Let us answer some questions about Estonian language courses

Jana Tondi, Head of Language Learning Activities of the Integration Foundation, explains which Estonian language courses will be available this year. She will also detail how returnees and permanent residents can register for courses that take place from August to November.


How do you support people who want to become fluent in Estonian?

We offer Estonian language courses to all adult Estonian residents whose first language is not Estonian and support language learning with various activities, give advice on issues related to acquiring Estonian language, and provide solutions that support independent language acquisition. All these options are free. The website of the foundation contains general information and we announce the options we offer through our self-service and social media.


What kinds of Estonian language courses do you organise?

We offer free Estonian language courses for levels A1, A2, B1.1, and B1.2 in various locations in Estonia and online. The Estonian language courses are provided by our Estonian Language Houses and we also organise courses at language schools. We welcome people who want to learn Estonian in the Estonian Language Houses in Narva, Tallinn, Kiviõli, and Paldiski. Language schools are selected from all across Estonia through public procurements.


Who can register for a language course?

The selection of the language course depends on the legal status of the learner.

Returnees and permanent residents of Estonia are welcome to take part in Estonian language courses for levels A1, A2, B1.1, and B1.2. The courses start with new groups twice a year (in January and August). Our second study season will begin in August and permanent residents can register for courses in our self-service starting from 15 July. More details are available on the website of the Integration Foundation and the social media accounts of the Estonian Language Houses.

Newly arrived immigrants (who have come to Estonia as regular immigrants, under temporary protection or international protection less than 5 years ago) are welcome to participate in Estonian language courses at levels A1, A2, and B1. If you are interested, you can register on the website of the adaptation programme. All details are available on the website of the Integration Foundation and the social media account of the programme.

People who are interested in acquiring Estonian citizenship are welcome to take part in Estonian language courses for levels A1 to B1. These options are available in our self-service in July, August, and September. You can learn about the requirements for participating in a course on our website at https://integratsioon.ee/en/language-training-apply-estonian-citizenship.


What does participation in a language course entail? 

Registering for a language course comes with an obligation to study diligently from the beginning of the course until its end, actively participate in lessons, and also learn independently.

Starting from January 2024, the total volume of Estonian language courses from level A1 to level B1 is 500 academic hours. The course loads per language levels are as follows: level A1 – 100 academic hours, level A2 – 150 academic hours, level B1.1 – 120 academic hours, and level B1.2 – 130 academic hours.

The volume of independent learning depends on the level: at least 50 academic hours are recommended for levels A1 and A2 and at least 40 academic hours for levels B1.1 and B1.2. All efforts made by the learner to use their new skills and vocabulary are taken into account, such as revising lesson materials, finishing exercises that were not finalised during a lesson, or completing an exercise to practice and check new material.


Who should participate in Estonian language courses in your opinion?

You should sign up for a language course if you are convinced that you can participate in all of the lessons during four months of this year, from August to November. For that, it is necessary to find a language course with an appropriate level that has lessons on days and at times that suit you. You need to decide whether you participate in an online course or attend in-person lessons. Acquiring a language is not compatible with other tasks (such as attending a meeting or serving customers) or leisure activities (such as a workout or cleaning). Therefore, you should inform your family and employer of your decision to participate in a course so you could take part in lessons unhindered.


What should you do before registering for a language course?

First and foremost, we recommend you think through how a language course would fit into your daily routine. You should also analyse your language skills to pick a course at an appropriate level. For this, we recommend that a student should select a course at a level that follows the one that they took previously. For example, if you have completed a level A1 course, then you should pick a level A2 course, not A1, B1.1 or B1.2. Once you have completed a course at level B1 or B1.1, you should continue studies at level B1.2.


Who can register for which language courses in July 2024?

Starting from 15 July, permanent residents can register for Estonian language courses in various cities or online:

  • Estonian language communication courses for levels A1, A2, B1.1, and B1.2 in Tallinn

  • Estonian language communication courses for levels A2, B1.1, and B1.2 in Tartu

  • Estonian language communication courses for levels B1.1 and B1.2 in Sillamäe

  • Estonian language communication courses for level B1.2 in Jõhvi

  • Estonian language courses for levels A2, B1.1, and B1.2 in Kohtla-Järve

  • Estonian language courses for level B1.1 in Lüganuse

  • Estonian language courses for levels A1, A2, and B1.1 in Narva

  • Estonian language courses for levels A1, A2, B1.1, and B1.2 online

All the aforementioned language courses begin in August and end in November. Lessons are conducted by language schools X, selected through a public procurement.

You can choose a suitable course and register for it in our self-service while it still has openings, or at the latest, up to a day before the course starts.


Where can returnees and permanent residents learn about the language courses taking place from August until November?

This information is available in our self-service on the ‘My services’ tab through the services search (language course/special course). When you click on a course, information is displayed with a short description of the course, its schedule, teacher, and contact details of the organiser of the course. Ask for detailed information about the contents and general organisation of a course from the organiser of the course. Their contact details are provided in the content description of the specific course in the self-service portal.


How can I search for a language course in the self-service?

Language courses can be selected in the self-service based on the name of the service (‘Language course’), starting date of a course, its level and location. 


How is my registration for a language course confirmed?

If you have chosen a suitable language course or other event and pressed the green "Register" button to register for it, you have registered for the course (event) and you will receive an automatic reply to your e-mail address (make sure that the correct e-mail address is included with the data).


What should I do if I cannot participate in a language course that I selected? 

A language learner can withdraw from and cancel a course in the self-service, but no later than one day before the course starts. You should inform the teacher and the language school of your decision to withdraw from the course.

This way, someone else can still register for the opening – either through the self-service or with the help of our staff. In this case, you have about two or three weeks after the start of the course to register.


What is required for the completion of a language course?

After completing a course successfully, a certificate is issued to the student. You need to participate actively in lessons and pass the final test to receive the certificate. The contents of the course and requirements for completing a course are explained in the description of the language course, which are available in our self-service.


What kinds of other Estonian language learning opportunities do you offer?

In addition to language courses, we offer various activities that support language learning, such as special courses, Estonian language and culture clubs, language cafés, educational programmes, and field trips. You can learn and practice Estonian by participating in these. 

Special courses support language learning at levels A1–B1; more information on them is available in the short course descriptions in our self-service. 

Language cafés are designed for Estonian language learners at level A2 and up. The cafés offer support for learning and practising Estonian before starting a language course or for consolidating your knowledge after you have completed one. The meetings give you an opportunity to communicate with your peers on everyday topics in a more relaxed environment. We plan to open new cafés in the second half of the year at the latest. 

Estonian language and culture clubs are open to learners of Estonian who are at levels B1, B2, or C1. The club encourages people to speak Estonian freely and to continue learning, as the meetings offer not only language learning, but also a chance to practice the language in its environment, including through joint activities, such as workshops or field trips. We plan to open new clubs in the second half of the year. 

Educational programmes are also suitable for language learning, as they provide opportunities to practise listening, speaking, and reading in depth, and to acquire knowledge about Estonia’s cultural diversity (e.g. art, architecture, nature, society, history, language, culture).


How can I register for an activity that supports language learning?

Information is available on the website of our foundation in the language course calendar and on the social media account of the Estonian Language House. You can register for various activities through our self-service. 


What kind of independent study options do you recommend?

Independent study materials are available for language learners on the website of the foundation, including, for example, an e-course in Estonian at https://www.keeleklikk.ee. 


What should I do to be successful in learning Estonian?

Study, study, study!