Tartu is beautiful. It’s amazing… It is the most peaceful town ever, despite the huge amount of young people here and the overwhelming energy of theirs.
Photo: Andres Tennus
One’s native places are always incomparable, they are out of consideration, but if you ask me which my best experience abroad is, I will not hesitate to answer… Estonian culture and especially living in Tartu includes various experiences at same place and same time.
Once I was curious about living and studying in Western Europe, because of its famous academic traditions and high-level education. Another dream of mine was living in Scandinavia for a certain time, to feel the Northern spirit and mentality. Before my university in Armenia, during my school years I had a chance of studying in Ukraine and Belarus, two different Eastern European countries, which left many warm moments in my memory. But what I see here is a mixture of all three.
Once accepted to the University of Tartu you have the chance to get high-level education in one of the oldest universities in Europe, while living in a Post-Soviet Country with the most successful transitional economic reforms and enjoy totally unique Northern culture.
Culture and mentality are always the most confusing parts of adaptation in a new country. Well, after arrival to Estonia an Armenian student would not probably notice anything very strange. People are very polite and willing to help, most of elder people speak Russian and almost everyone would understand if you speak English. But since I was not alone but with two other students from Armenia we found out very soon that people identify us as strangers. It was obvious from their faces. The reason is that while Armenians are used to speak out loudly among each other and use active gesticulation, Estonians by contrary, are famous for their self-sufficient, introvert character. Nevertheless, if you really want to see more active and sociable Estonians, you should go out on party days.
Another somewhat problematic task is Estonian weather. It is significantly colder in autumn and spring than in my home country, and they say that in winter it is even colder than probably our historical absolute minimum. Thus, you have to get prepared for it. However, I think I mentioned every possible case which may confuse a stranger in Estonia. It seems that people like the fact, that international students come to study here and they are always excited to meet another person from faraway place.
Unfortunately UT is not so popular in Armenia as a venue as a destination in educational purpose during the last years. So, in the end I would say to all Armenian students wishing to study abroad: break the stereotypes, come to study in Tartu and very soon you will feel that it is more that worth it.
Break the stereotypes, come to study in Tartu!