The Estonian Institute launches a new programme to integrate newcomers

The Estonian Institute, a non-governmental organisation that promotes Estonian culture, will start a new project called “Culture Step”, aimed at English and Russian-speaking residents in Estonia.

The number of newcomers living in Estonia is increasing steadily, and for many, the Estonian customs and traditions are still not familiar. Surveys show people who have come to Estonia from elsewhere, have serious problems in learning Estonian and integrating into the local society.

To help people overcome those challenges, the Estonian Institute is due to launch a new project called “Culture Step”. Starting in September 2018, the programme offers study trips, lectures and discussions for non-native residents in Tallinn and Harju county. “It will include visits to places where Estonians go, show aspects of Estonian culture, enable people get to know locals and to establish local connections,” the institute said in a statement. “Participation in cultural programmes and having contacts with local people improves integration.”

The project will last for more than a year and 250 people can participate, with a registration required. Each participant will attend five lectures or workshops and study trips.

The project is partnered with local cultural establishments and NGOs, such as the Estonian Open Air Museum, Estonishing Evenings and the Museum of Estonian Architecture.

Founded by Lennart Meri

The Tallinn-based Estonian Institute was founded in 1989 as a shadow foreign office for the Estonian independence movement by writer and intellectual Lennart Meri, who later became foreign minister and the first president of Estonia after the country restored its independence.

The institute has been active in publishing English-language booklets about the Estonian life, culture and art. It also runs the culture.ee portal that gives up-to-date information about cultural events in English, Estonian and Russian.

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Cover: Expats and Estonians mingling at one of the Estonishing Evenings‘ events (the image is illustrative).

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