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Statistics for 2019/2020 study year show the continued rise in international student numbers with the percentage of international students among the entire student body reaching 12,2%. Like previous years, the majority of international students come to Estonia to complete their Master’s studies. The number of international PhD students has also been steadily rising and is nearing 600 as per the 2019 statistics. The biggest number of international students are still coming from neigbouring countries Finland and Russia, however Georgia, Latvia and USA have fallen out of the TOP 10 sending countries list in 2019.
Take a look at some further statistics on international students in Estonia in 2019:
Many European countries cancelled their Academia learning mobility events aimed at career guidance professionals this spring because of travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. Estonian Academia organisers, however, opted for a creative adaptation of learning mobility in the e-Academia format.
Estonia had planned to invite career guidance professionals from various European countries for a visit as part of Academia learning mobility from 18 to 21 May but a decision was made in mid-April to proceed differently this time. Typically, a study group of up to 12 would spend four days learning in Estonia. This time, we agreed with the Association of Career Counsellors, Unemployment Insurance Fund, TalTech, University of Tartu and Innove to try virtual learning mobility. “You’ll never know until you try,” Margit Rammo, Euroguidance Programme Manager and Coordinator of Academia at Archimedes Foundation, explained the starting position.
Attendees were from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia and Estonia. “We always want to include at least one attendee from Estonia because reality has shown that experience sharing occurs both inside and outside the programme and it is good to have a local practitioner on board”, Rammo explained.
What can Estonia teach on career guidance?
The organiser of e-Academia found this task both challenging and inspiring: “First, we needed to understand who our attendees were and their level of experience; after that, we needed to figure out the optimal use of technological solutions to avoid this becoming a tedious four-day video conference. The use of various platforms and tools constituted an additional learning outcome and the attendees were happy to say that although they had heard, for example, about Kahoot and Mentimeter before, they were using them for the first time.” According to the Euroguidance Programme Manager, e-Academia undoubtedly gave the attendees confidence to adopt these tools themselves.
Daily two-hour online seminars were held and attendees were assigned homework. At meetings, different platforms were used, which application experience was shared with participants. Objectives for the virtual learning mobility included providing an overview of lifelong guidance in Estonia, better understanding the services of universities and the Unemployment Insurance Fund aimed at various target groups, understanding learning in a multicultural environment, expanding one’s professional network and learning to use various ICT solutions.
The venue for this spring’s e-Academia was TalTech Moodle where features included presentation and homework sharing and BigBlueButton web conferencing. Attendees used a reflective diary to record the most important new knowledge and observations and reflect their learning experience.
Attendees were impressed by systemic approach in Estonia
“Estonia benefits from its small size in providing lifelong guidance because of its greater adaptability to change and experimentation with different methods. For instance, there are 100,000 employees at the German unemployment insurance fund and turning around a big ship around takes a time,” the Euroguidance Programme Manager sums up the attendees’ views on Estonian lifelong guidance. “Attendees also highlighted Estonia’s highly systemic inclusion of career development skills in the curriculum. We had to concede that its implementation is a challenge: on the whole, the curriculum is jam-packed with little time for developing general skills, career education at schools are at an uneven level and the related teacher training system is mostly project-based.”
Margit Rammo further highlighted that foreign career guidance professionals took an interest in the Estonian system of professional qualifications: “As we don’t have a career guidance practitioner speciality at our universities in Estonia, the professional qualifications system is a welcome alternative, providing practitioners with an opportunity to prove that the necessary competencies in this field exist. The professional qualification of career guidance practitioner is awarded by the Association of Estonian Career Counsellors.” For example, the Netherlands also has a professional association supporting practitioners but has no national standard like in Estonia as of yet.
Experience that is engaging and inspiring but also challenging
According to the Academia organiser, attendees observed that e-Academia was very engaging and inspiring but also challenging: “The initial concern was what if the internet connection drops or they can’t be heard or seen but fortunately no major technical issues emerged. Attendees were happy with the experience thanks to content-rich presentations and varied learning tasks. Now they are eagerly looking forward to direct sharing of practical experience already in September.”
