"Hello! I am Dilara, a first year Bachelor student of International Business Administration at Estonian Business School. I am Turkish and Albanian. I would characterize myself as cheerful, curious, and a coffee lover! I like latin dance, travelling, and making new friends. I am excited to share my journey of studying in Estonia with all of you!" - Dilara
This blog post is dedicated to all the newbies (new students) in Estonia. Your first weeks (and even months) might be full of excitement but also uncertainty and confusion. You are starting a new bright chapter of your life and getting out of your comfort zone.
In this post, I will give you #5 tips according to my first-week experience of Estonia as an international student. But, I might have a little bonus surprise at the end of the blog! :)
#1 Get a Sim Card
I cannot describe how important this step is! Upon your arrival in Estonia as a new student, your priority would be communicating with your loved ones, so purchasing an Estonian sim card is the very first step to do. My home country sim card did not work in Estonia. But I was lucky to get the Study in Estonia Welcome Bag, which was full of useful materials for international students and had a sim card in it as well. The sim card even topped up with 3 euros! Of course, if for some reason you do not get a Welcome Bag with a sim card, you could go to the nearest supermarket and decide to buy a bucket friendly sim card.
Holding the "Study in Estonia Welcome Bag". Photo: Dilara
Sim card. Photo: Pexels
#2 Get a Travel Card
Depending on which city you live in, the travel card might look a little different. For example, if you live in Tallinn, your travel card utilizes buses, as well as trolleys and trams. If you live in Tartu, the bus will most likely be your chosen type of transport. There is also the fact that public transportation in Tallinn is FREE for local residents! You need to visit the website Pilet.ee and personalize your Tallinn travel card, after which you can enjoy the free ride!
Tallinn travel card. Photo: tallinn.ee
Validating the Tartu bus card. Photo: tartu.ee
#3 Attend your orientation week
Orientation week seems different at every university across Estonia. It might involve an opening session where you meet in a hall with new Estonian and international students, like ours at Estonian Business School. It might also provide loads of cool activities and welcome parties! However, Orientation Week activities depend on your university, so make sure to sign up for as many activities as you can. As a new international student, this is how you make friends, get to know your city, and learn more about how things work in Estonia.
Since I am studying at Estonian Business School, here is our Introweek video:
#4 Get in touch with your Student Buddy!
When you first start university in a foreign country, everything seems more difficult than usual. But do not worry! In Estonia, almost every university has the opportunity to provide you with a student buddy who has already experienced university life and can help you with little university struggles. Only thing you need to do is get in touch with your study counselor about your student buddy, then wait for him/her to reach out to you! Luckily, I have the sweetest student buddy who studies at EBS and helped me with library registration, university facilities, bookshops in Tallinn, and all sorts of education-related questions.
Get yourself a student buddy! Photo: Unsplash
#5 Join a University Student Club/Association
You arrived in Estonia as an international student, so you need to make new friends and learn about student opportunities. One of the efficient ways to make new friends is by joining the university student clubs. You are free to choose among a variety of student clubs according to your interest and hobbies. Student clubs also help you to recharge yourself from the lectures and exams by attending events, activities, and student parties. Participating in student clubs also means investing in the future, as they are a great way to expand your network and make useful connections. You do not want to miss the chance of being a part of a student club, so be fast and sign up!
Estonian Business School students with the university mascot. Photo: EBS
#6 Enjoy your studies in Estonia!
According to International Student Barometer (TM 2019), 91% of international students are happy with their life at university, and 97% feel safe in Estonia!