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Studying module Training materials Welcoming Programme


Contracting company: Expat Relocation Estonia OÜ Author: Bossa LLC, Ministry of the Interior

Design: Factory Advertising OÜ Layout : Flip OÜ, www.flip.ee Printing: Librixprint OÜ, www.omaraamat.ee Responsible publisher: Siseministeerium, Pikk 61, 15065 Tallinn Cover photo: “Viru bog”, photographer Külli Rummel Welcoming programme website: www.settleinestonia.ee

Euroopa Liit Euroopa Sotsiaalfond

Eesti tuleviku heaks

The project is co-funded by the European Union via the European Social Fund and by the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia © 2019, Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia. All rights reserved. Provided the use of the work is not carried out for commercial purposes, it is allowed to use it without the author’s permission as established in Chapter IV of the Copyright Act. The Ministry of the Interior points to the fact that pursuant to the Copyright Act, in the case of unlawful use of the work, compensation for the patrimonial or non-patrimonial damage caused and delivery of that which was received may among other things be claimed for.

Introduction These training materials contain introductory information required by a foreign national before, throughout and after completing his or her studies in Estonia. These materials can be viewed as a “first aid package” that will help you organise your documents, better orientate yourself when communicating with Estonian public authorities, professors and fellow students, and, in general, to settle down comfortably in Estonia. These materials have been drawn up in accordance with the welcoming programme regulations by the order of the Ministry of the Interior and will support the conducting of the studying module of the welcoming programme. The welcoming programme shall consist of a basic module, language training, and thematic modules, which focus on work and entrepreneurship, studying, research, family life, international protection, and children and young people. You will find further information about the other modules of the welcoming programme at www.settleinestonia.ee. We have drawn up the training materials while keeping the interests and needs of foreign students who are beginning their studies in Estonia, in mind. The following ten short chapters will cover topics from legal issues related to residence permits all the way to the academic culture of Estonian universities, and the labour market services. These materials can be used as training course notes, for independent study, or as informational reminders after the training course. We have also put together knowledge tests based on the materials, which you can use to check your knowledge at the end of the training course. After each topic, you will also find references to important additional materials or institutions. Those references will point you towards websites where you can find useful information in Estonian, English, and/or Russian. If the referenced website does not have information in English, the available languages will be marked in parentheses e.g. ‘Young people’s career planning portal, www.rajaleidja.ee (in Estonian and Russian)’..

Welcome to Estonia!

Table of content

1. Right of residence and residence permits, and other legal information necessary for an foreigners............................................ 7 1.1 Registering your residence.......................................... 7 1.2 Extending the temporary residence permit........9 1.3 Right to stay in estonia upon the expiry of the temporary residence permit............................. 10

4. Academic culture............................................22 5. Student support services............................24 6. Libraries.............................................................. 26 6.1 Higher education libraries........................................ 26

1.4 Health insurance.......................................................... 10

6.2 Other libraries............................................................... 26

2. Estonian education system........................ 12

7. Student organisations and networks.... 28

2.1 Preschool, basic, and upper secondary education.................................................................................13

7.1 Students’ unions at universities.............................. 28

2.2 Learning a foreign language and foreign language tuition....................................................................13

7.2 International student organisations’ local offices in estonia................................................................. 28 7.3 Other organisations.................................................... 29

2.3 Vocational education..................................................14

3. Organisation of higher education and research 16

8. Internship opportunities during and after studies...........................................................30

3.1 Various levels of higher education........................16

9. Working during and after studies...........32

3.2 Higher education important definitions and information............................................................................. 17

9.1 Working during studies............................................. 32

3.3 More about higher education.................................18 3.4 Research..........................................................................19

9.2 Working after studies................................................33 9.3 Looking for a job.........................................................33 9.4 Unemployment protection.....................................33

1. Right of residence and residence permits, and other legal information necessary for foreigners Requirements for lawfully living in Estonia related to student mobility, depend on the student’s country of origin, and the length and level of his or her studies. Citizens of the European Union, European Economic Area member states and the Swiss Confederation who are staying for more than three months must register their place of residence in Estonia in the population register, whereupon the right of temporary residence is obtained for up to five years. Students that are nationals of third countries must apply for a residence permit or a D-visa in person at an Estonian Representation before entering the country. The residence permit is given for a period of not more than the student’s nominal period of study. Students should begin the process of extending their residence permit not

later than two months before the existing permit’s expiry date.

Estonian Police and Border Guard Board:

The existence of a residence permit is proved by a residence permit card.


When registering your place of residence, applying for or renewing a residence permit, it will be easier for you to communicate with officials if you bring along a friend who speaks Estonian.

Temporary residence permit card

1.1 Registering your residence Residence registration requirements for citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area member states, and the Swiss Confederation (hereafter EU citizens)

The European Economic Area unites all of the EU member states, as well as Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.

The European Union member states are France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, The United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia.

If a citizen of an EU member state stays for longer than three months, they must register their place of residence in the Estonian population register. You can register your place of residence at the local government office.

• In Tallinn, you need to go to the

City District Council corresponding to your place of residence (9 districts in total), more information on the City of Tallinn website, 7

www.tallinn.ee/eng/districts or to International House of Estonia, more information on their website www.workinestonia.com/ internationalhouse/

• In Tartu, the population register is located at Küüni 5, Phone +372 736 1140.

