7 Reasons to Study in Tartu, Estonia

This blog post was written by our student ambassador Connor, a Geoinformatics for Urbanised Society program student at University of Tartu.


Deciding to study at university is an excellent step toward your personal and professional success in life. From programs to location and accessibility, choosing which university to apply to is only a part of the research process. Finding the right community while studying is just as important. If you’re searching for a new place to study in, I strongly encourage you to consider Tartu for 7 reasons.



  1. (1) Student Nightlife


With a population of just under 100,000 (16,400 students), finding a place to socialize and grab a drink is easy. In the town center, at the Town Hall Square  (raekoja plats), you can bounce around from pub to pub. The local spots frequented by students include Shooters, Moku/Gen Klubi, Kivi, and Illegaard. Check out the map below for the student bar locations.

bars tartu


  2. (2) Walkable City


As you can see from the Student Nightlife map, most things are within walking distance, even as you leave the downtown area. For instance, Karlova, Annelinn, and Tähtvere neighborhoods have walkable access to essentials.

The primary student locations are within the downtown area, so if you opt for a dormitory space at the University of Tartu, you will be right in on the action, location-wise. Even if you choose to live in your apartment, affordable and comfortable units are available within a 20-minute walk to Raekoja plats. I live in an apartment complex across from one of the popular student dormitories. We have two (2) markets within a 3-minute walk and two (2) bus stops within a 5-minute walk. In 10 minutes, I can be across the Arch Bridge. I can run errands and get things done in short timeframes.


  1. (3) Local Transportation


Having accessible, affordable, and reliable public transportation is a privilege I don’t take for granted here in Tartu. I often take the bus across the street from Raatuse (as I’m too lazy to walk up the hill) to get to class on Vanemuise street. The bus runs frequently and is rarely overcrowded. Overall, the bus system is typically on time and is considerably clean, safe, and quiet. I’ve been on the bus for 20 minutes, and no one spoke.


  1. (4) Estonia’s Leading Research University


Dubbed Estonia's “intellectual” capital, Tartu is home to a handful of great universities, like the prestigious University of Tartu, the unofficial nation’s university. The high academic research produced at the university is excellent for the community. I believe the spillover effect applies to universities in Tartu, as I have intelligent friends who study at the Estonian University of Life Sciences. I’ve also met fantastic artists from the Tartu Art College. The point is that the city's high academic ability level extends past the University of Tartu.

With an influx of university students annually, it’s no wonder Tartu has a youthful charm about it. The blend between college-age students and advanced university research presents a unique opportunity to be in a city amongst idealistic and innovative minds. Regardless of age, however, there’s a place for you here in Tartu. My 61-year-old aunt visited me over the summer, and had a blast hanging out with my friends.



(5) Location in Estonia

Local travel

The country's great bus and train services allow for an easy opportunity to travel to other regional cities. For instance, you can visit Võru, Viljandi, or Valga in roughly one (1) hour. My friends and I drove less than an hour to reach Võru, where we spent a relaxing day at the beach.


International travel

Not only does the location of Tartu allow for ease of national travel, but also regional travel. Traveling internationally by bus is convenient from Tartu. I’ve traveled to Riga, Latvia, more than ten (10) times already. A direct 4-hour bus ride to Riga may seem like a long time, but the comfortable seats on Lux Express and wifi access make time fly. 



  2. (6) Accessible Healthcare


You may be the healthiest person on the planet, but you never know when you need access to healthcare. Luckily for those of us in Estonia, specifically Tartu, finding a family doctor and getting to appointments is convenient and easy. More importantly, emergency services are available and efficient. Two weeks ago, I had a rough battle with kidney stones, so I called for emergency care. The three (3) medics who attended to me helped manage the pain and spoke English clearly with me. The emergency operator also spoke English. Also, because it was emergency-related care, there was no charge. I would have a fat bill of at least $200 USD in my home country, the United States.

Speaking of which, for those interested in Estonia’s healthcare system, there’s a healthcare-related master’s program in radiography taught at Tartu Health Care College and you can study medicine related programmes also at University of Tartu and at Tallinn Health Care College.


  2. (7) International Community


The 16,000+ students attending universities in Tartu provide a landscape for a community of diverse, international individuals. Writing this blog post made me realize how many friends I’ve made here from different nations.

Connor friends

Photo: Connor with friends


Studying in Estonia automatically puts you into the international community. However, building friendships and connections within this community is readily available for anyone interested. Being in an international master’s program, I was always in class with students from outside Estonia. Friendships, like in any capacity, take time to develop.

If you’re nervous about building connections in the first few months, don’t fret; everyone is in the same boat. Just keep forcing yourself out to events in the student community. Also, if you see events you’re interested in, contact coursemates - they may be interested but don’t know who to contact. Some of my close friendships from Tartu started with a simple invite to an event.


That’s it!

I'm excited about your journey if you’re convinced to consider moving to Tartu to study! I apologize if I haven’t convinced you to consider Tartu. I still encourage you to research more about the city because you’ll be positively surprised by how well you can acclimate to the community.


Don’t forget to apply.





Find out which international degree programmes are available for you in Estonia. 


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