Nearly 90 foreign youth with Estonian roots take part in Estonian language and culture camp
This year, a total of 88 youth from abroad boasting Estonian roots took part in a summer camp dedicated to Estonian language and culture organized by the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA).
This week, the camp, located in Venevere village, Viljandi County, is helping the 22 youth taking part in its final session learn Estonian and familiarize themselves with that which is special about Estonian culture, reported ETV's nightly news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."
17-year-old Erik Löfstedt lives in Sweden, while 14-year-old Carol Gabanelli lives in Italy. What unites them is that both of their mothers are Estonian, although the two teens themselves were born in their respective countries of residence. Erik is attending language camp in Estonia for the fourth time, Carol for the second.
"I like it here, because you make a lot of friends here and here you can learn to speak Estonian better," said Carol.
Erik explained that he has attended a school in Sweden where Estonian is taught. He admitted that while he visits Estonia often, he still pictures his future in Sweden.
Estonian is practiced by putting on a play as well as simply in spending time together, but organizers of the camp find that the most important thing is that youth with Estonian roots living abroad find new friends at camp.
"The goal is to discover one's own Estonia — that their Estonia would not just remain their parents' or grandparents' Estonia, but that they develop their own relationship with Estonia," explained Epp Adler, a board member at nonprofit HeadEst.
Children attending the current session of the camp, which ends this weekend, represent a total of ten different countries, including South Africa, the US and multiple countries in Europe.