Twins Ege and Efe in the steps of Baer and Pirogov

Ege and Efe
Ege and Efe. Follow them on Instagram. Photo from a personal archive

When Efe and Ege approached the Old Anatomical Theatre, they did not notice me. We had not met before, so it was no wonder. I could not mistake them for anyone else, though, for Ege and Efe are perfect lookalikes. You can see they are twins from a long distance. And it was twins that I was waiting for to chat about their studies and life in Tartu.

Most of the time it is others who get confused. The twins admit that sometimes people think they are one person. They see one of them downstairs, the other one upstairs, and cannot believe their eyes.

Having once mistaken Zeynep (a Turkish female name) for a man, I made sure to check before the interview that Efe and Ege are brothers. I was inclined to think otherwise, though, as Ege is a female name in Estonia.

The twins’ similarity is only increased by identical haircuts and similar clothing. Moreover, Ege and Efe continue each others’ thoughts. They have lived together for 19 years, or a lifetime. The brothers have been separated for no more than two months so far.

That was when Efe came to Estonia for a month as a part of the student exchange programme two years ago. When he came back, Ege left for a month to Belgium. With a little help from Google, Efe found out about the University of Tartu’s medicine studies. Efe’s host family took him on a small tour in Biomedicum. Ege confirms that after seeing his brother so happy about the school and the city, it wasn’t a hard decision to come to Tartu.

Efe and Ege
Efe and Ege. Photo from a personal archive

Why medical studies? Efe has been interested in science since he started reading, and this interest persisted. Ege was more interested in the human body and how living systems work. He gets fascinated all the time when he learns something new about it.

The twins say: “One of the things we’re very proud of is the historical background of the University of Tartu’s Medical Faculty. It’s an honor and pride to be influenced by the important scientists and doctors who worked in Tartu: For example, Karl Ernst von Baer – the father of embryology – studied and worked in Tartu, and there is also Nikolay Pirogov, who first introduced splinting, used ether as anesthesia in surgeries, and created the first topographical anatomy atlas. Many endeavors were accomplished in Tartu and transmitted from generation to generation, and we feel that the education we’re equipped with, enlightened by the history, will be our main source of information when we actively start treating our patients.”

Ege and Efe study together a lot by talking and telling stuff to each other. Occasionally, they book a room in the library and study with friends. The studies are intensive, but they try to have a spare day or at least an afternoon to relax once a week.

The brothers like to cook fusion food by mixing Turkish and Estonian ingredients. When one of them cooks breakfast, the other one chooses clothes for the day. Efe and Ege support each other when walking the icy streets of Tartu (This is a skill that foreigners need to master!). They also do their shopping together.

The twins say that they try to keep the distinction that they are different individuals who can enjoy different things and who respect each other’s opinions. Ege and Efe describe their relationship as mutualistic. How long will they stay together? “I’m sure that one day the separation will happen, but I don’t know exactly when, where, or how,” says Efe.

Listen to the interview with Efe and Ege Ergür:

You can apply to study Medicine at the University of Tartu by 15 April, 2019.

Inga Külmoja is an author and the editor of the UT Blog.

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