MARCH 2017

Wondering where you can practise and study Estonian free of charge this spring?
What does summer hold in store for foreign Estonian youngsters?
About project competitions
Teachers to be trained on carrying out elective media studies course
'Baltic notes' and the start of a New Year
Exhibitions of renowned Moldovan and Ukrainian painters opened in Tallinn
What is the ethnic make-up of the Estonian labour market?
What do international experts think of integration challenges?

Wondering where you can practise and study Estonian free of charge this spring?
You’ll find out at one of our information sessions!

Led by the ‘Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA), information sessions are being held in different towns and cities around Estonia in March to let people know about opportunities for free Estonian language studies.

The sessions will start at 18:00 on the following dates:

14 March             VALGA: Valga Cultural and Hobby Centre (Kesk tn 1)

15 March             TARTU: Tartu Alexander Pushkin School (Uus 54)

21 March             PÄRNU: Pärnu Town Hall (Nikolai 3), hall

28 March             TALLINN: Lasnamäe City District Government (Pallasti 54)


18:00 Welcome from the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA)

18:05 MISA - Estonian language studies: courses, counselling, language clubs and language cafés

18:20 Unemployment Insurance Fund - Opportunities for and terms and conditions of Estonian language studies

18:35 Innove Foundation - Compensating the costs of language studies

18:50 Questions and answers

19:00 Close

Further details regarding the information sessions and registration are available by calling the free number 800 9999.

The information sessions are taking place as part of the ‘Moulding attitudes to learning for the independent Estonian language studies of less successfully integrated people’ project (no. 2014-2020.1.06.16) financed by the European Social Fund.

Come to a café to practise your Estonian!

Yes, you heard right! The Estonian language café is designed for residents of the country who speak languages other than Estonian in order for them to study and practise the national language.

The cafés have proven themselves to be an effective way of overcoming reticence to speak Estonian, boosting vocabulary and gaining language practice.

The groups discuss everyday situations and topics: talking about yourself, looking for work, training and studying, communicating with colleagues, travelling, enjoying hobbies, marking special days and occasions, attending doctor’s appointments, dealing with officials and more.

In 2017 and 2018 we are giving hundreds of people the chance to take part in language cafés all over the country so as to support their efforts to learn Estonian.

You can register for the language cafés here:

When registering you will need to fill in a short questionnaire, in which we ask that you describe your Estonian language learning experiences to date. This information is important when it comes to putting conversation groups and study groups together. Each café group meets 25 times. Every get-together lasts for 90 minutes. Group size is max. 16 people.

MISA organises regional information sessions to promote Estonian language learning opportunities and the format of the language cafés. Take a look at the venues and schedule here:

Interest in Estonian chamber music aroused... at a language club!

Members of the Estonian language and culture clubs are experiencing facets of the national culture they have never encountered before.

Aita Karo and Sirje Priks, the leaders of one Tartu-based club, say that a perfect example of how this has had an effect on members is a visit to a concert given by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, which led to some members attending further concerts on their own and inviting friends and family along with them.

“Over the six months we were getting together we took the club members on a number of trips to familiarise them with Estonian music, art, handicrafts, theatre and history,” Aita and Sirje explained. “They started communicating in Estonian more and more confidently and made new friends and acquaintances. Guests looking to polish up their language skills also volunteered to join us. It made a nice addition to our ordinary programme to have people come in and talk about their work and their lives - business people and cultural figures.”

Feedback from the Tartu group showed that its members very rarely missed get-togethers, and that two of the members took the state language exam at the B2 level while part of the club. One participant remarked that only after attending the language club did they feel truly integrated.

This winter has seen 24 clubs organising activities: three in Sillamäe, seven in Kohtla-Järve, three in Ahtme, one in Jõhvi, five in Narva and five in Tallinn. A further five clubs will be opening their doors this month: two of them in Narva, two in Tallinn and one in Jõhvi.