Jutta Gentsch, career counselor from the German public employment service, was among the attendees of eAcademia organised by Estonia. First off she commended the Estonian organisers for opting for this format of Academia: “Most countries cancelled their Academia learning mobility events because of the coronavirus pandemic but Estonia found an excellent solution for not just holding the event but taking advantage of the circumstances.” Jutta explained that she chose Estonia because of its high level of technological development and she knew that she had a lot to learn from here.
She pointed out that she wasn’t well-versed in online seminars but after attending e-Academia she is planning to work out how to replace some in-person seminars with the online format. Even though this positive experience alleviated her fear that online seminars fail to break the ice between attendees she advises organisers to pay more attention to self-introduction: “When we meet at an online seminar for the first time we’re unacquainted, not knowing each other’s backgrounds or experience. We had a Facebook group that I used to introduce myself but this could have been leveraged even better.”
Jutta concludes with positive notes and expresses appreciation for Estonia’s ability to shift its plans on a dime and offer a highly positive and enlightening experience to all. Academia’s second stage is planned for September and involves job-shadowing at universities and Unemployment Insurance Fund and sharing practical experience of participating countries.
Estonia’s lengthy experience was an advantage
Since 1992, Euroguidance centres in various European countries have provided short-term learning mobilities for guidance professionals, the most substantial of which is Academia. To date, almost 2,000 practitioners from all over Europe have taken part in the study exchanges. Estonia joined the Academia network in 2000 and, since then, more than 150 practitioners and experts have visited Estonia and approximately the same number of Estonian professionals have had the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge abroad.
2018 saw a noticeable rise in the number of international students who started their studies in Estonia – the increase for international admission was nearly 25%. The biggest number of students can still be found in master’s programmes, however there has been a rise on all levels of study. For the first time, the number of international PhD students in Estonia has risen above 500. Unlike previous years, the most popular programmes among international students are still business and law, and humanities and arts; however, third place has now officially been claimed by the ICT field (replacing the previous third place owner – the field of engineering, construction and production engineering).
Take a look at some of the statistics on international students in Estonia in 2018:
The long process of updating and re-branding the Study in Estonia website has finally been completed and from now on information about Estonian higher education and study possibilities can be found from the renewed www.studyinestonia.ee website.
The new website was created by Trinidad Wiseman OÜ.
Any errors that occur while using the new website should be reported to International Marketing Specialist Kristina Piliste (email@example.com).
70 experts from 30 different countries met in Tallinn Creative Hub from 18 till 20 June 2018 to discuss how digital solutions can be used to increase the involvement of young people in decision-making processes.
From January this year Estonia was awarded the right to host a Europe-wide SALTO-YOUTH Participation and Information Resource Centre (SALTO PI). Last week the Centre brought together developers of e-democracy and youth e-participation platforms, youth policy makers, as well as youth workers and youth leaders for an international seminar „eXploring Youth eParticipation“. The aim of the seminar was to identify challenges that hinder greater and more meaningful involvement of young peole in democratic processes and to connect developers of eParticipation platforms with youth policy makers, youth workers and youth leaders.
„Despite the fact that young people are often the initiators of innovative solutions, in most European countries the concepts of e-participation and smart youth work are not yet a common part of everyday youth work practice,“ said Martti Martinson, coordinator of SALTO PI. According to Martinson the main factor contributing to the status quo is the lack of knowledge about existing digital platforms and applications created specifically for the involvement of young people in democracy. “This event was also quite unique as never before have developers of so many different platforms, practitioners and policy makers had the opportunity to meet at the same forum,” said Martinson.
E-participation projects can be very diverse in their scope and focus: “For example OPIN platform has been used in Cremona, Italy by over 1000 school students to decide on the budget for student-led projects. In Malta, iParticipate team has used OPIN for brainstorming and moved the discussion on vote@16 which surely contributed to the recent decision by Maltese Parliament to lower the voting age to 16,” outlined Evaldas Rupkus, project manager at IJAB.
