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Language Courses in Estonia

STATE

Estonia is situated in north-eastern Europe, being the northernmost of the three Baltic States. It is bounded on the west and north by the Baltic Sea and on the east by Lake Peipsi and the Narva River. It is bordered on the east and southeast by Russia and on the south by Latvia. Tallinn, Estonia's capital city is only about 85 km south of Helsinki, the capital of Finland, across the Gulf of Finland. Sweden is Estonia's nearest western neighbour across the Baltic Sea.

Estonia is often referred to as a very small country. With an area of 45 000 sq. km, Estonia is in fact bigger for example than Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark or Switzerland, but still for example five times smaller than Great Britain. Estonia stretches 350 km from east to west and 240 km from north to south. Sea islands form one tenth and lakes about one twentieth of Estonia's territory. Almost half of the Estonian territory is covered by forest and woodland.

NATURE

The image of Estonia's natural environment is shaped by the small average population per square kilometre, the country's proximity to the Baltic Sea and its location between the Eastern and the Central European bio-geographical area. That means that Estonia is a borderline area for the occurrence of many species and types of landscape. Bogs and forests, small lakes and islands offer an opportunity to experience silence and pristine nature.

The climate in Estonia is temperate and mild, characterised by warm summers and fairly severe winters. The weather is often breezy and humid due to the proximity of the Baltic Sea. Seasons in Estonia vary widely. Average temperatures range from 20.9° C in summer, with July usually being the hottest month, to -8°C in winter, although occasionally the temperature may rise to 30°C and above in summer or sink below - 23°C in winter. The longest day of the year is June 21 with 19 hours of full daylight. The Estonian weather offers as many surprises as Estonia and its people do.

ECONOMY

Estonia is a part of one of the fastest growing economic regions in Europe. The country is located at the heart of the Baltic Sea Region, Europe's fastest growing market of more than 90 million people. This region is one of the most diverse and rewarding markets in Europe as it spans over the well-developed economies of Scandinavia and Northern Germany, the rapidly expanding economies of the Baltic States and Poland, and the vast potential markets of Northwest Russia.

The Estonian economy is considered to be liberal and innovative. IT is one of the most popular areas of business and also "the thing" to study. The use of IT has infiltrated services as well as the industrial sector and has greatly changed the way things are done nowadays. The main trend is towards simplification, innovation and customer-friendliness.

The fact that companies do not have to pay income tax for re-invested profits is considered to be an effective method for enhancing entrepreneurship and for the promotion of innovation and new business solutions. Income tax must be paid only on profits that are paid out to shareholders.

Economy in numbers:

Currency: from 1 January 2011 Estonia is member of Eurozone and the currency in Estonia is euro ().

Estonia became the OECD's 34th member country on 9 December 2010.

Tax system: 21% flat income tax, reinvested corporate profit is tax free; 20% VAT

International Credit Ratings

Moody's: A1, outlook stable

Standard & Poor's: AA-/A-1+, outlook stable

Fitch: A+, outlook stable

Additional information: //www.investinestonia.com/

CULTURE

Situated between Eastern and Western Europe on the map, Estonia is also a border area, or more accurately a crossing point, in terms of culture. In the traditions of these parts, one can find elements originating from the East as well as the West, but the Estonians mostly consider themselves a northern people and conceptually bound to Scandinavia. Marginal and border cultures are where one can find the most interesting phenomena and combinations. In this regard, Estonia is a country of dozens of possibilities.

Notable people: composer and Grammy nominee Arvo Pärt, supermodel Carmen Kass, actress Mena Suvari and actor Johann Urb, designer Oskar Metsavaht, footballers Mart Poom and Joel Lindpere, one of the best chess players of the 20th century Paul Keres, noted astronomer and astrophysicist Ernst Öpik, former Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom Lembit Öpik, the "father of embryology" Karl Ernst von Baer

LIFESTYLE

The life-style of Estonians is directly linked to their character, the weather and different seasons. In winter Estonians tend to be more home- and work-centred, while summer is a time for active open-air activities and vacations in the countryside. In recent years Estonia has developed an excellent infrastructure of cultural, social and sporting facilities. Throughout the year there is a wide range of activities and events striving to meet and even exceed expectations of local inhabitants and their international guests. Since regaining independence and a rise in living standards, there are more opportunities for travel and Estonians are eagerly seizing the chance to see the world.

For more information check the country website.