First Ukrainian students arrive at Estonian Academy of Arts

As of Tuesday, 17 students from Ukraine have arrived at the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA).
As of Tuesday, 17 students from Ukraine have arrived at the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA). Source: ERR

The Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) has invited students from Ukrainian art colleges ravaged by war to Estonia to continue their studies here. Around 100 students responded to the call, the first of which have since arrived in Tallinn.

As of Tuesday, a total of 17 Ukrainian art students had arrived at EKA and were in the process of settling in.

"They have chosen the majors they want, and the faculty to whom we have directed them are currently doing incredibly good work and have agreed to put everything else aside and focus on them in order to help them adjust here," EKA Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Anne Pikkov told ETV's "Aktuaale kaamera" news broadcast on Tuesday night.

Architecture student Anna Dzebliuk is from Western Ukraine, and was planning on applying to EKA's master of urban studies program sometime in the future. Then everything changed overnight, and Dzebliuk will now first complete her bachelor's studies at EKA.

"I am very grateful that we are being helped so much here," she said. "I came here and thought that I would not be welcome here, that nobody needs me, but I was very warmly welcomed; everyone wants to help."

Everyone is very open, everyone is smiling, and everyone is giving something, Dzebliuk continued.

"It's hard for me to understand, because until now, I myself had always been giving something to someone; I was a volunteer," she explained. "But now I myself am on the other side of the barricade. I still need to learn how to do this."

In addition to academic support, the EKA is also helping refugees with other, everyday needs. Both EKA and Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) have offered accommodatios at their student dormitories, and Ukrainian students are being offered two warm meals per day at the EKA cafeteria.

"We're utilizing private donors' help, which is covering affordable accommodations, but the EKA itself has also set up a fund to which the EKA community has donated and from which the first start-up scholarships of €200 were paid out today," Pikkov said, explaining that these funds are meant for spending on any initial everyday items.

The academy community has also collected donations of physical items the newly arriving students may need. The EKA's Department of Fashion Design recently launched a new initiative calling on students and faculty to sewing bees, where fabric left over from textile industry bankruptcies will be turned into bedsheets and other home textiles.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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