Q&A: Possibilities and organization of Estonian language learning

Jana Tondi, head of language education at the Integration Foundation, answers questions that we are often asked.

What kinds of Estonian language courses does the Integration Foundation offer? We offer Estonian language courses for adults (starting from the age of 18) at levels A1, A2, B1, B2, and C1. In addition to regular language courses (120 academic hours), we also offer shorter special courses (40–80 academic hours) which are dedicated to developing a specific skill set, such as writing, listening, pronunciation, or speaking. Estonian language courses are provided by the Estonian Language House and the partners of the Integration Foundation, i.e. language schools.

Who can register for an Estonian language course? Adults starting from 18 years of age can register for free Estonian language courses. The courses are meant for residents of Estonia who have an Estonian personal identification code. To register, please log in to the self-service portal of the Integration Foundation.

When and how can I register for a language course? You can register for free Estonian language courses on levels of A1, A2, B1, B2, and C1 and special courses twice a year (in January and August) in the self-service portal of the Integration Foundation.

Who is prioritised during admittance? First, we offer a spot to people who have graduated successfully from a course, then to people who have attended a consultation based on a general waiting list and whose accurate data is available in the self-service portal.

Where can I find information about the courses? Information about the courses is available on the ‘My services’ page in the self-service portal and via the search option for services. When you click on a course, the schedule of the course, a short description along with the name of the teacher and the language school, and the email address of the organiser will be displayed. Ask for detailed information about the contents of a course from the organiser of the course, whose contact details are provided by the content description of the specific course in the self-service portal.

How can I search for a language course in the self-service portal (choose according to the starting time, level, or location, find an online course etc.)? You can select courses according to the time that a course starts (such as from 1 August), level, and location, as well as find online courses in the self-service portal.

Does the Integration Foundation offer any other options for learning Estonian? In addition to language courses, we offer various activities that support language learning, such as language clubs, language cafés, and other events for learning and practising Estonian.

Language cafés start from level A2: language cafés support the learning and practise of Estonian before taking a course, because here, you will be more aware of your level of proficiency in Estonian and are therefore able to select a language course that is better suited for your needs. Moreover, you get an opportunity to discuss everyday topics with other learners at the café in a casual environment.

Language and culture clubs for levels B1, B2, or C1: clubs encourage fluent communication in Estonian and the continued learning of the language because club meetings include joint activities, such as field trips and workshops, in addition to language training.

We also organise Estonian language courses meant specifically for people who are applying for citizenship, newly arrived immigrants, and people who have been granted international protection in Estonia.

Various materials for independent study are available on the website of our foundation, including an Estonian language course at https://www.keeleklikk.ee/.

Our consultants will introduce the courses and explain how to use them.

Can I be compensated for participating in a paid course? How? The option to learn Estonian independently and be compensated for the study expenses is already available at the Estonian Education and Youth Board. Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund also offers language courses. 

Where can I find more information about the activities? Information about various activities is available in the calendar of the Integration Foundation and you can register in the self-service portal.

Why does the Integration Foundation no longer organise public registration for courses? The Integration Foundation maps the needs of the clients, plans and provides the necessary services in cooperation with partners (courses, special courses, clubs, cafés and activities that support language learning, such as field trips, workshops, and other similar events). Language courses, including clubs and cafés, are available for people who have attended a consultation and those who want to take follow-up courses. After them, all others who are interested can pick a service that suits them in the self-service portal.

What kind of changes have been implemented? A consultant helps to select the best form of language training. Consultants analyse the language-learning needs and the experience of each person and propose individually suitable options for language learning. People who have attended a consultation will be offered a spot in a suitable language course, café, or club. To register for a consultation, please email us at [email protected] or call our free number 800 9999. The consultation is free of charge.

The self-service portal is accessible for clients around the clock. You can explore various options for learning Estonian independently, at a relaxed pace, and at a fitting time for you, register for a suitable service (such as a club or a course) and study group, or add your name to a waiting list of a service and keep track of your studies.

Please note! If you have not attended a consultation yet, we highly recommend you do that. To register for a consultation, please email us at [email protected] or call our free number 800 9999. The consultation is free of charge.

Why have these changes been made? With the consultations and the self-service portal, we want to ensure the better availability of services as well as simplify learning the language for our clients and increase the quality of language training. Through these changes, we are offering a suitable study format on the necessary level based on the needs and proficiency of the learners.