Rafael’s experience from the Settle in Estonia program

Rafael from America has been married to an Estonian for 13 years and a year ago they decided to move their family to Estonia. He took three courses from the Settle in Estonia program. In the video he will describe his experiences, the courses and how he settled in Estonia.

Rafael knows very well all the challenges of settling in Estonia. The life here may seem either relatable or alienating depending your background – where are you from, what’s the culture like in your home country and how many people you know here. For Rafael the most challenging part was to get used to the dark nights in autumn and winter. But let’s be honest, that’s an annual challenge for Estonians as well.

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I Accept

Rafael came to Estonia for the first time in 2002 when he visited his brother who lived in Estonia, that was when he met his future wife as well. After years of marriage and one year living in Estonia, he feels that his identity is more similar to Estonian than to American. He feels like he’s at home – safe and comfortable.

Settle in Estonia program helped along Rafael’s transition. He found many friends among foreigners as well as Estonians thanks to the knowledge gained from the courses. Rafael: “The courses are a perfect opportunity to meet like-minded people”. Rafael has passed 3 Settle in Estonia courses – A1 beginners language course, Basic module and the Work and Entrepreneurship module.

Rafael confirms to all foreigners that if you are proactive and interested in adjusting to life in Estonia, ready to learn the local traditions, culture and even a little bit of Estonian language then Estonians will open their hearts and welcome you warmly. He thinks that Estonians are shy at first impression, but once you get to know them, you’ll make friends for life.