I finished the first medical semester at the RSU in Riga three weeks ago. What I found very positive overall was the fact that I was finally able to start studying medicine. After a year of waiting and hoping and worrying, it was great to start studying. According to Abbreviation Finder, RSU is the abbreviation of Riga Stradins University.
I also find it really exciting to live in another country with a different language. Since my application I have learned so much about the Baltic States and the history of the Baltic States. And it’s great that you not only study medicine but can also promote your general knowledge at the same time (if that’s what you want).
Riga is an interesting city with very different faces. When I got there in mid-January of this year, the temperatures were around zero, it was drizzling and there was snow everywhere. And in addition to the snow, there should be a lot more. In February we had -20 degrees for a few weeks straight and that’s really damn cold. It’s so cold your teeth hurt when you breathe. And even after the short visit at home over Easter, mountains of snow were still lying around at the university. But if you stack the clothes sensibly on top of each other, you can live with it quite well. And as soon as summer came, Riga was just beautiful. The thermometer jumped to +30 degrees and the city really blossomed. So it was almost a shame that I booked my flight soon after my last exam.
Overall, I like my studies a lot. In the first semester, a lot of emphasis is placed on anatomy and molecular biology and even if the learning curve was quite high at the end of the semester, you could still sit back and settle in a bit at the beginning. However, it seems that the workload increases continuously up to the 4th semester.
We had a total of 10 subjects: Anatomy, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Latvian, Latin, Chemistry, Physics, Intercultural Relations, Ethics & Deontology and First Aid.
Some subjects are divided into a lecture and a lab class, but you never have all subjects in parallel. Some are ticked off right at the beginning and some start later. Anatomy was probably the most intensive study. And there it is really advisable to study continuously, as there are weekly tests.
Overall, you need a bit of time to empathize with the system, and overall it’s easier if you don’t question everything, but simply accept some things. Otherwise, it is advisable to turn to higher semesters who have done all of this before.
The university itself is currently undergoing a lot of renovation and I am excited to see what it will look like when I continue my studies in September. In addition, a new building is being built exclusively for human medicine, which I have unfortunately not yet seen. The plan is for it to be ready in 2012, which could be interesting for people who are starting over now.
Most of the people lived in the Green Apple at the beginning and that makes sense. This way you get to know a lot of people from the semester and get connected before the university starts. In the course of the semester, shared apartments are formed. In addition, the Green Apple is very centrally located in the old town, so you can get anywhere quickly and easily.
I would advise against purchasing all the books on the book list that are given. The only thing that you really need at the beginning is a reasonable anatomy atlas and you should leaf through them beforehand, which are structured in this way and what is the best way to learn. But above all, make sure that the atlas contains the Latin terms. Everything else is pointless. As long as everything is given in Latin, you can also learn with a German atlas.
In terms of clothing, a good winter coat and waterproof shoes are definitely recommended. As soon as it rains or thaws in Riga, the city’s drainage system is overwhelmed.
Overall, rents in the city are at a lower level than in Germany, but groceries don’t cost much less and everything that goes in the direction of “luxury” is usually a bit more expensive (electronic devices, make-up, shampoos, etc.). Overall, the gap between rich and poor is relatively large and in the general cityscape and especially in public transport you can see a lot of poor people. Also something that you have to get used to first.
All in all, the course is definitely a lot of fun, the city is very exciting and the first basics of Latvian can also be acquired well in the first semester with a little interest. A trip to Jurmala by the sea is highly recommended. You only travel about half an hour by train and it’s really nice there.