My decision to study medicine abroad informing was – as with almost everyone else – more of a necessity than a wish. With an average Abitur of 1. 8 in 2012, I initially thought that after a few semesters of waiting at a German university, you could certainly get a place if you acquired a few extra qualifications. In the course of this train of thought, I carried out an FSJ in the hospital, which mainly included nursing activities. Then I completed an apprenticeship as a medical assistant. In between, I also took part in TMS and HAM NAT. None of this helped me in terms of obtaining a university place. On the contrary, after 4 years the required total waiting semesters were even higher than in 2012. Instead of 14, they rose to 16. With my 8 waiting semesters so far and without any certainty that the number of total waiting semesters would not increase any further, I was able to wait many more years for a place at university. I might not be able to practice medicine until I was 40. That was simply too late for me, not just from a financial point of view.
A friend suggested, but just check out MicroEDU nachzuschauen. She had landed with this organization at the RSU a few years before me and then moved to Germany after completing the Physikum. MicroEDU did not, like many other websites that I had visited, already charge money for the attempt to get a study place abroad, but also no costs at all if it was successful, which of course was very attractive. The main factor that made me take a closer look at the RSU were the comparatively low costs (most other Eastern European universities were again significantly more expensive than the RSU according to toppharmacyschools) and that application process that did not require an on-site recruitment test. I wasn’t willing to drive hundreds of kilometers extra, invest money and vacation days, only to receive a rejection in the end.
When I finally decided to apply, I only had 3 weeks until the application deadline to organize all the necessary documents – I would definitely tackle that earlier if I went through the application process again would. You can certainly do it easier and, above all, more relaxed than me! My motivation letter I once sent for proofreading to MicroEDU and get some valuable tips for improvement. Since I was already too late for the collective application from MicroEDU , I only sent my scanned documents over again and the originals were sent directly to Riga as an urgent message a week before the RSU’s official deadline. About three weeks later I received the acceptance. At that point, I still had about four weeks to take all other necessary precautions.
I arrived the day before the orientation week started. At the end of August it was still very warm, the weather was very nice and the first forays through the old town showed me that there were some very beautiful places to see in Riga. In contrast to many other prospective freshmen, I didn’t know any of my fellow students before I started studying. But that wasn’t a serious problem. You actually find a connection very quickly, because everyone is in the same boat and at first they are a bit haphazard. The university takes you by the hand very well, especially in the first few days, so that you practically don’t have to bring any prior knowledge with you. That was very nice for me because I rarely do extensive research in advance, but rather like to get along with the “basics”.
I hadn’t looked for an apartment either, as I’d heard that most of them only looked for roommates and apartments in Riga. Only a few had actually been to Riga before and had organized an apartment. Most of them then started looking for an apartment during the orientation week. You can also get cheap accommodation in hostels or even hotels beforehand. The NB Hotel, which is only five minutes’ walk from the RSU and is conveniently located, was particularly pleasant for me. In addition, it is quite cheap to register as an RSU student. Via the RSU Facebook group for freshmen. In addition, many rooms are offered in apartments from higher semesters and upcoming activities can also be planned here. A very convenient method. Most look for an apartment on the river side, which is also the old town. This is a little further away from the university, but much more beautiful than the university side of the river.
The course begins slightly differently for the different study groups. Some courses start earlier for some than others, but everyone has done everything – or at least should – by the end of the semester. The lecturers are mostly Latvians, but they teach in English. The lectures usually offer an introduction to the respective topic, which is then deepened in the practical courses. The system is very easy to understand and it is easy to notice everything – at least in the first semester. From the second on it should get a little more difficult, but you will gradually be introduced. The tests and colloquia are definitely feasible and if it does not work, then you have two further attempts, in which you then definitely pass. You get used to the way the university works very quickly. In parallel to the medical conditions, you will be introduced to the basics of the Latvian language. In everyday life you can get along well with English in restaurants and shops in the center of Riga, but of course it is always nicer when you live in a country to be able to speak to the residents in the corresponding national language. The reactions are usually friendlier than when you arrive flat in English.
So far it has definitely been a good decision for me not to wait another tens of years for a university place in Germany, but to start straight away in Riga.