Estonia is a small country located in the Baltic states of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Finland, Latvia and Russia which makes for an interesting and vibrant mix of cultures. It is one of the smallest Republics of the European Union, with only 1.1 million citizens. Estonia is a developed country that is gaining ground on its neighbours in terms of innovation and is becoming one of the fastest progressing nations of the European Union. It consistently ranks high on various indices that attempt to measure various parts of the social fabric of the country such as liberty of its citizens, taxation, and ease of doing business.
Estonia is host to close to 60,000 students in higher education, with nearly 3,000 of those coming from abroad. One of the ‘Baltic Tiger’ states, Estonia has experienced a rapid growth in numbers of international students in the past decade, owing in part to its participation in the Erasmus programme. Programs of study are widely offered in English as well as Estonian, so that courses of study appeal to students from all over the world as well as Estonians. Since the country has gained a reputation as a place for startups and those interested in creating businesses, infrastructure supports entrepreneurship and students who study in Estonia can actually stay a little longer in the country to work there.
Many students who study in Estonia will find that scholarships are available to help cover some of the costs of tuition. In other cases, it’s important to note that tuition fees vary depending on the school and course or program of study. Tuition costs can range from 1200 EUR per term of study for some of the language courses to 5500 EUR for more technical and professionalized disciplines such as medicine. Depending on the student’s’ preferences and accommodation style (i.e. single, shared, dormitory), students are advised to budget 300-500 EUR per month during their academic stay in Estonia to cover living expenses and entertainment.
Students who are from the European Union as well as countries outside of the EU must apply for temporary residence permit. There is no study visa required in Estonia. Usually the process of gaining temporary residence starts when a student has been accepted into a program of study at an Estonian higher education institution. Temporary residence permits are available for both short and long term.
The most common languages for students who study in Estonia are English, Russian, German and Finnish. Estonian is the official language of Estonia, a language the resembles the Finnish language. It is a very unique language, but does share some characteristics of the German language.
Over 100 programs at Estonian colleges and universities are offered in English with plenty of disciplines to choose from for those studying from English-speaking countries.
The largest city in Estonia is Tallinn with almost 430,000 residents. It is one of the cities most ancient cities, beginning in the 13th century. In fact, some even more ancient human settlements are found in the area, dating back 5,000 years making the area rife with history. With so much medieval heritage within the city, it was actually named one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. It is the centre for business in Estonia, with a beautifully developed cityscape. Tallinn is home to several universities and technical institutes, Tallinn University being the largest and most notable.
Estonia’s second largest city, Tartu is known as the intellectual capital of Estonia. It is relatively small in population compared to other large cities in Northern Europe with just under 95,000 residents. It is home to the country’s oldest university, University of Tartu and also houses the Ministry of Education and Research. Tartu is a city that saw a large influx of people leaving the Soviet Union which results in a high concentration of Russian culture. Tartu is quickly becoming a centre for commercial activity and business, with a rapidly developing commercial centre.
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