Tartu, Estonia's second largest city, is situated on the banks of the calm Emajõgi River. With students making up nearly one-fifth of Tartu's population, its 19th-century streests exude a boisterous, youthful energy. Nature lovers will enjoy the old red sandstone caves, wetlands and beautiful parks. Skiers can experience the famous Tartu Ski Marathon. Take in folk art festivals, museums and concerts for entertainment.



Languages Spoken:

Estonian

Education System

The Estonian education system consists of pre-school education, basic education, secondary education, vocational education, higher education and adult education.

HIGHER EDUCATION

The provision of higher education in Estonia began in 1632, with the establishment of the University of Tartu. Today, it is once again an internationally recognized university. There are 47 post-secondary education institutions in Estonia of which 25 are based on private capital. There are 11 universities, including five private universities.

Since regaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonia has undertaken extensive higher education reforms, re-orienting itself with European and American models (a credit-based system with greater choice of course selection within fields of study). Degrees are now offered at the bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D levels. As a member of the European Union, Estonia is bringing its higher education system in line with the principles of the Bologna Declaration. Universities have begun to apply a new three plus two study system that embraces a three-year bachelor’s program and a two-year master’s program. The bachelor’s and master’s programs are conducted on the basis of curricula that entail five years of nominal study.

The language of instruction is usually Estonian. However, an increasing number of courses and programs are offered in English and other languages to promote international exchange. Performing academic studies in Estonian requires a good command of the language. Most universities offer Estonian language courses for international students as a pre study option or as part of a study program.

The academic year at higher education institutions begins in September, ends in mid-June and is divided into two semesters. Oral and written examinations are held at the end of each semester during a four-week examination session. Academic achievement is graded under two systems: letter grades (A to F) and Pass/Fail. Regular examinations (eksam) use a scale of A to F: A (excellent), B (very good), C (good), D (satisfactory), E (poor) and F (fail). Pass/Fail examinations (arvestus) award a P (pass) or F (fail).

Visa and Residency

A D-VISA is required for students without EU citicenship who intend to study in Estonia for one semester. Students studying for an entire academic year who do not hold EU citizenship may apply for a Temporary Residence  Permit for studying after arrival in Estonia. 

A long-stay visa may be issued for single or multiple entries into Estonia with a period of stay up to 180 days and with a period of validity up to twelve months.

A long-stay visa should be applied in person only at the Estonian representations. At the time of submission of the application, 10 fingerprints of the applicant will be collected.

The following applicants shall be exempt from the requirement to give fingerprints:

Documents to be submitted upon application for visa

  • a valid travel document which is issued within previous 10 years, contains at least two blank pages for visas and is valid at least 3 months after the expiration date of the visa;
  • a fully completed and signed application form (PDF).
  • a photo (size 35x45 mm);
  • a insurance policy valid for Estonia or for the Schengen area with a coverage of at least 30.000 EUR for the entire duration of stay;
  • documents indicating the purpose of journey:
  • a confirmation letter from the host;
  • documents in relation to accommodation or proof of sufficient means to cover the  accommodation;
  • a diplomatic note or confirmation letter from the international organization;
  • notice to appear;
  • international cargo service documents etc.
  • any information which supports an applicant intention to leave the Schengen area before the expiry of the visa;
  • documents proving the sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to the country of origin or residence (86€ for each day in Estonia);
  • a visa fee 80 € 

According to the regulation of Estonian Government, the CITIZENS OF UKRAINE are exempt from paying the visa fee.

According to the regulation of Estonian Government, the CITIZENS of BELARUS are exempt from paying the visa fee.

Bank accounts of the MINISTRY OF FINANCE for collecting visa fee are the following:

- SEB Pank р/с EE891010220034796011

SWIFT/BIC: EEUHEE2X

- Swedbank р/с EE932200221023778606

SWIFT/BIC: HABAEE2X

Reference number: 2900073630

Clarification of the payment: Review of visa applications

PLEASE NOTE THAT REFERENCE NUMBER AND CLARIFICATION OF THE PAYMENT ARE COMPULSORY FIELDS ON THE PAYMENT ORDER.

