the university itself, explore different floors with departments, get a guided tour of the city and, above all, get to know the people in your group.
The system of studying in Riga differs significantly in level from that in Germany. Here, as in Germany, the lectures are held in a large lecture hall, but the practical courses and internships are carried out in small groups of 10 people. And it is precisely this point that speaks for the university. By learning in small groups, the subject matter is better illustrated and you build a personal bond with the respective professor.
Overall, the following subjects are taught in the first semester:
- Medical Chemistry
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology
- Medical Ethics/Law
- Intercultural Relations
- first aid
Knowledge is tested through regular tests and colloquia. At the end of the first semester, exams are written in chemistry, anatomy and cell biology. You should take the colloquia very seriously, because you have the opportunity to repeat a colloquium, but if you fail the second time, you have to repeat the semester in the failed subject. That’s why I recommend: constant learning, then no major problems build up.
Regarding the living conditions in Riga, it can be said that both rents and the cost of living are similar to those in Germany.
First I lived in the Green Apple Hostel mentioned above for a month, this is highly recommended for the beginning. You can easily find your way around the city and you are always “in the middle of the action”. After that, however, I recommend looking for an apartment with 2 or 3 fellow students, because the hostel is not really recommended for the long term, the rooms are very small and the kitchen is usually overcrowded.
Finding an apartment in Riga seemed easier than I thought. There are various websites on which brokers advertise properties (cf. Immobilienscout). After “breaking shacks” and various “no-go” apartments, we (3 girls) have found our perfect apartment. Due to the good infrastructure in Riga, everything can be reached very easily by train, bus or trolleybus. The so-called monthly tickets for transport are also very cheap at a maximum of 18 lats (approx. 25 euros).
For living in the capital of Latvia, a lot of things seem familiar over time. This was partly due to my buddy, of course. At the beginning of the semester, the so-called “buddies” get in touch with freshmen, my buddy Alice is Latvian, and really showed me a lot of the city. She also made sure that I bought a Latvian mobile phone to be able to make really cheap calls (I opted for the “O-card”) and was or is always helpful when I have questions.
However, one shortcoming should be noted, which one knows how to deal with over time: the Latvians are a very withdrawn, and for some perhaps also grim, people. But if you get to know them better, like the neighbors in the apartment, for example, they become more trusting. This may also be due to the fact that as Germans we hardly speak a word of Latvian, at least not at the beginning of the semester. The fact that the university also teaches Latvian makes access to Latvians much easier.
All in all, I am very happy that I made the choice to study human medicine in Riga. I feel very comfortable and have made many friends that I no longer want to be without.