What about Estonia?

 Small. Ambitious. Windy - this is how a foreign student of International Relations Master’s programme Anna-Maria would describe Estonia in three words. Anna Maria Tukiainen is a full-time Finnish student at Tallinn University. In the interview, she shares her experience in Estonia and names priorities and disadvantages of living here.

 She came to Tallinn because of the possibility to study small state foreign and security policies. Tallinn University was the priority number one for her because it gives the opportunity to study areas of her interest, and also it is not far from Finland, so, she could visit it quickly any time she would like to. It is interesting that people usually apply to several universities to choose one of them at the end. But, this is not in the case for Anna-Maria. Although she also looked through the opportunities in Latvia and Lithuania, the crucial factor was the Finnish language since she believed there would be people speaking it in Tallinn. She also adds, that going back to Finland is more comfortable, and less time consuming from Estonia. 

 Anna-Maria did her previous studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Finland. According to her, there is a huge difference on a study-level between Finland and Estonia. University of Applied Sciences in Finland was similar to her current study place, she says. Usually, universities in Finland are about teachers giving a lecture. However, she finds that here the interaction between the lecturer and the student opens up more potential for debates during the lecture. It’s quite normal here and brings a lot of fun. Also, copyrights system at Finish universities is different from Tallinn University. For examples, lecturers are not allowed to share academic materials with their students. 

“Tallinn is more like Russia rather than a Scandinavian state”. 
The spirit of a Post-Soviet state is still present. “Being too Scandinavian”, she was not ready to face some issues surrounding it. For her, it would take time to adjust in Estonia. Estonia is a promising place of a future career if you are bilingual (Estonian-Russian) she says. If she would decide to make a start-up, she would definitely do it in Estonia.
Naming three worse things in Tallinn, she points out the food stores, the weather, and taxation. According to Anna-Maria, there is not much to choose in the food stores. If she would be able to change it, she would add more selections. Secondly, as it might be for the majority of the students, she doesn’t really like when at 2 pm its dark outside. Finally, taxation in Estonia is very high. She worked for a couple of months this year, and the taxation took 20% of her salary, it doesn’t depend on the position you take, it still would be 20%, and that’s what bothers her.
Naming three good things in Tallinn, people are in the first place for Anna-Maria. Even though she didn’t have many Estonian acquaintances, she still feels that they are friendly. Anna-Maria participates at the obligatory interdisciplinary project at Tallinn University, where the majority of her group-mates are Estonians. She really enjoys her time working, as well as hanging out with them. Secondly, she likes the idea of making public transport free. And in the third place, the possibility of going almost any place by foot, is truly beneficial, as Tallinn is small.
The biggest frustration for Anna-Maria was related to Estonian ID card. The ID cards in Estonian are usually being spoiled, either by hacking or having technical problems. The problem has affected Anna-Maria in a sense, that the next day after she got the card, it was spoiled, so she had to renew it. The process of getting a card is long and complicated. She didn’t really know how to register for one and neither did she find the further explanation useful regarding making it. The most interesting fact about this issue was that she was not informed about it. She found out it first from Finish living in Estonia Facebook group.
Although school takes a lot of time away to study, most students still go to work in addition. Regarding that, it’s hard for them to find time for a social life. Though, Anna-Maria would name going out more as the main formula on how to stay happy in Estonia. During the first semester, she didn’t really have time for that. A triangle of home, university, and Rimi (supermarket) were her three main destinations during that time. However, she does recommend to chill more and try to find time for it, even if, the schedule is tight.
At the end of the interview, I asked some blitz questions from Anna-Maria. So here are the answers. 
Snow or wind?
Hot or cold? 
Friday night out in the best Tallinn club and staying home watching a favorite show
Despite the importance of going out in Tallinn, and having a memorable time, I'd choose home.
Vana Tallinn (Estonian liqueur) and Finlandia vodka?
Finlandia vodka(because I haven't tried Vana Tallinn yet)
Estonian boyfriend or Finnish?

As the last question for the interview, I asked about an ultimate thing in the world that should be for free for everyone. Anna-Maria thinks that internet should be for free for everyone. This answer doesn’t have to be explained.
Written by Teymur Mammadov.