What's the course really like?
We asked our former participants to take a trip down memory lane and share some thoughts about the programme. We also wanted to know the first thing that comes to their mind when thinking of Estonia.
Here's what they wrote:
I am thankful that I had this opportunity to participate in this course! Not only did I improve my Estonian, but I also learned about Estonian culture. And of course – many new friends! I was really amazed to see how many people from so many different backgrounds and parts of the world want to learn this language. If you are willing to learn or improve your Estonian, use this opportunity!
One thing that pops into my head when I think of Estonia – “Lots of islands, including Ruhnu island:)”
- Helena, Estonian elementary course, 2018
I was extremely satisfied with the whole course. I met nice people, who organized the course, got quick answers during the whole time. It was fascinating to meet so lovely teachers and other students from various countries. They came from all around the world and I am still in contact with quite a lot of them. The summer course is connecting people. We loved the excursions to the museums in Tartu and to Tallinn (open-air museum) and the waterfalls. We learned a lot, not only the language but also about the culture.
Now I will come to the main thing that brought me to Estonia before even coming there: E-Residency... Founding a company in only a few minutes... unbelievable. After getting the E-Residency card, I started an Estonian course in Germany, Berlin at the Volkshochschule and my teacher Mari (a native Estonian coming from Tartu) told me that there is a summer course in Estonia at Tartu University. That is how I came to Tartu. It was a very good decision to go there, and now I am connected to Estonia: lovely people, wonderful nature and progress in technics.
- Uwe, Estonian for beginners, 2017
The Estonian summer course has covered various aspects of language learning: from A as in awareness of Estonian culture to O as in opportunities to acquire useful speaking skills, for example through presentations in Estonian in front of a group. The teachers have supported the learning environment with their positive attitude and focus on each student's individual development. I felt like a part of a cosy "language-learning-family", consisting of students and teachers with diverse and enriching backgrounds.
What first pops into my mind when I think of Estonia? matkamine ja ujumine rabas / must huumor / sõna "tubli"
- Daniel, Estonian for the intermediate level, 2019
I participated twice in this summer school. The first time was the changing point of my Estonian studies, because before that, I wasn't really comfortable with the language, but after the course, I became one of the best in my class in university and learning was really fun. The summer course made me finally use and talk Estonian. The teacher was very kind and well teaching with different methods and exercises. I felt very comfortable in the group. Also, the afternoon activities were fun and well organized. It was the best summer school experience I've had.
The second time I was in a higher class, its level was maybe a bit too high for me, but I made it through. The group atmosphere was not so strong in this class as in the previous one, but everybody was nice including the teachers. Tartu as a summer school location is wonderful. I love this city and I am always happy to return. :)
For me, the one thing that pops up when thinking of Estonia is the sound of the language. I like it very much :)
- Karin, Estonian elementary in 2018 and upper-intermediate course in 2019
My first visit to Estonia was somewhat random, but I was quickly amazed by the country and its culture. It's like the perfect blend of different cultures it has interacted with and is still wonderfully unique. I later took the Estonian language course to get to know the country better, and it was a wonderful experience in every sense. The linguist in me was very happy with the course and the culture program was organized so well. I had a great time in Tartu and met many amazing people, and I'm looking forward to visiting there again, hopefully for another summer course! What first pops into my head when I think of Estonia is "kastani", the name of a lovely street, and the very first Estonian word I mispronounced :)
- Ekinsu, Estonian for beginners, 2019
Estonian language summer school was my gift to myself on my name-day. I did not want to begin learning from zero, therefore I learned the basics of this language during the spring semester independently on www.keeleklikk.ee. I had no doubt that I should choose Tartu University as the best place for the summer course, and my choice proven to be right. Nice city, perfect organization, experienced and positive lecturers. And another important argument in favor of spending my summer holidays in Estonia was that it is not so hot there as elsewhere in Europe. I would love to come again. And I would highly recommend this summer course for everyone.
- Kristīne, Estonian for advanced beginners, 2016
I took my first course when I first arrived in Estonia. I took the course twice more because it was the best and most fun way to progress since I decided to stay here. And now here I am working in an Estonian school and using Estonian every day. I never thought I'd achieve that, but the Summer School was fundamental in giving me amazing positive experiences with what can at first seem to be a difficult language.
The best part about the courses was the feeling of community and moving forward together. The social activities helped form bonds of friendship, some of which still remain today. If I had the time I'd do this course every year just for the fun of it.
When I think of Estonia, fried black bread croutons in garlic come to mind. And also the great feeling of space as I cycle through the country lanes in the summer, the flat land opening the sky wide all around. And the smell of wooden houses in the sun.
- David, Estonian for beginners in 2010, advanced beginners in 2015 and the intermediate level in 2016
I signed up for the courses because I would like to improve my general command of the Estonian language: not just the reading skills I needed for doing research, but also other aspects of the language proficiency to navigate Estonia much better. Thanks to Gerli, Linda and Anne, my teachers at the summer courses, I became much more confident to express myself in Estonian. I also really love the after-class cultural programme, which allowed us to appreciate Tartu's famous spots and to explore the city through some paths less travelled. If I had any questions, I felt comfortable approaching the extremely friendly and helpful organising team. It was the best one could ever hope to experience in a foreign city which became more familiar by the day.
Kui ma mõtlen Eestist, siis kohe tuleb meelde Eesti 2009. aasta Eurovisioonile saadetud lugu "Rändajad". Soovitan neile, kes pole veel kuulanud!
- Paris, Estonian elementary course in 2016 and upper-intermediate in 2019
It was a truly enriching and unique experience to spend my summer in Tartu and be immersed in Estonian language and culture 24/7. I learned so much and made a lot of great connections that were beneficial from both personal and professional levels!
- Sergey, Estonian for the upper-intermediate level in 2018