Name: Hannah Devereux
Hometown: Newport News, Virginia
Graduation year: 2017
Major(s)/Minor(s) [if applicable]: International Relations and Russian majors and European Studies Minor
Where are you studying abroad? Why did you choose this country/program?:
I'm studying abroad in Tartu, Estonia at Tartu University (That's Tartu Ülikool in Estonian) through an ISEP-direct program. I decided to come to Estonia because I wanted something different and, as far as I know, Estonia isn't a very popular destination for Beloit students. I had already studied abroad in Russia and worked in Ukraine so you could say I'm trying to make it to all the Eastern European countries.
What is one song from your host country that you think everyone here should listen to?:
There is some good Estonian music so, sorry, this is a band and a song. Vabandust! "Tähti Täis On Öö" by Karl-Erik Taukar. It's always on the radio here and I really like it. Don't ask me what they are saying though, the name of the song translates to something along the lines of "The Night is Full of Stars". (here's the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSBE_VuDo5Q). In addition, I would suggest everyone start listening to Ewert and the Two Dragons. I could see Beloit students really liking them and their music is in English, so for those who don't want to listen to Estonian Language songs they a good compromise. I suggest the song "Good Man Down" but their sound is good in any of the songs.
What is the most unexpected thing you have encountered so far during your off-campus study experience?:
If I'm being honest there was no culture shock coming here and I think that that surprised me the most. Culturally, it's not really that different from the USA, in my opinion. As a general rule Estonians are more shy, but Estonia is the number one consumer of alcohol per capita in the world so that helps with the whole being shy thing. They blame their ranking as the highest consumers of alcohol on the Finnish who take a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn buy cheaper alcohol in Estonia. I'm sure it will always be a debate between the Finns and the Estonians.
What are the three most important things you packed in your suitcase? Why?
My winter coat. Because it started snowing in October. It's actually quite warm now though. About 0 Celsius (89 degrees fahrenheit). Today I went to the store in a sweatshirt because you get used to the cold fast.
Water Bottle. Because water is expensive to buy and there are NO DRINKING FOUNTAINS ANYWHERE.
My stuffed animal. My stuffed rabbit goes to all the places I'm living, even when it means carrying her across the world.
What sport(s) do you play?: Volleyball and Swimming and Diving
Do you have any words of advice for other athletes who want to study abroad?
DO IT! And while you're abroad don't forget to work out and eat right and come back mentally stronger than you were before you left. It's a wonderful opportunity and I guarantee you can make local friends by participating in sporting clubs or at the gym. You don't have to give up your sport, you can go out of season, who knows, maybe it would even be in season for whichever country you decide to go to.