|Participating cities (LC's)||Riga|
|Currency (how much is a Bigmac?)||Lats(LVL),Bigmac=1.20Ls|
|Time zone||GMT +2|
|Number of Doctors and beds per 1000 people||10|
|Member of IFMSA since...||2002|
|Number of incoming students per year||35|
|Who are our NEO's||Baiba Lurina|
|Our official website|||
It consists of four ancient historical districts: Vidzeme, Latgale, Kurzeme and Zemgale. Democratic, parliamentary Republic of Latvia was founded in November 18, 1918. Latvia has been occupied three times (by Soviet Union 1940-1941, 1945-1991 and Nazi Germany 1941-1955). Finally on August 21, 1991 Latvia declared the resolution of its de facto independence. Since this year Latvia has been pursuing full economic and political integration into European and world structures. Latvia is a membership of European Union, NATO, United Nations Organisation, Council of Europe, World Trade Organisation etc. The area of Latvia is 64 589 sq. km or 24 937 sq. miles, the total length of national boarder is 1 862 km, but the length of Baltic Sea coastline is 494 km. Latvia borders 4 countries: Estonia, Russia, Belarus and Lithuania. The land of Latvia is adorned by thousands of rivers and lakes. Longest river within Latvian territory is the Gauja (452 km), but the one to flow through Latvian territory is the Daugava (total 1 005 km, of which 352 km within Latvian territory). The highest point is 311,6 meters high Gaizinkalns. 44 percent of the territory is covered by forest. It is still possible to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of nature untouched by man, see approx. 277 thousands species of flora and fauna, including the largest population of otter in Europe and rare black stork. Indigenous people of Latvia are Latvians and Livs. In nowadays the population of Latvia, which is 2 272 300 inhabitants (2007), consist of ethnic mix, which is a result of massive post-war immigration. Ethnic variety causes also variety of languages which are spoken in Latvia. Most common foreign languages are Russian, English and German. However the official language is only one and it is Latvian. It is non-Slavic and non-Germanic and is considered one of the oldest Indo-European languages. Similar to Latvian is only Lithuanian language. Capital City of Latvia is Riga, where live nearly one third of Latvias population. It is the oldest still existing Latvian medieval city, which was founded in 1201. Old city centre has been included in UNESCO’s list of the world’s most important cultural and natural sites. Today in Latvia are 77 towns and cities. One of the most important representative aspects of country is its symbols. Written records notify that red-white-red Latvian flag have existed since the second half of the 13th century, when ancient Latvian tribes went to war against ancient Estonian tribes. This historical evidence would place the Latvian flag among the oldest flags of the world. The National Anthem is ‘Dievs, svētī Latviju!’ or ‘God bless Latvia!’ whose author is Karlis Baumanis who was the first to use word ‘Latvia’ in a lyric.
The Latvian health care system is government–funded and is financed primarily through taxes levied by state but in many not emergency cases there is also a little charge for patient. For example, for procedures and visits to doctors. Urgent cases are always prioritired and emergent cases are treated immediately. But if you are in category of primary healthcare you also won’t wait for a long time. Ussualy you get an appointment with physician within 3 days of contacting.
The clerkship in Latvia takes place in 3 multi-functional emergency hospitals and in 3 specialized hospitals. Emergency hospitals: + P. Stradina Clinical University hospital + Clinical University Hospital Gailezers + Children’s Clinical University Hospital. Specialized hospitals: + Latvian Infectology Center + Latvian Naval Medical Center + Traumatology and Ortophedy Hospital All mentioned hospitals are located in the capital of Latvia – Riga. We also have regional multi-functional hospitals but usually clerkship takes place in Riga’s hospitals. In general the students will have lots of practise during the clerkship. Also patients usually don’t protestate to have students during the examination. Our doctors who work with students are very easy – going persons, they are interested in improving medical student knowledge as much as it possible and of course they have excellent English language skills!
It is 6 year full time studies. The aim of the professional programme is to prepare academically educated and professionally qualified doctors, and to provide the society with a highly qualified and modern medical care.
