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The small Baltic nation of Estonia is a fascinating place, combining modern cityscapes with fairy-tale castles. Residents enjoy a high quality of life and the country’s unique commitment to providing public services online.
This page is a guide to student life in Estonia, covering essentials like accommodation, living costs, culture and transport.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Estonia has emerged as one of the world’s most technologically innovative countries. Frequently referred to as a ‘digital society’, it’s possible to complete all kinds of useful tasks online in Estonia, from voting in elections to founding a company in 20 minutes. This emphasis on making public services available on the web means that Estonia has become a world leader in IT services.
Studying a Masters in Estonia will give you the opportunity to experience this digital society first-hand. And, although Estonia is one of Europe’s smallest countries – both geographically and in terms of size – it boasts a vibrant capital and stunning countryside.
Tallinn, the capital and largest city, has a UNESCO-listed Old Town with colourful buildings and medieval spires. Tallinn’s highlights include Kumu Art Museum and the Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour – a maritime museum in a huge concrete hangar. Tartu is Estonia’s second city and sometimes known as its cultural capital. Home to Estonia’s oldest university, this student town has a youthful atmosphere.
Outside of the urban centres, postgraduates can explore the Lahemaa National Park or take a well-earned study break on the island of Saaremaa, famous for its windmills and ancient fortresses.
Visitors to Estonia can expect hearty cuisine, with a focus on meaty staples like pork and salted or smoked fish. Beer aficionados will be pleased to hear that Tallinn has a thriving microbrewery scene.
Cross-country skiing is a popular pastime in Estonia, along with basketball and football. The country is even responsible for creating its own extreme sport: kiiking is best described as involving a very big swing (look it up on YouTube!).
University-owned dormitories are one option for international postgraduates in Estonia. These are usually the cheapest kind of housing, available for around €80-150 per month, plus utilities of about €100. The rooms are normally single, double or triple, meaning that you may have to share a sleeping space with others. If this doesn’t sound appealing, you may be able to rent a double bedroom for yourself, in which case the rent and bills would be twice as much.
The private market is another possibility, with a variety of flats, studios and shared housing available. A private flat would cost around €200-510, depending on the location. Your university’s international office should be able to point you in the direction of reputable estate agents.
Estonia is one of the most affordable countries in the Eurozone but still enjoys a high quality of life. You should budget around €300-500 per month for your living expenses.
A meal in a pub or café costs around €5, while a cinema ticket is about €5.70. If you’re studying in Tallinn, you’ll be pleased to hear that public transport in the capital is completely free for city residents – including international students!
Looking for more information about Masters study in Estonia? Our detailed guide covers everything from university rankings and courses to fees, funding and applications.
International students in Estonia are free to work without restrictions, as long as they’re studying full-time and their employment doesn’t cause problems for their studies.
By now you should have a good idea of what to expect from student life in Estonia – perhaps you’re even ready to try your hand at kiiking! These are a few more of the practicalities you should bear in mind when planning your Estonian postgraduate adventure.
EU, EEA and Swiss students should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before their arrival in Estonia, as it will entitle them to healthcare at the same rates as an Estonian citizen.
Other international students will need to purchase private healthcare insurance that will cover any medical costs during their stay in Estonia.
99% of banking in Estonia is done online. However, you’ll usually need to visit a branch in person to be able to open an account. You should bring the following documents with you:
Once you’ve opened a bank account you’ll be able to use its online services. Card is widely accepted across Estonia so you won’t need to carry much cash on you.
Public transport in Estonia is very cheap – or even free! International postgraduates studying in Tallinn can access free public transport, while a monthly travel pass in Tartu costs just €7.67.
The bus journey between Tallinn and Tartu takes two and a half hours and costs around €10.
Last updated - 06/02/2020