International Student Orientation Week Has Concluded
As is usual by now at Rīga Stradiņš Univeristy (RSU), the international student Orientation Week takes place a week before the start of the new semester. This is when the new students can learn more about Latvia and the practical sides of studying at RSU.
For the third time, the event took place online and from 24 to 26 August incoming international students could participate remotely from their home countries, from airports and from Riga. There are 419 full-time students from 38 different countries and 47 incoming Erasmus+ mobility students joining RSU this semester and all could watch the Orientation Week presentations.
The first of the three days was dedicated to Latvia and life in Riga. Baiba Pētersone, Director of the International Department started the day with welcoming the new students to RSU. Her speech was followed by Irma Kalniņa, expert on professional etiquette, international communications and diplomatic protocol, who talked about Latvian culture and what Latvians are like. Later that same day, students learned about practical aspects of living in Riga: Mārtiņš Ķipurs from Riga Municipal Police gave a presentation on public safety and order, and informed students about the most recent epidemiological regulations, whereas Cindy Heaster, from the RSU Health Centre talked about healthcare in Riga.
The second day was devoted to student life here at the university. RSU Rector, Professor Aigars Pētersons started the day with welcoming the new students and wishing them success in their studies. He was followed by Māris Ginters, Head of the International Admissions Office, who shared interesting statistics about the new students: most of them are starting their medical studies, the majority are from Sweden and Germany and more than quarter of the new students are born in 2003. Ginters also answered some of the students frequently asked questions about admissions, the study process and the interoperable COVID-19 vaccination or recovery certificates that are required to participate in on-site studies. In the second half of the day, Ingvars Kudeikins from the RSU Student Council, Mohamed Naleef Ahamed Mazhar and Adam Bott from the International Students’ Association (ISA) presented all the student organisations at RSU and invited the new students to be not only academically, but also socially active during their studies. Afterwards, Reinis Gailītis from the International Admissions Office reminded new students about immigration procedures and informed them of the possibility to acquire a Latvian personal identification number.
As studies will remain online until 10 October, it was crucial to instruct the new students on where to find information about courses, access links to online classes and recordings of lectures. The final day of Orientation Week covered all this information. Smuidra Žermanos, Dean of the International Student Department (ISD), greeted the students and invited them to reach out to ISD with any questions about the study process. Afterwards, the Head of Academic Affairs of ISA, Manu Thomas Thoppuram, and his assistant Annemaria Lange gave a presentation on e-studies, where to find course materials, databases, RSU’s internal rules and regulations and answered all questions the new international students had for them. The official programme finished with Lelde Kozilāne who introduced e-services, student ID cards and the references that Student Services can provide.
Orientation Week concluded with a webinar by two medical students, Adam Bott and William Eklund, who shared some practical ideas on time management and different study methods. Bott and Eklund reminded the new students to pay attention to forming good study habits from the very first day.
The International Department would like to thank everyone who participated in Orientation Week and shared their experience and information with the new students and the participants of the Erasmus+ mobility programme.
The International Department wishes everyone a productive semester and a successful time at RSU!