-Where were you born?
In Tours, France
-In which country and city are you living now?
In Tallinn, Estonia (see my site about Estonia, in French)
-Are you living alone or with your family?
With my girlfriend
-How long have you been living in Estonia?
Since October 2007
-What is your age?
-When did you come up with the idea of living in Estonia?
My girlfriend is Estonian and finding a job in France was impossible for her, so we decided to move.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a working permit?
The red tape is quite important but it is not complicated to get one if you come from the EU.
-How do you make your living in Estonia? Do you have any type of income generated?
It was not complicated to get a job but it is more to find an interesting one. I found my first job at the end of October and today it's my 4th job in less than one year.
-Do you speak Estonian and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
I speak a little bit but just enough to buy stuff and order my lunch for instance. It is not necessary to learn Estonian as everybody in Tallinn speaks English. However, like everywhere else they appreciate if you know a couple of Estonian words and about their culture, history...regarding this it is important to avoid or be very careful about several topics such as the Estonian-Russian relationship and politics in general. There is however no big cultural shock as their way of life is pretty similar as any other "western" country.
-Do you miss home and family sometimes?
Yes of course, my friends also but I found some new international and Estonian friends. As for the activities, I mainly take the car and go to the countryside during the weekends, go to movies, play sports... well, all the things you usually do in any big city.
-Do you have other plans for the future?
Keep my current job :) Soon I will start renting a flat, so this is the main plan. Then going back home for Christmas; around February/March travel to a sunny place to recharge the batteries as we won't have so much sun during winter.
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
As I said, I will rent close to the city center, a 2-room flat (furniture included) of approximately 63m² for 500€ (charges included). On average for a 35 to 45m² recent flat downtown, the price is around 400€.
-What is the cost of living in Estonia?
Contrary to what people could believe life is quite expensive if you take into account the level of revenue in Estonia. The average wage is around 600€/month and this is almost what you need to pay the rent... so you will need to find a girlfriend or a roomate(s) to make your life easier. Price of food is basically the same as everywhere else (more expensive for some things like wine, cheese). Beer is still cheap but increasing slowly. In my opinion, many things are overpriced compared to the local salary. So if you want to get rich, start up your own company!
-What do you think about the Estonians?
Locals behave nicely usually with foreigners. Many young people have been abroad to study and speak perfect English. As for Estonians, it is not easy at first to approach and get to know them. You will need to offer them a couple of beers to make them more comfortable. But once you know them, they can become your best friends ever!
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Estonia?
Positive aspects: international environment in Tallinn, ex-fast growing country, open-minded, great untouched nature - outside Tallinn, the country is basically empty, strong culture (can sometimes look nationalist but it is understandable with their history), Estonian girls are beautiful! Mild summer - rainy this year:(
Negative aspects: cost of living (wages), food is quite simple - no big sophisticated speciality, bad flight connections, very cold and dark during winter.
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Estonia?
Not really, just read a lot about the country and its history, it will help understand a lot of things!
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about Estonia?
My blog obviously: http://french-in-estonia.blogspot.com/
and my site about Estonia in French: http://www.estonie-tallinn.com/
Cafe Babel Tallinn: http://tallinn.cafebabel.com/en/
All the things to do and see in Tallinn: http://www.tourism.tallinn.ee/eng
The weather: http://weather.ee/
Estonian air webpage: http://www.estonian-air.ee/index.php?lang=ENG