The language clubs are designed for anyone whose mother tongue is a language other than Estonian and who wants to learn more about what makes Estonian culture unique or to overcome the language barrier, or who needs support and encouragement to use Estonian more confidently in everyday life. Members are invited to and selected for the clubs from the list of those registered for language studies at the B2 level as part of the ‘Integration training’ activity (5.2.1) of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project of the European Social Fund or from among those who have completed a MISA language course.

Club meetings are organised by MISA in cooperation with OÜ Mitteldorf, OÜ Keelepisik, ImmiSchool - Uusimmigrantide Koolituskeskus OÜ and Change Partners OÜ. Take a look at the clubs’ blogs online at,, and 

For further information please contact: Jana Tondi | Head of Language and Cultural Immersion, MISA | Telephone: +372 659 9069 | E-mail: [email protected]

More than 1300 people are currently studying Estonian for free

MISA has passed on to organisations arranging language studies the details of all those who registered their interest in studying Estonian back in summer 2015.

The organisations have been getting in contact with these people to arrange a time for level testing and in regard to plans for the potential start dates of courses.

As at the beginning of March there were 1320 people taking part in Estonian studies, the majority of them (885 people) in Tallinn, followed by Ida-Viru County (390), Tartu (30) and Pärnu (15).

Estonian is being studied in 59 different groups in Tallinn: nine of them at the A2 level, 24 at the B1 level and 26 at the B2 level.

In Ida-Viru County, the 390 students are divided between 26 groups. There are two A2 groups, seven B1 groups and six B2 groups in Narva. Studies are being offered at three levels in Sillamäe: at the A2 and B1 levels, with one group each, and two groups at the B2 level.There are also two groups at this level in Kohtla-Järve, one of which is based in Ahtme. In Jõhvi the students are divided between three B2 groups and one group each at the B1 and A2 levels.

There are two groups in Tartu: one each at the B1 and B2 levels.

The solitary group in Pärnu is studying at the B2 level.

MISA is organising Estonian language courses at the A2, B1 and B2 levels until 2020 via the resources of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project of the European Social Fund.

Further information about the Estonian language courses offered by the foundation can be found on the MISA website.

What does summer hold in store for foreign Estonian youngsters?

The Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA) awaits applications from youngsters with Estonian roots between the ages of 13 and 18 to take part in the language and culture camps to be held in Estonia this summer.

There will be three camps between June and August. “The camps are open to young people aged 13 to 18 who have an Estonian background but live outside of Estonia and give them the chance to study the language, get to know Estonian kids their age and learn more about Estonian culture,” explained Andero Adamson, an adviser with the Language Department of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. “During the camps they take part in a wide range of activities together, play sports, go on excursions and find out what sights the country has to offer.”

- The first camp will be for young people who speak no Estonian or understand only a little of the language. It will be held from 27 June-7 July.

- The second camp will be held from 18-28 July and will be for young people who speak Estonian at an upper-intermediate level.

- The third and final camp will be for young people who speak Estonian fluently. It will be held from 1-11 August.

Parents can register their children to take part in the camps on the MISA website. Registration is open until 4 April via the MISA website at HERE.

“We’ll be selecting which applicants will take part based on their Estonian skills, their motivation, how old they are, where they’re from, how long they’ve lived outside of Estonia, how many times they’ve attended camps before and the cost of getting here,” explained MISA’s director Dmitri Burnashev.

The foundation will inform the selected applicants by e-mail by 13 April.

The language and culture camps are organised for young people with Estonian roots as part of the ‘Countrymen programme 2014-2020’. They are run with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Research.

For further information please contact: Jana Tondi | Head of Language and Cultural Immersion, MISA | Telephone: +372 659 9069 | E-mail: [email protected]

About project competitions

The winners of the 'Estonian language and culture family studies' competition to be announced in March

MISA has been supporting studies of Estonian language and culture within families since 1998. Almost 20,000 youngsters from all over the country have taken part in these studies.

As part of the competition, studies of Estonian language and culture in families for the target group will be supported from 1 March-30 November 2017.

