Since the winter semester 2015/16 I study in Riga Medicine.
A friend from home was already studying at the RSU in Riga at the time. This enabled me to evaluate his experience first hand and tried to apply with the help of RSU in Riga. From other acquaintances from my hometown I learned beforehand that MicroEDU would be very involved in the application process in Riga free of charge. I got in touch and Laura Zester bravely helped me with any questions about the application process (how to refine your letter of motivation, what to look out for, etc. ) and finally sent my application off for me. According to abbreviationfinder, RSU stands for Riga Stradins University.
Since I had previously accepted from Poland and applied relatively late in Riga, I did not expect success; in the end, however, an acceptance procedure came through and I had to make a very short-term decision to accept or decline the place. A few days later I was already on the plane and unfortunately had missed the orientation week. In addition to starting RSU, I had to deal with the search for a flat and also spontaneously change groups because I was accidentally put into a national group (each applicant can specify when applying whether he would prefer to be put in a national or international class group).
I would recommend anyone interested not to apply too spontaneously, as you shouldn’t travel to a new, unknown country in a hectic pace. In addition, “early” applications are more likely to be accepted. The search for an apartment also turned out to be not too easy, as many rooms were already taken at the beginning of the semester. So I stayed in a hotel room for 2-3 weeks until I luckily met nice roommates and found a good room. But there are also 2-4 useful apartment groups on Facebook; they are always looking for new roommates or new tenants. If you have the time, you should fly to Riga for a few days beforehand to get an idea of the city for yourself and maybe take a look at some of the apartments.
Studying medicine in RSU of Riga is a little different than the familiar one in Germany. There are a variety of subjects in the first two semesters; In addition to the usual subjects, you also have to take, for example, History of Medicine, Physics, Philosophy, Latin and Latvian. Many subjects are seen as unnecessary because they also take up a lot of time and there is a general requirement to attend some lectures, as well as, of course, in the practical classes. While most professors speak good English. In the practical classes you are taught in a group, usually around 15 people. So you have to be lucky with your class; If necessary, you can change the group to the next semester. In the second semester I had a bit of bad luck with some teachers, as the class climate often depends on them. Sometimes you run into an unfair grading system, but overall it should be said that most teachers and professors are not malicious or deliberately failing students. However, the lessons are usually taken a little too seriously and even in the case of illness with a medical certificate, you often have to make up for a missed hour or take an additional test for the missed hour.
Often you despair of the amount of material and the pressure of the weekly interim tests. Over time, however, you get used to it and have to learn to deal with the material and perhaps to acquire a suitable learning method (sometimes it is also the courage to leave a gap;)). As a second student, I can say that studying medicine is very different from a normal degree in Germany and that you should think twice about whether you are willing to sacrifice a lot of free time. It is a very time-consuming and learning-intensive course, and you first have to get used to a foreign country and you cannot visit your old friends and family very often. But if you really want to study medicine, you will be able to fight your way through it!
Regarding the city, it has to be said that Riga is a charming and beautiful city. It cannot be compared with the unmanageable Berlin; it’s not a huge, overcrowded city. The drama takes place in the manageable center; there are many cafes and bars in the old town as well as a variety of shopping opportunities. While strolling you will notice that it is an old city with not modernized houses and buildings, there are many beautiful houses in Art Nouveau style. The prices have risen over time – probably also due to the student and tourist influence of the Europeans – and in my opinion a little higher than the usual German prices (the rental costs are around 250-400 euros). There is a lot to do in Riga, for example the sea is 25 minutes by train from the center and there are many opportunities for nature. Time is the only thing that is sometimes missing;
Overall, there are good and bad sides to medical school. With regard to Latvia and Riga can be found little bad. Once you get used to the Latvian mentality (which often seems unfriendly), you can certainly have a lot of fun in Riga as it is a great city. Studying is always associated with a lot of effort and discipline; So you should have thought carefully beforehand whether you are ready to start studying medicine for the small change you need and go through with it. Anything you really want is feasible!