The Number of International Students at RSU Grows Despite the Pandemic
Winter admissions at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) have come to a successful conclusion – the number of students who will start studying at the university this spring has increased by nearly 16% compared to the previous semester. 500 prospective students from 46 countries expressed their interest in studying at RSU and 293 students from 29 countries were admitted. Out of those 260 will study medicine, and 33 will study dentistry. This semester, studies for the newly admitted first-year students are scheduled to take place remotely. They will only be able to come to Latvia when the epidemiological situation improves.
Most international students are from Germany, Sweden, Finland, Italy and Norway. According to a study conducted last autumn by the think tank CERTUS, the Latvian economy will receive a boost of 438m euros from the export of RSU higher education services between 2021 and 2024. As a result of the export of education services, 1,040 jobs have been created and at least 15m euros have been paid into the state budget. RSU has attracted international students for more than 15 years, and the number of countries they represent has changed dramatically. Currently, around 26% (around 2,600 students) of RSU students are international students and out of those 40% come from Germany and 38% form Scandinavia.
The newly admitted students have been accepted to two RSU study programmes – Medicine and Dentistry. Admissions takes place twice a year. During summer admissions, international students will be admitted to more study programmes like International Business and Start-up Entrepreneurship, International Governance and Diplomacy, Health Management and Social Work with Children and Youth.
The newly admitted first year students have already participated in Orientation Week, which took place online this year. During this week they got acquainted with student life and extracurricular activities at RSU. Additionally all local epidemiological measures were explained by representatives from the university and the municipal police. RSU was the very first university in Latvia to transition to online learning at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak last spring and has paid particular attention to epidemiological safety measures since. All students at RSU are currently studying remotely. While senior students might have a chance of returning to on-site studies during the semester, first-year students will have to spend their first semester at RSU studying online. In this regard, the university has a well-established IT infrastructure, considered technical solutions and encouraging lecturers who are well-prepared to working online.