However, Latvian traditional music is incomparable with any kind of other music. After a hard work Latvian folklorists there are collected over 28 million units of folklore materials in the Latvian folklore Archives in Riga, including over a million song texts and almost 30 000 melodies. Called The Phenomenon of the Latvian, each 4 years occurs Latvian Song festival and parallel to them also Dance festival. The difference between Latvian and other countries similar festivals are that only in Latvia this festival is so admirably lasting, with such mass participation, nationwide organisation and such a stable festival programme model. To describe the real mightiness of this festival, in 1990 were reached the record – total 35 438 participants. In nowadays during Song festival are performed songs from folk till popular music-hall art type music. Also popular music in Latvia is in high level. Popularity has achieved performers like Brain Storm and Marie N (both have participated, but the last one has won the Eurovision Song Contest). One of the great heritages of ancient Latvians is national costumes, which includes everything that its owner has made for wearing in various seasons and on various occasions. Typical footwear were pastalas, a simple shoe made of a single piece of leather and tied with laces. Each region has its characteristic differences of Latvian folk expressed in colours and complicated ornaments. Important part of Latvian culture is traditional celebrations, when inalienable aspect is also ancient food. These celebrations are related to annual seasonal events, and to the rhythm of farming in the northern hemisphere, which is dependent on the solar year. This is why Latvian food and drink at traditional celebrations are those which are the most convenient to prepare at any given time of year. Food and drink were also traditionally assigned mythological significance. The Harvest Festival is held in autumn, when the harvest had been brought in. for this celebration usually a piglet or ham was slaughtered, bread was beaked from the newly harvested grain and also new season sauerkraut were eaten. At Christmas, also winter solstice, table also today we can find boiled pigs head with boiled pearl barley, but more popular dish is boiled grey peas with pieces of fried meat and fatty bacon, usually accompanied by drink called ruguspiens, which is curldled or cultured milk. At the Easter eggs are colored with brown onion skins and decorated with scratched designs. Typical Latvian seasonal holyday is Midsummer or Summer Solstice, when traditional dish cheese and beer, also piragi, sweat platter breads, various meat. Today beside ancient food at Midsummer popular has become fried sausage, barbecued meat and various salads.
During an exchange program students will be accommodated in a student hostel. Last years we cooperate with Prima hostel. It is new built and located near city center (15 minutes by bus). Tea, coffee, hot shower, towels and bed linen - all at your disposal! Free wireless internet throughout the hostel. Hostel consists of bedrooms, separate shower and toilet rooms, living room and kitchen, common to all guests. All students will live in one hotel. That will promote fellowship and subsequent contacts as well as team spirit in all informal events.
There are many places to go in Riga after a day spent in hospital during the week. The social programm is organised for the weekends.
There are several airlines serving Riga as well, but we have our own national airline AirBaltic. Riga has an international airport with world class facilities. Transportation to the city is readily available from there in the form of taxis, buses. Public latvia transportation inside the country has a wide network of buses. All parts of Riga can also be reached by tram and trolleybus. Tickets should be bought on board from the conductor and retained for inspection. Latvia has a reasonably well-developed rail network from Riga to all other major towns in the country. Traffic drives on the right.
May to September (spring and summer) is the best time to visit with daytime temperatures averaging 18°C, but July and August is the peak tourist season. The coldest months are January and February and in winter one can experience extreme temperatures, when average is -5°C during the day.
There are many places to go in Riga after a day spent in hospital. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to have some serious fun! The capital has fantastic range of fun spots to choose from, so we’re sure you’ll find something to keep you busy! Traditional dishes to taste are kimenu siers (caraway cheese), borsch (beet soup), rasols (potato salad), and sauerkraut. Popular drinks are beer, vodka, and balsam. Pickled mushrooms are also a Latvian specialty. Seaside restaurants offer fresh seafood. Near the city centre is LIDO Leisure Centre which has, in some respect, become a visiting card of Riga and Latvia. It is one of the most attractive public catering enterprises in the world and one of the most favourite places of family recreation in Riga. The Centre is characterized by a Latvian environment, tasty and various dishes, LIDO beer, live music every evening, and celebration of national festivities with gorgeous decorations and concerts! Latvian fast food kiosks offer a larger choice than in western fast food restaurants. pelmeni (Russian meat dumplings) pancake and kebab are usual, fresh juice and kefirs are worth to taste. You will find all kind of Japanese, Indian, Italian, Thai cuisine as well. If the weather insists on being particularly vicious, however, there is always a cinema. The cinemas play all the latest films in original language with Latvian subtitles.
During the day you can go also to many museums and exibition halls. The Latvian National Museum of Art is located near the Central cathedral. It provides a large collection of Baltic and Latvian art treasures from the 18th century to today. The exibition hall Arsenals is located in the Old town. There you can see different kind of modern art works. The art collection is based on Latvian Art 2nd half of the 20th century works created in Latvia or by Latvian artists living abroad. The Pauls Stradins Museum of History of Medicine is located in downtown of Art Nouveau architecture near the center. It presents wide exibition in 3 stages. The visitors can see the development of medical history from the times of ethno medicine til the mid 20th century.
Irene Pappa, exchange student from Greece: The doctors in hospitals always tried to help me understand better and communicate with patients. The most important experience for me was that I assisted in operations and felt more like a doctor than a student of medicine. Personally I recommend Latvia for next exchange term to students.
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