The traditional RSU Orientation week for newly enrolled international students took place from 6 till 11 February. There are 248 foreign students from 23 countries joining RSU this semester – the majority of them from Germany, followed by Sweden, Finland, Italy, Norway and numerous others. The longest trip has been taken by students from New Zealand and South Africa. All in all the International Department had received 524 student applications for the winter intake.
The Orientation week is an exciting six-day long series of diverse compulsory events and leisure activities designated to help freshers to acquaint with the university and make acquaintances. The rich in activities event, among other things, contains a local culture presentation held by the Latvian Institute, a day trip to Rundale Palace, a guided Central Market tour and national food tasting. The info fair, where the arriving students can obtain information on practical issues and join RSU students’ organizations, is gaining increasing popularity, whereas the evening hours have been left for leisure activities organized by RSU International Student Association: movie night, Old Town PubCrawl and welcome party. The jam-packed week will be closed by a sport day which is this year’s novelty.
In her welcome speech, the head of the International Department Baiba Petersone underlined the importance of internationalization in the development of RSU and highlighted the role of international students in strengthening it, emphasizing that foreign students enrich RSU and create a multicultural, dynamic and creative academic environment.
In her welcome address to the arriving international students RSU Vice-Rector for Education Professor Tatjana Koķe spotlighted three fundamental aspects characterizing RSU – first of all, RSU is a student-centred university where the responsibility and involvement of students in the study process is equally important as that of the lecturers. Secondly, RSU has set quality as its priority and thirdly, to strengthen the affiliation and expand communication possibilities, she encouraged students to learn our language and acquaint with local culture and traditions Prof. Koķe further noted that studies at RSU are rather intense and frequently require timely support.
The Dean of the International Student Department Smuidra Žermanos devoted her address to important practical issues – where and how to obtain information on how to reach RSU buildings, whom to approach in case you have missed a class or a seminar, accentuating the importance of effective time management for students to successfully integrate in the study process.
Vivien Zumbansen, a medical student from Germany was excited about the opportunity to meet students from different countries, “Orientation week is an excellent opportunity to make new acquaintances and build up team spirit within the new study groups”. Her fellow student Linda Hiekkaranta from Finland shared similar opinion noting that, “The team building game made us familiar with the university and was a useful experience. RSU staff is friendly and supportive. The offered activities are useful, though intense – a lot of new information to be dealt with and memorised!”
Although the classes for the newly admitted students will start only next week, a number of them have arrived earlier. Another medical student from Israel Ilana Grach shared with us her impressions, “I arrived to Riga a couple of days before the Orientation week to have the possibility to see the city. I appreciate the initiative of the university to hold an Orientation week what is a good chance to meet my groupmates. I am eagerly waiting for the lectures to start”.
In addition to arriving international full-time students, the Orientation week is also attended by 37 incoming Erasmus+ students from RSU European partner universities. Erasmus Institutional Coordinator Lana Amosova noted that the increasing number of incoming Erasmus+ students proves the fact of RSU being an internationally recognized and reliable cooperation partner. Outgoing RSU students and incoming foreign students are kind of messengers, representing their country and university and they come with the mission of promoting mobility throughout the Europe”.
Orientation week is organized by the International Department together with RSU International Students Association, Student Union, International Student Department and other RSU structural units.
International Department would like to thank all colleagues who contributed to successful organization of the Orientation week.