Estonian learning opportunities for international staff (incl. doctoral students)

Employees of the University of Tartu can take language courses from the Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures as well as the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics. In addition, there are numerous other opportunities at the university to practice and improve Estonian.  

  • One free Estonian course per semester  

The University of Tartu offers international staff and their spouses or partners the opportunity to attend one Estonian language course free of charge every semester. The University of Tartu reimburses the course fee in the amount of 300 euros, which equals 6 ECTS. If the price of the course is higher, the rest of the fee is borne by the learner.


Knowing Estonian gives you the opportunity to 

  • get more first-hand experience of the unique people and culture; 
  • get used to Estonia, Tartu and Estonians more quickly and comfortably; 
  • link your future career with Estonia; 
  • create a nice social network; 
  • enjoy learning as an adult;  
  • use the working language of the University of Tartu in your everyday communication with your manager and colleagues; 
  • participate more actively in the activities of the University of Tartu, including internal training courses;  
  • learn a special and little-spoken language. 


Estonian language courses offered 

General language courses aim to teach the basics of Estonian grammar and basic Estonian vocabulary. The Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures offers general language courses for different levels, from basic (A) to proficient users (C), both as e-learning and face-to-face classes. 

Find a suitable course for levels 0 to C1.1

Find a suitable course for levels B2.2 to C2

If you did not find a suitable course in the University of Tartu, see other opportunities

  • Tartu Rahvaülikool offers Estonian language courses for levels A2, B1, B2 and C1  
  • Folkuniversitetet offers Estonian language courses for levels A1.1, A1.2 and B.1, both online and in face-to-face classes 

The Estonian language summer courses take place at the end of July and the beginning of August every year.  

The course is open to anyone interested in learning Estonian and aged 16 or over. Participants can choose between five language levels, from beginner to advanced. The lessons build vocabulary and grammar and develop reading, writing, listening and conversation skills. The cultural programme, which is part of the course, introduces Tartu through engaging activities that provide a great opportunity to interact with other participants. 

Further information and registration

See other opportunities for learning Estonian

KeeleKohting offers an opportunity to make new friends, exchange ideas and find inspiration, share and discover the Estonian language and culture. 

At KeeleKohting, anything of interest is discussed in pairs, in Estonian. After a while, the partners change. We try to make sure that there is one native Estonian speaker and one learner of the Estonian language in each pair. The one-on-one free-form conversation will expand your vocabulary and your circle of friends. Many who have once been to KeeleKohting have returned for more. 

KeeleKohting takes place twice a month from 18:00 to 19:30 in the lobby of Lossi 3.

Read more on the website of the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics

The language café offers the opportunity to practise Estonian. It helps language learners to improve their vocabulary, get support for independent language learning and socialise with friends in a more relaxed atmosphere. 

Participants of the language café mostly discuss situations that occur in everyday life: introducing oneself, job-seeking, self-improvement, communicating with colleagues, travelling, hobbies, celebrations and events, various social issues – going to the doctor's and communicating with officials – etc. 

In autumn 2024, language cafés are held in the Delta academic building and at the Skytte Institute of Political Studies. In the autumn semester, the language café is held in the Delta academic building, at Lossi 36 academic building and Nooruse 1 academic building. For more information, contact the Estonian Language Learning Coordinator Maria-Elisabeth Hodorkina ( 

Register for the language café in the Delta study building

Register for the language café in the academic building at Lossi 36

Register for the language café in the academic building at Nooruse 1

In tandem learning, learners with different native languages form language learning tandems where each member teaches the other their native language and learns the native language of their partner. One of the languages learned in the tandem must be Estonian, the other can be any other foreign language. 

The tandem language learning course welcomes both students and staff who want to learn Estonian or another language. 

Register for tandem learning

Language camp is an intensive language learning opportunity for beginners (level 0). 

Estonian language camp for international staff will be from 25 to 27 October 2024. All who want to start learning Estonian are welcome.

There will be mixed language lessons and social activities. We will open the registration and send the invitation as soon as we know more details. The group size for both camps is 20 learners.  You can register on the training calendar.  

For more information, contact the Estonian Language Learning Coordinator Maria-Elisabeth Hodorkina (