Note: I write this post after having done my Erasmus semester. http://www.flickr.com/photos/guillaumespeurt/sets/72157631461922420/
I am 23 years old, I have never traveled, I have never had to speak English, I have never liked to drink and I never really listened or understood foreign cultures. But today everything will change, I will change and I am not aware of what is happening now.
The motivation of my Erasmus
For years it was told to me that having a (relevant) experience abroad would be seen as a strong point in my curriculum, I could agree agree but where to go? Why to go? How to go?
I find an the answers after a introduction meeting about possibilities offert to us for studying abroad in my University. It came out that I will do an Erasmus semester somewhere because I couldn’t get a chance for a one-year experience in Canada.
Important motivation for this semester outside my University is that … it is outside my University! Second is that I felt I really really need to improve my English. After having incredibily failled part of my most important contest because of this language.. 3/20. Well…
After having been enrolled in my new University I have started a new intensive cycle of self-motivation in this language, by trying to learn, actually.
Estonia were not in my mind at first. I wished to join the Scandinavian countries (I had a kind of love for thoose countries, but I don’t know from where it came). When I went for information at my University it was told me that few destination were still available.
Our International Coordinator informed me about the three or for possibility, among which were Tallinn, Riga, maybe Vilnius and another city. I choose Tallinn after having check a world map: Tallinn is in the north! So yes, you understand that I realy didn’t know anything about Estonia and post-soviet countries in general.
Where I’m going?
Another interesting point was that I had my first flight ever to join Sweden on Estonian Air. Not scary at all. Unless the very begining: when I almost missed my flight because we left home not enough early…
Landing in Stockholm
I often say that Estonia is my first foreign country ever visited (I do not count the Belgium border) that is false, I had 2 or 3 hours spent in a terminal in Stockholm! Nothing relevant I know :p It was very impressive to see the difference between Swedish and French airport: In Sweden it was not crowed, everything was clean and well presented. I also see they hadn’t so much snow outside compare to the next airport.
Put a feet in Estonian ground
Finaly I reached it. My new home. At the aiport I met my tutor, Estonian girl with who I had few mail exchange. She were there and after presentation offered me my Welcome Pack which contain my first SIM card.
She called a taxi to us join the Academic Hostel, where I will live. Cheap taxi, Russian guy, so much snow everywhere and no belt in the car 😀 What a good begining! My tutor was nice and talked with me despite I couldn’t answered her most of the time (remember, my English is bad) but still we had a little conversation in the car.
Discovering the Academic Hostel
Arriving at the hostel she talk with the receptionist, it seemd that my roomate wasn’t defined then they ask me if I want to share my room with a French or a foreigner, I couldn’t decided but my tutor did for me: « he will stay with the other guy ». One thing done. (She was more than right btw).
It was the first and last time I saw her, she had to left me to study.
When my tutor left I went to my room, I was the first to came. It was empty and clean. I noticed that I haven’t eat for the day and I started to be hungry. The receptionist shown me on a drawing map where to find the closest shop, still open.
I walked in the night despite it wasn’t rellay late and in the cold snow to that shop « straigh in this direction 15min walk ». I didn’t got lost and could admire the landscape. Mustamae is a living area made from many grey buildings. Only the University’s buildings contrast with them.
Meet my flatemates
While I was outside two of my flatemate arrived in the hostel, Wojtek coming by car from Poland and Alexis by plane from France. I will met my roomate a bit later after having eat my cookies.
His name was Adam and he also came from Poland. He spoke as good English as mine was shitty. What a contrast. To be clear I haven’t understood his first questions, and he seemed surprised. I remember that after some times I went back in my room and opened my « English for dumbies-like » book 😀 Fuuuu « I have to work hard ».
The first thing I told myself was « you’re gonna have pretty good semester »
I was in the city for just 24 hours that I had my first ESN event, a pub crawl, special way to meet various people and socialize. I didn’t know but I have met some of my best friends that night.
After having divided people into many group on the Freedom square, the team-learders gave each group a map of Tallinn with the five pubs to visit. They were not close to each other (I know Tallinn is small) and I talked a lot with my group, only one guy was from France, that a performance when you know that half of Erasmus people came from my country.
I drank my first shot with him, the Milli Malikas, very tasty and strong drink. My night could hardly started better! Alcohol helping I start to speak more fluently and easily to people I met (actualy I just stop carring of my possible mistakes).
Tour in Tallinn Old Town
After a friday night of walking and discovering the old town of Tallinn between the pubs I took part to the city tour with the International Coordinator of TTU. She shown us the main interests of the city and had always nice stories and facts for everything.
First international party
The day end in the Academic Hostel, my Polish flatemates decided to make a huge party and to invit all the people from hostel to join. It was not already 3 days that we are here and if I first I was a bit shock, it appeared to be clearly a good idea! How many new faces I met, how many friend I made… I still consider this night as the key point of our Erasmus life, how we managed to have a so strong group of foreigners.
That was our first, but not the last, party in the new famous 4th floor!