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Pros and Cons of Living in Estonia | Expat Exchange
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City Center Tartu, Estonia

Pros and Cons of Living in Estonia

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Aug 10, 2023

Summary: The pros of living in Estonia include its beautiful natural scenery, its vibrant culture, and its excellent education system. Estonia also has a strong economy and a low cost of living, making it an attractive destination for expats. Additionally, the country is known for its high quality of life, with a strong emphasis on work-life balance. On the other hand, the cons of living in Estonia include its cold climate, its language barrier, and its limited job opportunities. Additionally, the country is still relatively small and isolated, making it difficult to access certain services and amenities.

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What are the pros and cons of living in Estonia?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Estonia responded:

"Expats and digital nomads living in Estonia appreciate the country's high quality of life, with its low cost of living, excellent public transportation, and vibrant cultural scene. They also enjoy the fact that Estonia is a tech-savvy nation, with a strong digital infrastructure and a supportive environment for entrepreneurs. On the downside, some expats and digital nomads find the language barrier to be a challenge, as English is not widely spoken outside of the major cities. Additionally, the long, dark winters can be difficult to adjust to for those coming from warmer climates," remarked one expat in Estonia.

"I lived in Tartu for several years, married my Ex Estonian wife here in the US, where we had two daughters then moved to Tartu. My work schedule on TV 7-8 hours ahead meant being up at 2-3am, and 4 satellite hops, which were expensive. A lot of what has been said is true. Tartu is really nice and quaint, changing rapidly. I remember when the first Mcdonald's went in, and it's been invaded since then with all the junk food you can imagine. I spoke extremely little Estonian, which at times was difficult. My daughters and ex are fluent in English and Estonian, so I often had a translator. I grew up in Mn and Chicago, so Estonia is cold in Winter, but I have been colder. DARK, though, is absolutely pitch black. It can be depressing. There are indoor spas and things, but the darkness can take a toll. The opposite is true in summer when it's constantly light. I mean, at midnight, the sun is up, 2 am. It bothered me more than the dark. The good news and bad news is Tartu is small. With 120k people or so and the second biggest city in Estonia, well, anyone who dislikes small-town life, it's not for you. In fact, the entire country may not be, except for a visit. I remember when Estonia joined the EU and NATO. I remember when they didn't use the Euro, it all happened pretty fast. The Estonian economy changed rapidly. Prices came in line with Western Europe. Wages didn't meet the needs. And still don't for many people. In Tartu, employment can be hard to find. Anyway, I have mixed emotions about Tartu, little too small for me, but nice," explained one expat in Tartu.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

City Center Tartu, Estonia

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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