Estonia is well-known in Europe due its highly developed IT-solutions. Estonians can sign documents digitally, start a business online in their pyjamas if necessary, vote online at local, state and European Parliament elections. The country has transformed greatly after regaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Estonia is culturally very diverse with about 25% of population being Russian in addition to other minorities such as Latvians, Finns, Ukrainians and English. The official language is Estonian, yet Russian and English are widely spoken. Recently, Estonia has experienced a steep increase in foreign students. This is mainly because of the high quality of universities and international possibilities that Estonia possesses. Many programmes are taught in English at both, undergraduate and postgraduate level.
As Estonia is part of the European Union since 2004 citizens of the EU don’t need a visa to live or work here. Estonia joined the Schengen Area in 2007. It is easy to reach Estonia from Finland by ferry which takes two hours to cross. Alternatively, you can use the airport which is just a short walk away from Tallinn’s city centre. If you prefer staying grounded you can use convenient bus connections from Warsaw, Riga or St. Petersburg.
Living in Estonia is generally not very expensive. For your dormitory room expect to pay around 100€/month. If you prefer to live on your own, expect to pay 200-350€/month for one-bedroom apartment. Public transport in Tallinn is free of charge as long as you are registered in Tallinn. Food is not expensive, your budget should be around 100€ per month for food.
First thing any student should do is turn to its university for help. They can help you solve the issue or suggest who you should contact to get help. They offer a well-rounded support system starting from career and study advice to different clubs and societies to help you find friends. Generally, your consulate or embassy can help you with any serious problems.
Estonian academic year is very traditional. The academic year starts on 1st September and ends in mid-June right before St John’s Day (Jaanipäev). As a rule, students will have two examination sessions: one in December or January and another one in May-June. A university can decide to have an extra session or break week in the middle of session (usually in October and March). If you wish to work alongside your studies, you should really be good at managing your time as in most universities lectures are held on all 5 days.