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However, this time, I would like to write something about student life in my second "home", Estonia. I spent one year as an Erasmus student in this country and I will be moving back there in a couple of weeks.
So, today, I'm going to answer the following question with my usual "top reasons":
Why studying in Estonia?
Indeed, according to CWUR 2016 | Top 1000 Universities in the World, it ranks 506/1000.
It's also one of the oldest European universities (since 1632, oldest in Estonia) and to be very subjectively honest with you, it's one of the most beautiful universities (check out the main building above).
The University of Tartu is specialised in many different fields: semiotics is the historical one, but also IT (Skype kind of started there!) & sciences (students from University of Tartu launched their own rocket to space and are planning to do it again!), languages and International Relations.
Indeed, the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies offers a wide range of specialisations in Political Sciences and International Relations with a top quality of teaching and resources. If I can't convince you at 100%, perhaps this student can: Doing Practical Fieldwork in Conflict Areas: Israel | UT Blog .
2) Tallinn University isn't bad either...
The other option you have as a student is Tallinn University. You can study everything from anthropology to media and arts, to international business law and analytical biochemistry. However, studying there seems weird and cool at the same time (click on the link to understand what I'm talking about). Tallinn University students are also quite creative: MeediaväravStudent project: Grids – a collaborative multi-user music making application | Meediavärav.
Though the University of Tartu tends to catch most of the light and fame (for excellent reasons!), you should definitely check out Tallinn University before making your choice. Just keep in mind that you can be in Tartu in 2 hours by bus, so you can definitely enjoy the student life in both cities!
(You can admire Tallinn in early Spring, in 2013, in the picture below.)
And it's not just me who thinks this way: The 9 cheapest cities to live in Europe | World Economic Forum.
Last time you apparently liked the fact that I was giving actual numbers, so here are some: in 2012, I found a 35m² flat 2mn away (by foot) from the main building of the university in Tartu for 320€/month. In 2016, I found a room in a shared flat in the centre of Tallinn (5mn by foot from the Raekoja Plats, the very centre of the old town) for 220€/month (the room is 15m²).
In 2012-2013, I used to spend quite a lot of money on food and I still do. Back then, I was spending around 100€/month on food on average. It included sushi evenings and lots of Chai Latte always going with a huge piece of cake and let's not mention the dinners at some great restaurants in Tartu or Tallinn (you'll read about it soon!). Public transport? It's free in Tallinn! You just have to get your residence permit stating you live in Tallinn and then, you pay 2€ and you can travel for free in Tallinn. In Tartu, it costed around 1€/ticket (for 1h) for the most expensive tickets in 2012-2013. You get out of the town in 20-30mn by bus, just saying.
Nightlife? I remember paying a beer less than 5€ and it was a local beer (A Le Coq) which is really tasty. I also remember entering a nightclub for free before 11pm (and you can stay as long as you want, get out, get back inside, etc.). I remember that most of my fellow students said it was really the cheapest nightlife they've ever experienced.
There, I won't go further, you can spend an amazing year with 4000€. This is not a joke.
(Below, Tartu Reakoja Plats in 2013.)
Meaning: you're 1h from Stockholm by plane, 30mn from Helsinki by plane, just a few hours by bus or 1h by plane from Riga or Vilnius, not so far either from St-Petersburg and Minsk. Let's not forget that you have direct flights to Istanbul, Oslo and Kyiv, Odessa but also Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Praha, Vienna.... See? You can even reach Poland for less than 50€ (by bus)!
If you're the traveler kind of student, Estonia is one of the best options you have in Europe. Because thanks to the third reason ("it's cheap!", remember?), you won't spend all your budget on your rent and you will be able to fly away between two exams. I went to three countries (apart from Estonia) within one year despite having both an extremely small budget and a cat to take care of! And I am planning on going to at least three or four other countries this time. This is definitely not a marketing argument, it's just basic truth.
Here is a proof: Destinations - Tallinn Airport .
5) There is no such thing as "boredom" in Estonia.
Dark and cold winters might scare you. I went there thinking "bring it on, you won't depress me, Estonian winter!". It didn't, indeed. The main reason? You never get bored in Estonia.
You knew summer festivals? Then, come over and discover winter festivals. They have festival during the entire year, seriously (cinema, science, underground culture...). They also have a vibrant student life: I'm not a nightlife kind of person and I went to nightclubs and bars until 1am or 2am. Just saying. I hate nightlife, in general. But not there. I'll get back to this in details in another post, I promise!
Actually, I won't keep you busy with a too long post. You can just check out this article and watch the videos on the article: One Estonia, 98 Nationalities | UT Blog
It says it all. Estonia is waiting for you!!
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