Tallinn – a wonderful place to spend a semester abroad (by Annalena)

Today I am back again in Germany. After nearly 6 wonderful months in beautiful and cold Tallinn I am happy to be back with my family. Time went pretty fast and I was really sad about having to leave Tallinn. The last half year was full of great experiences and new things I learned. It became an important part for me and I am happy that I decided to do a semester abroad. Not only that I learned a lot of new things; on one hand about film but on the other hand also about people and different nations I moreover moved forward in different ways.

First of all I when I tell things about my semester abroad in Tallinn I need to talk about the weather. Climate conditions was a concern people were constantly talking about, especially in December. Estonia indeed is colder and darker than Munich but at first I did not expect the weather the way it was in the end. It is cold and dark in the winter but the cold was not too rough and harsh once you dress well. But the darkness really affects you. You learn to appreciate the few sunny days even more when the average day is pretty dark and cloudy. The cold weather was the worst when we shot one film outside. We constantly were freezing on set but through our nice motivation in the team this was just a side effect and did not affect the mood on set too much.

Besides the weather I had a wonderful time in Tallinn. The BFM (Baltic Film and Media School) offered a lot of great courses. I voluntarily took some further courses because they were really interesting and are not offered back in Germany. BFM is a nice university and offers you a lot of abilities to work and study. From film studio to editing rooms is everything available and all the students are allowed to spend their whole days and nights there to work on their projects. And if you need some further help from someone most of the teachers are willing to help you. The relationship with the lecturers was very nice and supportive.

University life is different to Munich; we only had a few courses per day and lectures only took a few hours which led to a lot of free time. We used our free time to do other things. Studying did not take your whole day so we had a lot of time to focus in our film projects for example to which I will refer later. Or to make friends and spend time with them.

I met a bunch of wonderful people in Tallinn which I will definitely meet again. Not only other Germans but also Estonians, Italians, Austrians and many others. I guess that a semester abroad is the perfect opportunity to get to know people from all over the world. Together with

some of them I experienced a lot of nice things. From walking around to traveling, from having a coffee to celebrating someones birthday and from freezing outside together to having cozy evenings in front of the television we had a fun time together.

One of the greatest things I will remember are the many shootings I took part in in Tallinn. In a team of all the macromedia students from Munich and the ones from Cologne we produced and shot 4 short films during the semester. Together with a very good friend from Russia I produced all of them. It was a very uncommon but nice experience to produce a film in a foreign country. At first I though it would be very difficult to get all the things we needed. But in contrast to their sometimes grumpy appearance from distance most of the Estonians are very likely to help and support others once you get to know them better. We met a lot of helping people and also made a lot of friends. It was a lot of fun to work together with them. I enjoyed the time on the film sets and also the hundreds of meetings during the production period even though it was a very stressful time. Now, after the premiere of the films we held at the cinema, I am very proud of the outcome and it was definitely worth it to work hard for it.

Since this wonderful experience of producing films with people from all over the world I also decided to take part in the famous short film competition called 99 fire films award. Therefore I asked a bunch of friends I made in Estonia to participate in the project. A lot of people were interested to join the project and so we started working for it. We were a very nice group of friends spending more than 99 hours with close to no sleep for producing a nice short film. Also for this film we had to struggle with the cold and snowy weather conditions since the whole film was shot outside. But we figured out to stay motivated and created some great footage. It was a really nice way to end my time in Tallinn with such a nice project.

All in all I am very happy that I spent my last semester in Tallinn and Estonia. I can only suggest everyone to do a semester abroad. It leaves you with a lot of new impressions and you will gain experiences and knowledge in many fields. And Tallinn is a perfect place for it; it’s more an “unusual” country and you maybe would not think first of it but it definitely is worth your considerations!