The aim of the project is to introduce Estonia’s cultural space, the country itself, its history and its language to young people aged 7-19 who live in the country but do not speak Estonian as their mother tongue. We also want to give the youngsters the opportunity to form contacts with people of the same age who speak Estonian as their first language.

The budget for this year’s project competition is 45,000 euros. The results of the competition will be published, and the contact details of the organisers of the family studies can be found, on the MISA website.

The organisation of Estonian language and culture studies in families is financed from the state budget by the Ministry of Culture.

The winners of the ‘Promoting integration through sports’ competition announced

Via this competition, MISA is supporting joint activities in the field of sport as partnership and inclusion projects that enhance social cohesion, incl. the generation of everyday contact between people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, communication and involvement in society.

42 applications were submitted to the competition, of which six were selected by the assessment committee with a proposal to support their implementation:

- the ‘Narva Fun Run 2017’ project of the NPO Estonian Club for the Organisation of Sporting Events;

- the ‘Football Unites!’ project of the Estonian Football Association;

- the ‘Integration in the Name of Better Choices through Exciting Sports Activities’ project of the NPO Airpark Sports Club;

- the ‘International Athletics Week Competitions’ project of the Estonian Athletic Association;

- the ‘Translating the Training Textbook for Trainers into Russian’ project of the Sports Training and Information Foundation; and

- the ‘Together in Sport: Joint Events Involving Estonians and Newly Arrived Immigrants’ project of the NPO Ethical Links.

The budget for the competition is 40,000 euros. It is being funded from the state budget by the Ministry of Culture.

Teachers to be trained on carrying out elective media studies course

On 16 & 17 March 2017, teachers from upper secondary schools and vocational education centres will be introduced to the beginner-level subject syllabus of an elective course in media studies at Meriton Old Town Garden Hotel in Tallinn.

According to Maarja Lõhmus, a lecturer in journalism at the University of Tartu who will be giving the training, the event will examine the thematic focus needed for carrying out the course, as well as skills in understanding and debating complex issues in journalistic work. “We’ll be talking about how teachers can take on a media professional’s view of journalism and the media,” she explained.

The training is being organised by the ‘Our People’ Integration and Migration Foundation (MISA), which instigated the creation of the subject syllabus for the elective media studies course for students from upper secondary schools and vocational education institutions with Estonian and Russian as the languages of instruction last year. The syllabus is designed to teach young people about creating media messages and about consuming information with awareness.

The syllabus was piloted and tested as part of an eight-day seminar for young people and has received initial feedback from the Innove Foundation.

The preparation of the media studies subject syllabus and the organisation of the training are supported by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Estonia.

The training is free of charge for all participants.

For further information and registration please contact: Liilika Raudhein |  Analyst, MISA | Telephone: +372 659 9841 |  e-mail: [email protected]

‘Baltic Notes’ – The perfect reason to visit Lindakivi Concert Hall

Starting at 11:00 on 12 March is ‘Baltic Notes’, a festival of children’s artistic endeavours at Lindakivi Concert Hall, to which everyone is invited by Lüüra, the International Union of Associations of National Minorities.

Lüüra director Ilona Uzlova says that the festival is designed to support children’s creativity. “We want to give kindergarten and school kids the chance to express themselves vocally, through choreography and via the visual arts,” she explained. “We also want to showcase the culture and history of the countries on the Baltic Sea.”

The festival features three categories:

- vocals (maritime-themed songs);

- choreography (maritime-themed compositions); and

- an art competition (illustrations depicting Estonian nature and the Baltic Sea).

Admission is free of charge.

For further information please contact: Ilona Uzlova | Director, Lüüra | Mobile: +372 5808 1044 | E-mail: [email protected]

Come and celebrate the start of a new year!

The ‘Ajdan’ Estonian Azerbaijani Cultural Centre invites everyone to help them celebrate Novruz Bayramı or the start of the New Year of the Sun.

