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5 differences between UK and Estonia

Hi, I’m Kadri Ann and I am from Estonia.

Estonia is a country on a human scale. This means everything happens fast, nothing is physically far away, and population density is just 30,3 people per km2.

Estonians are strongly connected with nature as half of its land is covered with forest, therefore they enjoy silence more than anything else in the world. Even though nature has a strong part in their life, Estonia is one of the leading countries in the field of technology. Did you know that Estonians were the ones who invented the Skype!


Here are my top 5 differences between Estonia and the UK:

1.   How are you?

In UK you hear it a lot – “how are you?” is a question that is polite to always ask while starting a conversation, doesn’t matter if the person is a close friend, an acquaintance or a stranger. The response will always be short and positive like “fine, thanks. And you?”.  

“How are you?” is totally opposite in Estonia. People don’t ask it too often, but when they do, they really mean it and want to know what’s going on in the other person’s life.  Moreover, it’s not even offensive to answer “Oh, you know, my life is a mess…” and fall into hours of conversation with what’s all wrong in your life. But that’s okay, because the question is asked only to actually get to know how your friend is doing.

2.   Small talk

Small talk for Estonians is something that doesn’t come naturally. In Britain, long periods of silence are considered to be embarrassing and it is preferred to talk about anything rather than being silent.  It is not a rare occasion that a stranger starts talking to you in a public transport and after 10 minutes journey, they might know half of your life story.

In Estonia on the other hand, the silence is highly valued and there is no need to talk all the time, it is totally okay to just sit in silence. For example, in public transport nobody starts a conversation with strangers, people just enjoy the silence. 

3.   Pub Culture

In Britain there’s a strong pub culture, a Pub is a meeting place for everybody, no matter the age. In Estonia pubs are more for the younger generation, older people tend to stay home and sometimes visit each other, but going out for a pint of beer would be rare.P1220991


4.   Thank you, love.

It’s an expression that you never hear from a stranger in Estonia. As I mentioned before, Estonians really mean what they say and all the lovely chit chat is cut out from the conversation. Therefore, it always makes me feel good, if a lady in a shop asks “what for you, love” or “thank you, love”. Even if I know they say it to everybody, I find it as a really sweet habit.

5.  Gender in the language

In the Estonian language there’s no gender, therefore it is very common for Estonians to mess up the she and he. Although Estonian is considered to be one of the most difficult languages to learn (with 14 different ways to twist a word!), we still can’t manage the ‘she’ and ‘he’. So don’t be mad if you meet an Estonian and they use a wrong gender. 😉

2 thoughts on “5 differences between UK and Estonia

  1. Väga tore lugemine ja nõustun kõigega, kuigi minu kogemused baseeruvad mitte UK-s, vaid Luksemburgis, USA-s ja Rootsis elamisel (3 aastat kokku).


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