Tag Archives: Estonia

Tallinn is a city with an allure of its own

I saw the title written in some tourist guide book, and I have to say that I agree. In Tallinn like in the rest of the Estonia, the past centuries are layered in architecture and culture. Kristian said in his blog text that he liked to visit the old town in his spare time, and so do I. The old town of Tallinn is a beautiful example of a medieval city with lot to discover. Every time I visit, there is something new to find. There are more interesting museums, lovely cafeteria and good restaurants than there is time to visit.

On the other hand, Estonia is also land of controversies. The country’s past decades can be seen in the architecture outside the old town. There are side by side very old buildings, soviet era apartment blocks and modern buildings. I would say an incomplete is more interesting than perfect.

I study business in adult education and I am doing my international internship in Tallinn, Estonia, where I work in a bank. If I would have to compare Finnish and Estonian work culture, I would say the both cultures are very similar. The moral and work ethics are based on the same principles. We both are taking the work seriously, but Estonians from my perspective seem to be more considerate towards others. Here, colleagues are very helpful towards each other. They remember everyone’s birthday and like to commemorate them with flowers, and the one who is celebrating brings sweets for everyone. Estonians by the way love flowers. You can see them everywhere and there is always someone carrying flowers in the city center.

This week has been very active, because I got visitors from Finland. We went to see the Katariina I ballet by Toomas Eduri in the Rahvusoopper Estonia, which was elegant experience. Another day we visited the Kadriorg park, where trees, bushes and flowers were blossoming. One of my favorite things here is going to the great outdoors, which is easy and fast even with public transportation system. Especially now during the spring, the nature is very beautiful. After the Kadriorg visit, we went to the Nomme Adventure Park that is located in a beautiful green oasis in Tallinn. They tell on their brochure that adventure trails are suitable for everyone, but I think it is not true. From my own experience, I can say that they need new trails for chickens.

Tomorrow we are going to have dinner in the Old town into a restaurant called Leib resto. Their philosophy is to make Estonian food out of local ingredients and everything they have on their list is locally produced. I really look forward to visit there, because I have eaten local food only in our workplace’s canteen.

All memories have been written to my mind forever.

 

Experiences from Tallinn

My studies in Tallinn have been an insightful experience into a different kind of education culture and to a top 3% technical university. My goal in question is to take advantage of the course offerings available for BA students on environmental economics and a plethora of law studies.  The courses have been far more difficult than anticipated, so it has definitely been a fit challenge and it has taught me a lot about study ethics.

Due to the nature of my exchange, I spent my spare time mostly at the academic hostel. Otherwise, since I’m not into partying, I prefer walks around the iconic, historical and beautiful old town and other places of Estonian cultural heritage. Obviously, there are the non-party related activities at the hostel with other exchange students, especially my Italian roommate Gaetano.

The studying culture is different from Finland, more formal and strict in practice. The teachers are just as approachable as in Finland and do not need to be addressed any more formally, but the in-school processes involve a lot of bureaucracy and the teachers themselves seem to have much less “power”, since most things – even the smallest exceptions – must be negotiated with the dean of the faculty.

Above is a picture of the old town from an aerial view!

Among new vibes

Alarm rings at seven o’clock. Even though I have got used to it, for me it’s still (and maybe will always be?) hard to leave warm, cosy bed every morning. After basic morning routines I put my sneakers on and get outside: it’s time for morning running!

In Finland I am studying musical theatre and here I am focusing more on theatre and that makes the biggest difference in my studies if I compare them. My studies here in Estonia consist of different types of practical theatre lectures, such as body awareness, stage movement, acting, singing… And I also study Estonian language, which is quite useful here. At first it definitely wasn’t the easiest way to study, (to be the only one in a group of seventeen people who is not speaking Estonian and lectures are held mostly in that language) but definitely the best way to learn a language! The similarity between Finnish and Estonian language has of course helped me a lot also.

Viljandi, where I live, is adorable, peaceful, little town in easter Estonia. Everything is so near that you can mostly walk everywhere and even me who I am always biking from place to another have survived easily here without a bike. Here you do not have big shopping centers or vivid nightlife – but what you have is that so called ”Viljandi-vibe” which I love. Cosy cafeterias, nature everywhere – parks and forest in the centre, empty streets in the night, same dog walker passing by every morning… and many kind of cultural events which are keeping this town alive. I can say I haven’t been drinking this much green tea, seeing this much concerts or walking so many lazy walks in a parks just for fun – for a very long time.

Sure I have been exploring other Estonian also – but there is so much still to see! I have visited in Tartu and Tallinn several times and to those two months I still have left my plan is to include at least trip to Riga and some places in Estonia as well.

Christmas market at Tallinn Town Hall Square

Here the weather is quite the same than in Finland. They sell Fazerin sininen and rye bread in the stores. We have many similar words, same kind of ways to behave. I love the architecture that they have still so many old buildings left and cobbled streets.. But for me culture and behaving seems to be quite similar anyway. But here I live in student dormitory which is not usual in Finland – and this has been maybe the longest time in my life when I haven’t been in sauna. (Well, if I really would like to I could find it here somewhere as well.) As they say – everything has it’s time and place. And for now, this is definitely the right one.

Tervist Tartust!

20160321_09042320160323_154145Raekoja plats when I arrived and some Easter eggs at the shelter

Greetings from Tartu, the second biggest city in Estonia with approximately 100 000 inhabitants! A little bit over a month has passed since I arrived here to conduct my practical training. At first three months sounded like a long time, but time has really flown and I feel like every weekend is already booked with some activity.

