I have been studying in Riga at the Riga Stradina University since January 2011 and have just finished my 1st semester. I came across Riga through MicroEDU and I am also glad that I made the decision to go to Riga. In the beginning it was extremely difficult from my hometown Frankfurt / M. Driving away, but it’s gotten a lot better over time. Find more review on Riga Stradins University on existingcountries.
Since I started in January, the weather was of course very cold (-25) and it was dark early. But since I had a contact list from MicroEDU, I simply set up a Facebook group and so I knew many of them before I was even in Riga. It made getting used to it much easier. In addition, we were almost all housed in the Green Apple. The hostel is not the best, but it was very good for getting to know the others and apart from a few moments I hardly regretted it. Unfortunately, due to events in the past two months, I only have to advise that you inform yourself beforehand. So it would be good if you came to Riga yourself and had a look at the future accommodation. The Green Apple only had one big positive point for me. We were together all the time, so making friends with fellow students was easier. So take a look at the Green Apple and ask your future fellow students where they are staying. Something else about the RSU student hostel. This is currently in the construction phase and it is actually not advisable because you are living there, far away from everything. 1 hour to the university and 1 hour to the city is really too much and will not be fun for you.
I have been living in my own apartment with two fellow students from Germany since March. If you are well informed, the prices are lower than in many German cities. The cost of living is generally a little lower than in Germany, but it is sometimes also expensive if you cannot do without certain things because everything has to be imported from abroad and the local currency is stronger than the euro.
Now to what you are probably more interested in. The University. The Riga Stradina University or RSU is about 15 minutes outside of the old town on the other side of the Daugava. The university is very good with tram 4, trolleybuses 9 or 25 and bus line 21. When it snows properly, you should rather take the tram, as in rush hour, because it has its own rails and the danger for yourself Forest driving is not that great. Public transport is well developed. Your feelings will depend on which city you come from, but on the whole the transport network is well developed.
Already in the first few days it is noticeable that the university and the structure of the university are somewhat different from the universities in Germany. Anyone who has already studied medicine in Germany will quickly notice that the structure and emphasis in the RSU is away from the subjects chemistry / physics towards anatomy and molecular biology. When in other subjects the professors take it easy and let the student get away with one or the other thing, in anatomy and molecular biology, on the other hand, stick with it and learn. These are the subjects that matter and you will not be able to avoid studying these subjects.
Lessons are given in small groups. These are around 10-15 students. Only the lectures run with the whole year. But this is to get over, since the lecture halls are large and modern.
Because of the small groups, the relationship between professor and student is different than in Germany. After a short time, the professors know their students by name and are happy to answer any questions. In the first lesson, you therefore get the professor’s contact details. You can then ask him during the learning period when questions arise.
Just a little tip by the way. The professors only know you by name after a short time and of course remember you if you get negative feedback. In my year, some of them had to learn this painfully. The professors have mostly a Soviet education and therefore attach particular importance to treating them with the necessary respect. But you quickly notice how to deal with which professor. If you have any doubts, ask someone from the higher semesters, they have mostly had the same and know about it. So it can be said that if you are nice and respectful to the professors, they will give it back to you.
By and large, the advantages of the RSU lie in the small groups, the good relationship with the professorship and the relationship between the students. There is simply no competition that is typical for studying in Germany.
I hope I could help you a little with my experiences. Maybe we’ll see each other at the RSU or in Riga. By the way, if you have any questions, just ask MicroEDU for my contact details and write to me.
Last little tip: Create a communication platform (e.g. group on Facebook). So you can get to know each other beforehand and exchange experiences.
I hope I could help you a little and maybe I’ll see you in Riga.