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First group of foreign Estonian camp attendees arrives in Viljandi County
17.06.2015

PRESS RELEASE

Friday 12 June marked the start of the first 10-day language and culture camp designed for foreign Estonians between the ages of 13 and 18. It is the first of four camps being organised this summer by the Integration and Migration Foundation and the NPO HeadEst, which will be attended by a total of 88 youngsters with Estonian roots from 21 countries.

“The aim of these camps for kids with Estonian heritage who live outside of the country is to offer them the chance to learn Estonian while speaking to people their own age in a relaxed camp environment, as well to showcase the country’s heritage and cultural history,” explained Marina Fanfora, a coordinator with the Implementation Centre of the Integration Foundation.  “The years of experience we have organising such courses have shown that these camps help those who live abroad appreciate and hold onto their heritage and their connection with Estonia. They make friends at the camps, and that helps embed the language skills they learn and makes it easier for them to retain them.”

This year there will be four camps from June to August. Those attending will be coming from Italy, Germany, Sweden, the United States, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Portugal, Ireland, Egypt, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Hungary, France, Austria, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain and Georgia.

Camp #1 is being held from 12-22 June at Venevere Holiday Village in Viljandi County. It is designed for youngsters who speak no Estonian or understand only a little of the language. 22 foreign Estonians are attending the camp, with eight local Estonian-speaking youngsters also taking part to support their peers.

Camp #2 is being held from 29 June-9 July, also at Venevere Holiday Village in Viljandi County. It is designed for youngsters who speak Estonian at an upper-intermediate level. 22 foreign Estonians will also be attending this camp, with eight local Estonian-speaking youngsters again taking part to support their peers.

Camp #3 is being held from 16-26 July at UusKalda Sports and Recreation Village in Lääne County.  It is also designed for youngsters who speak Estonian at an upper-intermediate level. As per the other camps, 22 foreign Estonians will be attending, supported by eight local Estonian-speaking youngsters.

Camp #4 is being held from 3-13 August, once again at Venevere Holiday Village in Viljandi County. It is designed for youngsters who speak Estonian at an upper-intermediate level and/or those who speak the language fluently. This camp will likewise be attended by 22 foreign Estonians with eight local Estonian-speaking youngsters for support.

Those wishing to attend the camps had until April to submit their applications to the Integration Foundation, which then made its selection of attendees based on their Estonian skills, their motivation, their age, where they are from, how long they have lived outside of Estonia and whether they have attended camps before.

Language and culture camps for young people with Estonian roots are financed by the Ministry of Education and Research and by the Ministry of Culture through the ‘Countrymen programme 2014-2020’. The camps are organised by the NPO HeadEst under the coordination of the Integration and Migration Foundation, which has been arranging language and culture camps for young foreign Estonians since 2000. A total of 381 such youngsters took part in the camps held between 2009 and 2014.

For further information please contact:

Marina Fanfora
Coordinator, Implementation Centre
Integration and Migration Foundation
Telephone: +372 659 9068
E-mail: marina.fanfora@meis.ee