CARNETS DESCARTES

French community in Tallinn

As I said in one of my previous article, for a lot of French people that I met before leaving to Estonia, Tallinn was a surprising and even out of the ordinary destination. So following this statement, I was not expecting to meet a lot of compatriot there. I was actually expecting a very strong Russian community along with people from other countries around like Finland, Latvia or even Poland which is not so far from Estonia. 

And this prediction wasn't wrong. Indeed we have here in Estonia very strong Russian and Finnish communities but the point is that European Western countries are also very present. I think Germany and Spain are the countries most present, but France is not far as there is in Estonia and especially in Tallinn a very large amount of French people. Here are the different categories of French that I met and also different forms of the French presence.

 

  • Erasmus students: Obviously I will talk first about this category because this is the kind of people I'll likely meet really often. First in my hostel, for the first semester, we were 9. So out of around 60 people, you can see that we were a significant part. And all around tallinn, throughout every university, you find a lot of French students. You have again here two categories of French people: the "real" Erasmus students who are integrated with people from every nationalities and who are improving their English while enjoying with all the Erasmus community. The other kind is the people who are just afraid of speaking English so they prefer to be closed to every contact with no french-speaking people. I met some of these people and for me they are missing really a lot because now for them there is no real difference than just being in their home univerisites in France. (PS: this statement about these two categories is valid for every single nationality)

 

  • Full-time student: There are not so many but I met two of them so far. These are students who decided to leave France for a longer period of time, for actually a full degree in Tallinn  (I can understand them) . Since there is a really few french people to have decided the same as them, they have no choice and no possibility to speak French and both are today fully integrated in the Tallinn University of Technology international community.

 

  • Expatriate workers: I received a mail in October, an invitation for a Welcome drink for every French student in Tallinn by an institute which has a connection with the French embassy: "L'institut Français" of Tallinn. This is a really convenient place, like a meeting point for all the french students in Tallinn. When you entenr there, you have this sensation to be in France, but in the middle of Tallinn. Indeed, all the people who are working there are French people, French expatriate workers. 

So as you can see, there is a quite strong French community in Tallinn so that if you are a French person there and you are a bit lost, you will find without any problem some French people used to this place to help and guide you.