Table of Contents:
- Dmitri Moskovtsev: The anniversary year will be busy
- The Estonian Language Houses in Narva and Tallinn invite you to practice the language
- Estonian language courses of the Estonian Integration Foundation at levels A1–C1 are about to start
- The Language Friends programme invites you to sign up as a volunteer Estonian language mentor
- Estonian Language House in Tallinn launches alumni club
- During the 'Be Active year', we will offer activities for language learners as well as for our staff
- A collection of stories from returnees Returning Home 2022 has been published
- The Integration Awards ceremony is available to watch online
- Meet Katja Sepp, our new Head of Communications
- Join our team!
- New calls for applications
- Our calender
This year on 31 March, we all have another reason to be proud and happy: the Integration Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The past quarter of a century has been made possible by the active cooperation of many dedicated people. In the new year, the foundation will have opportunities which require at least equally competent cooperation. Here are a few examples of traditional activities and new trends that will characterise the year we have started.
- We will continue to create opportunities for learning and practising the Estonian language. 1,600 people registered for the free language courses taking place in the first half of the year (registration is now closed). During the year, thousands more people will be added to them, who will learn the Estonian language and culture in numerous courses, during events, and with the help of our counsellors.
- We will expand the circle of friends of the Estonian language by bringing learners and mentors together. From Valentine’s Day until the end of May, several hundred speakers and learners of the Estonian language will once again be able to chat with each other on topics of interest to them and thus find other things in common. Greater involvement of volunteers, which supports integration in many ways, is one of our most important tasks in the coming years.
- The focus is naturally on the adaptation and, if necessary, later integration of Ukrainian war refugees. We will continue to offer A1-level language courses to recipients of temporary protection. The challenge is to offer refugees continuing training in the Estonian language and to involve them in local activities while giving them the opportunity to preserve their culture. The application round for the organisation of Ukrainian language and culture learning for young war refugees is open.
- Starting from this year, we will start coordinating the implementation of the adaptation programme Settle in Estonia aimed at newly arrived immigrants. By participating in it, new residents of Estonia get the practical information necessary for adaptation and the opportunity to learn the Estonian language at a basic level.
- This year, we will relaunch the programme that offers employees with different native languages the opportunity to temporarily work in the same position in an Estonian-speaking environment. In addition to learning the Estonian language, participants can develop professional skills and create new contacts with Estonian-speaking people.
- Together with the Ministry of Culture, we will prepare a measure to support the cultural and sports programmes of Ida-Viru County, which will be added to the already existing activities. This will develop cultural life and revive the economy in the region.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped the Integration Foundation to operate consistently. I wish for us all to move forward in the direction of a more cohesive Estonia at a pace appropriate for this year – the Be Active Year.
The Estonian Language Houses in Narva and Tallinn have launched exciting activities which support the learning of the Estonian language and provide an opportunity to get acquainted with Estonian culture.
The Estonian Language House in Narva will continue its already popular series of events for practising your language skills by watching new Estonian films, visiting different Estonian secondary schools with the Narva Parents’ Club, and enjoying the nature of the Onion Route. In the spring season, the favourite of many people – a series of language trips – will take Estonian language learners on wonderful nature hikes in Ida-Viru County. This season, you can also sing with the tandem choir once a month or try your hand at different recipes – all in Estonian. Residents of Sillamäe will be able to take part in a social club and meet interesting guest speakers. Language learners in the Jõhvi region will have a great opportunity to spend some fun and useful time after a busy day at work, playing board games and the Mafia game or taking part in the Forum Theatre.
Language learners in the Lüganuse rural municipality are invited to learn about the history and weaving of bobbin lace. The varied and relaxing activity of the ceramics class helps to relieve tension and overcome the language barrier. At the meetings of the Kiviõli social club, we chat about real life topics in Estonian and discuss how to invite friends and guests to Lüganuse rural municipality and which fun activities can be offered here.
