Summer in Estonia: How debating allowed me to travel the world

This summer, two speaking teams and two judges went to compete in the European Universities Debating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia. Not only did we get to explore this beautiful city with our friends from other British universities, but we also got to meet other debaters from all over Europe.

Tallinn is a place that I had never thought to visit before. Estonia is rarely touted as a tourist spot and I knew very little about what it had to offer. This view changed for me after just six days there. Whilst it might be small, it’s a place packed with culture and experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t debate. The first 3 days of in-rounds were all focused on debating during the day, but in the evenings we got to experience the nightlife and explore the city.

As soon as we got to the hotel, we saw that it was on the beach overlooking the Baltic Sea. This made for some relaxing walks with friends, as well as an evening swim for those willing to brave the jellyfish – infested waters. There were also organised socials for people who wanted to see what Tallinn was like whilst meeting new people, including a pub crawl, city tour, and a party in a theatre hall in the Old Town.

The last few days, for those who didn’t make it to the out-rounds, were completely free. This meant that we got to go to all the tourist spots and have a mini-break in the city. Tallinn Old Town is full of incredible museums (my personal favourite was the Estonian Health Care Museum) and viewpoints from which you can see the whole city and the coast. It was so much fun to spend the days walking around with friends from Warwick and new friends from other universities, finding new places to eat and drink and learning more about Estonian culture. We were so lucky to have this opportunity – it was definitely an atmosphere that is unique to the debating community.

In WDS there are plenty of opportunities to travel all over the world. Not only do we regularly send teams to competitions all over the country, we also send teams to the European and Worlds championships every year. With future competitions being held in places such as Mexico and Athens, there are tons of chances of travel with friends, debate global topics with some of the best speakers in the world, and be part of a worldwide community.

 

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