Customers of Estonian Language Houses have started to use Estonian more

According to the results of the Integration Foundation's impact assessment of its Estonian Language Houses, students who participated in language courses and activities supporting language learning were satisfied with the services they received, gave a positive assessment to the impact on developing their Estonian language skills and had started communicating more boldly in Estonian.

The aim of the survey was to assess the satisfaction of the clients of the Estonian Language Houses established in 2018 by the Integration Foundation, events and projects for practising the Estonian language, independent online learning opportunities and consultation services, and to analyze the impact of the activities and services on their language skills and integration more broadly.

“When establishing the Estonian Language Houses, then in addition to Estonian language courses, our goal was to provide opportunities to practise Estonian and get to know the culture in a free form in the Estonian cultural space and language environment,” said Irene Käosaar, Director of the Integration Foundation. “The results of the survey show that we have been successful in moving towards this goal. Satisfaction with the services of the Estonian Language Houses is high, and according to language learners, we have helped them to improve their language skills and to start communicating more freely in Estonian. The survey also showed that the clients of the Language Houses were better integrated into society in some aspects and felt a greater connection with Estonian society compared to those who had not used these services,” Irene Käosaar explained.

More than 95% of the participants in the activities of the Language Houses would recommend them to others as well, and nearly 70% of the learners felt that their Estonian language skills had improved.

For example, 74% of those who took the courses, 73% of those who took part in language practising events and 83% of those who took part in the Language Friend program began to use Estonian more in their free time. 66% of the participants in the courses, 72% of the participants in the language practising events and 82% of the participants in the Language Friend program started reading more in Estonian. 64% of those who took the courses, 68% of those who visited language practising events and 80% of the participants in the Language Friend program started to communicate more in Estonian at work and at school.

Participants in the courses or events organised by the Estonian Language Houses feel good in Estonia (92%), do not feel pressured to give up their national culture (72%) and are predominantly of the opinion that everyone has the same rights and opportunities in Estonia (60%).

“Clients’ high satisfaction with the services of our Language Houses is a great recognition for us. In future, we plan to reach out more, so that information about the language learning opportunities would reach even more people and the number of our clients would grow,” Irene Käosaar said.

The impact analysis of the activities of the Estonian Language Houses was carried out by Civitta Eesti AS from September 2020 to June 2021 at the request of the Integration Foundation. Data collection included surveys, interviews and document analysis. A total of 1,269 people participated in all phases of the study.

The full version of the impact assessment report is available on the Integration Foundation's website.

The Integration Foundation has two Estonian Language Houses – one in Tallinn and one in Narva, but their activities are aimed at the whole of Estonia, for instance, they have co-operation agreements to carry out activities in Pärnu, Jõhvi, Kohtla-Järve and Sillamäe. The services provided by the Language Houses can be divided into three – Estonian language communication courses, events and projects for the purpose of language practise and cultural immersion (social clubs, film and board game evenings, thematic workshops, visits to cultural institutions, study visits, language camps, the Language Friend program, etc.), and advising of language learners and employers on language learning and adaptation issues. All services of the Estonian Language Houses are free of charge for participants.

The activities of the Estonian Language Houses are financed by the European Social Fund and the state budget through the Ministry of Culture.