First Month in University

Hey, guys! I realize that I've been silent for almost a month, but there is a reason for that. To write something really important and worth reading it's necessary to collect information, conclusions, positive and negative opinions. Right now I'm thinking about new ideas and blog topics to make this experience more exciting for everyone who is still reading this blog and supporting me in the journey called "UNIVERSITY LIFE". Oh gosh, the journey has had a lot of ups and downs, but you see - I'm alive, happy and healthy so I can assure one thing - University doesn't kill you. And there is this famous saying: "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!" (Or is it from Kelly Clarkson's song? Hmm.. Have to think about his one.) 
But now - some main conclusions about uni life, dormitory and other stuff, so please - don't close this page and keep reading!

1. Don't be afraid of sadness.

If University means to you not only leaving your previous school, but it's about starting a new life, living in your own place or at the campus, don't be afraid of feeling sad at some moments. It doesn't mean you're in the wrong place and universe is not trying to say to you: "Something's wrong... something's not right..." Forget about thoughts like these - they will make everything harder. But be prepared for a little sadness. At moments like these look at the pictures of your friends and family, remember the good old times or skype someone. It really helps. Just stroll down the memory lane (I needed to say this, sorry)....

2. Talk! Smile! Talk! 

If your friends say to you that you will find friends even if you're not communicating much, then I will be mean and say the truth - YOU WILL NOT! 
Communication in a new community and social group is the main factor of having new friends and acquaintances.
And talking, being open-minded and smiling are just starting points for finding the people you would soooo like to add in facebook, go to parties with or just make pizza in the evening. If you're shy, it's time to turn things around - University is the right time to start a new life! And don't be afraid to start the conversation first, because from my experience, in 80% of cases I have been the person who asks the name of the "silent" person and makes the hard introduction part. Main questions are mostly about - how old are you? why did you decide to study here? where are you living? etc. 
So stop overthinking, start doing!

3. Flat rules.. who needs them?

Oh, trust me, everybody needs them. Except guys, they in some magical way know how to do everything together, don't stress about small things and keep their flat clean. But you never know how people will act, especially if they are coming from different parts of the world. One of the first things I did in our flat was - made a "TAKING OUT TRASH" list with names and dates, so now everyone has their week when keep the kitchen clean. If people didn't grow up in a cave, it should work. :) Arrangements are pretty important in the first weeks. If you are not happy with someone else using your things, just say it, be direct about you needs and wishes! Remember - no one can read your mind (except if your flatmate is a psychic).

4. Oh, food we all love

If you are familiar with kitchen than you propably will have no problem with buying and preparing meals, but if you've never touched the oven or a pan then, holy oven, we have a problem! I advice you using google as your teacher and searching for "easy university food". Most of it will be hamburgers and american food which is available in one piece and made by great microwave. But just try to make something yourself! Who cares if it's not going to come out as good as the picture in internet shows you, just try! I was really bad at cooking main dishes, but now even if I have only potatoes, carrots and onions I'm able to make fantastic soup. Practice makes perfect! And girls, think about this cooking experience as preparing for married life when you will be asking yourself: "Why didn't I learn to cook at university?"

What's in my bag?

Having a "to do" list and "things to take" list is a necessary part of planning everything. At least for me certainly. It doesn't matter if it's a festival or a boat trip - there is my little list with all I need. So I decided to share the list with things I consider important for a next year student who is going to live in a university dormitory or in a personal flat.

