University: Riga Stradins University
Field of study: human medicine
Study type: Other courses
My name is Luisa, I’m 20 years old and from near Tübingen, I’ve been studying human medicine at the RSU in Riga since September 2016.
Like so many others, I myself failed in the selection process of the universities in Germany. In April 2016 I then applied to RSU in Riga via MicroEdu. In June I was accepted and at the end of August the great adventure of studying abroad began. Check liuxers.com to see 7 best cities to study in Colombia.
I came to Riga through friends who had previously completed their physics course there and were then able to move to Germany. I myself was rather skeptical about the adventure, Riga, a city close to Russia that I didn’t really know before and the annoying comments of those who always emphasized that I was an NC refugee. Despite everything, my dream was big enough and since it was my only chance, I started packing and looking for an apartment.
But what should you pack, where can you find hostels for the first nights, where can you find apartments, how does immigration work and how am I supposed to do it all on my own in a country whose language I don’t speak and which I’ve never been to before have seen.
The preparation phase
Fortunately, I was able to count on a friend in particular who has already lived and mastered this adventure. She added me to various apartment and flat share groups on Facebook, which I browsed daily for flat shares. A month before departure I had found a flat share. An old building in the middle of the center, 6 people in a shared flat, all first-timers, 5 Germans and one Norwegian, 215sqm, €290 cold. Perfect!
Despite everything, I still had to find a hostel for the first few nights. Since the university is prepared for all of this and has experience with all of these things, the first e-mails containing information about hostels, buddy programs and other aspects quickly came. (The buddy program is a program of seniors who are always there to help and answer any question, highly recommended!!) Apart from that, I came into contact with many freshmen through FB groups. On this way, I then rented the NB Hostel with three others and was able to take the next step a little more calmly.
Then it came faster than expected, with two suitcases and large hand luggage we started. After a 2.5 hour flight and the first contact with Latvians (who are a bit special but very friendly, helpful and speak good English), we went straight to the city center, explored the old town and the center and inspected the new apartment. Old Town is the innermost core of Riga, there you will find many restaurants and bars, Centrum is the actual residential area. All in all Riga is a city that is totally modern, clean and relaxed. Everyone speaks English and you often hear German on the buses!
The orientation week
is super! We were lucky that it was very warm and we were able to spend a lot of time outside. During this week you have the opportunity to meet people and settle in before the real university life starts.
If you should go to Riga, there are thousands of Facebook groups where you can find everything from apartments to old scripts, furniture, bikes and books.
Otherwise everything will come to you, you always have the office for international students of the RSU at your side (who will bring you up to date with emails), your friends from your semester and all other semesters are also at your side with advice and action. Because all students at RSU work and stick together!
The university itself has many buildings scattered throughout Riga. The RSU main building is across the river from the center but the bus and tram connections are really good and punctual.
In the first semester we had subjects like anatomy, molecular biology, chemistry, Latvian, Latin, medical history, first aid, physics, philosophy… But all of them really doable !
At the beginning you will be divided into so-called study groups. My study group consists of 11 people from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany. In these groups you have your practical courses. That’s really awesome, for example you all get your own microscopes and in chemistry there are weekly experiments waiting for you that you carry out yourself. A dream that is rarely fulfilled for you in Germany!
The language of instruction is English. This is also really doable, no one pays attention to grammatical errors or spelling mistakes and you grow from week to week with this task. You learn Latvian quite often in the first semester. So far I haven’t found Latvian that easy myself, because the grammar is complex and the vocabulary seems unrelated to the languages I speak. But here, too, it is doable and you have good teachers at your side.
The student life
There is definitely no denying that there is a lot to learn. But learning can also be fun. The new National Library is perfect for a study day. The library is brand new and has a great view of the city. In the evening the mail goes off in Riga. There are unique pubs where people like to get together on a Friday night. Apart from that, there is a tea house where you can gossip in a relaxed atmosphere and various cute little shops you can stroll through. All in all, Riga is an interesting city that is easy to find your way around.
I am proud that I took this adventure as an NC refugee and I would still take this step. In my first semester, I made so many friends who are just as committed to their dreams and who are always there to support me, no matter what. In Riga you grow into a real team, which is mainly due to the fact that your parents and families live far away, you have to organize yourself and depend on the help of fellow students.
With every hurdle that you take yourself or with your friends, you become more independent and mature. Of course there are situations in which you don’t know exactly how to do it all on your own, but close your eyes, in Riga everything works out somehow !