This interview is first of a series carried out by Svetlana Štšur project manager of "Tallinn City Center New Arrivals Project" run by Tallinn City Center (Kesklinn) Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Every month, Štšur will interview an expat living in Tallinn and discuss why they moved to Estonia, what they like about the capital and their recommendations for other newcomers.
The interview was first published in the City Center district's newspaper "Kesklinna Sõnumid".
Andrea from Paraguay
Andrea and I met at a courtyard party with a barbecue. There were many expats and Spanish was the main language. She was sparkling inside and out with her full glam make-up, vintage disco outfit, charismatic personality and amazing singing voice, which made her the centre of attention.
The young Paraguayan is not afraid to take a leap in the dark; her decision to come to Estonia was also very spontaneous. After all, there's so many start-ups here, she figured she would find a suitable job - and she did!
"I've actually wanted to live somewhere in Europe my whole life," said Andrea. "But I also wanted a job doing something interesting, not something that's typical for most of the immigrants in Europe who've come from South America or Africa." She added that she'd hate to work just to survive and would want her job to ignite her. "I would die of boredom if I had to work for work's sake."
Back in her homeland, Andrea regularly came in contact with people in the IT field, who she often heard talking about Estonia as the 'next cool place to be'. "So, I came to Estonia and worked in a hostel for a few months before I found a job that fit me and that I was passionate about," she said.
When looking at how active Andrea is on social media and how vivid her profile is on Instagram (@chinchillaudaz), I couldn't help but ask: "Do you plan on becoming a big influencer?" Andrea said that she prefers to think of herself as a content creator because collaborations with brands are often very one-dimensional. "Take this, take a photo, tag us, etc," she added. According to her, it's so much more romantic to think of yourself as a content creator because it almost makes you feel like a storyteller. "There are so many ways to tell a story: you can write, use an image or video, create a series of stories, etc," said Andrea.
Andrea, who mainly used to blog in Spanish, has also started writing in English because, as she added while laughing, her audience may now also include some Estonian locals who are interested in the 'life of a crazy foreigner'. "I plan on creating a more extensive Tumblr-like webpage with lots of information, including about living in Estonia," said Andrea.
According to her, there's a lot to do in Tallinn both during the week and at the weekend. "I'm not a big Facebook user, but I like browsing the local events to find all sorts of café meet-ups, concerts and art exhibitions," she said. She's surprised that the locals seem to think there's not much happening in the capital. "I think that's the so-called locals' curse," said Andrea. "I would've felt the same way in Paraguay."
Andrea lives in Põhja-Tallinn, near Stroomi Beach. "I get quite a lot of attention there," she said. "Especially when I was strolling around with platinum blonde hair, my brown eyes, dark skin and, of course, my famous funky outfits. All eyes were on me with that combo. I feel like Estonians generally like to observe other people."
Last but not least, here are three tips from Andrea on how to survive in Estonia:
- Join the welcoming programme Settle in Estonia to learn more about living in Estonia and find new friends. If you know some simple Estonian phrases to use in the shops, there's a chance that the cashier will smile back at you.
- Take an interest in the local language. This shows that you respect the country you're living in. Don't be the person who can only say "tere" and "aitäh" in the local language after three years of living in the country.
- The sauna will save your life, both in winter and summer. If you see some crazy people jumping in the snow or the lake, join them!
Editor: Helen Wright