Quick guide: How to find your community?

This blog post was written by Marina, a Veterinary Medicine PhD student at the Estonian University of Life Sciences.

Moving to another country comes with a lot of changes and challenges. Classes, accommodation, all the bureaucracy, finding new friends…

Study in Estonia student ambassador Marina shares her experiences with finding the like-minded people in Estonia. She is a first year PhD student of Veterinary Medicine in Estonian University of Life Sciences and she has been in an "on-off relationship" with Tartu for already 4 years.

"The first few weeks after arriving in Estonia can be really stressful. It would be so great to find support in a group of like-minded people. And after the dust settles, we often long not only for friends, but for a community. You know, the people who don’t have classes with you, who are maybe not even near your age, but who think like you, who are interested in the same things – regardless if they are Estonians or also internationals," she writes. They could:  

  • be a member of religious community,
  • belong to a meditation club,
  • participate a  big band,
  • be anime fans,
  • or be vegans.

Wherever you are in Estonia, trust me, you can find your community. But how?

As for everything in this digitalized country, the answer is quite simple: Facebook.

Almost everything and everyone has a Facebook page.

So that’s it.

When I arrived in Tartu, I wanted to find vegan food. Is there even vegan food in Estonia? Don’t they only eat meat and sour cream?

From a friend, a dictionary, or just Google, I looked up what “vegan” meant in Estonian (and in this case, I was lucky, it is spelled the same, just pronounced slightly differently), I went on Facebook and typed: Tartu vegan.




And there it was: a group called “Tartu veganid” (“Vegans in Tartu”), and going from there, I found more. I found tips and tricks, could ask my questions, and met people. And among these people where some who are now my friends, and who are growing food in a community garden, so I found my gardening community.

Estonia is known as an unreligious country, but it is definitely possible to find your religious community. Looking for a Methodist church? Google translate, copy paste into Facebook – aha, there is a “metodisti kirik” in Tallinn!

And sports… Looking for a Cricket club? Check Facebook, ask around, you will find it, just like Rohish from India did.

If you can’t find what you are looking for directly, ask for help – the Study in Estonia Student Ambassadors can direct you, if the one answering your email can’t answer your question (I had no idea if there was a Cricket club anywhere), we ask the others.

Ask around in Foreigner’s Facebook Groups – that’s how Jan found other people who would meet to meditate together. There are “Foreigners in Tartu”, “Expats in Tallinn”, “Ukrainians in Tartu”, “Greeks in Estonia”, “Indians in Estonia” “Deutsche in Tartu”(Germans in Tartu), and so on. The Erasmus Network (https://www.esn.ee/) or the Solidarity Corps (https://europeansolidaritycorps.net/) can also help, either by organizing events where you can meet people, or by directing you to groups that could fit your needs.



The International Office of your University, or buddies, if they have a tutoring program, are also always helpful and at least know someone who can give you the information you need.

Public libraries offer computer services and can help translate as well! So you can go there, explain what you are looking for, and they will help you find it.

Apart from Facebook, word of mouth is the way to go. Of course, this can be daunting in the beginning: where do you even start?

But Estonians are such helpful people! When looking for a handicraft club, you may just ask in the art supply store, seriously! If the person at the counter doesn’t speak English, another customer might translate!

Just check out places and talk to the people there. Ashley from Canada for example simply went to the ice rink and did indeed find a hockey team there that she could join.

Finding your community can give you a safe space, a place to escape your everyday worries, it can give you a home away from home, and you will find friends there – it’s a great chance to make Estonian friends (which can be hard, as we have mentioned in previous blog posts).

So don’t be shy, go find your tribe!

Would you like to know more about studying in Estonia? Then visit our Study page!