My experience in Estonia: the Erasmus Charity Box initiative


Photo: Erasmus Charity Box

Why Estonia?

Starting Erasmus is an experience that all university students await with great emotion, because they know that with the studies, there will also be new cities to see, new relationships to weave and new adventures to experience. These are just some of the aspects of my Erasmus here in Estonia. Today, I’m going to talk about a project that I have very much at heart, but first I have to introduce myself to you, dear readers.

My name is Francesco Sorbino and I am an Italian student at Bocconi University of Milan. At the moment, I am studying at the Estonian Business School in Tallinn as an exchange student for my Bachelor’s degree. I identify myself as a very extraverted person: I like socializing and meeting people, especially in such an international environment; it’s an opportunity to get to know their stories and make bonds. Why I chose Estonia for my Erasmus program? Being home to over 550 startups, world-famous Skype and TransferWise among others, Estonia has become a leading, constantly developing regional economy in the Baltics. It is a land of opportunities that welcomes brave men and women, ready to travel to the north of Europe. Becoming a Student Ambassador for Study in Estonia has proved to be another step in the right direction.

Erasmus Charity Box

Let’s talk about my project: Erasmus Charity Box.

Once in Tallinn, my university friends and I have rented an appartment. Unfortunately, it was not perfectly equipped with all we needed, so we’ve decided to buy things ex novo: bed sheets, pots, pans, and a coffee machine (as Italians, we could not give up a good espresso), as well as many other home supplies that we would need on a daily basis. However, once we bought all these things, we asked ourselves a question: what do we do with them when we have to leave? Taking them to our home country would be too expensive, so what do we do? That’s how we came up with the idea to donate all the items we've purchased. Once we assumed that our issue could also involve other exchange students, we've placed special collection boxes in local universities, where anyone can leave the belongings they don’t want to take back home at the end of the Erasmus programme. The "Erasmus Charity Box" project was born. 


Photo: Francesco Sorbino

Our goal is to fight waste and help people in need by giving the Erasmus students in Tallinn the opportunity to donate all the stuff they bought for their houses instead of throwing them away. All the donations will go to local disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. In order to accomplish our mission, we’ve established cooperation with Päästearmee Eestis, a non-profit charity organization that assists us with the logistical side of the project. It has already helped us buying the boxes and displaying them in the universities that joined our cause: Estonian Business School, Taltech, Tallinn University and Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. You may also find one of our collection boxes in Tallinn's ESN (Student Erasmus Network) office, from which we've also received a valuable support and promotion. Check out our joint event here!


Photo: ESN Tallinn

Follow Us!

I am very happy with the way the project is evolving and with the approvals it receives. Although I am soon returning to Italy and will no longer be able to witness the happy results in January, I will follow the initiative remotely through other Erasmus students, arriving to Estonia next semester. You may also join the cause and follow our news on Instagram and Facebook: upon your departure, you are leaving behind not only your best memories of Estonia, but also helping those in need. 

Text: Francesco Sorbino