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Eesti Arstiteadusüliõpilaste Selts/EstMSA
Estonia flag.jpg Eays logo.jpg
Location EU location Est.jpg

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Participating cities (LC's)


Languages Estonian
Currency (how much is a Bigmac?) Euro
Time zone GMT +2
Number of Doctors and beds per 1000 people 21 doctors per 1000; 0,3 beds per 1000 people (data from year 2002)
Member of IFMSA since... 1993
Number of incoming students per year 24-30
Who are our NEO's Kadri Peterson
Our official website / Forum / Facebook group
Come for exchange!

Welcome Note

Dear all that are coming to Estonia in August,

this is a welcome letter to give you the basic information about your staying in Estonia.

First, you have to get to Tartu on your own (usually). There is a bus stop at the airport of Tallinn. However, since it's not the first stop of the bus, sometimes (rarely though) the bus might be full already, in which case you might want to go to the Tallinn Central bus station, which is not far from the airport ( . The buses to Tartu from Tallinn leave every half an hour and the trip takes 2h 25min, costs about 10-11 euros ( .

LET YOUR FIRST CONTACT PERSON KNOW IN ADVANCE, WHEN YOUR PLANE IS LANDING AND WHICH BUS YOU ARE PLANNING ON TAKING. SMS your contact person when you are in the bus and know the time exactly when you arrive to Tartu and we'll pick you up from there.

You are going to live in a student dormitory in double rooms. There will be a kitchen (shared by 4 persons), so you can cook there, but there might not be dishes. Therefore we collect old dishes from the local students, however, there might be not everything you need for cooking. Whether you need to bring sheets or towel will be told to you by either your contact person or the NEO. The hospital is about 35 min by foot and 15-20 min by bus.

At the hospital you need white coat, stethoscope and shoes. It is possible that during the summer many doctors are on vacation and some of the departments might be not working on full capacity.

When it comes to food, depending on the location of the canteen, you'll either be given pocket money or coupons for food from monday to friday (about 3€ per day)

Prices? As in every other country, everything is cheaper in the supermarkets than in the bar. An average meal when eating out costs about 7€, a beer in a pub is around 2.50€.

About social program, in the previous years we have gone to the islands or nature or canoeing etc. There are a lot of museums in Tartu, there're beaches (in Tartu by a river, nearby Tartu 1h many beautful lakes) where you can sunbathe, swim or play volleyball etc.

Usually we organize a welcome-party, a good-bye-party and durng the stay different outings, national food and drinks parties, trips to other cities, countries and islands. Most students have gone to Helsinki and Riga during they stay here.

Our contact persons are really nice and you are always welcome to ask them questions about the exchange or whatever interests you.

We are happy to help you to go to a trip by yourself or with some on the other students.

See You in Estonia!


Estonia is a small country in North-East Europe, but it is not as small as you might think, its territory (45227 km2) is even bigger than for example the territory of the Netherlands. We have about 1500 islands.

Estonia has a lot of beautiful well-preserved nature. About 2/3 of territory is covered wilderness - 50 % of the territory is covered with forests, about 20% with the swamps=wetlands.

The highest point of Estonia is 318 m.

We only have 1,34 million inhabitants (which is less than in most of the big cities in the world). The capital of Estonia is Tallinn, but we like to have a lot of different unofficial capitals (Pärnu is the summer capital because of its beautiful beach, Otepää is the winter capital because of the great skiing possibilities, Türi is the spring capital because a big flower market is held there and Narva is the autumn capital for no particular reason and of course we have Tartu which is the capital of intellect). Estonia is a member of EU and NATO since 2004. Estonia is part of The Schengen Area since 2007. The official language of Estonia is Estonian which is a finno-ugric language similar to Finnish. The language does not have any sexes or future tense, but has 14 cases. You can try pronouncing words like õueaiaäär, jää-äär or veoauto. Estonia is very good in Internet based technologies so in most of the public places you have a free Internet access. In addition, Estonia was the first country in the world to launch e-elections (you could vote just by inserting you ID-card to the computer), most of the schools use e-school (you can see your grades and homework on the Internet and parents can check when have you been absent) and in 2009 more than 90 % of the income tax declarations were done via Internet.

Estonian educational system is claimed to be very good. The literacy rate here is 99,8% (the second place in the world). Estonia become independent in 1918 but was then occupied by the Soviet Union from the Second World War till 1991 when there was so called singing revolution. Singing has always been and still is very important for Estonians, after every five years Estonian Song Festival is held – it is one of the largest amateur choral events in the world (35 000 singers in front of the audience of 200 000 people). This is something that really unites Estonians. The most common religion is Lutheran (14,8 %), but religion doesn´t play a big role in the society of Estonia The most famous Estonians are super model Carmen Kass, composer Arvo Pärt and Neeme Järvi, rally driver Marko Märtin, sumo wrestler Baruto, singer Kerli Kõiv, tennis player Kaia Kanepi. Estonians are fond of quoting Hemingway: "In every port in the world, at least two Estonians can be found."

