Estonia is a fantastic place to pursue your education abroad. With prolific opportunities for entrepreneurship, a great start-up culture, and high levels of internet openness and connectivity, it's becoming one of Europe's business hot spots. The country places a high value on education and literacy, so the universities are excellent quality, and many courses are conducted in English. There's also a thriving student social scene!
Estonia features cities with charming architecture as well as plenty of natural beauty in its forests and coastlines, making it a great place to explore when you're not in class. The country is located in the northern part of Europe (the capital city of Tallinn is at a comparable latitude to Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway), which means that winters can get very, very cold. But if you pack warm clothes and take advantage of the warm student culture, you just might forget the temperatures outside!
Estonia as a whole has many options for studying abroad, from semester or summer-long programs to complete degree programs at the Bachelors, Masters, and PhD levels.
Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is the main hub for study abroad experiences in Estonia. With Tallinn University, the Tallinn University of Technology, the Estonian Academy of Arts, and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, there are plenty of options here no matter what your course of study!
Tartu, located in the southeast central part of Estonia, is another major destination for studying abroad. The University of Tartu features programs on STEM and business subjects, as well as on Estonian language, culture, and history.
How to Choose a Study Abroad Program in Estonia
Estonia has several options for study abroad. One thing to make sure of in advance is that your study abroad program is nationally and internationally accredited, and that your courses will be recognized for credit with your home college or university.
Another thing to check before your departure is the language of instruction in your program. Several of the programs in Estonia geared towards international exchange students are conducted in English, but there are exceptions, so it’s a good idea to double-check!
Housing may or may not be included in the cost of your study abroad program, and it's more likely than not that you'll have to arrange housing on your own. In general, as an international exchange student you're eligible to stay in university dorms if there's sufficient space. Housing and cost of living are less expensive in Estonia than they are in much of the US and Western Europe, making Estonia a very affordable place to live while you’re pursuing higher education.
If you’re not a citizen of an EU country, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit for study from your nearest Estonian consulate or embassy prior to embarking on your studies. You will also need to register your place of residence with the Local Government authority within one month of your arrival.
Social Life & Student Culture
Estonia gets very cold in the winter, which is probably why the social life and student culture are so warm! Cafes, restaurants, and nightlife are all easily accessible in both Tallinn and Tartu, and there are plenty of museums, historic sites, and theaters as well to keep you entertained. Estonia also boasts plenty of natural beauty outside of the city, with plenty of forests, marshes, and coastlines to explore.
English is widely spoken among young people in Estonia, so you should have no difficulty in making local friends!
Health & Safety
Estonia is a fairly safe country, but as in any international setting you’ll want to exercise the same basic street smarts that you would use in any large city in the world. Tourists occasionally experience pickpocketing and purse-snatchings, so be mindful of your belongings.
As with any international study program, you should make sure that you’re up-to-date on any recommended vaccinations, and you should check the availability of any prescription medications prior to travel. It’s a good idea to bring sufficient prescription medications with you to cover the length of time that you plan on being in the country.
Typical Program Costs
One semester of courses at Tallinn University costs between €1,500 and €2,000. Accommodation in Tallinn generally runs between €200 and €400 per month. Costs in Tartu are comparable.
As with any study abroad venture, funding can come from a range of sources. It’s possible that your home university will have funding arrangements for study abroad programs. Student loans, while less than ideal, can cover the costs of your time abroad. In addition, some scholarship options are available for study in Estonia.
Some scholarships are available for studying abroad in Estonia, either through individual universities or through the Estonian government. Study in Estonia provides a good basic rundown of the options available. Tallinn University also has a page outlining its scholarship options.