Tere, tervist!

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Thanks for coming by and checking out week #3. This last week has been a hectic one with lots of events, pictures and new beginnings.

I finally started my internship at EducationUSA and have been working about 30-40 hours a week. So far the job has been busy but slow. Busy as in I am meeting new people, visiting new places, working on presentations to give to highschool, college, and elementary school students, and going into the mindset that I am the representative of the United States. It scares me a little because I will be one of the few U.S persons that students get to talk and interact with professionally and casually. Since I am a native speaker of English, my colleague has been emailing schools around Estonia to see if they would want me to come and do a presentation about the US educational system and about US culture. I can say that in the next couple of months, I will be exploring new towns, cities and places all around Estonia!

Currently there are about 28 students attending Tallinna TehnikaÜilkool that are from the USA. The student body at this institution is about 15,000 and is the largest university in the city. As you can see, Estonia and Tallinn are not very popular destination for US students but with the rise of international recruitment and globalization, the numbers of US students attending this university has risen over the last few years. If you are interested in Cyber Security, IT, or other technology fields, I would say this school is one of the best there is for the price. The school is very international where about 2000(?) international students come to study for all over world. It is pretty cool to meet and learn from these different people.

The highlight of my week was actually setting up a meeting with the US Department of State, Public Affairs office in Estonia. Not very many people get to say that they get the chance to meet with these officials face to face. We talked about collaboration between the Embassy and the offices I will be associated with (American Space and EducationUSA). It was pretty intimidating because going into the meeting, they knew a lot about me but I had no idea who they were. Could this be espionage at work? Who knows…

I have also been attending Estonian Language and Culture class so I can learn to interact and actually say “where is the bathroom” in Estonian, Eesti Keele (I haven’t learned that yet but maybe next week)

The past weekend I have gotten the chance to visit a coastal city named Paldiski. Paldiski was originally a military town controlled by the Soviet Union and going into the city you can tell that it was just that. The town was very grey, and old fashion brick buildings were placed in varying places. My group and I biked around the area and stumbled upon what used to be a garage. This garage was to keep military secrets and was semi-underground. Various broken down buildings could be found in the forest also. It is said that no one could go in or out of the city when it was controlled by the Soviets. During that time, there wasn’t much to eat and buy so residents would trade with each other to get supplies. You can definitely say that the reminence of the occupation of the Soviets are still around through structures, culture, and language.

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Other than that, I am happy and having fun. I get to do this great opportunity of international education and student services while learning about culture, values and life through other people. One thing that I do miss about home is the food. Even though the food is great here, nothing can compare with the spices and deliciousness of Asian food back at home.

I will update some pictures on the “pictures and videos” so look out for that! Don’t forget to subscribe for more updates :)

Much love,

Dong