Riga Stradin University is arguably the best higher institution in Latvia. She has high reputation especially in the field of medicine and health research. This attribute is partly responsible for international students flock to the school, forming one-quarter of her total students’ population. I arrived at the university during an international conference week and I was impressed with the attendance, quality of the organization, magnitude and quality of research on display. The main building houses the administrative blocks, classrooms, research lab and the university library. The library is compact in size but well equipped and spacious enough for a library of her scale. It was easy getting started and visiting essential places, with my student mentor giving and reminding me of vital information on intervals.
The hostel service was warm and welcoming. The infrastructure in the hostel I arrived was top notch. Depending on your budget, you can get a student apartment for as low as 70 euros per month or as much as the 360 euros luxury room. The differences are in the buildings design and accessories. The expensive ones are either recently constructed or renovated with modern facilities, and the cheapest one may not be a comfortable shelter especially in the winter season. The one I got accidentally was the ‘coolest building around’. RSU student hostel in Darza iela 5 would compete favourable with any student hostel in the world, yet not as pricy in my opinion. It is a furnished apartment with necessary accessories. The hostel come with other luxuries such as the bi-monthly supply of clean bed cover, duvet and towels. It has spacious common reading corridors and provides drinking water through fancy dispenser 24/7. The hostel also has different indoor sports facilities; well equiped gym, table tennis board and table soccer (Foosball). The personnel are friendly and helpful. Also unlike the usual charges that come with misplaced keys, or locking the keys inside the room, locked out tenants’ doors are opened in any instance without charges and incase of lost card keys, you get it replaced without hustles.
The hostel is close to the main university building and there are few grocery stores around that makes daily living and study quite easy. There are two or three buses and tram stops that are also quite accessible from the hostel. It is easy to move around as soon as one has the cheap bus ticked and the transport app to locate ones destination. Most of the hospitals I have to do my practices were somewhat far from the hostel. It would take an average of 60 – 75 minutes to get to my practice places on most days. The challenge is having to wake earlier than usual and sit in the bus for long duration daily. Apart from that, a single tram or bus would take me to my destination in most cases. Traffic in Riga is really decent and grid lock are not a common occurrence. Washing machines and dryers are internet based. You book and pay online at least 15 – 30 mins ahead of the washing. Then the machines would be ready by the time you get to the laundry room. The prices are based on the washing option you opt for , 40/60 degrees wash are more expensive and dryer is based on duration.
However, I am displeased with the dormitory visitation and cleaning regulations. Visitors are only allowed from 9 am. – 11 pm and cannot stay past the hour of visitation or spend the night in your room for any reason. I guess this is peculiar to my hostel though, I believe it is not practiced in other hostels of the university or private apartment; There are about three entrance doors to the building, regardless of the entrance you use you are expected to walk your way to the main entrance at the reception wind to register your visitor’s presence. The front desk personnel would do a head count in the evening of visitors still on the premises and they may knock on your door to remind you that your visitor needs to go home. The second practice that is unfamiliar to me is the cleaning rules. Although the hostel management tries to make light of the practice, claiming it is only a reminder about cleaning. However, there is what they call bi-monthly room inspection. The hostel personnel check the status of your room cleanness and may suggest to you to take care of one thing or the other. Although they don’t monitor if you take their suggestion seriously or not, and I don’t know any student that has been punished or sanctioned for non-compliance. But the practice could in itself bother any new student who is not familiar with that much external influence