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An Expat Talks about Living in Tallinn, Estonia

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Tallinn

How long have you lived there?

7 months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

British Chamber of Commerce American and Canadian Chambers of Commerce.

Get a hold of This Week in Tallinn )a bimonthly puiblication) and Baltic Times weekly newspaper to find names of clubs and churches that might be of interest.

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Need health insurance in Estonia? William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

About 35% are of Russian ancestry, and that is their usual language. They like going to Karaoki bars and paying a little to sing their hearts out. Many businesses function as much in Russian as in Estonian. It is hard to tell Estonians from Russian ancestry people unless you listen to them speaking with each other. Many Estonians do not like this group of people, and have made laws concerning their obtaining a total Estonian passport, with passing an Estonian language test )which the EU will probably rule to be a violation of human rights on Estonia joining that body). The Russian oriented people here are very different from Russians in Russia, in fact they think more or less alike with fellow Estonians.

Religion is not strong here. The population is pretty broad minded in a Scandinavian manner in terms of sexual mores, which anyone will find out quickly if they get cable TV, as after midnight anything is shown. They think of sex as a completely norman bodily function, like eating breakfast, and they are not prudes. There is also a high level of gay tolerance, with as many clubs here in this city of only 500,000 as are found in Moscow with its 15m. I do not think black people would find problems here like they do in Russia, but I haven't direct experience on this subject in this 100% white nation. I think there is very little experience here in meeting black people, as they have only been free of the ex Soviet Union for 11 years. I know there is no prejudice against Hispanic peoples.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

The city is one of the most hi-tech in the world. The timber and shipping industries are also of great importance

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Life here is family oriented up to a point, but many marriages are broken. Young people go out frequently to bars and clubs where English is generally well spoken. Foreigners are received in a friendly and welcome manner. In fact, they are plesantly surprised to see you here. Do not be shy about opening conversations.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Come here first and meet the people, and see how you like it. For winter, bring heaps of extremely warm clothes. Culturally it is a dream, with the concert hall and opera house performing 9 mos of the year, and best seats at only 11 dollars. Dining out at fine restaurants is no bargain. Bring Seasoning Salt in abundance, and boxes of seasoned stuffing if you like roast chook )or you'll have to make your own). MORE cigarettes also canä' be found here. You can join the Academic Library and check out books in English and many other languages.

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