Estonia EstMSA
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SCOPE Active
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Estonia (EstMSA) - Tartu

Aana-Liisa Kaste
Aana-Liisa Kaste

Dear exchange student!


Thank you for choosing Estonia – we welcome you and hope that you have the best exchange experience you can imagine.


Estonia is SCOPE and SCORE active. Clinical exchanges are mainly conducted in Tartu University Hospital and we have many different departments to choose from. Research exchange can be conducted depending on the projects we have to offer, but they mostly take place in the University of Tartu, too.


As all IFMSA SCOPE and SCORE active countries should, we put effort into maintaining the academic quality of our exchanges. Participants must attend at least 80% of clinic days and fill out their handbook to receive a certificate of going on exchange. Our tutors speak English excellently and involve exchange students in their day-to-day work as much as they can. We also provide incoming students with various trainings with academic quality as well. For example, we have organized ultrasound workshops and evenings discussing global health, joint workshop with SCORA on reproductive health in Estonia.. 


In addition to ensuring you the best experience at the hospital, we also organize a packed social program. You will have the possibility to discover Estonia and our culture through sightseeing, meeting Estonians and taking part in our everyday life. We want to make sure the memories you make in Estonia – whether it is of the wonders of our pristine nature, the regal Old Town of Tallinn or the laid back atmosphere and Spirit of Tartu – will be something you remember for the rest of your life.


One of the things that we take pride in is our international social program. We collaborate with FiMSIC and LaMSA in two different weekend-based social programs to guarantee a wonderful chance to visit our neighbouring countries Finland and Latvia, respectively.


All the questions you might have will be answered by our NEO/LEO team.


Estonian Medical Students’ Association is an NGO that connects medical students in Estonia. As Tartu is the only place in Estonia where it is possible to study medicine, the organisation is located right here. EstMSA has been a member of IFMSA since 1993.


Our vision is that one day the happiest and healthiest people will live in Estonia and we are working hard in the forms of different initiatives and projects to achieve that goal. EstMSA consists of 9 standing committees: SCOPE, SCORE, SCOME, SCOPH, SCORA, SCORP, Standing Committee on Sports, Standing Committee on Internal Events and the Standing Committee that publishes the magazine of our NMO which is called Curare. The NGO is led by the Executive Board consisting of 5 members together with the heads of our standing committees.


All of our standing committees provide our medical students with the possibility to develop themselves in extracurricular activities to build a happier environment both amongst medical students and all Estonians. We organise a variety of different events which help medical students become more conscious regarding different problems in our society and help them acquire medical skills which are not sufficiently addressed in our medical curriculum.


Every standing committee has its own projects which are aimed at the general population of Estonia. We actively provide lectures on sexual education for secondary school children, as well as on mental health. We also give first-aid seminars in schools and organise teddy-bear hospitals for smaller children, where they can get to learn basic medical aid, which in turn helps children be less afraid of medical personnel. We include the elderly population by educating them on how to stay healthy and mobile in their age. EstMSA has developed a prenatal courses, where our members provide young parents information about vaccination and try to combat misconceptions and myths related to vaccines in general.


We have always taken an active role in our society when it comes to discrimination and come to the defence of different social classes in our society. EstMSA has been one of the leading voices when it comes to gender equality, marriage equality and LGBTQIA+ rights, and actively participates in other societal debates, for example regarding alcohol excise and environmental change.


Students can study medicine at a university right after graduating high school, but some study something else first. Since Estonia is a small country, we only have one medical school – University of Tartu. The studies last 6 years – the first 2,5 are preclinical, the following 2,5 years are clinical and the last year is an intern year consisting of various clinical rotations in different departments. At the end of the sixth year the students must take the final examination. After graduation, it is possible to enroll in different residency programs in Estonia or abroad.


For more information and latest news on our medical faculty, please see:



How to get to Tartu?


Tartu has a small and cozy airport with flights coming in from Helsinki. You can arrange your travel so you would land right in Tartu! Tartu Airport is about 10 km away from the city centre, to which you can easily get to by taking the airport’s electric bus, by taxi or if you’re lucky, your CP might be kind enough to pick you up!


However, the most common option is to fly to Tallinn, however. As the capital of Estonia, Tallinn has a lot more flight connections than Tartu. You can easily get to Tartu from Tallinn Airport by bus or book ahead to take the Airport Shuttle Tartaline – in case you arrive late at night. You can buy bus tickets on or There is also the possibility to take a train from Tallinn Train Station called Balti Jaam. Train tickets are available for purchase on  If you want to travel around Estonia, the aforementioned links will also help. 


If you want to look around Tallinn, you can find the transportation options here:


If you are travelling to Estonia through Riga (Latvia), then there is a good bus connection between Riga and Tartu. There are two pages for buying tickets: and You can always ask your contact person to provide you with additional information.


Regarding the transportation and getting around in Tartu – since the hospital is about a 30 min walk from the student accommodation, we recommend registering as a smart bike user here or a bus user here. Your contact person will help you buy the card and monthly bus pass. Be sure to link your ISIC card with the bus system of Tartu so you can buy yourself a monthly bus ticket for under 10€. Bring your ISIC to get student discounts at other public services, too! And  finally, the bus schedules are on the following page:

For more information about Tartu, see

Be prepared for an Upon Arrival Training, a welcome party, a national food and drinks party, picnics, hikes and excursions to wonderful places around Estonia and occasional bigger trips to our neighbouring countries. There is a great variety of activities to entertain yourself while being on an exchange in Estonia. Some of them will be free and some events will have a fee, which you will have to cover for yourself. A Google calendar with all the events will be shared with every incoming.

One good link is better than a 1000 words :) -


Estonians are generally very nice even though they may seem a bit distant or quiet. But you should keep in mind to always be on time – we are not used to waiting for people and find it extremely disrespectful. Our mindset about time is that "if you arrive on time, you are already 5 minutes late". This applies to your arrival to the clinic as well as the social program!


Estonians also appreciate their personal space a lot more than our friends in Southern Europe. We can seem a bit cold at the beginning, but if you can make an Estonian smile or actually laugh, you have won our trust. 


Some more funny and educational videos about Estonia and Estonians, mainly made by foreigners :)