Ajdan director Nijazi Gadžijev says Novruz Bayramı is the most important holiday in Azeri culture. “This year we’re celebrating the festival, which is marked all the way from eastern Europe across to Mongolia, more broadly than ever, and in three different places,” he explained. “We’ll be getting people from other countries and regions involved, too - Uzbeks, Bashkirs, Tatars, Cherkesh, Kabardins, Lezgins and Turks. The UN has declared 21 March to be International Day of Nowruz.”

- The special day will be celebrated at Lindakivi Cultural Centre at 17:00 on 19 March.

- There will then be further celebrations at Kodulinna Maja at 19:00 on 20 March.

- Final celebrations will take place at Kaja Cultural Centre at 19:00 on 29 March.

The events will be opened by the ambassadors of Azerbaijan and Turkey. Taking to the stage as part of a concert will be collectives from Estonia and the east, and attendees will hear all about Novruz Bayramı. “Everyone who comes along will get to try some Azeri sweets, and there’ll also be an exhibition about Azerbaijan,” Gadžijev added.

All of the events are free of charge for anyone interested.

For further information please contact: Nijazi Gadžijev | NPO ‘Ajdan’ Azerbaijani Cultural Centre of Estonia | E-mail: [email protected] | Mobile: +372 50 19 694

The activities of national minority umbrella organisations are supported by MISA from the state budget via the Ministry of Culture.

For further information please contact: Kristina Pirgop | Head of Partnership Relations, MISA |  E-mail: [email protected] | Telephone: +372 659 9024

Estonian National Library hosts exhibition of foremost Moldovan artist

From 13-19 March, visitors to the Estonian National Library will have the chance to enjoy ‘Eternal Worldspace’, an exhibition of the work of one of Moldova’s foremost contemporary artists, Tudor Zbârnea. 

A member of the Union of Moldovan and Romanian Artists, Zbârnea has been the director of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Chișinău since 2002. He has contributed to more than 200 exhibitions in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Cyprus, Lithuania, Russia, Finland, France and of course Romania and Moldova.  His works can be found in many museums around the world.

The exhibition is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Estonia and Moldova. It is being organised by the Embassy of Moldova in cooperation with the Estonian Ministry of Culture and the National Museum of Fine Arts of Moldova.

The exhibition’s opening times are the same as those of the library. Admission is free of charge.

For further information please contact: Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in Estonia | Telephone: +372 642 0203 | E-mail: [email protected]

Exhibition of renowned Ukrainian painters opens in Tallinn

Õpetajate Maja in Tallinn is playing host to an exhibition of Ukrainian artists Dmytro Dobrovolsky and Nina Dobrovolska until the end of March.

Dmytro Dobrovolsky, who is a member of the Union of Ukrainian Artists, held his first exhibition in Kyiv in 1994. He has arranged further exhibitions in Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, the United States and Estonia. He has been awarded a number of diplomas and certificates around the world as well as at national exhibitions and festivals. His paintings are to be found in a variety of private and museum collections, including among that of the British royal family.

Nina Dobrovolska is a painter and computer graphics designer. She has been studying computer graphics at the Estonian Academy of Arts for three years and has been painting for more than a decade. She teaches painting at Lasnamäe Upper Secondary School in Tallinn.

The exhibition is open from 9:00-17:30 Monday-Friday, as well as on Saturdays and Sundays and at other times if the venue is open for special events. For information please call +372 615 5160. Admission is free of charge.

More information about the artists can be found online at

For further information please contact: Dmytro Dobrovolsky | E-mail: [email protected] | Mobile: +372 5606 5530

What is the ethnic make-up of the Estonian labour market?

This question has been answered by a recent analysis commissioned by MISA.

The Institute of Baltic Studies has examined the labour market surveys conducted in Estonia over the last 15 years with the aim of charting the factors influencing the linguistic and ethnic segregation of the Estonian labour market.

Take a look at the press release here:

Take a look at the meta-analysis

What do international experts think of integration challenges?

If you click on you can watch and hear the presentations given by experts from abroad at the ‘Integration Challenges in a Radicalising World’ conference organised by MISA.

Both videos and presentation slides are available: