Estonia to open 10,000 summer language school places for Ukrainians

Estonian dictionary.
Estonian dictionary. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The government will organize summer language schools for Ukrainian refugees wanting to learn Estonian and 10,000 places will be made available. Some people have already started learning.

So far 26,000 refugees fleeing war in Ukraine have arrived in Estonia and many of them want to learn the state language. Classes opened especially for the refugees have already filled up quickly.

"We know that the number of people who want to learn the language today will certainly be higher. The concern is that we don't have enough language teachers. Even if we say that 20,000 people need to learn right now, we simply have to understand what possibilities we have today," Piret Hartman, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture, told ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Friday.

Hartman suggests that Ukrainians can start learning the language by using websites and apps such as and

AK visited an Estonian class at Tartu Folk High School to speak to Ukrainians who have started to learn. The school opened one class last month which has now expanded to five.

"The is a lot of interest. Now we have four more groups, one of them is led by an Estonian language teacher, the others are supported by the Tartu City Government," said Ingrid Leinus, head of the study department.

Courses last 60 academic hours and vocabulary needed for everyday life is taught. The class AK met was meeting for the third time.

"I would like to stay here because there [in Ukraine] I have problems with my home. And I would like to know the language in order to work, rent an apartment and live independently in the future," said Toma, who participated in the class.

Marina said: "We had to leave our city, Chernihiv, it was blockaded. We don't know how long we'll stay here. We decided to learn the language because we cannot go back."

Her first impression of the language is that it is "very difficult" and learning it will take a lot of work. "It will not be easy," she said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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