CitizenOS, BiPart, Brabbl, OPIN, STEP, WEchange, and YouthMetre were among the e-participation platforms represented at the seminar. An English version of a Massive Open Online Course jbjMOOC! on initiating and facilitating youth e-participation projects was also launched at the seminar.
SALTO PI is one of the six Europe-wide resource centres in the youth field which provides advice, training and resources on youth participation and information for the National Agencies of Erasmus+:Youth in Action as well as to the European Commission, youth workers and youth leaders. SALTO PI is located within Archimedes Foundation Youth Agency in Estonia and is funded through the EU Erasmus+ programme. This seminar was organised by SALTO PI in cooperation with IJAB and the National Youth Agencies of Estonia, Latvia and Germany.
The number of foreign students that wish to acquire higher education in Estonia is on the rise. The majority of international students are working to obtain a master’s degree. The number of international PhD students has also made a significant leap compared to last year.
Take a look at some of the statistics on international students in Estonia in 2017:
In December 2017 Study Estonia in collaboration with Work Estonia and Estonian universities and institutions did several YouTube live events on living and studying in Estonia. We’ve combined these various presentations into one 100-second “Making of” video for you to enjoy!
The live sessions were carried out together with University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn University, Estonian Academy of Arts and Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences.
The presentations included the following topics:
Watch the “Making of Study Estonia video presentations” video:
Watch the whole playlist with 13 video sessions:
Study Estonia is a cooperation platform of institutions of higher education in Estonia to increase visibility of Estonia as an attractive study destination and promote the possibilities for studying for international students. The activities are coordinated by Archimedes Foundation in the framework of Dora Plus activity and financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
The Estonian Erasmus+ National Agency organised a cross-sectoral contact seminar “Enhancing Digital Competences in Education and Training” open to all Erasmus+ programme countries on September 17-20. For the conference the Estonian National Agency made a video to introduce Erasmus+ strategic partnership action (KA2).
We invited to Tallinn more than 70 education experts from schools, VET and higher education institutions, adult education organisations, teacher training centres, enterprises and research institutions representing all education sectors and interested in digital competences and committed to develop Erasmus+ strategic partnerships.
In 2016 the contact seminar was very successful and seven projects were later funded by the EU. This time 11 potential cooperation ideas were generated by the end of the event and we hope to see good Erasmus+ project proposals submitted in 2018.
“We hope this video will give a good insight to the Erasmus+ KA2 strategic partnerships action. It is not always so easy to find quickly the right information regarding the cooperation possibilities of my school or organisation in Erasmus+ from the Commission´s website or the Programme Guide. In this case the video should help a lot. This short video will also give advice how to begin with the international collaboration and what are the first steps to bear in mind,” added Hannelore Juhtsalu, the project manager of the video production.
Strategic Partnerships (KA2) aim to support the development, transfer and/or implementation of innovative practices as well as the implementation of joint initiatives promoting cooperation, peer learning and exchanges of experience at European level.
Video “Strategic partnerships (KA2)” – subtitles in English
Video “Strategic partnerships (KA2)” – subtitles in Estonian
Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.
Grete is an Estonian successful singer and songwriter. She is a student in Estonian Business School and she was an Erasmus student in Italy in the academic year 2015/2016. Grete said: ‘I wasn’t scared anymore and I think this newfound confidence was a direct result of my Erasmus+ experience.’
She is best known for performing in the country’s national Eurovision competition Eesti Laul in both 2013 and 2016. Grete spent a semester at Milan’s Bocconi University, where she studied marketing and finance. Her Erasmus+ experience enhanced her personal development; she became stronger, more independent and confident. She also became calmer, which has been key to conquering her stage fright. Grete says that she gained a ‘completely new mindset’ which helped her to develop her creativity, as she wrote many songs during her stay in Italy.
