Successful and globally competitive graduates
18Jan

BEING A BBA ENGLISH PROGRAM STUDENT IN TARTU – MAIRIS (LATVIA)

While being an ambassador of the International Student Ambassadors, I have been asked hundreds of times about not only how it feels to study in my program (Business Administration in Bachelors), but as well about the life besides actual study process. Obviously, this topic is very individual and every single person has his/her own opinion, situation and thoughts about this topic, but I believe sharing my own experience in public might help for many of you who are planning to apply for Businesses Administration program in English at School of Economics and Business Administrations. In Estonian: Tartu Ülikooli Majandusteaduskond.

The process and the pros and cons of studying here are also very important, though I believe we can discuss it in private; or perhaps you will see in the future similar blogs post regarding to particular topic. Anyways, I truly hope this will be useful post and will spark new interest about applying for BBA program and will show that anything is possible here in Tartu as a student of Business Administration in Bachelor degree.

So here are 5 of the questions I have been asked most from prospective students which can be somehow related to my study process:

1. Do you even have any free time from your studies? 

Yes, I truly do. More than just any. Of course there are times when I am stuck reading and preparing for tomorrow’s classes, but most of the time the regime at school is very well organised. Sometimes I feel like it would be good to have some more classes, but on the other hand – as a business student, it gives so many other options. To attend different conferences, events, build your own business ideas (as few of us here has done it and some have even got to the Valley), start working somewhere, to do some research or anything else which might be useful in your further career and development. Or you can simply fulfill your spare time with classes from other institutes (schools), for instance taking language courses or programming – there are no limits in Tartu how to invest your time. So here I must say – be smart and use the privilege being in Tartu.

Do you even have any free time from your studies

2. Do you need to study/know Estonian language?

I always say – it depends. It is perhaps the least original answer, but it makes sense. If you consider yourself connected with Estonia only for the study time (3 years), most probably it is not worth to dig into this language. Almost everywhere people speak English (school, stores, sports clubs etc.), so don’t be worry about not knowing more than TERE (Hello) in Estonian. On the other hand – it is quite interesting (also complex) to learn Estonian. Teachers at Language School are one of the best and I truly loved the time spent in their classes – they teach you not only language as for the kindergarten kid, but as well nicely show you the culture and other things about this country. And if you want to work as barista, or maybe in some local business – it is always preferred to know local language (with few exceptions obviously). In my case I took Estonian for two semesters just to know the basics (for instance some in-store conversation) and no regrets about it.

Do you need to study/know Estonian language?

3. Can you find a place to work while being a student?

Yes, you can. People must understand that in Tartu there are quite a lot of businesses or organisations looking for some international people willing to work whether full or part time. Of course, there must be some luck to find the best opportunities, but otherwise – if a person is really eager to find something, he or she will. Sometimes it is just a magic of the galaxy which brings in front of you some opportunities and you just gotta determine the better choice. I have been lucky to be able to run my own business from Latvia until now and at the same time having a part time work in a very good, growing, international company. Basically having two jobs and school at the same time can be doable to some extent. And believe me, there are people being able to take on their shoulders even more! All in all, Estonia is a very good place where to start your working career, especially if you start your own startup – business environment, legislation and taxation here are very well organised and maintained.

And since you are a student of Business administration, usually companies hiring people value this fact for many reasons: the program is well recognised in Estonia; you know more than one language; you are ready to be out of your comfort zone since you study abroad already etc. Therefore do not be afraid to go to some interviews or to take part in some business competitions.

Mairis at his company’s stand in exhibition in Latvia.
Mairis at his company’s stand in exhibition in Latvia.

4. What are the best ways to relax from studies?

I could say there are too many different ways get your mind off from your daily routine. If you prefer having some drinks or fun with your friends – every week there are some event organised by student organisations like ISA. To have fun you do not need to look too far! Also, you can take part in some of the organisations, which another way of enjoying the time and people around you.

The other way might be doing some sports. Fitness clubs, I guess, are the most popular place for healthy lifestyle people. Also, people loving team sports can find their best fit – starting from playing rugby, tennis, basketball, football, volleyball etc. Usually, students and sport enthusiasts have some Facebook groups, where they organise events or games themselves, rents a field and plays what they are best at!  I personally play basketball in the local city tournament and have practices with the team and individual ones whether in Tartu kesklinna kool, in Ülenurme gümnaasium, Eesti Maaülikooli Spordiklubi (EMÜ) or somewhere outside on the court.

And I should make a small note here – be sure you find something for yourself besides school! It is important to take off your mind from the daily things and relax for a bit.

Mairis played for BC YliCool local basketball team.
Mairis played for BC YliCool local basketball team.

5. What were the reasons to go to Tartu?

Most of the times this is their first question, but here I wanted to leave it at the end of this post. There are few good points why I chose Tartu. First of all, I have been always interested in businesses and earning money; therefore, I was sure my studies will be somewhat related to business environment – which Tartu is. Second, I wanted to spend as less time at university as possible, therefore University of Tartu BBA program with 3-year program was best fit for me in the Baltic region with English studies, which was also among my priorities. For me, it was also a little bit challanging studying abroad and out of my comfort zone, even though my home village is only 260 km away from Tartu – it was still a different country, language, culture, and environment. Worthing to mention that university is the most prestige school in the Baltic states with almost 4-century-long history. And the thing I like the most – walking in Tartu streets does not feel at all like being in Estonia. Most of the time people in front of you are not Estonians, but some foreigners. On one side of the street there might be a person from USA, on other somebody from Nigeria and China chatting together, next you somebody from Russia or Australia, and somewhere else you might find somebody from your own country. And as a business-minded person, you might value the opportunity of having international friends from all around the world. This is how amazing this city can be and how many opportunities it can give to all of us.

Application process has already started for BBA and will be open until 14 April, so go and check out more what can University of Tartu and city itself offer for you! http://www.ut.ee/en/admissions

Tartu city main square – Reakoja Plats.
Tartu city main square – Raekoja Plats.

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