Healthcare system

The Health Insurance Fund covers the costs of health services required by the person in case of illness regardless of the amount of social tax paid for the person concerned. The purpose of health insurance in Estonia is to cover the costs of health services provided to insured persons, prevent and cure diseases, finance the purchase of medicinal products and medicinal technical aids, and provide the benefits for temporary incapacity for work and other benefits.

All people insured with the Health Insurance Fund have a family practitioner. A person needs a referral from the family practitioner to visit a medical specialist. No referral is needed to visit a psychiatrist, gynaecologist, dermatovenerologist, ophthalmologist, dentist, pulmonologist (for tuberculosis treatment), infection specialist (for HIV/AIDS treatment), surgeon or orthopaedist (for traumatology). In the case of emergency treatment, a person may always  go to the emergency reception or call an ambulance. One can reach an ambulance on 112  from all over Estonia.

The hospitals

Estonia has two regional hospitals: Tartu University Hospital (Tartu Ülikooli Kliinikum) and North-Estonian Regional Hospital (Põhja-Eesti Regionaalhaigla) and lots of general and county hospitals all over Estonia.

The exchange will be taking place in the Tartu University Hospital

Our medical education

In Estonia students can study medicine, dentistry and pharmacy only in University of Tartu.

The duration of the basic course depends on the speciality: ·       medicine                6 years ·       dentistry               5 years ·       pharmacy              5 years   The basic course is taught for all specialities at the Faculty of Medicine according to the approved curriculum. In medicine first three years are preclinical and last three years clinical courses. The residency training of medical specialists is currently performed according to 40 different programmes including 3 programmes for specialization in dentistry. The duration of residency is 3 till 5 years according to speciality. Duration of doctorancy is 4 years.

Cultural differences


The traditional cuisine of Estonia has substantially been based on  meat  and potatoes, and on fish in coastal and lakeside areas, but is influenced by many other cuisines by now. In the present day it includes a variety of international foods and dishes, with a number of contributions from the traditions of nearby countries. German, Scandinavian, Russian and other influences have played their part. Black rye bread accompanies almost every savory food in Estonia.

A traditionally popular drink is called kali and it is similar to Russian kvass. Estonians like to drink kali after sauna or during the hot summertime. Very popular is also locally brewed beer. Two of Estonia's oldest breweries are A.le Coq and Saku Brewery. Wine is widely drunk, and although it is still not as popular as beer, it is becoming all the more common. There are also Estonian fruit wines made of apples or different berries. Estonians are also proud of their vodka (one of the more famous one is called Viru Valge)  and other drinks, such as the liquer Vana Tallinn.

Milk is also widely drunk by children as well as adults and Estonians love to eat a lot of dairy products like yogurt, curd, sour cream, cottage cheese and more..


The sole official language in Estonia is Estonian. Russian is still spoken as a secondary language by thirty- to seventy-year-old ethnic Estonians, because Russian was the unofficial language of the Estonian SRR from 1944 to 1991 and taught as a compulsory second language during the Soviet era. A lot of eighty-year-olds and older also speak German. Most of the younger generation speaks English and it is also taught as the 1st foreign language in most of the schools. So don´t be afraid to ask things in English!

If you want to learn some estonian words/pronounciations, you can have a look at this site (but don't take it too seriously:D)


Estonians usually greet by saying „Tere“ (Hello) or Tsau (like ciao). When introduced to an Estonian you may be greeted by shaking hands. If you are a close friend you are welcomed or said goodbye by hugging. So if they don´t kiss you on cheeks or hug you on the first day of arrival it doesn´t mean they don´t like you.


Sauna plays an important role in the culture of Estonia, it is not just a place to wash yourself but it is mainly a place for socializing. So in Estonia you can´t skip a sauna party! It´s a place to relax and chat, afterwards drinking beer and just having a good time. When you´re in the countryside in the summer, some people run straight from the sauna to a waterbody (a lake/river/pond) to cool themselves off. Similarily, in the winter, some people run outside to snow.Traditionally each household had a sauna. The usual temperature for the sauna "hot room" is 85-100 degrees.

Key phrases

Tere/tervist - Hello; Head aega - Good bye; Tänan/aitäh - Thank You; Palun - Please ; Terviseks! - Cheers; Vabandust - Excuse me; Minu nimi on... - My name is ....; Ma armastan sind - I love you; Tule mulle naiseks - Marry me; Ma ei räägi eesti keelt – I don’t speak Estonian; Kas Te räägite inglise keelt – Do you speak English?;

For pronounciations visit google translate :D

Accommodation & Boarding

The students coming to Estonia will be provided free accommodation for four weeks, the duration of the exchange. If they wish to stay for a longer period of time, they will have to pay for the extra time themselves. The participants will have a free meal once a day in a cafe/pub/restaurant. The students will be accommodated in a hostel. The hostels are modern and clean. There are washing machines you can use (for a little money) and there is internet. However you might have to bring your lan-wire for that.

Social program

Is organised by the LC (Tartu) and we try to offer as much we can. Often the students arrange some trips to Helsinki and Riga as well. We are always happy to help you plan. We arrange a "Welcome Party" so You can meet the other students and our own medical students as well. There are trips to the nature and when the weather is good we are visiting the summer capital -Pärnu or the islands Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. We can show You where to go to have fun and dance during the evenings and where the cinema and theatre are and were to eat and drink :)!

