"In 2012, my friend and I travelled to the Baltics where we visited the capitals of each country. That is when I first visited Estonia. After my travel, I went back to my daily life and kept thinking about Tallinn. I really liked this city. It was a cosy, laidback, clean, safe and affordable city.
At the time, I had already worked in three main technological hubs in the United States. I began reading about Estonia. I found out the country has a very strong culture of entrepreneurship and start-ups so I chose to come here for my graduate studies.
When I came to Estonia I realised people were efficient here, they get things done. They are demanding and have high expectations but people know what they’re doing.
The topic of migration seems to cause a lot of unease here. I’m concerned about the anti-migrant rhetoric as some issues have escaped from rhetoric to verbal and physical aggression. I think this is a problem that needs to be addressed and kept in check. Unfortunately, people here care too much about their reputation and things are discussed only when something really bad happens. We shouldn’t consider talking about intolerance and xenophobia as a taboo.
Since, I am an activist and volunteer in an organisation for international students, I have started to collect data on the kind of intolerance incidents international students have witnessed and been victims of. I hope to use it in some way. I think xenophobia is programmed in people’s minds, but it needs to be kept in check. Integration surely will take many years and effort must be done on different fronts.
I have been here for four years and I enjoy what I do here. You never know what life brings, but at least now I see myself in Estonia, improving my language skills, starting a start-up, continuing my involvement with non-profits and advocating for tolerance."