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Iida Etuaho: “the final decision came when I was applying to the law schools”

Iida always wanted to study in an international environment. Going abroad close to home was a perfect chance to get acquainted with the field of law and start building a professional network for the future career. Moving from Finland to Estonia was an easy process due to geographical proximity and cultural similarities.

Iida (on the left) with fellow students at TalTech

I decided to study law after I visited some courtrooms in my hometown during middle and high schools. We visited real court sittings and they inspired me because the science of law seemed to be so precise and interesting. I wanted to understand why the court gave certain decisions and why they so often didn’t fit with the legal understanding of the general public. Currently, my favourite subject is Immaterial Property law, because it feels like a multifaceted branch and we also have a great lecturer for it. I’m also interested in Alternative Dispute Resolution, but we haven’t started that subject yet.

I first heard about TalTech through the presentation that a student gave in our high school. I studied in an international primary school, where it was more common to plan your future studies abroad rather than in Finland, so I had kind of always thought that I’d leave at some point. The final decision came when I was applying to the law schools in Finland and had to study for the entrance exams. The study materials for the exams were terribly dry and didn’t feel like the subject I had originally gained interest in. I felt like the Finnish universities couldn’t give me the international possibilities I wanted to receive from my education. Therefore, I decided not to apply there, but try somewhere else. Eventually, the close proximity of Estonia to Finland and all the cultural and linguistical similarities gave me the courage to actually accept the study offer from TalTech and move here.

When I think about TalTech I think about the library, the massive amount of different degrees available and probably the METS cafeteria in the School of Business and Governance building.

Our law studies are more academical, but I feel like that is very necessary especially in the bachelor’s degree. I feel like it’s been built pretty well to develop skills in a nice order to be able to build knowledge on top of previous lectures. The practicality is brought to the classes by the lecturers’ personal touch. Some lecturers have seminars or groupworks and some have mock courts during the lectures. I like that I can develop the legal thinking, as well as get to know the other students through the group works. We also have an internship opportunity, where we will acquire the practical knowledge. I prefer lectures taught in person, so the coronavirus has not been very beneficial for my studying techniques, but now we have finally moved back to in-class lectures. The classes also vary a lot depending on a professor. To be honest, for some subjects you don’t have to attend all classes to pass it, but some require to attend every single lecture from the beginning to the end, but it creates a fine balance. The range of subjects is really enormous (especially the elective courses) and there is a great variety to choose from.

I think, especially in the light of what’s been happening in Ukraine the past few months, it has been proven that the international law is extremely important and will always be necessary. The International law professionals are going to have a lot of work concerning the Russo-Ukrainian war to get the responsible parties in front of justice. It will be even more important to find the ways to execute the international law, so that the international organisations can function flawlessly in future. Additionally, the EU Law is probably going to play key role to strengthen the military and political unity in Europe. It also needs to be flexible in terms of the refugee issues and oil and gas trade, as well as facilitate the implementation of the right environmental policies.

After obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I’ll apply for a master’s programme somewhere else. I would like to study IPR in Sweden or the Netherlands. As for work, I don’t have any special company I would like to work for, but it is definitely going to be in-house work, maybe for a IPR company with sustainable goals and focus on innovation. I would like my career to take me all around the world and do a lot of different kind of work. Maybe later I’ll specialise in something crime-related in Finland, because that’s something that I find interesting too. I wish to build a network of professionals from different branches of law.

I’m a member of the law students’ organisation MTÜ Õigus, which specialises in student life and academic possibilities at TalTech. We arrange events for the students and cooperate with other organisations. I have also attended a lot of events given by these different organisations, especially the ones run by Finnish students. Recently we had a couple of career webinars, a pub crawl event and a hangout night. In addition to this, I regularly go to gym and go bouldering sometimes. I live near the beach in Pirita, so I also go there a lot to walk or run. Together with my friends we started exploring different restaurants around Tallinn Old Town.

Tallinn old town

I feel like Estonia is a very stable country where youth and innovation is appreciated. The service culture is not so welcoming, at least compared to Finland, but you get used to it very quickly. It’s very clean in Tallinn and there are a lot of possibilities to move around. I’ve been observing increasing amount of investments to the bohemian, stylish and popular culture, especially Telliskivi and Noblessner areas are very welcoming.

I have lived alone for the first time ever, so I feel like here I’ve been able to build my own life and be very independent. Living here has made me realize how little the distances in Europe actually are and that you are never really that far away from home. It had also made me appreciate the free and versatile public transport in Tallinn.

The application process to TalTech is still going on. See details here: taltech.ee/en/admissions

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