Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eesti keel...

A couple of months ago I enrolled myself in an online Estonian class.

At the time, I figured that, you know, I should probably start learning some Estonian before I leave late this summer. And the course is taught through Tartu University, so I thought it would be perfect--I could actually go to the University for the final test while I'm in Tartu!

I also have a book that I've been learning from, and it has helped me so much. I've already got three out of fourteen grammatical cases down. I'm so proud.
(By the way, I am so very happy that Estonian doesn't have noun genders...)

Now, before I had enrolled myself in that course, I had done some internet scouring and was able to find a multitude of awesome links for language learners. Here are some of my favorites....

For Learning:
http://mylanguages.org/index.php - Great website with almost any language you could want. Pretty comprehensive.
http://www.livemocha.com - Chances are, you've heard of this. It's a good site with a bunch of languages. I haven't done much more than the first few lessons of Estonian, but it's given me a good vocabulary upon which to build later.
http://www.oneness.vu.lt/languageschool - This may be for Estonian learning only, but it's still got some good lessons and exercises. You should probably learn Estonian now. (DO IT.)
http://www.loecsen.com/travel/discover.php?lang=en - The basics for a few languages.

For Entertainment:
http://www.fluentin3months.com/ - An interesting blog with some good/funny articles for all you polyglots to read.

For Anything Else:
http://www.cultures-shocked.org - Anyone who is an exchange student, will be an exchange student, will be hosting an exchange student, or knows an exchange student should learn some things from this forum!
http://www.everyculture.com/ - Learn about the world's cultures, man.

Äitah ja head aega!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Host City

...I've found out where I will be staying.

Usually you find out what district you will be staying in before hearing about which specific city. However, in Estonia there is only one district and it covers the whole country (...plus Southern Finland), so I already knew my district, technically.

Recently, I heard from my first host family and it looks like I will be staying in the middle of Tartu!
Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia--it has a population of about 100,000 (that's about the size of Manchester, NH). Fortunately, I've heard that the city is very "green", so there are trees and green spaces all over, which I am happy about.
I am not much of a city person (coming from rural NH...), but Tartu sounds like it's on the small side so it should be no problem and a welcome change.

It's also known for being the university city, as the University of Tartu (unsurprisingly) is spread throughout the city. I'm hoping to be able to take a look at the University more in depth and maybe I'll make a post on it specifically in the future. My host mother works at the university, so perhaps that will help me!

As you can see, Tartu is in Southwest Estonia. Tartu is actually situated between two large lakes (one on the Russian border, the other in the south-middle of Estonia), but this is not shown on the map.
In addition to finding out about Tartu, I was also told that I will be attending Miina Härma Gümnaasium. (See the website here) The "high school" is only about 200m from my house... I'm glad I'll be able to enjoy the Summer air while walking to school, although in mid-January I'm sure that air will not be as refreshing...
I should be in the twelfth grade and I will hopefully be able to go on the "Humanities" track at MHG. This will mean that I can focus on languages and the like instead of math (ugh...) or science (...meh).