Expats in Estonia
International students make up a fairly large proportion, alongside families living in Estonia due to their work at diplomatic and NATO missions. There are many expats who have arrived in Estonia for business, for working at startups, fondness for the country – and, of course, love.
Living in Estonia as an expat is not difficult – especially within the larger towns, where English is widely spoken. Many expats make connections within the expat community first, before getting to know local friends through their neighborhood, work and social interests. Many nationalities are represented in the expat community, and it is increasingly easy to find international products and cuisine provided by passionate expats who have opened bistros, cafes, bars and restaurants.
Despite being small, the community is vibrant and there are several different groups and ways to meet people from the expat community.
Communities and groups
The expat groups and associations that are active in Estonia are constantly developing, so the best place to start to get an up to date picture is with an Internet search. There are several active Facebook groups, such as Expats in Tallinn/Estonia, which cater to the expat community, sharing ideas, advice and contact details. Additionally, InterNations operates a Tallinn group, with regular meetings attracting a young crowd, and an active social media presence. InterNations also operates various special interest groups.
Consider attending an international Chamber of Commerce event, either with a friend who is a member, or as a corporate partner – these events, which range from the purely social to debates, discussions and high profile speakers – are a great way of networking with the expat and local business community.
If you’re in Tallinn to work for one of the many technology companies and startups, there are specific events from social meetings to hackathons, targeted at different areas of tech business and general networking, arranged through interest groups and organisations such as Garage48. This is an area that is developing rapidly so starting with an Internet search is the best way to find current information.
Tallinn has an active International Women’s Club that organises activities and events for its members, from coffee mornings and speakers to sports and hobby clubs, and even group travel. The group is large and varied, and you can attend a meeting before joining to see if it is right for you. Check its website for more details.
International students are well catered for, with university cultural and international societies active and popular.
Other smaller groups, such as the Diplomatic and Expat Community and Estonia Society (DECESA) is also good for the latest details and news.
Common expat hangouts
Although English is spoken in most bars, cafes and restaurants, there are a number of establishments, especially in Tallinn, which are more popular with the expat community, some tourists, and locals who like to speak English. Try out, for example, Mad Murphy’s, The Highlander, Clayhills, Drink Bar & Grill, Frank Bistro, Nimeta Bar or Hell Hunt in Tallinn’s old town, or Pudel, a little further off the beaten track in the hip area of Telliskivi, for a good variety of international beers and a varied clientele.
Business and startups