Tag Archives: Study

The old man and the window

Living in a street covered in red lights in a medium-sized Dutch city offers room for interesting observations of human behaviour.

I stare out of my window in the 1st floor. My window is huge and beautiful, but that is not the point. The point is that I am looking out of the window, knowing that only a few meters from my window I find windows covered in darkish red lights, the color provided by neon tubes. Each evening after work, I spend some minutes at my huge and beautiful window, staring at the traffic of people passing by, slowly, insecure, looking for people like me staring at them, hoping to not catch eye contact. One day, I watched a man (I reckon in his late 50’s) passing by my window more than 10 times within 1 hour, his facial expression showed loneliness at its core…

The “elderly” are being substitutes by young blokes once the dawn sets in, either making sure the prostitutes are not being harassed or, even more often I came to understand, trying to sell hard drugs. It never gets dark at night, it never gets silent at night. I don’t know who intimidates me more; those who actively seek the red lights or those who try to make a living with the lights. But nonetheless, old men, loitering down my street, longing for cold lights with cold eyes; this street is interesting for observations of human kind. provided that you have huge and beautiful windows…


Termination of ERASMUS: The Payback…

Now, as I pack my stuff in my dorm in Tartu, aiming to spend some days in Lithuania before finally going back home, I promised myself to have 1 final post about my time in Estonia. However, this time, I won’t be talking about the snow, the trips or the various drinks you should try while being here. No, this time, I’ll pay back! I will mention most if not all of the things I witnessed here during the last 5 months that i consider worth mentioning and will share them with you. If I am offending someone who reads this: It was not my intention 🙂 Let the show begin…

Spanish people: Absolutely fantastic people. As individuals. In a group, a bunch of impervious folks with no intention to harmonize with anyone else but Portuguese. I tried at several occasions to enter the group, but, with 9 out of 10 conversations in Spanish, sort of impossible for me. Knowing about Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions I should not be surprised, but I haven’t seen that intense behaviour in action so far.

Russian people: I have written so much about them during my time here that I cannot really add anything new. They are still the most unpleasant people I have met during ERASMUS and I have not yet seen any solution for this. It is not just me who is saying that. They were actually the reason we had the door locked at almost all times. I do not want to sound disrespectful to Russians in general and those I know better are perfectly nice people, but I hope I’ll never meet any of them again…

My mates from the apartment: No, nothing negative to mention about them, leaving aside several late night Skype calls in the kitchen or early Sunday morning uses of the mixer that woke me up. But they were among the best people I have met in my life and I am really glad we lived together. I am not speaking for my liver, which honestly is happy that ERASMUS is over, but I had a fantastic time with you guys! You are all aces in my book and I am looking forward to meeting you again, eventually in 2016 here in Tartu for a great revival 😀 Over the last months, we have collected money from plastic bottles. Now, at the end I am very glad to mention that we managed to gather 27,80€ in total!! This money will shortly be donated to good causes in Nepal and Bangladesh. I am happy that we accomplished that, thanks again guys 🙂

The University: Beautiful from the inside, catastrophic from the inside. Weak organization, teacher without much knowledge in teaching, unequal treatment of students. I am glad to have studied at a Research University for once, but I thought it would be set up much more Ivy league-alike.

Sharing a 16m2 bedroom with another guy: Very interesting for a couple of weeks, very exhausting for 5 months. Although he is a really great guy, I am so looking forward to having my own room again with a little more privacy.

Estonia: Great country to live in…for a few months. Not a place I could spend the rest of my life. Many aspects of the daily life are tempting for a longer stay, such as the Wi/Fi everywhere, the strong infrastructure and of course (for one that comes from a rich country) the very moderate prices for pretty much everything. But still, it was only a step on my path to yet again somewhere else…

Tartu: If I was to life in Estonia, Tartu would be the only choice. It is the best town in the country, with the best varieties to have a decent life. Nonetheless, the city is marked as my ERASMUS-place so living here will never be the same again.

The Germans: We are everywhere! Everywhere! You cannot stop us. We take your city on a horseback and stick in big, German-speaking groups. And we love potatoes, litres of beer and watching football. In a way, we are like the Spanish. But we speak English much better… 🙂

What I learned: Talking in terms of studying, I have learned various things, which may or may not help me for my future professional life. I am sure that knowing about Lithuania in the 15th century and the Sumerian cosmogony will barely benefit me in pursuing a career in the non-profit sector, but I am nonetheless glad I got the opportunity to get familiar with it. Having learned Russian and having gotten an insight into Public sector marketing, however, are really beneficial for me! Speaking life, I have learned a lot more. Living with strangers, adapting to different habits, different styles of speaking English, learning. I have met people here that really helped me gaining new insights into the world (mostly while having a beer somewhere) and I have seen things and places I probably would never have seen in my life if it wasn’t for people and situations here!! I am so glad I decided to have come here…

What I will miss: Living in a dorm (even though right now I am happy it’s over), the city and its amazing bars, pubs, shops, streetlights, pretty much everything. The guys from the apartment (a lot!) and the very international atmosphere ERASMUS was providing us with throughout the entire 5 months. In addition, I will also miss the monthly rent, which in total (more than 5 months) added up to a little over 520€!!

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Thank your for following my blog! I hope, you had a good time reading my stories from Estonia, Sweden and Russia. I hope y’all will stay tuned and check out this blog again, because soon my stories will cover my life in Buea, Cameroon! Thank you!! 🙂


Julian ante portas – 7 days in Tartu

Thursday, 3:35pm – tere hommikust! It is 1 week I have spent in the city so far, so I would like to provide a small overview of what my experiences and impressions are at this point. Good news first, I managed to purchase an internet cable (since WI-FI is only theoretically usable in the house!) and a memory card for my camera, so that I can offer some pictures next to written material. Therefore the 1st image to be seen is the municipality of Tartu. It stands right at the head side of the Raekoja plats. In front of that building, it is the sculpture of the Suudlevad tudengid, the “Kissing Students”, which was decided upon by the people of Tartu who were encouraged to voice preferences about what statue should stand at that spot.

I am still only living in my appartement with my Estonian roommate giving me company but since introduction is supposed to start by next week Wednesday, we expect the remaining 4 people by Sunday the latest. It sure will be interesting to see how 6 guys will cope in a very small place, with limited kitchen furnitures, limited kitchen utilities limited and kitchen-cleaning ambitions! This is my appartements’ kitchen:

The City of Tartu has just over 100,000 inhabitants, making it Estonia’s second biggest one. However, with approx. 20,000 students enrolled annually, it makes its claim for the country’s academical and cultural capital. The university – Tartu Ülikool – is situated just steps from the municipality and was founded by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in 1632, making it the oldest university in Estonia and the second-oldest in the entire Baltic region (after Vilnius). Below I provided an image of its outside front:

As one can probably already imagine, everything within the city centre can be reached by walking. Distances from me to the pubs, the university, the bus station, the mall or the food market rarely exceed 10 minutes. Besides the train station (which is almost 25 minutes walking!) it is only the football stadium which requires some more time. That stadium will be my destination upcoming Saturday, when the local Tammeka JK Tartu takes on JN Nömme Kalju!

More pictures shall follow soon…!