Tallinn Summer School- One of the Best Experiences
I am David and currently I am studying for a PhD at the University of Glasgow in Social Geopolitics in Estonia and Finland after graduating in Politics from University College London. I am originally from the south-east of England, not far from London. I speak a little bit of French, German and Finnish, and as a graduate of Tallinn Summer School (TSS) and Winter School (TWS), intermediate Estonian.
Tallinn Summer School was easily one of the best experiences of my life, for so many reasons. Socially, the course was fantastic. The vast collection of different people from different backgrounds and countries across Europe and beyond was one of the things that made it so great.
Every day you would meet someone new with all of their different stories, and I made lasting friendships with people all over the world. The social activities planned by the organisers made this even better; there were beach parties, cycle tours, canoeing and camping, along with the International Evening and Closing Ceremony, all of which were incredible. All of the organising team were so friendly and always happy to help, and this was combined with a festival atmosphere in the dormitory and the wider city, where everyone was sociable with each other, there was always something going on, something different happening somewhere.
The cultural programme was simply excellent, I can’t think of a better way to get to know a country as amazing as Estonia than by taking part in the course. We went to museums in Tallinn which chronicled the vast and interesting history of the city and the country from its medieval roots right up to the present day. On the weekend were fantastic trips to all over the country, to intellectual Tartu, the heritage of the Old Believers village and the grand Alatskivi Castle, then later to Haapsalu, the historic spa town, and Pärnu, the summer capital. Along with stops to see some of the natural landscape of Estonia, these trips gave you the essentials, but there was still more to see. It is easy to overlook this small country tucked away in the north-east corner of Europe, but it is so worth a visit and the cultural programme really demonstrated to us just how great this country was.
On top of the weekend visits there was an ongoing cultural programme, which gave an insight into Estonia’s rich cultural heritage. Activities such as the dance workshop and singing in the students’ Estonian choir, things which are so important to the Estonian national identity, were a really unique window into the Estonian national character and definitely enriched my experience.
There were a wide variety of study options available, which added to the diversity of participants, none of whom had a bad word to say about the quality of their course. I took Elementary Estonian and was delighted with how far my language skills developed over the course of three weeks. The teacher was supportive, knowledgeable and creative in her lessons, which meant
that by the end of the Summer School I was able to surprise everyone back home with quite how far I had improved. Whether your interest is in Russian language, computer programming, or even the incredibly popular short film course, everything was well delivered and contributed to the amazing atmosphere during the Summer School.
Overall, I would recommend the Tallinn Summer School as one of the best ways you can choose to spend your summer. I can’t think of better way to study, learn, get to know a fantastic country and culture, and meet the most amazing people!
Text by Dave Edwards (TSS participants).
The registration to Tallinn Summer School 2016 is open, choose a course and register on TSS webpage!