Live, Work & Travel in Estonia
There is an urban myth that the majority of Scottish fans that travelled to Estonia for an Estonia v Scotland football match never returned home, choosing to buy and live in Estonia permanently. Whether this is true or not, Estonia along with the other Baltic States have made a remarkable transition into liberal free market economies and are the only parts of the former Soviet Union to join the EU. Despite this, working in Estonia will mostly be confined to English teaching and volunteer work.
Teaching & TEFL in Estonia
The excellent Quinn's World of TEFL carries advice on salaries, hours and other useful information for English teaching in the country while English language schools are listed at ESL Base. Almost all are in Tallinn with a couple more in Tartu, Estonia's second largest city. Positions in smaller cities offer lower salaries but competition is lower too and the job may come with free housing. A small number of vacancies are listed on Global Teachers.
Commenting on William Lake's Learn and Teach English Blog, Kimberly recounted her experience teaching for a school year in Tallinn:
“It is difficult to find teaching positions there, so I would only plan on teaching there if you already have a contract set up. The school will help you with your visa (I’m from the USA). Pay is quite low for the high cost of living, so you’d better plan on having a roommate to split the rent.”
First hand accounts of looking for work in Estonia can be found on expat forums. Jake Jones is one teacher who described his job hunt:
“I pounded the pavement and went to places I had researched before I arrived. Few places will bother to answer an email, especially if the potential employee is abroad. I got a 12-month contract before I moved. I don't think any of the language schools offer 12-month contracts but schools do. This is very important because the schools will give you summer pay even though you do not work for 2 months (from roughly 20 June to 20 August). You have to have a full-time position to qualify for it though. Try hard to get one or you'll be on your own financially during the summer and make sure it is in the contract.”
Low Cost Options for Volunteering
Tallinn is home to a number of party hostels that often seek volunteers to lead their pub crawls, and do other tasks about the place in exchange for a bunk. Some advertise with sites like Hostel Jobs but turning up and showing your face as a guest for a couple of nights is often the best way to land these gigs. The Monk's Bunk Hostel's pub crawl video gives an idea what to expect.
More cheap ways to volunteer in Estonia are listed on another website in our small group.
Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free
Stay for free in return for caring for local residents' homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link).You can get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.
More Resources from our Sites
Directory > Russia & Eastern Europe Links - A selection of links for finding work, searching for a home and travelling in Estonia.
Jobs in Eastern Europe - Current vacancies from the Jobs Abroad Bulletin.
More Working in Estonia Resources
How To Find a Job in Estonia as a Foreigner - A selection of resources for searching for employment opportunities as a foreigner in Estonia.
Working in Estonia - Government information on resident permits.
Got information about living, travelling or working in Estonia? Write us an article or pass on a tip to other travellers here