Estonian Institute supports the participation of a couple of dozen students in the Estonian language and culture course in Tallinn University International Summer and Winter School as part of an academic programme for teaching Estonian language and culture abroad. The programme is funded by the Ministry of Education and Research. 123 foreigners in total have been supported in their language studies.
The participation of foreign students in the Estonian language courses of summer and winter schools helps promote and develop the spread of Estonian language and culture outside of Estonia.
The best part about organising the courses and funding the studies is when the person who studied in summer or winter school returns to their home country and starts actively using the gained knowledge. For example, one of the 2010 Estonian Institute scholarship recipients currently works as an Estonian language lecturer at the University of Moscow; a student from Slovenia, who participated in the school in 2012 and 2013, has translated the movie “Lotte and the Moonstone Secret” into Slovenian, says Birgit Kirsimägi, project manager of the Tallinn University Summer and Winter School.
The majority of the students who come to the Estonian language courses on a scholarship have learned some Estonian abroad already, either in classes by an Estonian lecturer, on their own or in web-based language courses.The reasons for coming to the language courses are different. There are people of Estonian descent, students of Finno-Ugric languages, foreigners who live in Estonia, and those, who are interested in the Estonian language and culture in general. The students come from all over the world, most of them from Hungary, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia.
The Tallinn University International Winter School ended on 24 January, and one of the 19 Estonian language course participants was studying on the support of the Estonian Institute. 19 foreign students can take part of the Estonian language courses during the Tallinn University International Summer School in July 2014 – the application process starts in February.
Tallinn University values the collaboration with the Estonian Institute very highly and recognised the Estonian Institute as the Training Partner of the Year in 22 January.
The Tallinn University Summer and Winter Schools are aimed towards international students but are also open for Estonians. The International Tallinn Summer School has been taking place since 2006. It offers a three-week programme that includes language classes, creative workshops and various courses in humanities and social sciences. The International Tallinn Winter School first took place in 2010. It has smaller courses and fewer participants than the Summer School. There are more participants in Summer and Winter Schools each year, the number has exceeded 300 over the past few years and there have been learners from 40-50 countries. In addition to learning, the participants partake in a diverse cultural programme; there are public lectures and outings that introduce Estonia and the culture here.