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Stav Brodsky is the winner of the 2019 RSU Student of the Year award. He is a 6th year Medical student from Israel who has taken on a very active role at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU). Among his list of achievements is being the first international student on the RSU Senate, and being the President of the RSU International Students’ Association (ISA). Stav came to Riga not even really knowing where Latvia was on the map, but will graduate this summer full of determination to make a change in the world utilising all the theoretical and practical knowledge he has gained during his time at RSU.


From the right: Stav Brodsky receiving the award for Student of the Year 2019 from RSU Rector, Aigars Pētersons

Tell us a bit about yourself – where you are from, what your interests are, what are you passionate about?

I am from Israel, but I was born in the Soviet Union, in Uzbekistan. Both of my parents are doctors in Israel. I always had a passion for medicine. Mostly because of my parents, I think. After having served in the Medical Corps in the army, I started looking for my next challenge. It was quite natural to look to medicine, and initially I wanted to study in Italy. The stars aligned and I didn’t get that study place, so I spent one more year working in an ambulance as a paramedic. It was at this time that I met my girlfriend (who is now my wife) and a year later I got a place in Riga! My mother had come to RSU for some conference and recommended it to me. I didn’t even know where it was! I had to google Latvia because I only knew it from the Eurovision Song Contest. When I finally found myself here, I quickly realised that it had been a very good idea to have come. When I first arrived we were only seven Israeli students, including me. There was no community with which you could speak your language, so it was really hard in the beginning. And now there are more than 60 Israelis at RSU!


'Riga feels like a second home to me.' From Stav Brodsky's personal archive.

What are the three most important things you have achieved so far?

I have been the semester leader for 12 semesters already. I feel that working with the other students in my semester and representing them in front of the university has been quite a significant achievement for me.

Being the president of the RSU ISA was very important to me, as well as being the first international student on the RSU Senate for one year. To do this I was required to improve my Latvian skills, which I did by constantly taking courses.

My biggest achievement over the last six years, however, has been to have my baby girl. It’s the most important achievement in my life, actually. 

What do you think of your studies at Rīga Stradiņš University?

They have been much better than initially expected. I’ve been very positively surprised by my experience. We are 12 people in our group, for example. I have colleagues studying in other countries who say that they are 20 or 30 in one group, so it’s much more intimate here. The professors even know your name, at least in the first two or three years. That means a lot. I find the study programme well-structured and constantly improving, and there have been some major changes since I first came. I can see that through the younger Israeli students who are coming to study now. 

I can also mention that I have regularly participated in the RSU Open Days. For the last three years my wife and I have held a seminar together with the International Department at the Latvian Embassy in Tel Aviv. 


' "The Superior group 61" - this is a group of people that has become like a family for me over the last 6 years!' From Stav Brodsky's personal archive.

Which teachers have had an influence on your life? 

The doctors who have had the greatest influence on my life are both of my parents. They immigrated to Israel in the 1990s. My mother had finished her studies in the Soviet Union, and my father finished his in Israel. They have, hands down, been the best example for me regarding excellence, hard work, and professionalism. They both started out in Israel with nothing but became the leading doctors in their respective fields through hard work and determination. 

From my teachers at RSU, I have to mention one of the talented teachers I’ve had this year, Cardiologist Dr. Artem Kalinin. He has really inspired me in multiple ways – by changing my way of thinking, preparing our group for the state exam, as well as offered real life advice and guidance on the realities of being a doctor.

Do you have any life values or cornerstones that you would like to share?

My priorities and state of mind changed with the birth of my daughter. I was always very career-orientated, whether in the Israeli ambulance, or here. I was always out of my home, getting back late or working night shifts at the ambulance. I try not to do this anymore as the family unit is very important to me. This is a priority because I am the son of doctors who didn’t spend that much time at home because of their work. My daughter has changed my mind about my profession, like what speciality I want to choose. I used to think about the surgical field and, although I haven’t changed my mind completely, I am less tempted to do something like that now. Considering that my wife will also be a doctor, I don’t want this family cycle to return. We need to find a good combination of our specialities. 


'Me with my wife in Jūrmala - traveling in Latvia and the Baltics was very important to us in order to explore the culture.' From Stav Brodsky's personal archive.

What needs to be done to make the world a better place?

I think that the problem in our world, without going into politics of course, is that people are just not able to listen to one another. It doesn’t matter what religious beliefs you have, or what state you’re from, you have to listen to other people. Most conflicts come about because people stay within their way of thinking and are not open to change. If we could respect one another and one another’s opinions, the world would be a better place already. 

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I see myself going back to Israel, and I definitely want to go for a career in medical management. I have found that it’s something that I’m interested in. There are things that can be improved in the healthcare system, as in every system, and I think that I can make a change. In the long term I would like to be the head of a hospital, or work in the Ministry. I want to change things from the bottom up. I want to start by working as a doctor to learn the system and find my field, but management is something that is very compelling to me.