As we know sleep is the most favourite part of the day for every student even if not everyone gets a lot of it. But it's important to have a comfortable and a warm place where to rest after a long and restless day. What kind of things to take depends on the student campus - sometimes campus will provide you only with a bed, but sometimes it's possible to receive a pillow and a blanket. I'm a person who like to sleep in my own bed sheets and use my pillow, so I'm taking... everything. Maybe I will have a feeling that I'm closer to home. :) But consider taking these things with you:
  • pillow and pillowcases (yes, more than one!);
  • bed sheets;
  • blanket and a cover.
Oh, when I wrote about the sleep as the most important part of the day I forgot about food! It doesn't matter if you will cook or not, you should take some of these things with you (and don't forget about friends who will come to visit you):
  • plates (2 or 3);
  • bowls (for preparing and making food);
  • kitchen board;
  • knifes, forks, spoons;
  • grater;
  • mug/s;
  • kitchen towel/s.
These would be things for a person who is planning to make something simple not dreaming about becoming a real chef or pro, but if you're and adventurer when talking about food you should consider taking these things too:
  • baking tray or muffin/cake pan;
  • dishes for baking in oven;
  • blender set (it's possible to find great deals for small blender sets at hardware shops);
  • Bottle opener or corkscrew (for a wine person) - I read somewhere that you could become very popular by bringing these things with you :);
  • Some plastic containers to use for food storage (but you can easily buy these things when you've settled in).
I could continue to the morning, but if you are planning to rent a plane to deliver everything to your place, you could catch a kettle, boiling pot and a pan too, just in case :)

If you're a person who was really conscientious all school years, you will be surprised to see that all you need (paper, notebooks, pencils, pens and other things) you already have. But if not, you have a choice - buy all you need now or later. In univerity you will use the computer more than ever so don't be fanatic about cute notebooks and stuff - save money for other and more useful things. But if oldchool way of taking notes is better for you:
  • Notebooks;
  • A4 paper;
  • Writing equipment - pens, pencils, markers etc.;
  • Calculator (especially for students majoring in economics, finance, physics, math);
  • Daily/weekly planner;
  • Dictionary (!).
  • Hand and bath towels;
  • Sponge;
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste;
  • Cotton buds and pads;
  • Soap;
  • Shower gel;
  • Shampoo and if needed - conditioner;
  • Deodorant.
Of course there are things like cosmetic, perfume and other products, but it depends more on the person.

Making your room or flat homelike and cousy is quite important - you will not only feel like at home, but it will be more enjoyable to return at your new home every day. 
  • Photos - make photos of your friends, relatives or favourite things and affixe them to the wall or put in a photo frame/s.
  • Very handy is a cork board - you can use it for clipping some useful information, memorable items, quotes and photos. At home I have two of these and there is no free space on them, I can assure that they are really useful;
  • Clock with a loud alarm (if you are not already using mobile phone for this);
  • Desk lamp and maybe a clip lamp (very useful for reading in bed);
  • Small bin (but most likely you will buy this after you've arrived).
For most of the girls this would be the most favourite subject but it can easily cause headache too. This part is dedicated to my friend Liene, and I hope she will read it very carefully, because it's always a problem for her - bringing clothes suitable for all seasons!
  • For everyday -
    *normal AND casual clothes (these could be the same clothes you used to wear at highschool or a bit more casual) and also FORMAL clothes (if there's a school event or a job interview);
    *Socks (>1 pair!), underwear;
    *Bathrobe;
    *Slippers;
    *Comfortable shoes (sneakers, pumps), sport and formal shoes:
    *Pyjamas;
    *Coat or a jacket;
    *Autumn boots or winter boots(if you know you're not returning home until the winter);
  • Sport clothes, maybe swimwear (if planning to go to the pool);       
This modern century has definetely brought us a new trend - the importance of electronic in our life. Imagine yourself going to university without your laptop charger. You don't have an internet, virtual notebook and a useful friend for moments when getting bored. So be careful taking everything you will need, starting with:
  • Laptop (including bag/case, charger, headphones (you should really consider taking this if you have a roommate/flatmate), mouse);
  • Socket converter (!!) (for example, really important if going to UK);
  • Mobile phone and charger + USB;
  • Camera + charger + USB;
  • Hair dryer!
This section for the topic "what to take to university" I guess is the most important. So be sure to put in your bag these documents:
  • Passport;
  • Passport size photos (mostly for university stuff or country specific ID cards);
  • Medical insurance papers;
  • Documents necessary for your accomodation;
  • Bank card (+agreement and code card);
  • CV, references;
  • Exam certificate.
Be sure to contact the university, if there are other documents you should take with you!