If it is not possible to enter the reference number on the payment order of a foreign country, the reference number must be entered in the clarification field.

At the request of a consular officer, you are required to appear at the Embassy or Consulate in person in order to provide explanations concerning facts which are relevant in application for the visa.

A Note Regarding the Schengen Area

Estonia is a member of the Schengen area. Students should review the important regulations that dictate travel and visas within the Schengen area.

Culture

CULTURE

The culture of Estonia incorporates indigenous heritage, as represented by the country's rare Finno-Ugric national language Estonian and the sauna, with mainstream Nordic and European cultural aspects. Due to its history and geography, Estonia's culture has been influenced by the traditions of the adjacent area's various Finnic, Baltic, Slavic and Germanic peoples as well as the cultural developments in the former dominant powers Sweden and Russia. Traditionally, Estonia has indeed been seen as an area of rivalry between western and eastern Europe on many levels. An example of this geopolitical legacy is an exceptional combination of nationally recognized Christian traditions: a western Protestant and an eastern Orthodox Church. Like the mainstream culture in the other Nordic countries, Estonian culture can be seen to build upon the ascetic environmental realities and traditional livelihoods, a heritage of comparatively widespread egalitarianism out of practical reasons (everyman's right and universal suffrage) and the ideals of closeness to nature and self-sufficiency (summer cottage). Traditionally, Estonians have attributed themselves as typically straightforward and stubborn.

Today, the Estonian society encourages equality and liberalism, with a popular commitment to the ideals of the welfare state, discouraging disparity of wealth and division into social classes. The Protestant work ethic remains a significant cultural staple, and free education is a highly prized institution.

The traditional occupation of Estonians, like most Europeans, is agriculture. Until the first half of the 20th century, Estonia was an agrarian society, but in modern times Estonians have increasingly embraced an urban lifestyle. Nonetheless many Estonians maintain a fondness for a rural lifestyle close to nature, and it is a very typical practice to visit a summer cottage in the countryside during vacations.

Family structure

Estonian family life is nowadays centered around the nuclear family. Members of an extended family typically live apart, and youths seek independence and typically move from their parents' residence around the age of 20.

Estonian holidays are mostly based on the Western Christian calendar and Protestant traditions.

Notable among these is Jaanipäev, the Estonian Midsummer which involves seeking one's way to non-urban environments, burning large bonfires and drunken revelry of Jaaniõhtu. The midsummer traditions also include different versions of pairing magic, such as collecting a number of different kinds of flowers and putting them under one's pillow, after which one is meant to see the future spouse in one's dreams.

The Estonian Christmas, Jõulud, is generally in line with the North and Middle European traditions of Christmas trees, Advent calendars and traditional meals, involving a number of dishes which are typically only eaten on Christmas. Christmas is the most extensive and appreciated and commercialized holiday in Estonia. Holidays start from December 23 and continue through Christmas Day. In schools and in many workplaces, the vacation continues until the New Year.

The Estonian independence day is February 24 and a national holiday.

Music

Despite its relatively short history of art music, Estonia today is well respected for its musicianship, with a quality education of classical musicians having produced a high proportion of world-class conductors and singers. Estonian art music came to the forefront as a part of the national romantic movement.

Modern Estonian popular music has received attention also in foreign countries, especially on the rock and metal scenes, with bands gaining international acclaim.

Visual Arts

The Art Museum of Estonia was founded on November 17, 1919, but it was not until 1921 that it got its first permanent building – the Kadriorg Palace, built in the 18th century. In 1929 the palace was expropriated from the Art Museum in order to rebuild it as the residence of the President of Estonia.

At present there are five active branches of the Art Museum of Estonia: Kadriorg Art Museum (Kadriorg Palace and Mikkel Museum), the Niguliste Museum, Adamson-Eric Museum, Kristjan Raud House Museum and KUMU Art Museum.