The language house in Tallinn will continue its popular series, such as the cooking and film club and the forest game. We will visit museums and language learners will have the opportunity to learn about the history of Estonian maritime history. In the summer, we will explore the urban space of Tallinn and take trips to small islands. We will also launch several exciting new series in Tallinn. As part of the Good Estonian Things series, language learners will get to know Estonian folk costumes, visit museums, and try their hand at creating prints and mosaics; the Be Active year will be celebrated with a series of meetings where we will practise Estonian language with various sporting activities.
Language learners in the Lääne-Harju region are welcome to the Language Workshop, Let’s Sing Together, Tastes in Language, and Film School events. In the Interesting School discussion group, we will discuss education topics of interest. There will also be a communication group specifically for Ukrainian war refugees, communication practice meetings Charms of Communication, and Library Friday. We will also organise traditional cultural trips to the Keila-Joa Castle and the Padise Monastery. Activities in the Pärnu region will start in March with social club meetings, workshops, and trips.
In addition, several beloved series of online activities have started, where people from all over Estonia or all over the world can practice Estonian, be it the Mokalaat discussion group, Language Roulette, or Playground. You can read more about all language training options that are already available or will soon be available in the calendar of events.
Free Estonian language courses from the Estonian Language Houses in Tallinn and Narva and partners of the Integration Foundation will start in January, February, and March. Groups are mostly already full. In February and March, courses will be added to the existing ones in Paldiski in the Lääne-Harju municipality.
For the second season, registration for language courses is taking place via the self-service portal of the Integration Foundation. When language groups are set up, first priority is given to those who are continuing their studies, then to those who have completed the counselling on the basis of the general queue, and then to other self-service customers of the Integration Foundation.
A total of 1,600 study places will be offered in the first semester, both as contact learning and online courses. In addition, specific courses, language training for citizenship applicants and recipients of temporary protection, and various language practice activities are organised.
We also recommend participating in the counselling sessions at the Estonian Language Houses of the Integration Foundation, where we analyse the needs and experiences of each person, determine their language proficiency level, and prepare a language learning plan. To register for counselling, please contact us by email at [email protected] or call 800 9999 (free of charge).
Estonian language studies at the courses of the Integration Foundation are funded by the Ministry of Culture.
The Language Friends programme of the Integration Foundation is inviting people whose first language is Estonian or other fluent Estonian speakers to register as voluntary mentors to help Estonian language learners practice their spoken language by conversing with them via online channels or over the phone.
The purpose of the Language Friends programme is to provide Estonian language learners further opportunities for practising communication in Estonian and to encourage them to use the language on a daily basis. In three years, the programme has brought together almost 2,500 language friends.
‘We are once again inviting volunteers to contribute to the programme – language learners are looking forward to the opportunity to talk to you in Estonian,’ said Ave Landrat, head of the Language Friends Programme of the Integration Foundation. ‘The previous seasons have provided the mentors with many horizon-broadening encounters as well as long-lasting friendships,’ he added.
Voluntary Estonian language mentors are tasked with interacting with a language learner in Estonian once or twice a week for three months on various different everyday topics via online channels or over the phone. No previous teaching experience is required.
You will be able to specify your preferences and possibilities for supporting the language learners on the registration form on the website of the Integration Foundation at integratsioon.ee/keelesõber.
The foundation will start registering those interested in learning the language with the help of the Language Friends Programme on 7 February.
The Estonian Language House in Tallinn is launching the Alumni Club programme to provide excitement and challenges for even the most active language learners.
‘We feel that those customers of the Estonian Language House in Tallinn who are at least at level B2 in Estonian need more than just classroom learning – they need the courage to speak and practice,’ explains Margarita Källo, Head of the Estonian Language House in Tallinn. ‘That is why, for the first time, we are offering a particularly active practice programme for spoken language.’
The language learners themselves contribute to the development and practical realisation of the activities of the Alumni Club to a large extent: they find different opportunities to practise their Estonian in Tallinn, get acquainted with the activities of different institutions on their own, and introduce their experiences to other members of the club. In the interim, club members meet to work in groups and discuss, give feedback, and plan the next phase of the project.
This time, the particularly active students of the Estonian Language House in Tallinn were invited to take part in the activities of the club. As the activities get underway, the circle of participants will expand and we will be able to invite more people to join the Active Language Practice Club.