According to Grete the Erasmus+ generation is more open-minded than previous generations. Being born in a time of free movement, she doesn’t understand the idea of boundaries stopping her from going anywhere. ‘If I have a performance in another country, I never think of being stopped from going there. You should be able to go wherever you want.’ This natural freedom Grete feels will likely mean doing a second Erasmus+ stint in the future – perhaps a communication course in the University of Amsterdam.
Erasmus+ is enriching lives and opening minds!
Estonia is a small country in Northern Europe. Despite its size, Estonia offers a lot of space and opportunities for foreigners coming here to study. On the one hand, it is one of the greenest countries in the world and has quite a low population density, which makes its living environment very health-friendly. On the other, Estonia is the perfect place for connecting with the whole world, as it is an innovative digital country.
Less is more
Forests cover more than half of Estonia, which is quite rare in Europe and in the world (2016 Environmental Performance Index, ranks 180 countries). The country also features isolated islets, beautiful lonely beaches, and deep untouched forest areas. Wherever you are, you can get to wilderness in less than 30 minutes. Having a low population density and more room for every person does not mean being lonely as a human being. On the contrary, it allows Estonian universities to use a more personal approach to engage each student in the study process. Thanks to its small population, Estonia also has less bureaucracy in universities and in government in general.
Digital and start-up-prone
Living and studying in Estonia is more comfortable for students because Estonia is a highly digitalised community. It is very common to declare your taxes online (in 2 minutes), make bank transfers via mobile phone, or do your weekly grocery shopping without ever leaving home. Children as young as 7 years are taught the principles and basics of coding; computer usage is generally widespread in all fields of life. The Republic of Estonia is the first country to offer e-Residency — a transnational digital identity available to anyone in the world interested in administering a location-independent business online. This technology enables secure and convenient digital services that facilitate credibility and trust on the Internet. Estonia already has thousands of e-residents, including Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany.
Estonia is also famous for its start-ups – it takes just five minutes to register a company and, according to The Economist, the country held the world record for the number of start-ups per person in 2013 (many Estonian start-ups are now successful companies that you may recognise, such as Skype, Transferwise, GrabCAD, and others). Based on success stories, Estonian universities have developed new unique programmes that focus on high-tech education (e.g. cyber security, e-governance technologies and services, digital learning games).
Affordable and sensible student destination
Estonia has very affordable living costs – The Business Insider has listed Estonia as home to two of the most affordable European cities to live in (Tartu and Tallinn). The same can be said about studying in Estonia – there are many scholarships and tuition-free programmes available, especially at the Master’s level.
In addition to being affordable, Estonia also has reasonable conditions for students to look for a job. International students are allowed to work full-time during their studies, as long as it does not interfere with their education. Taking up a job does not require a separate permit – if an international is allowed to study, it automatically ensures the right to work. Students are also allowed to stay in the country for six months after graduation to look for employment. It is not always easy to find a job if you do not speak the local language; however, most Estonians do speak English and the field for English-speaking positions is growing. There is an annual work fair organised specifically for foreign students, which also helps bring together companies and students.
A recent discovery in the world of international higher education
Among international students, Estonia is still a rather recent discovery and the number of international students is growing by nearly 20% every year. The student body is quite diverse – there are students from neighbouring countries, such as Finland, Russia, and Latvia, from other European countries, such as Germany, Italy, UK etc., and from other countries all over the world, such as the USA, Georgia, India, China, and so on – all together from 90 different countries. All of them can choose between 140 degree programmes taught entirely in English.
The most important fact is that 89% of international students are satisfied with their studies in Estonia (according to the International Student Barometer 2015). If you still have not discovered this small and innovative place to study, there is an excellent opportunity for attending the Study in Estonia webinar week at the end of November and at the beginning of December (more information about studying in Estonia).
The article was published in Studyportals web site Mastersportal in November 2016.
