50 Thoughts From 50 Expats in Estonia (Part 1/2)

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50 thoughts from 50 expats in Estonia (part 1/2)

Wondering what’s it like to live as an expat in Estonia? Fifty current expats share both the beautiful and the ugly sides of living in Estonia. Here are the first 25 opinions:

1. Jie Yin, from China

“Estonia is a small nation with a lots of potential. It is my absolute pleasure to be observing the developments of this beautiful country. I am an opera tenor soloist and recitalist, and I have been living in Estonia for over 12 years. This country has become my second home, therefore I truly hope to see more connections to be built between my first home – China and my second home – Estonia.”

2. Anonymous, from Ireland

“I have mixed feelings and reactions to living here. The country itself is lovely, very scenic. And I feel incredibly safe here. I have no problems walking alone, using public transport or being alone in the evenings. I haven’t had any negative experiences here, thankfully. I think for me it’s more a personal feeling here. I feel sometimes quite lonely and isolated. The language barrier is a definite and clear obstacle.”


3. Oshani Weerasinghe Sirimewan, from Sri Lanka

“Excellent!! I am living here with my family. Proud to say that everything is great.”

4. Janne Enberg, from Finland

“Get e-residency in advance, having the ID for signing things is going to make things easier.”

5. Alexander Corkhill, from United Kingdom

“It’s a super place to live. Especially if you like nature. I love the fact that (most of the time) you get to experience all four seasons of the year. That’s very cool.”

6. Gerson Noboa, from Ecuador

“Don’t be afraid of the weather! Sure it’s cold but it is manageable. I always get this question from people that haven’t been to Estonia, especially because I come from a very warm country. Also, Estonians seem to be especially nice when they notice you are learning their language and they see you trying. So even though you can manage with English, learning Estonian would make your life easier and will be pleasant for Estonians around you as well.”

7. Seni Joshua

“If you’re black, Indian, non-white pigmented, count the costs seriously before coming. People don’t say this enough.”

8. Matthijs Quaijtaal, from the Netherlands

“Learn the language as soon as possible.”

9. Zack Archer, born in Tallinn to foreign parents  

“It might be hard to get to know some Estonian locals at first, but once you get to know them they are some of the coolest people you can meet.”

10. Heliand Dema, from Albania

“If you come from a southern country where food is not just to fill up your stomach, learn to cook home-made food; otherwise you will be disappointed. If you are Italian get used to see your worse nightmare, pasta with ketchup or pizza with pineapple (also available with strawberry from Almero ‘authentic Italian’ pizzeria in case you are immune to pineapple).”

11. Roberto Perestrello, from Madeira

“Adjust to Estonian life, know from start that food granted in the south is expensive, but exists here so expect to have money to buy it. I think it is wrong changing Estonia to be like southern countries, otherwise why move here? Makes no sense…”

12. Steffi Thomas

“At the moment I am only thinking how fast it is possible to find a job outside and far away from Estonia. I like the country because of the nature and our friends, but I really dislike the political structure and the payment culture.”

13. Chris Polmans, from the Netherlands

“Start your own company. That way you help the country to further develop partially by creating jobs. Furthermore in almost all cases, it will provide you with a way higher pay check in the end of the month (unless you are in the IT sector, then the jobs are paid quite well).”

14. Alicia de Mendieta, from Spain

“Such a pretty place for living if you have a good amount of savings. Perfect for spiritual retirement to enjoy quietness (people don’t talk to you). If you are thinking to write a novel, it could be a perfect place. If you’re thinking about work, making friends and having a normal life, go to another place. Workers’ syndicates are inexistent and frowned upon. Remunerated lunch and breaks during your work time, too. Be prepared to consider 10-hour working day as normal.”

15. Sabu Mustafa
“I like to live in Estonia. I feel happy to stay here, especially because of transportation and the way people behave in the government sectors; both are awesome. I respect this nation and hopefully I will do something to be a part of this nation…. I love Estonia!
16. Anonymous, from Finland
“Estonia is great. I appreciate the fact that you can do almost everything online. It makes my life so much easier and I can save lots of time.”
17. Jori, from Finland
“Life is good! As long as there is Viru Kange drink!”
18. Amandeep Singh, from India
“I like the cleanliness and the transportation system. Good city to be in, except some problems in finding jobs for English speakers. Too little sunlight, even youngsters smoke a lot (can check the School or Gymnasium – as they call it – at Kosmos).
19. Natsuko Vähi, from Japan
“A nation which is very close. Everything is interesting because it is very different from the culture of my country.”
20. Reem Hesham, from Egypt
“Tallinn - the city of beautiful robots! Almost 4 years here and I have 0 Estonian friends… But it is quiet and peaceful. Hope it will stay like this!”
21. Ahmed González Saeed
“I am sick and tired of the negativity here and the awful attitudes towards foreigners let alone the grumpiness and sad faces people put 24/7. I have been in many places before, in over 5 continents and people were happy in many impoverished nations. Here the country isn’t doing bad at all and people seem grumpy without a real reason and those who say it’s because of the climate are just fooling themselves. Sadness and depression seem like a cultural thing here. Sorry for the rant, but I have been putting up with so many things here and bottling up my frustration.”
22. Yoana, from Bulgaria
“I’ve lived here for over a year. I love how all the e-services offered make life much easier, you can do anything you need to do, online with a few clicks. Good quality education, clean cities, convenient public transport; it’s not very expensive to live here compared to many other EU countries. Plus Estonian is the most interesting language I’ve ever studied.”
23. Martina Di Pasquale, from Italy
“I’m always very surprised to hear how Estonia, such a small country, has revolutionised so many people’s lives! And it’s happened to me too: life has taken a direction that I never planned, but perhaps always wished…”
24. Naprapa Phupiewpa, from Thailand
“Tennis courts are expensive here…”
25. Anonymous, from Germany
“I enjoy living in Estonia. You can make a really comfortable living and I think the country will only progress from now on.”

Hope you enjoyed reading what expats in Estonia have to say about living in this country. Stay tuned for the second part of this blog, coming up next week!
If you’re an expat in Estonia, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts, as well!

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