Hi, it’s Pauline from France and today I would like to share with you some of my experiences in Tartu the city of good thoughts.
Recently, I received an email from a potential future student from the USA asking some information about my master program as well as about the city and the student life. I was really surprised when I read her concerns about Tartu because an Estonian in NY told her the city was extremely conservative.
Tartu is a very open-minded city thanks to a strong university life as well as culturally and of course thanks to its mix of cultures and people from all over the world.
In Tartu, there is thus a very vibrant cultural and political life within the university life but also outside of it.
Last year for example, I found out a lot of very interesting projects and it started with the organization of the MEU (model European union conference) organized in November 2012 by Euroopa Maja (http://www.euroopamaja.ee). The project was « a simulation of the decision-making process of the EU, where young people (ages 18-26) from all over Europe will play the roles of Ministers in the Council of the European Union and MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) ». With a team of 10 students from the University of Tartu, we organized as well as participated to this amazing project and during three days we developed our own councils, taking decisions, publishing daily reports on the councils and even a short newspaper. Through this project I learned a lot about the Council of the EU, its current issues and its organization, as well as I developed my skills to talk in public and of course I met a lot of interesting people.
To be a bit less academic, I also took part in a Human rights association with other young people of Tartu and we tried to promote Human rights and organized some cultural and political events to raise people’s attention on some Human rights issues in Europe as well as in Estonia. I particularly participated in the working group on LGBT issues and we worked closely with the LGBT association of Tartu and for example we organized and participated in some open debates, to a Lip-Dub video.
So yes, you can have an exciting and engaged life beside studies in Tartu and that is what makes it a very interesting city. They are many different sorts of events you can take part in and thanks to the international environment you will be very in contact with this life. Two weeks ago for example, Ukrainian students and their friends, gathered on the square hall place in support for the Maiden movement, singing Ukrainian anthem, making a support video and waving the Ukrainian flag in sign of support for all the Euro Maidan demonstrators and for a democratic Ukraine. All those events and this cultural and political life really bring a lot of effervescence in Tartu.
There are also many concerts and cinema, theatre or art festivals such as PÖFF, the World film festival, « Art is kuku nu ut », etc…and also very lively cultural places such as the « Kultuurikvartal » with places such as the Tartu Uus teater, Elektriteater or the cultural bar Genialistide Klubbi! Everyone can find something for its taste and its interests in Tartu! But what is also amazing is that you don’t have to look for culture but culture is coming to you!