What do expats in Estonia appreciate most about the local culture?
We asked expats and digital nomads what they appreciate the most about the local culture in Estonia. They wrote...
"Expats in Estonia appreciate the country's strong sense of community and the welcoming attitude of the locals. They also enjoy the country's rich cultural heritage, with its many festivals, museums, and galleries. Additionally, expats appreciate the country's natural beauty, with its forests, lakes, and coastline. The country's vibrant nightlife and excellent food scene are also popular among expats. Finally, Estonia's high-tech infrastructure and digital-friendly environment make it an attractive destination for those looking to work remotely," commented one expat who made the move to Estonia.
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"The education of people here. Bonfires. Jaanipäev. Birthdays. Jõul. The healthy food and healthy lifestyle. Healthy food is more affordable than unhealthy food and at gatherings I don't have to worry about unhealthy things being served. It's almost always high quality and healthy. It's also easy to walk or ride your bike everywhere. The appreciation for nature - both being in nature and also how green the cities are and how green the lifestyle is here. I'm still thankful over how easy it is to recycle and that I don't have to drive a car. I also don't produce as much waste here. The air quality is great too. There's free buses in some cities. The train is clean and a joy to take. The sincerity and honesty. People mind their own business out of respect. There's no small talk with strangers. I don't have a lot acquaintances or any fair weather friends. Even friends and family here respect my privacy and I do the same. I like what "respect" is here and what's considered manners. There's not as much classism. People don't ask where I work unless it's for a reason. My value isn't on how much money I make. In fact, it's not a flashy culture. That might actually be a little taboo. What is considered success is not the same as in the states and I like that. People don't flash being happy either and when it is there, it is genuine. It's not a competition. I see happiness now as a reserved sacred thing. It's a valuable treasure that I share with loved ones not strangers. I'm somewhat joking but somewhat not. Kohuke and kohupiim The humour. Lots of sarcasm and dry. It can be dark at times or just plain ridiculous. The movie Vanamehe Film is funny. I joke around with a straight face now sometimes. Family oriented and friends for life. It's one of the cliches here. I don't know how much of this is true but for me it is. The friends I have here mean the world to me and it is for life. The work and leisure balance. I know I am saying a lot of cliches here but these things are what I appreciate. I like living within the EU. I can travel easily and traveling is more a part of the culture here. I also like all the perks that most hear about in the states like vacation time and affordable medical. SPRING!!! Electric scouters Cafe culture The quiet break during the first part of winter, after an exciting summer. After this short break, it's time for saunas and the national winter sport of complaining. Complaining about how cold it is in the winter but really it isn't that cold, I'm just complaining because it's dark. Everything is miserable and all hope is lost..... or at least everyone acts like it during winter. It's a fun national winter sport that I like to take part in. It's not a religious nation and if others are it's kept private and seen as a personal thing. It's other's business not mine. I feel a type of contentedness and security that I never did in the states. I don't know what exactly it is about the culture here but I feel a type of safeness and comfy feeling that I don't really have a word for. It solidifies more and more as time goes on. I now experience culture shock when I go to the states which I hardly ever go anymore. How adaptable everyone is. Humble and adaptable. Also how quickly things progress here. Things change quick. There's always a new building being erected or fresh paint being put on somewhere. Even more rural places have made so much progress since I've been here yet people are still humble. Estonia is developing so rapidly that there is something new every year. The people are just as adaptable and they are the reason why things have progressed so wonderfully. Go Estonia!!!! It's peaceful and quiet. I can keep going on because I appreciate all but three things about Estonia. Estonia really is my home. I am in it for the long haul. One more thing and it's too hard to break down why this is but..... The very high quality of life I have here in comparison to how it was in the states. You won't see me smiling in public but my life is good. I'm thinking it's this way with a lot of people here. You just have to know where to look or more like....how to live in Estonia. The things that matter really do matter. So you get those things and live that way and then you're good. It's as simple as that," remarked another expat in Tartu, Estonia.
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What do expats in Estonia appreciate most about the local culture?If you live in Estonia, newcomers to Estonia would love to hear your answer to this question.
About the Author
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.