While most of the countries in the world are getting more concerned about international community in their country, here in Estonia, a small country in the northern Europe, is going to be completely in opposite direction. Tartu is a city where you can meet people from all around the world. Before coming to Tartu, I thought international community would not be that big compare to other student cities around the world. I thought maybe I could be able to find some international community, which will be mostly from Baltic countries (Latvia and Lithuania), and Russia. However, after coming here I found that my perceptions about international community was completely wrong. I met people from all around the world in Tartu like from Africa to USA, I met people from some all over the world. I even met people from the country which name I never heard off before coming here (e.g. Moldova).

Pictures from Orientation program (Autumn 2017)

The second thing that comes to my mind about the city is that people from Tartu like to celebrate everything even small things, which is completely opposite of my country. You barely see a day here without an event, which involves its people and students from university. The best thing about the culture of so much celebration is that it involves the people from the city (from local to international, children, young people, elders and students).

Arch bridge opening ceremony

There is reason why Tartu is called student city of Estonia. Everything happens in Tartu involves its famous university (University of Tartu). From the city’s most famous tourist spot (Kissing Fountain) to its famous museum everything is surrounded by the University of Tartu. You really can’t differentiate from one another. Even University itself is one the most popular tourist destinations for the people who visit Tartu. They say your tour will be incomplete if you visit Tartu but you don’t visit University of Tartu.

When I see my department, I see it is as diverse as the city of Tartu, at some point it’s even more diverse than the city. We have students from Asia to North America, we have students from Africa to Ukraine, Georgia, Russia and Turkey. Our faculty members also are as diverse as its students are. Besides the diverse culture of the department, I also noticed that the university is very concerned about the facility they have for their students. What most impressed me about facility of students in my department is that they have enough books in the library for every student in their department, which I found very helpful and different than other universities. I have always faced problems for borrowing books from the library in my previous university because of their limited copies.

University of Tartu Library

Finally yet importantly, Estonia is a country where you can do everything online. Estonia is the only European country where people can vote online (even though people cannot vote from their cell phone but from PC or laptop). In Tartu, you can find the free Wi-Fi in most of the public places (bank, restaurant, university etc.). From printing to making any kind of payment, everything you can do online. Even recently they launched a program which called E-residency. Anyone can apply for the e-residency from any side of the world and run his/her business in Estonia. The interesting fact about e-residency is that, to apply for e-residency you don’t have to be a citizen of Estonia or from the European Union countries, which may serve as an example for other countries, that inviting people from all over the world don’t make you vulnerable, instead, helps you to grow stronger.

Written By:
Omar Faruk (
MA in Quantitative Economics

Photos By:
Omar Faruk