Hey, everyone! Even though I have been an ambassador for 2 years now, this is my first time introducing myself to you directly on this blog. My name is Anna, Anna Amelie, and I study Bachelors in Business Administration here. The 2 years I’ve spent in Tartu have flown by really, really fast, and the thought of graduating in exactly a year (hopefully…) makes my stomach turn.
I have got many great friends here, lived in several places, been to more parties than ever before, had heart-to-heart conversations with lovely people, slept way too little too many nights, and, as any normal human being, made some mistakes as well. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” or, in this case, arms you with very useful experiences. I’ve decided to put these experience in use and create a list of tips you MUST remember for having an incredible time in Tartu – tips for a student in Tartu!
#1 Spend at least your first semester in Raatuse dorm. If you want to, you can find an apartment alone or with friends afterwards, but the dorm has probably the highest concentration of students in Tartu – get to know people, experience the life in the dorm, party your ass off and enjoy the dirty kitchen. You probably won’t experience that at any point of your life anymore. And when you’re the newbie in town, it is especially important to make connections, and where better to do it than in the dorm.
#3 Click “Going” for every event you get invited to on Facebook. You might not plan to go there, but you might as well suddenly end up there – you never know. And very often having clicked “going” on the event on Facebook can get you a free entrance (or a discounted one) or a free drink. Clicking the button doesn’t hurt, does it?
#4 Get a bike. Tartu is very small and most of the time you all the places you need are max 15 minutes walk away. But sometimes the old good friend laziness kicks in, you have to go to a place that’s outside your 15 min walk radius or you just want to explore. In Tartu, you can get very cheap bikes – ask your Estonian mates here, and they might just tell you where to get one.
#6 Memorize the must-visit bars, cafes and restaurants in Tartu. This way, you will always know a place where to go and meet someone, and you won’t freeze when someone visiting Tartu asks you for some suggestions where to eat or party. Gather this information from your course mates, flatmates, friends here. Everyone has their favorites, but I would definitely suggest you to visit the beer garden J. R. Schrammi Keller, then the central cake place in Tartu – Werner (be ready to stand in line for about 20 min – it’s THAT good), for a juicy steak go to the Meat Market, but for a nice Saturday brunch visit Truffe.
#8 Save your study notes. I am a person that always gets rid of everything in the end of the semester – I’ve always been like that. Regretting it exam after exam. First of all, make good study notes (trust me, you won’t remember the things you hear in the lecture in 3 months when you will need to write the exam), and then make sure you save them. If you’re here for a degree, you will need them just before graduation, you’ll see. 😉
#9 Explore. I touched this subject when talking about getting a bike, but it doesn’t end there. Go for long walks to places you don’t know about, ride a bike without knowing where you’re going, join your friends on trips outside Tartu, take a random bus and go from the first stop till the last. Tartu is a safe and beautiful city, and this combination makes these exploration trips super awesome. Like a therapy.
# 11 Try new things. When else if not now? You are in a completely new environment, with new people around you from all over the world, with a sea of opportunities to learn and experience new things. Don’t hold back, dive right into all of it, with your head first!
Ok, I’m starting to get tears in my eyes from the picture above, which means I should end the blog here. I wish you to have an amazing time here and I’ll see you in September (or during summer)!