Study in Estonia and feel like a local
The process of obtaining higher education in Estonia is quite similar to studying in other states of the European Union, and the diplomas issued by local universities are accepted internationally. But what is the beginning of the school year like in Estonia, what traditions are there, and where to find the information you need? We have prepared a brief overview of what happens at the beginning of the school year.
1st of September is known as Knowledge day in Estonia, when special attention is paid to those starting their school journey; this is one of the days when the national flag is hoisted. Festive school assemblies are held in all educational institutions, and the principals welcome the students to the new school year with a speech. Speeches held on this day focus on the importance of education in the development of the state, the nation, and the individual. This is a day of celebration, which also normally holds some significance for everybody, even those who do not start school themselves.
There are no lessons as such on the 1st of September: it is a festive introduction to the beginning of the academic year. Events to celebrate Knowledge Day are held in nearly all educational institutions, primary schools and universities alike, and special attention is paid to those about to begin their studies: first-grades, 10th grade students about to begin upper secondary school and first-year university students. After the school or university assembly, future fellow students usually hang out together to get to know one another.
Studies begin on the 2nd of September, when first lectures of the courses are held, normally introducing the subjects. The first days of the academic year are also the right time to learn where the departments of the university are and what they do. If you have not joined the university library yet, this is high time you did, and finding out what student organisations or hobby clubs there are to join would be handy as well.
Some universities hold guided tours for foreign students in August or early September, and these are a good opportunity to discover the buildings on campus and the city alike. Make sure to subscribe to your university’s newsletters so that you get the information meant for foreign students in advance.
Studying in Estonia can certainly be fun because university students have plenty of leisure options. You can make the academic year extremely exciting and eventful if you want to. A great number of various events take place in Tallinn and Tartu throughout the year. In autumn and spring, Student Days are held with plenty of contests, concerts, and other happenings.
In September or early October, second-year students traditionally organise student initiation ceremonies for freshers, which stands for an evening full of fun quests and a great opportunity for you and your fellow students to develop a team spirit.
Studying in Estonia is simple to organise if you turn to special support organisations for advice. For example, the Study in Estonia web page provides plenty of useful information. The International House of Estonia can give valuable advice on how to deal with various types of paperwork, but it is the Studying Module of the programme Settle in Estonia that will provide a comprehensive overview of the country’s entire education system and give you answers to any questions.
As the spread of the coronavirus may affect travel restrictions and the operation of educational institutions at any time, we recommend checking the following information channels regularly.
Restrictions and statistics related to COVID-19: https://www.kriis.ee/en
Travel information and restrictions: https://vm.ee/en/information-countries-and-self-isolation-requirements-passengers
Migration counsellors: https://www.politsei.ee/en/migration-consultants
Study in Estonia provides information abouts the documents and arrangements needed for studying in the country: https://studyinestonia.ee/en/contact
For more detailed information about the organisation of studies at your university, please contact its Office of the Registrar.
Picture: Riina Varol, Brand Estonia