Local & National transportation

You can get to Estonia by plane, by bus and even by ship.


If you come by plane, you can search your options from different pages. For destination you can choose Tallinn, Riga, Tartu or even Helsinki. My experience has shown that cheapest flights are to Riga and Tallinn. From Tallinn and Riga you can get to Tartu by bus which stop at the airport. More info about buses from Tallinn: (very well connected to Tartu) from Riga:

From Tallinn you can also get to Tartu by train, more info about tickets and departure/arriving times you can get: . However the are a few trains each day.


If you like to see more Europe and take a longer trip, you can also come by bus. Here are some bus companies web sites: You can also use these companies to come from Riga to Tartu.


If you come to Tartu through Helsinki you need to use ship to cross the sea. Most common companies, what cross the sea are Tallink and Viking Line. Their web sites are:

For getting around in Tartu:


Although students usually go on foot in Tartu, you may need to use public transportation in the mornings, the buses. You just need to know the bus stop you wish to hop on and the bus stop to hop off. You can buy single ticket for student (0,51 €), 10-day ticket for student (4,15 €) or 30-day student ticket (8,63 €). Bus timetables are in Internet - . On the same page you can search your route if you wish to explore more about Tartu .

Taxi In some rare cases you might need a taxies. The cheapest are Tartu Linna Takso (phone number +372 7 366 366), Minu Takso (phone number +372 7 333 333) or Takso Üks (phone number +372 1300).


The moderating influence of the Baltic Sea does

battle with the frosty Russian winds, making for uncertain but nonetheless freezing temperatures in winter (November to March) and just a few hours of semi daylight every 24 hours. From May to September average days are in the pleasant range of 15 – 25 °C, though nights can still be rather chilly. Though snowy in winter, there is regular, mild to moderate rainfall throughout the year, becoming slightly heavier towards spring.

Social life

In Tartu:

Worth to see:

Town Hall and it’s square (Raekoja plats) Vanemuise Theatre University Botanical Gardens (Botaanikaaed) - Lai Tänav University / St. John's Church - Ulikooli Tänav Tartu Tourist Attractions: Toomemägi (Cathedral Hill)

Tartu Restaurants and Tartu Dining

Since this university city has a significant student population, a large number of the eateries and dining options in Tartu are quite lively and animated, particularly at night-time. The city has become known in Estonia for its thriving nightlife, and so after a meal, you won't have far to head if you wish to round your evening off at a nightclub or two.

Some of the most notable restaurants in Tartu include the Dolce Vita on the Kompanii st, which is just a short stroll from the Raekoja Plats and known for its thin-crust pizzas. Further eateries in central Tartu include several good options along the Rüütli, with French-style crepes at the Crepp, rustic meals and skewered meats (shashliks) at the Gruusia Saatkond. If you want a quick delicious bite, you can go to a fast food cafe like Teine Koht.

Of course, it is the Raekoja Plats where most tourists head and this spacious Town Hall Square boasts a series of popular outdoor cafes, along with underground cellar-style restaurants. The Suudlevad Tudengid comes highly recommended. A large pub in the most famous Pirogov park, called Püssirohu kelder (gunpowder cellar) has a Guiness record for the pub with the highest ceiling in the world.

Tartu Museums and Tartu Art Galleries

The museums of Tartu cover an array of different subject matters, with a number of quality art galleries showcasing Estonian art works at their very best. Particularly noteworthy is the Tartu University Art Museum, which has become known for its extensive collection of plaster casts of many sculptures from ancient Greece.

The Tartu Art Museum is another of the city's cultural attractions not to miss and is located on the central Raekoja Plats. Formerly the residence of Colonel Barclay de Tolly (1761 - 1818), the Tartu Art Museum was constructed partly above the remains of an old town wall, which has given the building a rather famous lean.

Illustrating how a burgher lived in the city during the 1830s, the 19th-century Citizen's Home Museum is also home to many period furnishings.

The Estonian Literary Museum contains a host of Estonian folklore memorabilia and cultural artefacts.

Something for lovers of beer, the history of the brewing process is explored at the A Le Coq Beer Museum, focusing on the various machines involved in creating the famous local tipple, where can be sampled at the end of the tour.

Tartu Toy Museum is located in an old wooden building in the heart of Tartu’s Old Town and displays toys that children in Estonia have played with throughout the ages.

Popular night spots

Tartu enjoys a thriving nightlife, thanks to its large student population. Popular night spots are the Gunpowder Cellar, Club Tallinn, Club Illusioon, Pub Zavood, Möku and Genialists's Club.

Exchange conditions

Our exchange conditions can be viewed in the IFMSA database.

All students coming to Estonia must read the exchange conditions.

We have 1 Local Committee - Tartu.

Please note that we only have exchanges August and only full months are possible. More details when the exchange begins and ends you find in Card of Acceptance in Database. Please, try to arrive on time (+-2 days from the official dates)

Also, for smoother exchange send your arrival and departure dates, times and places as soon as possible.


Cities offered for exchange

TARTU - <-- this is your source page for the city page

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