Hey! You probably don’t know me yet – my name is Eetu, I am from Finland, and I recently joined the International Student Ambassadors program in the University of Tartu. As it is my first time posting on this blog here, I think it might be appropriate to start things off with a brief introduction of myself and how I ended up where I am right now.
I started studying in the Business Administration program here in Tartu in 2012, so I’ll be finishing my second year of studies shortly. As I am already over halfway through the degree, it is a good point to do some reminiscing from the past year and a half. Let’s start from the very beginning; the application. Before I had even heard about the Business Administration program in Tartu, I was studying English language in the University of Vaasa in Finland. After the first semester already I realized that the subject wasn’t for me. I started searching for a new field of study, and found a particular interest in business and economics.
Well, as in every story, there was a part played by a girlfriend. She just finished high school and it had been clear for a while that she will be a doctor, and that she wanted to study in Tartu. Naturally then, I started to do some research about educational possibilities in Estonia, and actually find out that there was a BA program in the University of Tartu, in English! It was late in the spring, and I was afraid that the application deadlines were already far gone. Turns out, there were a couple of days left to apply. I can say for quite a certainty that I was the last one to apply to the program with only hours before the deadline. Then we just waited.
In June, I received an email telling me the great news! A couple of weeks later, my girlfriend was told that she then again hadn’t been admitted (but she did get admitted last year, so no worries!). Okay, it’s about two months before the semester starts and we need to find an apartment and move in during that time. Mission impossible? NO. One three-day visit to Tartu (also our first one, ever), and we had three nice apartments to choose from, and still dormitories as a plan B. That was incredible, knowing how difficult the situation would have been in Finland!
Like I explained, I hadn’t even really prepared myself in any way for the upcoming semester. Somehow the information about the possibility to study business in Tartu had missed me, my school, and my whole city completely(!). Oh yeah, I’m from Seinäjoki, and no, it’s not close to Helsinki. This is actually one of the main things that motivate me to be an International Student Ambassador. Anyways, even without knowing what to expect, I loved the city at first glance.
I remembered reading somewhere that Tartu is very international (like all the universities say about themselves), but when we moved in, the two first neighbors we met did not speak Estonian! Apparently there are at least Germans, Swedes, Finns, and Dutch sharing the very same yard with us. And most of them are not even students! Incredible. During the international student orientation days I got a grasp of the amount of international students. The amount was large to say the least. And not just the amount, but the diversity, also! So many different nations represented, from near and far. We were divided into smaller groups and that’s when I met the whole of our class-to-be. Within a couple of days I knew everyone by new and had already really good friends. After just three days of knowing me, they organized me a birthday surprise! Such an awesome bunch 🙂
I feel like by now I should already write something about studying, too. First semester was over before it had even started. Parties to look forward to every weekend made the weeks fly by. I think I might have learned a thing or two also 😉 But in all seriousness – I found myself very satisfied. The courses were very interesting and gave a comprehensive introduction to all things business, which I found extremely helpful, since I had basically no background knowledge whatsoever. After the first year I already had seen a glimpse of almost every different subjects of business there is. Now, during the second year we have gone deeper into these subjects, and it’s actually quite satisfying to go through the courses, when there is practically no course that doesn’t complement some other course. The multitude of group assignments and projects give different, more hands-on experience, and are nice change for the regular lectures. To give an example, in relation to our Marketing Management class, we are attending a global marketing competition organized by L’Oréal. I can honestly say that this competition has already given me more practical experience than I could have ever imagined during a period of few weeks. Of course these big projects consume more free time, but I cannot see a situation where the pros wouldn’t overrun the cons in long-term.
As any decent student though, I’m already looking towards the summer (and my possible internship!). We already received brief glimpse of true spring, but as often in Estonia, the hopes of having the nicest spring weather all the way until June were brutally crushed by winter 2.0. Gotta stay on your toes in here! But trust me; the summer exists here in Tartu, too.
8am lectures are not the most popular ones, and get even more unpopular as the spring comes (the picture was taken two minutes before lecture should have started. And yes, I was in the correct classroom).