How I ended up in Estonia and why the University of Tartu?
I first heard about the University of Tartu by pure chance. I was doing an internship abroad near the end of my bachelor’s studies, and after my colleague asked me what my plans are for the future, I stopped and wondered. The future? When is that? Only a couple of months away turns out.
So, naturally, I rolled up my sleeves and started looking. I studied Chemical engineering at the University of Belgrade, a field that in my opinion provides great flexibility for eventual postgraduate studies, so I had plenty of choices. As I guess most students that did not really spare much thought about their future, despite knowing that they wish to experience studying abroad, I eventually found my way onto one of the countless European universities rank lists and that’s where I first actually read about University of Tartu. It was well placed and was making continuous strides towards improving itself, which is a sure sign of a healthy environment. After some further research, I found out about my programme, Materials Science and Technology, which seemed to perfectly blend both academic and industrial opportunities. One easy application process (seriously, Estonia and the University of Tartu have one of the most accessible applications processes that I’ve come across, probably due to the prevalent tendency of minimising bureaucracy and moving everything online; but prepare in time!) later, and here I am.
What are some interesting facts about my study programme?
Upon finding out about the programme of Materials Science and Technology, I realised that it perfectly spoke to my underlying wish – to be an actor of change that is not tied to one field specifically, that can jump around and adapt easily on the strength of the existing scientific fundamentals. And that is exactly what this programme gives you: a strong core courses which you can couple with electives of your choice and affinity. Along with educational quality, the programmeis also highlighted by the university through possibilities of tuition waivers and scholarship opportunities. I was lucky to get one, a fact that was a major part of me choosing Estonia as a place where my knowledge and career can further grow.
I have not beenhere long and most of it was marred by this ever-present COVID-19threat, despite the wishes of the university to hold face-to-face lectures when safe enough to do so. But what I can say is that I was positively surprised by the relationship of every single staff member of the university that I’ve come across towards us, students; everybody is more than helpful and always prepared to lend a hand. What most surprised me, I think, especially compared to my previous studies, is this great collegial relationship that most professors hold towards their students, always asking questions about how they can improve their lecturing. Any advice you give is sure to be taken to heart and you might even see them implementing it yourself!
I have also managed to join a laboratory which helps greatly in acquiring practical experience. I really do feel completely at home there, and the state-of-the-art instruments available are one of the reasons why I decided to come here in the first place, so to actually have a chance of using them is a great joy. During the curriculum, there is a mandatory internship planned, so even if you do not manage to find a place to do so on your own, the programme coordinator is always there to help you with that, along with any possible exchanges. From what I can tell, after a semester or so studying here, the University of Tartu is a great place to commence your serious professional advancement.
Social life in Tartu
As for the social life: Tartu is a student city that is beaming with life, even during the pandemic times. Various recurring workshops, bars, clubs, and hobby groups are all there at your behest. It is a true privilege to be surrounded by an international group of students and Estonians alike and life so far has been a blast. Plenty of opportunities lying everywhere around you – so why not use them?
But to do that, well, first you have to apply to study here, at the University of Tartu. And if you and I are so lucky to share the same interests and background, why not become a materials scientist by applying at the Materials Science and Technology programme?
Learn more about Materials Science and Technology at the University of Tartu, Estonia here.