Estonia is found in northeastern Europe by the Baltic Sea and offers beautiful woodland and lake landscapes together with a rapidly evolving innovative economy and industry. In other words, a great setting for modern higher education – welcome to study in Estonia!
Throughout history, the Estonians have been under the rule of for example Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Russia. The country regained its independence on 20 August 1991 and since then rapidly engaged to a program of social and economic reform. Today, Estonia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and known for its quick adoption of new technologies.
This northern European country is one of the safest countries in the world, and is also famous for its leadership in the fields of digital and internet technologies, having been one of the first nations to pioneer electronic ID cards, e-government systems, e-health, e-school, e-parking – you name it, Estonia has digitized it! There’s even an entire website dedicated to describing all the components of “e-Estonia”.
Famous tech startups that began life in Estonia include Skype, TransferWise, CrabCAD, Fortumo and others, and today the country is well known for its entrepreneurial culture, not only in the digital sphere. This innovative spirit is also encouraged among students, and there are various initiatives in place to support students keen to develop their own ideas and transform graduate-level research projects into commercial ventures.
Estonia’s cultural offerings combine the country’s historical heritage with more modern influences. When it comes to Estonian food, the different historical rulers of the region – Danes, Swedes, Germans and Russians – have influenced Estonian traditional cuisine over the centuries. Many higher education institutions have canteens where the price range of dishes is affordable for students. Some pubs, diners and pizzerias have special student dishes or prices.
Language in Estonia
The people of Estonia are a Finnic people closely related to the Finns, and the Estonian language shares many similarities to Finnish.
Estonia has many public and private universities and many of these universities offer postgraduate programs taught in English. The history of formal education in Estonia dates back to the 13-14th centuries, and the oldest university is the University of Tartu which was established in 1632. In 1919, university courses were first taught in the Estonian language. Estonian higher education is well respected around the world. The country is a participant in the Bologna Process, which aims to standardize higher education across Europe, and its university diplomas are internationally accepted.
Academic higher education in Estonia is divided into three levels: bachelor’s studies, master’s studies, and doctoral studies. In some specialties (basic medical studies, veterinary, pharmacy, dentistry, architect-engineer and a classroom teacher program) the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels are integrated into one unit.
The Academic Year
The academic year at institutions of higher education is divided into two semesters: autumn and spring. The autumn semester usually runs from the last week of August to December, with examinations in January. The spring semester lasts from the end of January or the beginning of February to the end of May, but exams can be taken until the middle of June.
Living As A Student in Estonia
The cost of living in Estonia is similar to that of many of the more reasonably priced European countries. A modest student budget would be between €200 and €250 every month and this would cover food and basic amenities. Housing is approximately €100 a month for a room in a dorm. A private flat could cost you around €350 or more a month.
Public transport is free of charge for students, and taking a taxi costs from €1.90. In many cases it the entrance to nightclubs is actually free of charge for students (provided they have an ESN card, ISIC or Euro 26 bank card), while a theatre ticket will cost around €12 and a movie ticket between €4.50 and €7. Joining a fitness club at an Estonian university costs €40.