Estonia is one of the smallest countries in the EU, yet it has more than 20 higher education institutions, offering more than 100 different degree programmes in English. Every year, Estonian universities welcome more and more international students from all over the world. Internationally recognised English-based degree programmes and shorter courses are offered by universities that have agreed on common high academic standards and support services by signing the Agreement on Good Practice in the Internationalisation of Estonia’s Higher Education Institutions. When it comes to international higher education we know that the size and limited resources of a small country make it more challenging to compete with larger countries with globally known institutions. Estonia is always looking to become more efficient, using limited resources smartly and, being always tech-savvy, everything is evaluated, analysed and tracked with advanced methods based on IT and broad-based cooperation with higher education instutitions and other national and international stakeholders.
Numbers and figures
According to the Estonian Education Information System, this academic year (2015/2016), Estonia hosted nearly 3,500 international degree students, more than 1,600 exchange students and around 400 participants of summer or winter schools. Ten years ago the situation was totally different. Estonia had a litte more than 700 incoming Erasmus students and less than 900 international degree students in the year 2007. The number of international degree students in Estonia has almost quadrupled from around 900 in 2008/09 to around 3,500 in 2015/16. Besides that the number of Erasmus exchange students has grown tremendously. In the academic year 2008/2009 Estonian higher education institutions hosted 708 students, but in the academic year 2015/2016 the respective figure increased to 1,642 students. The top sending countries of origin for international degree students are Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Nigeria, Georgia, Turkey, India, Latvia, China and the USA. These countries make 75 percent of all the international degree students. All in all, our students come from more than 100 different countries. The top sending countries for Erasmus exchange students are Germany, Italy, France, Czech Republic and Latvia.
When did it all start?
Why are more international students coming to Estonia? In the 1990s and in the beginning of the last decade our higher education institutions worked independently and carried out their own internationalisation activities without any remarkable cooperation with each other. This began to change some years later, in the mid-2000s with the establishment of Estonia’s Higher Education Internationalisation Strategy. The strategy was planned for ten years (2006–2015). As Estonia had entered the European Union just in 2004, this was exactly the right time to get the international experience and learn from major players in higher education international marketing. The state established Archimedes Foundation in 1997 with the objective to implement different national and international programmes in the field of training, education and research, beginning with Erasmus ending up with Youth in Action and academic recognition. In the early 2000s, it was decided that the foundation will be in charge of enhancing the attractiveness of Estonian higher education landscape. So, shortly after signing the strategy, in 2008, Archimedes Foundation launched the higher education international marketing campaign called „Study in Estonia“.
What did we agree on?
Estonia first agreed on the objective of internationalisation which was according to the higher education internationalisation strategy to improve the competitiveness in the region, to make the public more aware of our universities and our education and to create a legal and sustainable environment to support the development of internationalisation. Besides that there were pervading principes on implementing the whole strategy which were: valuing the international dimension, the development of the Estonian language, added value to society, autonomy of institutions of higher education and equal opportunities to all teachers and students regardless of their country of origin and to all Estonian institutions of higher education regardless of their size, type or area of specialisation. One of the key points about international students was that by 2015 Estonia was expected to have at least 2000 non-resident foreigners who would be enrolled in full-time study at its higher education institutions and universities. We then decided to focus on the main actions: coordinating and promoting our national brand together with our universities; focusing our marketing communication activities on top-priority target markets; playing on our national strengths and focusing on any kind of fields beginning with the economy ending up with culture and technology; focusing on our unique selling points; and enhancing the support systems that would help the students feeling welcome and taking the maximum out of their study experience.
About the future
As the amount of Estonian students is decreasing, there is a growing need to enhance the attractiveness of Estonia as a study destination. In the academic year 2007/2008 the student body (including both Estonian and international students) was over 68,000 students, but in 2015/2016 it was only around 51,000 students. The statistics show that the student body has decreased more than 20 percent. At the same time the amount of international degree students has risen and we expect Estonia to keep growing as a study destination. The long-term mobility of Estonian students is also decreasing, at the same time the short-term mobility schemes are extremely popular amongst the university students and professors. Our statistics show that mobility is not considered solely as a studying-oriented concept, but it has changed and is going to continue changing more towards practice and employability. We will continue to make it easier for international students regarding their career chances and employability. To sum up – Estonia has been successful in enhancing the attractiveness of its higher education and has focused on its strenghts. Hopefully in the future we can be a role model for others.
