HOW TO ADJUST TO FOREIGN CULTURES AND LIFESTYLES: AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT PERSPECTIVE ABOUT ESTONIA – HAKEEM (NIGERIA)
There are lots of cultural and lifestyle differences between Nigeria and Estonia. You need the help of people; both indigenes and foreigners as much as possible. Five major ways of adaptations are highlighted and discussed below.
1. CULTURAL HERITAGE (HISTORY):
Right from your country of residence, it is important to search and learn about the cultural heritage of Estonia, the lifestyle of Estonians in general and also you also should know about the culture of Estonia neighboring countries as well. Usually, people tend to be more introverted when it comes to communicate with foreigners’. Also, don’t expect to always see crowds on the streets. Estonia population is just about 1.3 million, compared to Nigeria population which is about 200 million.
2. GOVERNMENT POLICIES (FOR LEGAL ALIENS):
As an international student, you are a legal alien once you are given a Temporary Residence Permit. But you have duties and responsibilities on how to conduct yourself in a proper manner otherwise it’s an abuse of privilege. The information on these will be given to you by the Police and Border. Check https://www.politsei.ee/en/ for detailed information.
This is one of the scary tales you will always hear people tell. For example, I am from Nigeria where the lowest weather forecast is not usually lower than +25°C. Imagine how it sounds when you are told that you will experience as low as -30°C. As a person that experiences -22°C, I realize that wearing proper clothing’s is the most important thing and the way out, so it’s nothing to worry about.
Knowing how to speak the Estonian language is vital because it is the best way to integrate properly into the society. It is also the sure bet in landing your dream job. To be honest, the language is not really easy to grasp, but I was able to pass my language examination in one attempt. So if someone like me can do that, tthen you can do even better. There books online to start with. Check http://enagueesti.ee/units/1-5/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcTkB-bqRFM
Above all, don’t forget that your primary purpose of coming to Estonia is to acquire knowledge. Nigeria academics curriculum is built on British academic structure. From my experience, Estonian university academic structure is quite different from ours. So there is a need for proper adjustment and you have to be pretty fast about this. I am quite sure you don’t want to cross overseas to settle for a lower academic grade. To integrate properly, you need to form a cordial relationship with your lecturers and colleagues that already have vast experiences about Estonian education. Believe me, they will always be in your class or group. It’s very easy for you to access your tutors here. So magnificent!