A Re-Developing Country: Estonia


Hello! Hallå! Tere! Hei!

Coming to Estonia has been quite a culture shock compared to Sweden. From the crazy boat adventure to our bus adventures; this country is extremely unique.

Our first stop was E-Estonia where Crystal LaGrone, an Oklahoma native explained her experience with the technologically advanced Estonia. Here in Estonia you are required (all though it is not legally enforced) to get identification cards with RFID chips. These cards are not only your ID, but also your bus pass, keyless/digital signature, prescriptions, and all personal information. All of this information is easily accessible with a login and two pin numbers, and is only required to be put in a database once. In the US we are expected to fill in name, address, birthday, etc. when we vote, renew our driver’s license, go to the doctor, so and so forth. With the ID cards, you are able to vote electronically, which is something that the US has not even come close to doing. It was illuminating to learn that Crystal predicts a major crash in the US digital infrastructure because of the lack of active modernization. Estonia has as an advantage with this, because when they declared their independence from Russia only about 25 years ago. Being such a young country, from the get go, they decided to continually invest in their digital infrastructure.


Having a country that is so established online, creates a network that is connected (what Crystal referred to as the X-Road). When it comes to tax time, Estonians are able to declare their taxes in three minutes. Since all of Estonia’s databases are connected, these forms pull information from all areas and prefill the respective tax forms.

Internal security data breeches is something that Estonia takes very seriously. Crystal refers to the Estonians as empowered when thinking about their own digital foot print. In the US, you have no clue who is looking into what you or your personal information. The ID card also allows you to access who exactly is tracking your data again with a simple login and two pi numbers. If one of the trackers seem suspicious it can be questioned and sent to the data protection office where further measure such as jail time can be imposed.


Walking the campus of Tallinn University of Technology, gave us a sense of home at Chapman and we quickly began to make comparisons between what their school holds and what we are offered on campus. First, we start with the size TUT from the looks, and the nature walks, seems to be a larger campus that has about      12,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled. Chapman is smaller by size, still expanding thoughJ, and only has about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled.


The TUT was founded for engineering and has strived to become an innovative and international campus that holds students and faculty members from around the world. This is also something that Chapman has done and continually prides itself on with over 60 countries being represented on campus. TUT is also the largest university in Estonia with their MBA ranking at 6th in Eastern Europe, while Chapman’s MBA ranks 68th in Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek. When it comes to paying for education Estonia has it pretty nice in comparison to what Chapman students pay, for example TUT’s MBA costs €3,300 (roughly $3,750USD) for a 3-year, 180 credit(ECT) program. Whereas Chapman students pay roughly $1,500 per credit for a 2-year, 50 credit program… We still would never change our experience at Chapman for the worldJ Although, as an ending note, the assistant dean had mentioned that they are starting to get more strict on their number of applicants as they are seeing a decreasing rate in graduating levels and an increasing number in drop outs.


Despite all of that TUT places very high value on innovative technology and wants whatever is best for their students to succeed in such a competitive market. To help aid in that the school has built the MEKTORY (Modern Estonian Knowledge Transfer Organization For You) which is basically THE Mecca for all entrepreneurs, those looking to start a business or study technology. This four story lab provides needs for all students whether it be engineering, app technology, virtual reality, ventilation, or anything else your mind can wander too. While Chapman offers an incubartor setting for our entrepreneurs, it is no where near the status of what MEKTORY offers to the TUT students.


Now on to the final stop FINLAND!

Goodbye! Adjö! Hüvasti! Hyvästi!

Team 16-1