Theatre

Theatre of Estonia dates back to 1784 when August von Kotzebue founded an amatheur theater company in Tallinn. Most of the plays at the time were comedies for the amusement for local Baltic German nobility. In 1809 a professional theater company was established having its own building in Tallinn. The repertoire was mostly in German but also plays in Estonian and Russian were performed.

After centuries of serfdom that was abolished in Estonia in 1816, the position the native Estonian population had fallen to since the Livonian Crusade, the first native Estonian musical society Vanemuine was established in 1865. Lydia Koidula's the Cousin from Saaremaa in 1870 staged by the Vanemuine society marks the birth of Estonian theater. The Vanemuine society was headed by August Wiera from 1878 to 1903. In 1906 a new building was erected for the society and it theater company became directed by Karl Menning. Plays by Western writers such as Henrik Ibsen, Gerhart Hauptmann, Russian Maksim Gorky and Estonian August Kitzberg, Oskar Luts and Eduard Vilde were staged. The Estonia Theatre is an opera house and concert hall in Tallinn, Estonia. It was built as a national effort with the leadership of Estonia society in 1913 and was opened to the public on August 24. At the time, it was the largest building in Tallinn.

Cuisine

Historically the cuisine of Estonia has been heavily dependent on seasons and simple peasant food, which today is influenced by many countries. Today it includes many typical international foods. The most typical foods in Estonia are black bread, pork, potatoes and dairy products. Traditionally in summer and spring, Estonians like to eat everything fresh – berries, herbs, vegetables and everything else that comes straight from the garden. Hunting and fishing have also been very common, although currently hunting and fishing are enjoyed mostly as hobbies. Today it is also very popular to grill outside in summer. Traditionally in winter jams, preserves and pickles are brought to the table. Estonia has been through rough times in the past and thus gathering and conserving fruits, mushrooms and vegetables for winter has always been essential. Today gathering and conserving is not that common because everything can be bought from stores, but preparing food for winter is still very popular in the countryside and still has somewhat ritual significance. Being a country with a large coastal line, fish has also been very important.

Religion

According to the constitution, there are freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and individual right to privacy of belief and religion. Although Estonia has the highest level of irreligious individuals in the world, with over 76 percent of the population stating no specific religious affiliation, the dominant religion in the country is Evangelical Lutheranism. The country was Christianized by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. During the Reformation, Lutheranism spread, and the church was officially established in Estonia in 1686. Still, many Estonians profess not to be particularly religious, because religion through the 19th century was associated with German feudal rule.

The second most populous religious group is the Eastern Orthodox, especially among the Russian minority. Historically there has been also another dominant minority religion, Russian Old-believers, near Lake Peipus area in Tartu County. In 2000 there were about 152,000 Lutherans, 143,000 Orthodox Christians, 5,000 Catholics and nearly 1,000 Taaras in Estonia. In addition there were around 68,000 people who stated themselves as atheists.

Sports

Sport plays an important role in Estonian culture. Estonia first competed as a nation at the 1920 Summer Olympics, although the National Olympic Committee was established in 1923. Estonian athletes took part of the Olympic Games until the country was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. The 1980 Summer Olympics sailing regatta was held in the capital city Tallinn. Estonia has won most of their Olympic medals in athletics, weightlifting, wrestling and cross-country skiing.

Daily Life

CULTURE

The culture of Estonia incorporates indigenous heritage, as represented by the country's rare Finno-Ugric national language Estonian and the sauna, with mainstream Nordic and European cultural aspects. Due to its history and geography, Estonia's culture has been influenced by the traditions of the adjacent area's various Finnic, Baltic, Slavic and Germanic peoples as well as the cultural developments in the former dominant powers Sweden and Russia. Traditionally, Estonia has indeed been seen as an area of rivalry between western and eastern Europe on many levels. An example of this geopolitical legacy is an exceptional combination of nationally recognized Christian traditions: a western Protestant and an eastern Orthodox Church. Like the mainstream culture in the other Nordic countries, Estonian culture can be seen to build upon the ascetic environmental realities and traditional livelihoods, a heritage of comparatively widespread egalitarianism out of practical reasons (everyman's right and universal suffrage) and the ideals of closeness to nature and self-sufficiency (summer cottage). Traditionally, Estonians have attributed themselves as typically straightforward and stubborn.

