Maeva from France arrived in Tartu for her Erasmus year about a month ago. She will master Scandinavian studies and Swedish language at the University of Tartu. While Estonia might not seem to be the most logical place to polish one’s Swedish, Maeva is confident about her choice.
Her journey to Estonia started two years ago when Maeva happened to read a French translation of the Purge (in Finnish: Puhdistus), an award-winning novel by a Finnish-Estonian writer Sofi Oksanen.
How can a gloomy book like this inspire someone to come to Estonia? What are Maeva’s favorite words in Estonian? What surprised her, and what she finds disturbing here? Read the twitterview below and find out.
@Hellawyn Maeva, you're coming from France. What brought you to Estonia and Tartu?
@TartuUniversity I don't really know why I chose to go to Tartu. But this idea got stuck into my mind when I read Puhdistus in 2011...
@Hellawyn Puhdistus (Purge) is a rather depressing book. How could it inspire you to come to Estonia?
@TartuUniversity Estonian people is described as a very humble but strong people. At least, that's how I felt it... And the landscapes[...]
@TartuUniversity [...]the landscapes described are just amazing. And reality is quite close to what I imagined (maybe even better!).
@Hellawyn What will you study in Tartu and how long are you planning to stay?
@TartuUniversity Scandinavian studies and Swedish language will be my field of studies here. I'll stay for a year (Erasmus), and maybe more.
@Hellawyn So, the Estonian people & landscapes overweighed Scandinavian countries, incl. Sweden w/ their native speakers of Swedish? 🙂
@TartuUniversity Estonia is definitely such an interesting country in so many ways that I couldn't miss this opportunity, indeed. [...]
@TartuUniversity [...] And I'm trying to learn Estonian language, which is very beautiful. And what's better than learning it in Estonia?!
@Hellawyn That sounds reasonable. Do you find Estonian difficult? Any favorite words you've learned so far?
@TartuUniversity As I studied Finnish for two years, it's not that difficult. But still harder than Scandinavian and Germanic languages! ...
@TartuUniversity I love all the words with an "õ" in them, 'cause I never know how to pronounce it. I also love "igavik" and "videvik".
@Hellawyn That's nice! You arrived about a month ago - is it your first time in Tartu and Estonia? Did anything surprise you?
@TartuUniversity I came here in May to find a flat. The biggest surprise was the politeness of most people and their generosity. But also...
@TartuUniversity Also, the fact that most stores are open until 9pm. And on Sundays as well. Oh, and the free wifi (almost) everywhere!
@Hellawyn How do you find the price level in Tartu for a student from France?
@TartuUniversity I must say most things are cheaper here than in France. Except clothes, furnitures, and electronical things -same prices.
@Hellawyn Have you found your favorite café or bar in Tartu yet?
@TartuUniversity The Café Werner is definitely amazingly great. I love it. And the Püssirohukelder is great when you like pubs and Guinness!
@TartuUniversity But I've only been to a few bars/cafés... I also liked Nälg very much.
@Hellawyn Is there anything you find disturbing or difficult in Tartu or Estonia in general?
@TartuUniversity Not yet. But ask me this question during winter and maybe I'll have something to say...! (Not too worried about it yet..)
@Hellawyn Just was about to ask if you've heard about Estonian winters! 🙂
@TartuUniversity Yes I did, and as I've never lived anything like that yet, I'll just discover it and see how it goes. (Hope not too cold!)
@Hellawyn Hope so too. Thank you very much for this twitterview and the best of luck to you in Tartu and elsewhere!
@TartuUniversity Thanks a lot! And I wish all the best for the University of Tartu and everyone studying and working there!