I'm going to list items that I considered for personal use or just didn't include in any other section.
  • Nail care kit (scissors, nail file);
  • Hairbrush, hairbands;
  • Glasses or contacts (if necessary).
Finally I have listed almost everything you will need for a successful year living in dormitory or a flat. If you think that I'm crazy writing all this down, then it wasn't  that bad. A great way how to arrange all thoughts and put them on a virtual paper! You don't have to take with you everything that is listed here. If you're using plane to reach your destination than be really circumspect what things to put in your travel bag. That means you will have to buy a lot of items when you've arrived.
But, first of all, don't forget yourself at home! :)
Have a successful next year! 

Planning your trip to Tallinn? This could help!

If you're an adventurous or active person, a trip to a different country means not only subtle restaurants, food or night clubs. It is a chance to see a different culture and traditions and have new observations. Even if I'm still thinking about what to take with me to Tallinn and there's still plenty of time to take care of everything before the new school year starts, I've been browsing web sites about travelling guides and tourism objects in Tallinn. And I absolutely remember that I promised not to bore my readers with the information that you can easily find in google, but I hope you appreciate just a small list with the best information.I'm just going to copy adresses of some sites that could definetely help you to ease the process of planning a trip.

1) www.visitestonia.com 
I was nicely surprised by the range of information this site offers. You can not only plan your own trip (by choosing your interests: events, activities, food, shopping etc.), but even have all information about every place or object you have chosen to visit (including prices, timetable). The site gives you an opportunity to try different guides that are already available, but I was a little bit frustrated that I'm not able to make my own guide (maybe I'm just not a pro at this website). In one word - this could really help if you are planning great holiday!

2) http://www.stay.com
My personal favourite is this site! It's so easy to understand -you can find almost everything you want, and right next to the text it's possible to make your own guide. Great supplements are ratings and guest reviews -they give you an opportunity to work as a critic for a day and later add your thoughts or comments! It definetely is for me :)

3) www.tourism.tallinn.ee
One of the official sites about tourism in Tallinn is a great choice for planning a trip. I can say only good words about the website - it provides with information about almost everything. If you are interested inshops, there is a long list of information. If it's culture - cultural higlights and attractions! Of course you can find practical information and other stuff that would be really helpful!

4) http://inyourpocket.com/data/download/tallinn.pdf
There is a small (ok, it's not small) file in pdf., that you can use as a pocket book to take with you to Tallinn. All necessary information in one place!

Survival? Guide? Estonia?

I agree that words "SURVIVAL" and "ESTONIA" go together quite harsh, but it's not that serious as it sounds! What is this animal called "SURVIVAL GUIDE IN ESTONIA"? Very simple. Everyone knows booklets made specially for tourists telling about most common things in the city or country - national symbols, cultural events and monuments, most needed and popular phrases for not losing your mind in a fully different country and information about bus, train or other vehicles. These are things that everyone should know, but people are, to be honest, bored to know. 
I would like to start something new - it is a small revolution of tourism booklets about Estonia. 
These are real stories from my experience being an international student who is being surprised at every corner by new, exciting and sometimes upsetting news and events. What is the best place for eating cheap dinner (everyone is searching for places like these, but they are like... secret)? What is the best bar for having a cousy evening without drunk bachelors and obscene tourists? What is nicest park for a small and cousy picnic? Where to go and what to see? These are some of things I am planning to write about, of course, including tips specially for international students. This will be a blog about my everyday life in a country knowing only few words in Estonian and trying to be a part of something I don't know anything about. I have no idea how it's going to happen, but, hell yeah, I have to live for a moment! And this moment will happen in... Estonia! Cheers!
Keep up with the newest information!