It’s been almost eight months since I started studying at the University of Tartu, and I would like to say Tartu is one of the coolest city I have lived so far. In terms of the population and size, Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia. Since Tartu is the home of Estonia’s oldest and most renowned university (the University of Tartu), it is often called the intellectual centre of Estonia.

Besides its historical and cultural importance, Tartu also makes a huge contribution to Estonia’s economy. Being an economics student, I often think about the economic perspectives of the city. Today, I will write about four major economic indicators of Tartu and compare them to Estonia’s capital, Tallinn. To make a comparison between the two, I will make use of the statistics provided by NUMBEO. NUMBEO is the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries.

There are a lot of things we need to consider before making a final decision about choosing a country in which to pursue higher education. To make your decision more precisely, besides university ranking, every student should look into aspects of that particular country’s economic conditions such as per capita income of that country, living cost, quality of life etc.

Per capita income:     

Per capita income is one of the main economic indicators that can give you a clear picture of the economic workings of a country. In 2016, the average monthly gross income per employee in Tartu was 1255 euros, which was higher than overall Estonia’s monthly gross income per employee (1073 euros). According to Statistics Estonia, in most of its counties, the average monthly gross income ranged between 800 and 900 euros. Although the per capita income of Estonia is lower when compared to the majority of the European countries, I would say that, if you take into account of living cost and per capita income and compare them, the gap in  purchasing power should not be that big.

Living cost:

According to the NUMBEO statistics, in every case examined, the living cost in Tartu is lower than in Tallinn. This indicates that, besides studying in the nation’s best university and having all the facilities that a student city should have,  the living cost of the Tartu is not only lower than the capital but also significantly lower than that of the other popular education cities is in the world. For example, consumer price in New York is almost 84% higher compared to Tartu. For Berlin, it is almost 35% higher than Tartu. If you want to know more about living cost in Tartu, you can view information on it here.

Safety comparison:

To me, Tartu is one of the safest cities in the world. Whether its day or night, whether you are with your friends or alone, you can go anywhere without any safety concerns. Since I came here, I have neither faced a single issue pertaining to safety nor have I heard anything regarding safety issues from my friends. According to NUMBEO, even just walking is almost 25% riskier in New York than it is in Tartu. In Berlin, it is 15% riskier.

Health care:

Although I have not had to face medical issues since arriving in Tartu, I have heard from my surroundings that, unless you do have a valid medical/health insurance, you will  face difficulties  getting proper treatment. Data from NUMBEO shows that, like the other indicators, the health care system in Tartu is better than that of Tallinn in terms of the skill and competency of medical staff, satisfaction with cost, friendliness and courtesy of the staff etc. Even if you want to compare Tartu’s health care system with other major European cities like Berlin, according to NUMBEO, Tartu’s health care system is better in every category mentioned in the above chart. If you want to know more about  health insurance, you can read up on that here.

Quality of life:

As a student, I would say I am more than satisfied with the quality of life in Tartu. As a city, Tartu has all the basic facilities that a city should have. Almost 60% of the Estonian land is covered with forest, and people are very concerned about climate changes. I find it important to note that the pollution index of Tartu is only 7.55, which is lower than most other student cities in the world. In terms of combating the negative consequences of climate change, I think most of the country but also the world should take Tartu as an example.

Finishing up, I would like to say that I am grateful for having chosen the University of Tartu as the university in which to pursue my Master degree. Choosing the University of Tartu is one of the best decision I have made in my life so far.