Student Snapshot: Irina Mariotti
Irina Mariotti comes from Bolzano in northern Italy. She started studying at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) in February 2016.
Had you been to Latvia before you came to RSU?
I came to visit a friend who was studying here about 6 years ago. I was traveling in Europe with my family and we stayed in Latvia for three days visiting the countryside and the Old Town. I really liked Riga, actually. This is why when I was admitted to RSU, I already knew where I was coming to.
Have you always wanted to study medicine?
Yes. I have actually never changed my mind about that. I was really sure.
How often do you go home?
In the first two, three years it was once every two months, now it’s once every three, I would say. Apart from the holidays.
Do you friends and family come here to visit you here?
My family was here last year. My sister has visited me twice already, and some friends might come this summer for the first time.
Do you speak Latvian?
A little bit. I’m trying to improve, and I’m taking private Russian classes. My name is originally Russian – my great-grandmother was from St. Petersburg. To learn another language has always been one of my dreams, and now that I’m here I’m learning Latvian and Russian.
How comfortable are you speaking Latvian?
I am fine in shops and with patients too, actually, but I'd still like to improve.
What organisations at RSU are you invovled in?
I was active in the Italian Student Association in Riga (ASIR) and am the Vice-President on the new board of the International Students Association (ISA).
I also founded the plastic surgery society this year together with two other students. Our plan is to organise one meeting each month about a specific topic that is not covered by the university curriculum. At each meeting students give presentations on a topic that we decide on, and then we have a discussion after. We always have a mentor present, a plastic surgeon. There are so many different fields of medicine that people are interested in and since plastic surgery isn’t really covered by the curriculum we thought, ‘why not try to educate the students ourselves?’
Is that what you’re interested in specialising in?
Yes. I would like to work in a burn unit with reconstructive surgery.
Do you know where you want to go after?
I have no idea. I could go to Germany because I speak German as well, or Austria, or Switzerland or maybe Italy.
Sounds like you have a lot of choices!
Yeah, it’s good. We speak both Italian and German where I’m from, and that for me is a big advantage. Also at university, because there are so many German students here.