Today, the Estonian society encourages equality and liberalism, with a popular commitment to the ideals of the welfare state, discouraging disparity of wealth and division into social classes. The Protestant work ethic remains a significant cultural staple, and free education is a highly prized institution.

The traditional occupation of Estonians, like most Europeans, is agriculture. Until the first half of the 20th century, Estonia was an agrarian society, but in modern times Estonians have increasingly embraced an urban lifestyle. Nonetheless many Estonians maintain a fondness for a rural lifestyle close to nature, and it is a very typical practice to visit a summer cottage in the countryside during vacations.

Family structure

Estonian family life is nowadays centered around the nuclear family. Members of an extended family typically live apart, and youths seek independence and typically move from their parents' residence around the age of 20.

Estonian holidays are mostly based on the Western Christian calendar and Protestant traditions.

Notable among these is Jaanipäev, the Estonian Midsummer which involves seeking one's way to non-urban environments, burning large bonfires and drunken revelry of Jaaniõhtu. The midsummer traditions also include different versions of pairing magic, such as collecting a number of different kinds of flowers and putting them under one's pillow, after which one is meant to see the future spouse in one's dreams.

The Estonian Christmas, Jõulud, is generally in line with the North and Middle European traditions of Christmas trees, Advent calendars and traditional meals, involving a number of dishes which are typically only eaten on Christmas. Christmas is the most extensive and appreciated and commercialized holiday in Estonia. Holidays start from December 23 and continue through Christmas Day. In schools and in many workplaces, the vacation continues until the New Year.

The Estonian independence day is February 24 and a national holiday.

Music

Despite its relatively short history of art music, Estonia today is well respected for its musicianship, with a quality education of classical musicians having produced a high proportion of world-class conductors and singers. Estonian art music came to the forefront as a part of the national romantic movement.

Modern Estonian popular music has received attention also in foreign countries, especially on the rock and metal scenes, with bands gaining international acclaim.

Visual Arts

The Art Museum of Estonia was founded on November 17, 1919, but it was not until 1921 that it got its first permanent building – the Kadriorg Palace, built in the 18th century. In 1929 the palace was expropriated from the Art Museum in order to rebuild it as the residence of the President of Estonia.

At present there are five active branches of the Art Museum of Estonia: Kadriorg Art Museum (Kadriorg Palace and Mikkel Museum), the Niguliste Museum, Adamson-Eric Museum, Kristjan Raud House Museum and KUMU Art Museum.

Theatre

Theatre of Estonia dates back to 1784 when August von Kotzebue founded an amatheur theater company in Tallinn. Most of the plays at the time were comedies for the amusement for local Baltic German nobility. In 1809 a professional theater company was established having its own building in Tallinn. The repertoire was mostly in German but also plays in Estonian and Russian were performed.

After centuries of serfdom that was abolished in Estonia in 1816, the position the native Estonian population had fallen to since the Livonian Crusade, the first native Estonian musical society Vanemuine was established in 1865. Lydia Koidula's the Cousin from Saaremaa in 1870 staged by the Vanemuine society marks the birth of Estonian theater. The Vanemuine society was headed by August Wiera from 1878 to 1903. In 1906 a new building was erected for the society and it theater company became directed by Karl Menning. Plays by Western writers such as Henrik Ibsen, Gerhart Hauptmann, Russian Maksim Gorky and Estonian August Kitzberg, Oskar Luts and Eduard Vilde were staged. The Estonia Theatre is an opera house and concert hall in Tallinn, Estonia. It was built as a national effort with the leadership of Estonia society in 1913 and was opened to the public on August 24. At the time, it was the largest building in Tallinn.