Head of Communications Department
Estonian HE Internationalisation Strategy 2006–2015: www.hm.ee/sites/ default/files/higher_education_strategy.pdf
Estonian Education Information System: www.eesti.ee/eng/services/ citizen/haridus_ja_teadus/isikukaart_eesti_ee_portaali
Estonian higher education international marketing web page www.studyinestonia.ee
Eero Loonurm. International Lectures by OeAD. How Estonia Became an Attractive Study Destination
The article was written by Eero Loonurm and published in the “Schriftenreihe” series by the Austrian agency for international mobility and cooperation in education, science and research OeAD.
The OeAD organized during 2015-2016 the concept “International lectures” that offered talks and discussions on the topic of internationalisation of higher education institutions. Selected topics and contributions are summarized in the OeAD “Schriftenreihe” series.
Studying with the Erasmus programme in the Estonian Academy of Arts (Eesti Kunstiakadeemia) encouraged a young Spanish artist Joan Llopis Doménech to make new illustrations for the Estonian national epic „Kalevipoeg” (“Kalev’s Sons”). Doménech was taking different classes in printmaking techniques, lithography, comic books, stained glass lessons and many other fields.
Doménech opened an exhibition in Valencia last month – as the photos show, the opening in Museu de la Festa was full of admirers of the young artist’s work. The Spanish students was studying in the Estonian Academy of Arts in the academic year 2014/2015 and has stressed on the influence that the Academy had on his artistic development.
“My experience at EAA (Estonian Academy of Arts) was brilliant. In fact, it was during my Erasmus studies when I realized that illustration should be my vocation. Studying in Estonia helped me a lot to understand the diversity of subjects and the freedom of developing your own projects and ideas. I learned from everything – printmaking techniques, lithography, comic books or even stained glass lessons. Each subject has opened my mind and has been useful to improving my own style. Also, I’ve always felt support by the teachers, they really encourage students and pay attention to their views and goals, so it’s a very familiar atmosphere and you can feel more productive. Especially I want to say that the illustrator Gerda Märtens has helped me a lot and has been a great influence. My Estonian friends and classmates have always supported me in this project too and I’ve learned a lot from them,” said Doménech.
Doménech said that Erasmus programme has been truly marvelous and he hopes he can return to Estonia in the future.
“I fell in love with the Estonian nature, wandering through the forests… that calm atmosphere has been very inspiring to me and it’s one of my nicest memories of Estonia. Also there are no words to describe the city, I’ve felt very comfortable there and all those experiences have been magical. I could say that my Erasmus in Tallinn has really changed me, giving beautiful memories and motivation for my starting career as an illustrator,” added Doménech.
The Estonian national epic “Kalevipoeg”
Doménech said that he has been interested in folklore, mythology, ancient stories and tales for many years. At first, he was not sure of illustrating “Kalevipoeg” due to various reasons.
“The national epic exists in many versions in Estonia with stunning drawings and I thought that just living in Tallinn for one year… That it is not enough to understand the Estonian culture as deeply and thouroughly as needed and as much Estonian culture and art deserves. But I like these kind of ambitious aims and in fact I was really motivated by the difficulty of being a foreigner. So I started to read a lot, I started to find information about Estonian traditions, paganism and everything related to it’s nature and gods. Also buying books about Estonian traditional clothes, motives and decorative patterns, to draw it as faithful and accurate as possible. I started, while reading the book, (I read an English version of the original poem) to kind of investigate every element that appeared in each chapter, so every animal or plant has been drawn in a very careful and realistic way. The same happens in every element or symbolism, it has a reason behind,” explained Doménech.
The news article in Estonian: https://archimedes.ee/blog/hispaania-erasmuslasest-kunstnik-tegi-kalevipojale-uued-illustratsioonid/