As most of you who know me already know my plan for spring semester 2017 was Erasmus exchange programme preferably somewhere in northern part of Europe. I just love Scandinavia and discovered last year that staying long term in south Europe is too hot for me. Now the 2017 is here and I am going crazy because instead of having 6 weeks to complete my exams I have only two, because of the start of semester at the university in Tallinn. Yes I am going to study next couple month in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. But now let’s rewind a little bit to see how I got here.
It was November 2015 and I was about to leave to airport to Copenhagen for my spontaneous trip with friend. To be exact it was end of the month and my home university, CTU in Prague, has the deadline for Erasmus applications on 30.11. which would pass while I was gone. So I needed to apply quite fast, before I leave. If you’ve ever seen the forms you know how that works, if you haven’t, trust me the forms are terrible and they ask you to fill in all the data that the school already has about you anyway. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to go north, best case scenario Norway. Unfortunately our faculty had only three nordic options which were Bergen, Helsinki and Tallinn. So I filled these three cities to the form, submitted it and left for my trip.
Nothing happened for quite a while as the paperwork officers tend to give themselves huge amounts of time to handle whatever task they are up to.
Unfortunately the exams didn’t go as planned so I knew that I will have to redo some of the subjects next year which meant pushing the Erasmus for spring semester 2017. I didn’t mind that but it also meant some trouble in the paperwork. CTU has it’s deadline for finishing the learning agreement in March and you need to have your courses selected for that. Unfortunately the Tallinn university of technology, where I was offered to go based on some unknow choice criteria, wouldn’t have spring semester courses ready until October. Well that doesn’t make sense, why my faculty needs the paperwork done in March if the receiving school is not going to do anything about it until October. Finally my school agreed to wait until there is some progress on Tallinn side. At that point I was just afraid that after half a year of waiting and doing nothing I will completely forget about any papers I need to hand in.
Luckily I didn’t miss the deadline and got the courses, filled the agreement, wrote CV, got my English language level certificate from my school and transcript of records and send all of that to Tallinn. Btw: the english certificate was whole another story as I did exam during my studies but since then my faculty changed the department which was doing language courses and exams for us, so no one knew exactly who is able to give me the certificate. After tone of mails I got it and was ready to proceed.
All these papers went back and forth between couple people signing them and stamping them to finally receive letter of acceptance somewhere by the end of November. That was the final approval that I can study in Tallinn and as I thought the end of paperwork. So I booked my flight. Regarding the paperwork it turned out that I was mistaken quite a lot. Apparently you need to fill out most of the information again into several other forms to get your Erasmus scholarship. So I ended up filling the same stuff over and over to different forms for people who all could easily be connected to our school information system and have the forms fill itself in seconds. At least that is what any IT person would expect at technical school.
The paperwork part is already too long so let’s finish it quickly. When the semester ended after first week in January 2017 I had two weeks to complete my exams, visit couple doctors for annual check, do all this paper nonsense and find some sort of accommodation in Tallinn. Those were heck of a crazy two weeks filled with travelling between home and Prague.
The housing part was another challenge as Tallinn technical university didn’t have enough spaces at dorms and those dorms were more of a hostel thing which was a bit too expensive in my opinion. I got in touch with second guy from FIT CTU, who was going there and we started to look for some shared flat or something else usefull for 5 months of living in Tallinn. It wasn’t easy and as we discovered the reality market in Tallinn is quite strange, but in the end we were able to land a pretty good deal quite close to the center and airport. Unfortunately not as close to the school but let’s leave that for post about where I live.
So here I am last weekend at home, everything set to go. See you in next post.