Cuisine

Historically the cuisine of Estonia has been heavily dependent on seasons and simple peasant food, which today is influenced by many countries. Today it includes many typical international foods. The most typical foods in Estonia are black bread, pork, potatoes and dairy products. Traditionally in summer and spring, Estonians like to eat everything fresh – berries, herbs, vegetables and everything else that comes straight from the garden. Hunting and fishing have also been very common, although currently hunting and fishing are enjoyed mostly as hobbies. Today it is also very popular to grill outside in summer. Traditionally in winter jams, preserves and pickles are brought to the table. Estonia has been through rough times in the past and thus gathering and conserving fruits, mushrooms and vegetables for winter has always been essential. Today gathering and conserving is not that common because everything can be bought from stores, but preparing food for winter is still very popular in the countryside and still has somewhat ritual significance. Being a country with a large coastal line, fish has also been very important.

Religion

According to the constitution, there are freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and individual right to privacy of belief and religion. Although Estonia has the highest level of irreligious individuals in the world, with over 76 percent of the population stating no specific religious affiliation, the dominant religion in the country is Evangelical Lutheranism. The country was Christianized by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. During the Reformation, Lutheranism spread, and the church was officially established in Estonia in 1686. Still, many Estonians profess not to be particularly religious, because religion through the 19th century was associated with German feudal rule.

The second most populous religious group is the Eastern Orthodox, especially among the Russian minority. Historically there has been also another dominant minority religion, Russian Old-believers, near Lake Peipus area in Tartu County. In 2000 there were about 152,000 Lutherans, 143,000 Orthodox Christians, 5,000 Catholics and nearly 1,000 Taaras in Estonia. In addition there were around 68,000 people who stated themselves as atheists.

Sports

Sport plays an important role in Estonian culture. Estonia first competed as a nation at the 1920 Summer Olympics, although the National Olympic Committee was established in 1923. Estonian athletes took part of the Olympic Games until the country was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. The 1980 Summer Olympics sailing regatta was held in the capital city Tallinn. Estonia has won most of their Olympic medals in athletics, weightlifting, wrestling and cross-country skiing.

Health and Safety

https://www.isepstudyabroad.org/guides-and-tips/health-safety

Currency


MONEY MATTERS

The national currency of Estonia is the Euro.  Foreign currencies can be easily exchanged in banks and exchange offices. There are exchange offices in several hotels, in the port of Tallinn, at the airport, the railway station and many other places.

Daily necessities like food and clothing are still relatively inexpensive by western standards. Bear in mind that if you wish to travel, frequently buy fresh fruit and vegetables in the winter, make telephone calls abroad and lead an active social life, you should expect to spend a few hundred Euros per month.


Credit cards

Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard/Eurocard, Diner's Club, American Express etc. are accepted in most of the major hotels, restaurants and shops, but ask first. Most banks will give cash advances on credit cards supported by a valid passport. Check with the credit card company for further details before traveling.

Traveler's Checks

The most widely accepted traveler's cheques in Estonia are American Express, Thomas Cook and Eurocheque.

Banking

The main bank in Estonia that serve tourists, Sampo Pank. Banks are open from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Most banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Currency exchange offices are open from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some are also open on Sundays.

You can open a bank account in the nearest bank office. Having an account with the bank is a precondition for using most of their services: bank cards, electronic banking services, etc. The bank card can be used in any ATM and in most shops. If you come for a shorter time, you can use Mastercard and Visa cards of your home bank, but in that case there are service fees.

Sources of Information

LINKS

http://www.estemb.org/
Estonian Embassy

http://www.ut.ee/studentoffice
University of Tartu's Guide for International Students

http://www.estonica.org/
Introduction to Estonia

www.riik.ee/en/
Official State Web Center

http://www.tartu.ee/
Welcome to Tartu! Web site

http://www.visitestonia.com/
Estonian Tourist Board

http://www.einst.ee/
Estonia Institute

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