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My wonderful Erasmus experience at TalTech

TalTech University

I’m an Erasmus student from Brno, Czech Republic and I’ve decided to spend one semester in Estonia, a beautiful country, well known for its unique e-governance system and where almost 50% of the land is forested.

This blogpost is about my experience with a semester in this wonderful country and I’m also writing some tips for students who are interested in studying in Estonia.

Short info about Estonia

Estonia is a small baltic country, where there officially live around 1.3 million people. It was established in 1918, but from 1940 to 1991 Estonia was part of the Soviet Union. The capital is historical and picturesque Tallinn — UNESCO city with ± 450 thousand citizens. The second-largest city is Tartu, which is known as a student city with the oldest university in Estonia, called the University of Tartu.

Rooftops of the Old Town in Tallinn

TalTech University

TalTech is very modern and the only technical university in Estonia. It has 5 faculties (including Estonian Maritime Academy) and cooperates on many progressive projects — autopilot vehicles, Starship robots, etc. There are many students from foreign countries around the world, including full degree and exchange students. Teachers and lecturers are very kind. Nearby the campus there is a forest and a lot of greenery — a great place for a walk!

Me and Starship friend :)

Courses at TalTech

I’m a master’s degree student and I study Information security at my home university. I chose three technical courses — Foundations and Management of Cyber Security, Computer Network Security and Networks of Smart Things. From non-technical courses I studied Estonian Language and Culture — I’ve learned the basics of Estonian language and many interesting facts and information about Estonia, Russian for Beginners (there are many Russian people living in the Baltic states, some of the information in the streets are in Estonian and also in Russian language and at last but not least, I’m from Slavic country so this course was not too difficult for me :) and Basics of Physical Movement I — it’s necessary to keep healthy lifestyle :D!

My first school day at TalTech

Accommodation

There are several accommodation options in Tallinn. You can rent an apartment/room — many offers you can find in the Facebook group called Erasmus in Tallinn/accommodation or another option is accommodation in the dormitory. TalTech offers two dormitories for Erasmus students — Endla and Akadeemia Tee Academic hostel.

My experience

I chose to live in the dormitory, the hostel at Akadeemia Tee — I prefer a short distance from the university campus.

This hostel is located close to the TalTech campus in Mustamäe. It’s less than 5 minutes walk to the university. The rooms are designed as ‘apartment cells’ for 4 students — 2 rooms, 2 accommodated people in each room and there are shared kitchen and bathroom in each cell. Laundry is close, it’s located between school and hostel, so it’s ~3 minutes walk.

I’ve met many new friends there and I had a good time during the semester. We had dinners together with national dishes of each of us, made trips together and went to the parties.

ADVICE: If you are interested in living in the dormitory, check the information emails regularly! Places at Endla/Akadeemia Tee hostel are limited and some people who were interested in living there were too late with the booking! More information about the accommodation provided by TalTech you can find here.

Traveling

You can travel on your own or book a trip organized by the organization Mareti. They cooperate with ESN Tallinn and ESN Estonia and make wonderful trips — trips around Estonia and several trips abroad — in Russia and Finland.

If you are interested in making a trip on your own, my advice is to rent a car. At Tallinn airport, there are many car rentals and if you are in 4 or 5 people the final price is ok.

Around Estonia

Estonia has charming countryside, towns and I was very excited to visit many places in Estonia.

Some of the places I was to and are worth visit:

  • Haapsalu: a small seaside town with an old castle from the 13th century
  • Rummu: old quarry and prison
  • Saaremaa: the biggest Estonian island with many spots and castle in Kuressaare
  • Soomaa National Park: one of the national parks in Estonia. We rented a canoe there and it was really fun
  • Tartu: the second biggest city in Estonia
  • Lahemaa National Park: a wonderful national park with many charming villages and trails
  • and many more…
Lahemaa National Park
Rummu

Neighbor countries

As I mentioned before, you can go for a trip to Finland/Lapland, Russia (don’t forget to get current visa information!) and Estonia is not far away from Lithuania or Latvia (it’s easy to go there by bus).

Oulanka National Park, Finland

Free time

There are many activities you can do during your stay in Tallinn. You can visit museums (Seaplane Harbour Museum, KGB Museum, Estonian Museum of Architecture, Estonian Open Air Museum, Kadriorg Art Museum, Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom and many more), go for a walk in old town, forests, parks (Kadriorg park), castle (Glehn’s castle), sea, Telliskivi area or visit Tallinn TV tower.

Kadriorg park

There are many more activities and events in Tallinn! Some of them are organized by ESN Tallinn and ESN TalTech — for example: welcome week, movie nights, karaoke parties, beer pong tournaments, trips (in cooperation with Mareti), etc. In my view, everything was well organized and plus, it is a great opportunity to meet new friends!

Conclusion

Big thanks to all ESN groups — especially ESN Tallinn and ESN TalTech. They did a lot of work and organized many events for students to have a good time and make great memories.

And big thanks to Mareti for the trips as well! It was a great opportunity to see interesting places around Estonia and visit new countries.

I really enjoyed my time in Estonia, it was an amazing semester with amazing people. I met many new friends there and we are going to meet each other later in the future as well. I’m glad that I chose this country and TalTech University. I will never forget ❤ !

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Šárka Chwastková

Šárka Chwastková

Tech lover from Brno, Czech Republic 🐼 https://pandacode.cz | IG: @sarkaaa.ch