Previously, there have been posts about Estonian 101, which is a good way to begin. Knowing some Estonian is a great way to begin. However, there are some more things you should know before encountering a wild Estonian or moving here.

First things first - personal space
This is important not only in Estonia but in all of the Nordic countries. Estonians love their personal space bubbles, so don’t you dare to come too close and break it. During a conversation keep a nice distance in between, don’t use too many gestures and keep your voice low. Imagine that you have encountered a wild deer, that’s how you should act. When making friends you should be patient, don’t try to arrange meetings too often, they will politely nod, but in their heads their already thinking about the escape plan. Most importantly, you should NEVER ever jump into a hug at your first meeting with them, a nice hand gesture will be good, but a hug is a thing you will need to work for.

Your Estonian ID is everything
Not only does this document allow you to stay in Estonia, but it’s also your club entry card, a way to pay for your mobile bills, rent, and place to store discount cards of shops like Rahva Raamat (the best bookshop in Tallinn). It is amazing, how much space in your wallet you can save by having this ID card.

The Russian language comes last
When speaking with the shop clerk or asking for directions always try Estonian or English first. If those fail, only then try to speak Russian. You might get lucky the first time and the person is Russian speaker himself, but if not - you're into trouble. In the best of scenarios the other person will just get grumpy or impolite in worst, she will just continue speaking Estonian.

The thing with reflectors
Estonians take visibility seriously and that's really good! Especially during the winter time, as the daylight time is really limited and without a reflecting object on your clothing, you're risking your own safety and also getting a fee. The great part about this is that it's just another cool way to accessorize! You can find interesting bags, hats, gloves with reflecting objects, funny reflecting stickers to put on your bag and more if you are willing to look around. So be creative and stay safe!

Meet other foreigners
The best way to integrate in Estonia is through foreigners - join clubs, go to ESN parties and meet like-minded people, who have been through or are going through the same struggles as you. Have a good time, relax and let your worries and stress go away, as you learn more about the country you are in and the things you can do here. Eventually, you’ll learn that Estonians can actually be also super friendly, wild and open.

Text by: Sindija Vītola
Edited by: Merilin Jõesaar