An alumna explains: Why studying International Law and Human Rights in Estonia is a good idea

Since the beginning of my studies at the University of Tartu, I have received several questions on International Law and Human Rights programme. Therefore, I decided to sum up all of my points in this article.

Zeynab Nasibova. Image credit: private collection

Why study and live in Estonia?

Firstly, the quality of education should be underlined. More than a hundred degree programs are taught in English. In addition to this, English is not only used on campuses, but also a large percentage of the population speaks English fluently. In my experience, I have almost never had any difficulties in communication, even without speaking Estonian or Russian.

Side by side with this, in Estonia you can get a state scholarship or funding assistance if you have a strong academic background. I would like to mention that I have been one of the recipients of a Dora Plus scholarship in my group, which was really helpful for me, since I was unemployed at the beginning of my studies.

It should be noted that different from some other European countries in Estonia, students are allowed to have a full-time job if they can handle studies and work at the same time. However, in most countries students are only allowed to work with a part-time workload, due to the fact that it is thought that a full-time workload would affect students’ attendance in classes.

Finding a job was a little bit hard for me, since I do not speak Estonian, and most of the vacancies that I found required Estonian. However, I found a job at an international company and the work hours there were 24/7. To manage studies and work at the same time, I was working nights and studying during my breaks and in the evening. It was challenging for me, but if you enjoy your studies and workplace then nothing is an obstacle.

The next positive thing about Estonia is that the country is an e-society. Thus, Estonians operate with electronic ID-cards, e-government, e-healthcare, and e-schooling, which makes your life easier, since you are able to handle your duties online without leaving your accommodation.

Lastly, Estonia has an active and fun student life. Fortunately, the campus is located in the capital city, where we can make different connections that are useful to our future careers. The location helped us to access the national library in less than 5 minutes, so I used to go there with some of my groupmates to discuss the topics after classes or prepare for the exam. Other than that, the campus is very close to the Old Town, and you can rest while enjoying the marvelous view of the ancient buildings.  

Why study International Law and Human Rights?

Before applying to ILHR at the University of Tartu, I made some detailed research about other opportunities at different universities, not only in Europe but also all over the world. Since I was sure of my decision, that I wanted to study International Law and Human Rights together, it was hard to find this specific program. I found a lot of programs where I had a chance to study European Studies, European Law, International Law or Human Rights separately.

However, the University of Tartu was the only university to provide both fields in one program. In addition to this, before application I had a look at the syllabus of the program, and I realized that this was the program that I wanted to study. Since the program includes two different areas of law, we are able to take different classes in one program. I really enjoyed my time while studying Human Rights, Data Protection, Russian Approaches to International Law and Human Rights, and International Settlement of Disputes.

Also, I would like to mention that at the University of Tartu I had a chance to enhance my foreign language skills as well. I started learning Estonian via online classes and improved my French to an intermediate level. That was a nice and lovely journey, and in my opinion learning several languages is a good investment in our future job opportunities.

I would like to finish this article with the career opportunities that we can gain by studying in the International Law and Human Rights program at the University of Tartu. For me it seems like there is no limit after graduation. You can either open your own company as a human rights lawyer or work at any point on the globe.

I am planning to open my own law firm; however, it takes some time and practice, and therefore I am currently taking online courses in that field. As an ILHR program graduate, you can set your own limits however you wish.

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