International Students' Association – the voice of foreign students at RSU

10:27, 27 March, 2017
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brodsky-interview2Eighth semester student and president of the International Students’ Association (ISA) Stav Brodsky shares his experience about studying medicine at RSU and explains how the ISA helps meet the goals of the RSU international student community.

Tell us about yourself!

I am 28 years old and I come from Haifa, the third largest city in the State of Israel. I am the oldest of three brothers, son of two talented medical practitioners, married to Vered, also a medical student at RSU and the owner of two sweet but utterly spoiled dogs. Before I started pursuing my dream of becoming a doctor, I worked as a paramedic at Israel’s national emergency service "Magen David Adom".

Why did you choose to study at RSU?

After certain efforts to enter a good medical school and a pile of applications sent to numerous universities, I was fortunate to get accepted by several of them in Hungary, Italy and Latvia. At that point I had a tough choice to make, yet the personal attitude and support received from the international office at RSU and having learned about the advantages of the university and the city of Riga, the choice of the educational establishment was made comparatively easy.

So far, how would you summarise your experience at RSU?

I am very pleased with the high standards of RSU, especially after hearing about the experience of my friends who study at other European universities and comparing the study methodology of RSU with other educational establishments.

I am currently in my 8th semester, which means that I have experienced both preclinical and clinical study years. Preclinical study years have helped me to prepare for work with patients and for practical implementation of the gained theoretical knowledge.

What concerns everyday life, I think that Riga is a great city to live in, it has all the advantages of large European capitals, yet it is a student-friendly place where I truly feel at home.

Please, describe the ISA!

The ISA is the voice of international students at RSU. It is made up of a group of hard working students highly motivated to improve and nourish the study atmosphere and students’ experience in Riga.

I would like to introduce the great people with whom I am honoured to work with in making our ISA team as strong as it is:

  • Vice-president – Johannes Steibl (8th semester medicine)
  • Head of academic affairs – Leonard George (8th semester medicine)
  • Assistant to the head of academic affairs – Maya Shina (5th semester medicine)
  • Head of Social & Integration Affairs – Vili Pehkonen (8th semester medicine)
  • Assistant to the Head of Social & Integration Affairs – Dita Dāle (8th semester medicine)
  • Treasurer – Shalva Davarashvili (10th semester medicine)
  • Medical Sciences Officer – Rajenthini (Jen) Varadarajah (11th semester medicine)
  • Liaison Officer – Shelly Bagelman (4th semester medicine)
    Public Relations Officer – Roshika Fernando N.H (7th semester medicine)
  • Human Resources Officer – Kostia Levinas (4th semester medicine)
  • Secretary – Marit Synøve Bjørkum Gjerde (8th semester medicine)

In this team, the diversity, the intercultural exchange and the common goal of improving student life in Riga unites a unique set of nationalities and personalities, bringing out the best in each of them, creating a strong, hardworking board and is the backbone of the ISA’s success.

isa brodsky interview

Why did your choose to run for the ISA presidency?

I have been acting as semester leader for the last seven semesters and I have gained huge experience and knowledge of the university and the study process.

I had come to a point where I realized that I wish to contribute more, not only to my semester but generally and that the best platform for achieving this is ISA, since I strongly believe in the power and possibilities of this organisation.

What are the top three priorities of the ISA during your presidency? How will you accomplish them? Why are they important?

As to me, the first ISA priority for today and in future perspective is to strengthen the connection and relationship between RSU international students and the organization representing them. As I already emphasised, the ISA is the voice of international students and it is important for us that foreign students would identify themselves with and have the sense of belonging to this organization. We strive at representing both – social and academic interests of students, constantly reminding that they can rely upon us.

This brings to the second point on my agenda, where in addition to diverse social events that will continue to occur, it is important to highlight the role of the ISA in improving and promoting the academic environment, starting with diverse problem issues raised by semester leaders and to be solved in close collaboration with the respective departments, followed by enhancement of students’ experience through interesting guest lectures, tutoring programs and other.

Last but not least is the cooperation between the ISA and SP (Student Union) which is to be strengthened and expanded, since I believe that these two organizations are mutually interrelated and can accomplish great things together, primarily in integrating domestic and foreign students at RSU. This objective is on the agenda as of the day of election and we are determined to make it work.

Please, describe the international student community at RSU. What is important to them? How does the ISA help meet the goals of RSU’s international student community?

It is a highly diversified community with students from up to 50 different countries, bringing along cultural versatility, experiences, attitudes and goals. Nevertheless, at the same time they all have a common goal – to study in order to become highly proficient medical experts while making unforgettable experience of being a student in a foreign country. This common goal embraces many categories and sub-goals which have an impact on our lives on a daily basis. The role of the ISA is comprehensive, since it includes identification of common goals and priorities, yet having due regard to and celebrating the differences which make this community so interesting and special.

What would you wish RSU in 2017?

First of all I would wish the university to strengthen its role as a high-class educational establishment, educating talented and professional individuals, proudly bearing the name and representing the university.

I would also like to wish both the academic staff and the students' community, that this year would become the year of respect and mutual acceptance of differences, working closely together to make this academic experience remarkable.