During the 'Be Active year', we will offer activities for language learners as well as for our staff
The year 2023 is the Be Active year in Estonia, which aims to encourage people to be more physically active and lead healthier lifestyles. Language houses and the Integration Foundation are contributing to it.
The Estonian Language House in Tallinn is organising a series of sporting events to celebrate the Be Active year where you can learn about exercising, hiking, folk dancing, yoga, etc., in addition to practising the Estonian language. We will teach you the relevant vocabulary and give you an overview of the green spaces and free exercise opportunities in Tallinn. We will visit the hiking trails in Pirita and the Pääsküla bog and work out in the outdoor gyms in Tondiraba and Nõmme.
The language house in Narva is organising a series of language trips starting in March. Under the guidance of professional hiking guides and Estonian language teachers, you will learn relevant words, discover exciting hiking trails in Ida-Viru County, and get a good workout.
The team of the Integration Foundation has also decided to put more emphasis on physical activity in the coming year. At the end of general meetings, our staff will introduce to their colleagues different tips for being physically active and share inspiration and new knowledge.
In December, the Integration Foundation published a new collection of practical information on returning to Estonia and the stories of returnees, entitled Returning Home.
Around 7,000 people with Estonian roots return to Estonia every year. The stories in the collection tell us about the returnees and how they adapt, and the publication also has lots of practical information on starting a new life in Estonia. The collection can also be easily browsed online in Estonian and an English version is also available.
For those who have recently returned to Estonia or are planning to do so, we recommend meeting with a counsellor of the Integration Foundation to ask for advice on where and how to start learning Estonian, how to find a suitable job and a school place for your child, etc.
For more information about our services and return support, please visit integratsioon.ee/en/information-those-returning-estonia.
On 16 December, the Ministry of Culture and the Integration Foundation honoured the most outstanding contributors to the field of integration. You can now watch the ceremony that took place at the Estonian Museum of Architecture in full here.
The aim of the Integration Awards is to recognise those who have contributed to the promotion of the cultures represented in Estonia, to the establishment of contacts and cooperation between people of different first languages, and to the development of a common language between different communities.
The integration prizes were awarded to Jelena Skulskaja, Marju Lauristin, OÜ Shiftworks, the Estonian National Museum, and Anu Luure and Natalja Mjalitsina, the promoters of the Ukrainian School of Tallinn Lilleküla Gymnasium. Read more here.
Katja Sepp joined the team of the Integration Foundation as the Head of Communications on 20 January.
For almost 15 years, she has been a champion of multinational corporations and public authorities. In 2019, Katja also contributed to the communication of our foundation.
‘Communication makes even the impossible possible. I will do my best to ensure that professional communication opens up even better opportunities for the team, students, and supporters of the Foundation to find common ground and achieve what we want together. So that every word and deed would lead us forward in a unifying direction – it is ever better to live in Estonia,’ said Katja Sepp.
Due to the increase in the volume of activities, the Integration Foundation is looking to recruit the head of civic education, the head of labour market services, and the head of activities that support language learning.
We offer a job where you can do a lot for Estonia by promoting the studies of the Estonian language and making society more cohesive. Our professional and cooperative colleagues and a workplace in the heart of Narva or Tallinn look forward to new employees.
In the first month of the year, we opened several calls for applications. We await applications for the following projects: ‘Grants to Support Foreign Estonian Cultural Societies’, ‘Support for Cultural Societies of National Minorities’, ‘Cultural and Sporting Activities Promoting Integration’, as well as the completely new ‘Support for Ukrainian Refugees Up to 19 Years Old to Preserve Ukrainian Language and Culture’. A call for applications is open for the ‘Payment of Return Premiums’ initiative throughout the year.
The procurement ‘Estonian Language Courses for Educators’ has been announced.
Information on the announced calls is published on the Integration Foundation's website.
Information on events that take place by our organisation, participation or support, can be found in the calendar published on our website.
You can read the latest announcements of the Integration Foundation in the news section of our website and on the Facebook page of the Integration Foundation or the Estonian Language House in Narva and Tallinn