The Dutch guys in Tartu

We decided to go to the Estonian Aviation Academy with a total of five Dutch guys; Dax Biesbrouck, Marthijn over de Linden, Robbert van Niekerk, Roger Smit and Stephan Diek. We chose for the second semester because this was more suitable considering our internships in The Netherlands and of course the weather in Estonia is better during the second semester! During the planning of our study in Tartu we decided that having a car would be desirable, so together we bought a big car which could carry all our stuff to Estonia and provide transportation while we were in Tartu. In the end of January 2012 Dax Biesbrouck and Marthijn over de Linden got in the car, fully loaded with all sorts of stuff and took off towards Estonia. It was a 2300km trip, so Dax and Marthijn made two overnight stops; one in Warsaw and one in Riga. These stops were very interesting and already there they made some new friends in the local clubs and bars. Robbert, Roger and Stephan went to Estonia by airplane.

Image: /photos/IMG_4779.JPG?1340091374057

During our first days we got a tour through the Estonian Aviation Academy by Erasmus Coordinator Paul Lääne and he showed us a very new, beautiful and modern school. The school has everything you could possible imagine for an Aviation school; flight simulator, ATC simulator, robotics room, computer facilities, extended library, a complete gym and not to forget an excellent canteen with cheap and satisfying food! So we got a great impression from the start!

In the first two weeks we were offered to choose our program; with a minimum of 30 ECTS. Because there were a lot of interesting subjects to choose from, we eventually choose a program of 35 ECTS and we all passed! The subjects were very diverse; one day we would work in the hangar building a wing from aluminium from scratch, the next day we got the basics of navigation while sitting in the classroom with people from the military and the next day we had lessons in improving our presentation and public speaking skills and so on! A very diverse course, which makes it extremely fun and interesting!

During our time at the Academy we experienced a very good time, lessons were great and sometimes even customized to our needs; if we already learned about a certain subject in The Netherlands we could get other learning material etc. All the teachers were very friendly and guided us very well! Halfway into our study we got a new Erasmus Coordinator; Karine Mandel. She helped us with everything we asked for, even when one of us became ill she assisted him to the hospital. She kept us up to date with everything what happened, schedules, marks, test etc. Excellent!

The living conditions in Estonia are good, we lived in a dormitory called Raatuse 22 (has a very good location). This is a dormitory with a lot of (ESN) foreign students from all over the world; Turkey, Spain, Latvia, Poland, Belgium, France, Germany etc.! Here you can rent an apartment with three rooms, with in each room place for two people. It is also possible to rent one room for yourself, this is highly recommended by us.

Estonia is a very modern country, the malls, schools, nightlife and roads are great. You can find Wi-Fi everywhere (every shopping mall, restaurant, pub and club), which makes contact with home very easy. Because Tartu is known as a student city there is more than enough to do in your free time; the park is always busy, the city square is always crowded, very good restaurants and the nightlife is more than excellent!

Overall we would recommend going to the Estonian Aviation Academy a lot, we had more than a great time here. The friendliness and help we experienced is more then we could possibly ask for, also the subjects and lessons are nice to do. Also because Tartu is so centrally positioned travelling is possible. During our time here we made trips to Stockholm, A ski-trip with the students of the Estonian Aviation Academy to Latvia, Riga, Tallinn and Saint Petersburg. The Estonian Aviation Academy also gave us the time to travel; lessons could be shifted very easily.

We are heading back to the Netherlands with a lot of new experiences which will be useful in the future when searching for the right job.

Aitäh meeldejääva aja eest Eesti Lennuakadeemias!

Dax Biesbrouck, Marthijn over de Linden, Robbert van Niekerk, Roger Smit and Stephan Diek

How to survive in Estonia :)

Agata Pierścionek, student of National Defence University in Warsaw

The road to Estonia is very simple. It is true that you need to spend 16 hours in a bus from Warsaw but the journey passes very good. The best thing is that you can take a lot more baggage than you can by an airplane. When you get to the heart of Tartu, you find the dormitory is at a distance of just 5 minutes from the bus station.

Despite the advantages of journey by bus, many challenges await a student. First and foremost, the most important and urgent issue for each student is accommodation. I recommend the dormitory for international students on street Raatuse. The cost of living in a shared room is only 100 Euros. The dormitory offers you an opportunity to live with students from different countries. The experience affords you a fun and unique opportunity to learn about other cultures. The bus station for bus directly leaving to the academy is also near this dormitory. If you do not know how to cook, a delicious lunch is available at Metro, a food outlet, next to the dormitory. Furthermore, I recommend a delicious lunch at an affordable price in the university canteen.

The university offers excellent technical and academic facilities. There is a large well-equipped library. In addition, each student has unlimited access to the Internet. All of the lab and lecture halls are equipped with multimedia projectors and computers. There is a very interesting choice of courses for Erasmus students, like Estonian courses for Beginners, and Introduction to Robotics. In the later, we studied in a small group comprising of 6 people, only Erasmus students. This allowed me to interact and learn in a group while getting explicit attention and mentorship from the teacher. During our sessions, we built robots from Lego bricks and tried to program the robots in motion using a special program. I think this helped us in developing our creativity in a fun and interesting way. I highly recommend this course. On the contrary, the course in Estonian language was quite difficult to learn. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to learn the native language of the country where you are. The phrases that I remembered the most are: Tere Tere, Kuidas Läheb? J Yet another very useful course is in Aviation English. It offers many new words to learn, especially for someone who has their future work in applied aviation. I cannot forget the lessons in Business English and Effective Speaking with Hans Künka. These were the great classes by a man who can incredibly motivate us to work. But this isn’t all. The practices which we had in the hangar proved to be very interesting. I never held a drill in my hand before. But it was not an obstacle. I think everything can be learned if you want. These are some of my favorite classes, but additionally I also recommend the courses that were based on Internet. These courses require a lot of self motivation to learn but also bring effects on us. The internet based courses do not say that we are left on our own. We can always count on help of teachers as well as all of the employees of EAVA. They are always willing to help. Whenever we had queries and concerns, we went to the coordinator and always found a solution to the problem.

I also have very positive memories from the social life in Tartu. Social and cultural life flourishes here all the time. It was an amazing opportunity to compare the psychology of people, their different views. These included the various religious views which made me understand some of the commonly misunderstood concepts and beliefs better. The life here also allowed me to explore and examine some of the issues and problems that are beyond the science books.

Studying abroad as Erasmus student gave me a living proof that travelling broadens the perspective. Despite the great differences in the lifestyles of students, I saw tolerance and understanding for each other’s beliefs. Each one of us here stared at the differences with the great fascination. I tried to understand and accept them with full compassion. Here you can also always count on help from the other students as there is no rivalry here, just mutual respect and cooperation.

I think that Tartu is a great place for the Erasmus students. Furthermore, I believe that the offered program and the university ranking are high. The quality of education definitely prepares the students very well for employment in aviation. If you get a chance, you do not have anything to fear. Just pack your stuff, and head this way. Tartu welcomes you!