International student satisfaction survey reveals high scores for University of Tartu in learning and living experience

In 2019, a total of 183 higher education institutions from around the globe, including 48 from Europe and eight from Estonia, participated in the International Student Barometer (ISB) survey – a leading, large-scale survey of student attitudes. The results show that the highest scores for learning and living experience and support services among international students studying at Estonian higher education institutions were awarded to the University of Tartu. Among European higher education institutions, the University of Tartu ranked 2nd-6th, while the world rankings placed it in 10th-60th place.

In the survey, the students were asked to rate their experience in four key areas: learning experience; living experience; support services; and arrival and orientation. These areas were further divided into 82 separate aspects.

Aune Valk, the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at the University of Tartu, says it is particularly gratifying that despite the increasing number of international students, the university has managed to maintain excellence in teaching and supporting them. “Almost 90% of our international students would recommend the university to their friends,” she said. “That’s over 10% more than at other Estonian universities, in Europe and around the world as a whole. Although there’s still room for improvement in certain areas, generally speaking, there’s more than enough reason for us to conclude that the programme managers, lecturers and marketers of our university programmes that are taught in English, as well as those offering support to our international students, have done remarkable work. My sincere thanks and kudos to everyone who’s strived to make this happen!”

In the section of the survey concerned with learning, both international and visiting students at the University of Tartu gave their highest score (a more than 95% satisfaction rate) to the competence of the university’s lecturers, the clarity of assessment criteria and opportunities for participating in teaching work. In comparison to the European average, the feedback and supervision provided to students was ranked higher. The university’s learning environment, including e-learning opportunities, and the multicultural student scene were also highly appreciated.

In terms of support services, international students were most satisfied with the pertinent and helpful information they received to help them prepare for their studies at the university. Student satisfaction was highest with IT services (98%) and the support services offered by the Study Abroad Centre and library.

Other scores were somewhat lower among international students studying at the University of Tartu than the international averages: teaching ability (86% satisfied), quality of accommodation (80%), opportunities to interact with locals (63%) and places of worship (67%). 48% of students were satisfied with opportunities to earn money, which is markedly lower than among students studying in higher educational institutions in Tallinn (62%).

The survey was carried out in autumn 2019 and included 532 or 27% of the international and visiting students studying at the University of Tartu at the time. The overall number of respondents among international students totalled 32% in Estonian higher education institutions and 25% around the world.

The ISB surveys have been organised since 2005 by the British company International Insight Group. In Estonia, the survey is coordinated by the Archimedes Foundation.

For further information please contact:
Aune Valk, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, University of Tartu, +372 526 7930, aune.valk@ut.ee

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