13054711_10209281164895746_63066479_o13064053_10209281162895696_1947585030_o20160321_124552Went rollerskating with the kids, not sure who needed help the most…

During weekdays I am doing my practical training in Tartu Laste Turvakodu, which is a local Children’s Shelter. The workers have made me feel very welcome and the kids are really sweet. My workdays consist of drawing, playing games and spending time outside, so definitely not complaining! This is probably the most efficient (and craziest) way to learn a new language, since English or Finnish don’t have any effect on the smaller kids. Luckily, they are also very excited teachers, and no mistakes go unnoticed!

20160316_16324120160403_160136Views from Tartu and Riga

Outside the training, I have been studying my surroundings and also visited Riga and Tallinn. I had been to Estonia several times before the training, but it has been great to get to know the country also outside the Tallinn harbour. I have gone to the movies and the theatre and even seen an Estonian ballet show. Also, the Estonian food culture has been a pleasant surprise. I have always thought I am not a soup person, but apparently I was only missing sour cream (or hapukoor like the locals say). I believe it makes every food taste fantastic! And don’t even get me started on these different coffee shops, where an average price for a piece of cake is one or two euros…

13062786_10209281166735792_1053036448_o13035434_10209281170615889_387698854_oJust a few examples of the oh-so-many desserts I have had here

If you are a student, there is a lot to do in Tartu. I started acting classes and have also been visiting other events meant for exchange students, for example a board game night. It is great that thanks to these events and my training place, I get to know both Estonian people and other exchange students. I am already looking forward to the student week starting on Monday!

13054953_10209281160295631_1467838009_oThe Estonian take on Fear Factory

Nägemist!

Vilma (or Milva like everyone accidentally keeps calling me :D)

 

Kas sa räägid eesti keelt?

Jah, ma räägin natuke eesti keelt!

Hello from Tallinn!

Everything on this side of the sea is okay! Coming here was one of the best decisions I have made so far. And when I say that, I don’t exactly mean studies abroad, but the country that I chose to be my destination – Estonia!

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I have learned a lot of new things about our almost neighboring country – its history and culture for example. For us Finns Tallinn and Estonia mainly means cheap alcohol and pirate copies of expensive brands, but it is so, so much more than that. Can you actually believe that not further than about 25 years ago, this country was occupied by Soviet union? Of course everyone knows that, but does many people even realize what it meant for Estonians to be free again?

Studying here has been interesting, the courses that I took are thatched by the best people on their field. Even though the system in here is a little inconvenient, it is really flexible – which is kinda new to me.

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I live here in a shared flat with three Italian and one French girl – and I can say it has been an adventure. Even though the noise in the flat is often pretty loud (for me at least), everyone takes care of each other even more than themselves. So the atmosphere is really nice and warm.

I have traveled to different cities here in Estonia and visited Latvia and Lithuania as well. For me living here feels actually really natural, but I would prefer having my boyfriend here also. Visiting Finland from here is really easy, so maybe that’s why I haven’t done that once. Every day I try to learn more and more Estonian language, since it is not that hard. Still it amuses me when my Estonian language teacher always says to me that  – “Ooh but Heidi you must know the answer already, this is so easy for you!” But it’s not the same language!!!

There are a lot of Finnish people studying here, but I have managed to stay away from them, so if you feel like you will not get the “authentic Erasmus experience” so close to your home country – I am a living proof to tell you otherwise.

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Practical training in Estonia

Tallinn, my new home for the next 3 months!

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Estonia is a beautiful country, and Tallinn is great because of its diversity. The city has much to offer, especially if you are interested in culture and food. In Tallinn you can meet lot of tourists, so the vibe in the Old Town is quite international.

Practical training has gone well and so has life itself.

Exploring the fair and working

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Christmas has arrived and so has the Christmas market in Tallinn. Absolutely nice place to visit, have a warm drink, listen to music and enjoy the atmosphere. If you get lucky, might even meet Santa Claus.

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The City of Students!

Tere!

I have lived almost one month in an affordable student town, Tartu. It is the second largest city of Estonia and lies on the banks of the River Emajõgi “Mother river”. Tartu is a university town and a city of youths for sure!

I live in student hostel Nooruse 5, which is next to Tartu´s Health Care College and only 10 minutes walk from the hospital. I really like my dorm. I have two nice balconies, a little cute kitchen and a free gym downstairs. By bus it takes about 10 minutes to go downtown.

Tartu city has many shopping centers, science centers, museums, parks and sport place where to go. But I just like the old town with its richness of all the wonderful cafes, bars and theaters.

Town Hall Square is the heart of Tartu. In the middle of the Square stays one of the greatest symbols of the city, the statue of kissing students. It is a good meeting place with the friends. In free time we go and have a nice cheap lunch in one of the old town´s restaurants. Eating outside is not expensive, you can get a big pasta or pizza for 3 euros almost everywhere.

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I´m doing my practical training in Vascular Surgical Department in Tartu University Hospital. I have had chance to see many different operations and it´s been surprisingly to see how the doctors pay attention to me also and try to explain all the time what they are doing. Most of the nurses don´t speak English at all so I have had to learn some Estonian. I can already follow quite well what the nurses are talking about but my own talking is still bad.

Tartu University Hospital and Heath Care College next to the Student Hostel.

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-Mari