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Kids from Narva to visit southern Estonia to practise their Estonian


This summer, with the help of the Integration and Migration Foundation, 30 children will get the chance to practise their Estonian in the form of a family stay in the south of the country. A total of eight families from Võru County will be hosting the youngsters. Three language and culture camps designed for young people between the ages of 7 and 19 will also be supported, involving 78 students from Ida-Viru County and southern Estonia.

Jana Tondi, the director of language and cultural immersion with the Integration Foundation, says that the 30 children participating in the family stays will be travelling to the south of the country for 10 days to hone their language skills. “This time it’ll be students from Narva Language Lyceum who find themselves with a temporary ‘foster family’ in an Estonian-language environment,” she explained. “Eight families from Võru County are taking part in the project and will be taking the kids in.” Tondi added that family stays are one of the most widely known and successful forms of non-formal language studies, which work well because of the individual approach, direct contact with the language environment and the large number of shared activities undertaken. “In addition to being with the families, the kids also get the chance to go on excursions and hikes showcasing Võru County and southern Estonia generally – and in learning about the region they also get to learn a lot of new words and expressions.”

The family stays will take place this summer in four stages, organised by the NPO Veeda Vaheaeg Võrumaal (‘Spend the School Holidays in Võru County’). The language environment provided by the family stays and language camps, unlike that offered by a classroom, will enable the participants to learn and use Estonian all the time and in very different situations. The youngsters will not only learn the local language but also about local culture, seeing places that tourists never get to and forming ties with kids their own age – bonds that often remain long after the family stays and camps have come to an end.

Three Estonian language and culture camps are also being supported as part of the project competition this year. As part of a project aimed at 11- to 15-year-olds from Narva School no. 6, 36 students from said school as well as from Narva Estonian Upper Secondary School and Saverna Basic School in Põlva County will be attending camps. They will also go on a joint excursion and take part in fun and educational activities in and around Tartu and Põlva. A joint camp with students from Sõmerpalu Basic School in Võru County will also be organised for students aged 10 and 11 from Narva Language Lyceum in order for them to practise their Estonian. Sillamäe Upper Secondary School will be organising joint activities for 16- and 17-year-olds from Sillamäe, Narva, Toila and Kiviõli with Estonian and Russian as their mother tongues. Interesting activities and party evenings are being planned for them, as well as an excursion to the birthplace of A. H. Tammsaare in Albu and to K. R. Jakobson’s farm in Kurgja.

The Integration and Migration Foundation has been supporting studies of Estonian language and culture within families and at camps since 1998. Almost 20,000 youngsters from all over the country have taken part in the projects. The organisation of such studies is financed from the state budget by the Ministry of Culture. The budget for the 2015 competition ‘Promoting Estonian language and culture at camps and Estonian language and culture studies in families’ is 24,460 euros. The terms and conditions of the competition can be found online at The contact details of the organisers of the family stays and camps can be found on the website of the Integration Foundation.

For further information please contact:

Jana Tondi
Director of language and cultural immersion
Integration and Migration Foundation
Telephone: +372 659 9069