Barbara Maślak, Milena Kwapisz, Karolina Mielcarek
We decided to take a part in Erasmus Exchange Programme because we wanted to get to know how hospitals in other countries work, if there are any, and if so what are the differences between nurses’ job in Poland and in Latvia. Riga was a place that had offered the possibility to do our traineeship after graduation i.e. from July to September. It was important that our hospital mentors speak in English. We also picked that city because two of us had been there twice before, during the RCMC International Week so that place seemed to be an interesting option to live and practice. Riga isn’t located far from Poland, so that was also a plus. We had an opportunity to do our practices in modern clinical hospital, which is much bigger than our hometown hospital.
There are a lot of benefits of practices in Riga for sure. The main one was that we could do many procedures that helped us to get the proficiency of the nursing trade. We were shown a lot of different units, for example, oncology, neonatal, intensive care units. As we had only a little pediatric practises during our studying it was great we could do so many. We worked with many different nurses in three totally different departments. Thanks to that we gained a lot of experience, not only in nursery but also in communication. We also were able to observe real-life surgeries. Since it was not possible in our hometown hospital, we really appreciate the opportunity that we were given.
Riga isn’t a big city, but it definitely has a lot to offer. We liked to go out during our stay in Riga because we rarely ever got bored. There are a lot of interesting places that we’ve been during the exchange. One of the most memorable one is Sigulda and beautiful old castles there. We also fell in love with Jurmala, with sunny afternoons on beach and lovely walks along the main street.
Our advice for other students from abroad is to find an accommodation in the city centre or somewhere near there. If you’re outgoing and fine with meeting a lot of new people, you should look for a shared flat or a student dormitory, we think it’s a good and not expensive option for Erasmus students. If you want to visit other cities in Latvia, we recommend to use the train because it’s more comfortable and cheaper than a bus. Riga has a big choice of pubs and nightclubs. Most of them are free to enter. Venues serve different kinds of music, so in our opinion, everyone should find something that suits them. We also suggest discovering Latvian culture and visiting museums. It’s very interesting! But be careful with packing clothes - there were cool, windy days and from time to time a little bit of rain. We also recommend Latvian liquor – balsam and rhubarb beer - they are great as a gift for family after homecoming.
To sum up, we really enjoyed our time in Riga. We improved our English language skills, met some new people and gained experience in living abroad. We truly recommend this place for an Erasmus adventure.
Student from Poland