• In Narva, the population register is located at Peetri plats 3-1.

To register, you must bring:

• proof of identification; • your rental contract (alternative-

ly the owner(s) of your apartment can come with you to approve the registration).

Registering your address in Estonia will give you the right to get an Estonian ID card.

The ID card


To apply for an ID card, you must contact the local service office of the Police and Border Guard Board. Contact details for service points can be found on the Police and Border Guard Board website, www.politsei.ee/en/services/ services Documents required for applying for an ID card:

• application form; • proof of identification (passport, or ID card for EU citizens);

• your photograph will be taken onEstonian embassies:

Police and Border Guard Board’s service desks:

site for free;

• a document certifying the payment

of the state fee. The state fee is 25 €. In Service Offices the state fee can be paid in cash, by bankcard or by bank transfer through online bank, using the client computer at the Service Office. All most common debit and credit cards are accepted. American Express payment cards are not accepted. https://www.politsei.ee/en/instructions/applying -fo r- a n - i d - c a rd -fo r- a n - a d u l t / submitting-an-application-at-aclient-service-office

Temporary residence permits for studying for students from third countries To study in Estonia, you must be legally in the country. If you already have a residence permit in Estonia (any type of residence permit), you can use this to start studying. You can also apply for a D-visa for studying in Estonia for 1 year or less.


If your studies last longer than 1 year (or if you have already spent that 1 year, studying in Estonia, based on a D-visa) you must apply for a residence permit. A residence permit application can be submitted in an Estonian embassy or at the Police and Borderguard Board’s service office in Estonia (you need to book an appointment before coming to the office). Documents required to apply:

• application form with annexes (an-

nexes 2–4), the forms and instructions can be found on the Police and Border Guard Board website: ;


• proof of identification (passport or ID card);

• an invitation by the educational

institution or student organisation where you will be studying;

• a digital color document photo (can be taken on site for free);

• a document certifying the payment of the state fee (the amount of the state fee and information about payment can be found on the Police and Border Guard Board website: www.politsei.ee/en/teenused/ riigiloivud);

• internship agreement between the educational institution or the student organisation and the applicant, if the applicant is coming to the country for an internship.

The decision whether or not to grant the residence permit will generally be made within 2 months. Temporary residence permits may be granted for the nominal study time. Once the residence permit has been granted, the applicant must register his or her place of residence in the Local Government Office within one month of arriving in the country. . Note! The temporary residence permit granted for studying is valid on the condition of full-time (see section 3. Organisation of higher education and research) studying. If the student discontinues his or her studies or continues as a part-time student, the residence permit will be revoked. If the student has a residence permit granted for studying, he or she is also allowed to work in Estonia without an additional permit, on the condition that this does not impede his or her studies. No limit has been set to working hours.

1.2 Extending the temporary residence permit To extend the temporary residence permit, almost the same documents must be submitted as when applying for the initial TRP. Extension can be applied for only if the circumstances have remained the same compared to the moment you applied for the first permit. The renewal application must be submitted in person at least two months before the expiry date of the valid residence permit (see also chapter 1.3). If less than five years have passed since applying for the residence permit and of giving fingerprints, it is possible to request the renewing of the residence permit by post or e-mail (only in

Visa-free countries:

case you have a valid residency card, using which you can digitally sign documents). A residence permit can be extended for up to the nominal duration of your study programme (or your intended duration of study if this is shorter than the nominal time). See more about working after studies and about the corresponding residence permit requirements in chapter 9. See the diagram about residence permit requirements for postgraduate students and exchange students:



You have been admitted TO DEGREE STUDIES YES

Do you have EU* citizenship?

Find a place to stay during your studies (dormitory, private apartment)

Register your place of stay with the City Government Office

Apply for an ID-card at the nearest service office of the Police and Border Guard Board

NO Do you require a visa or TRP to travel to Estonia? YES


Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 1

Option 2

For BA, MA andPhD students Apply for TRP at the nearest Estonian Embassy

For BA, MA and PhD students Apply for TRP and D-visa at the nearest Estonian Embassy

For MA and PhD students Apply for D-visa at the nearest Estonian Embassy

For BA, MA and PhD students Apply for TRP at the nearest Estonian Embassy and receive it either in local embassy or in Estonia

For BA, MA and PhD students Get a D-visa from an Estonian embassy and travel to Estonia

After receiving the TRP travel to Estonia

Use visa to travel to Estonia and receive your TRP in local office after arriving to Estonia.

Use visa to travel to Estonia and apply for TRP after arriving to Estonia

Find a place to stay during your studies (dormitory, private apartment) Go to City Government Office to register your place of residence

As soon as you have received your TRP go to City Government Office to register your place of residence

As soon as you have received your TRP go to City Government Office to register your place of residence

Find a place to stay during your studies (dormitory, private apartment)

As soon as you have received your TRP go to City Government Office to register your place of residence

Apply for TRP upon arriving to Estonia (during 90 days)

As soon as you have received your TRP go to City Government Office to register your place of residence

1.3 Right to stay in estonia upon the expiry of the temporary residence permit

The renewal application must be submitted in person at least two months before the expiry date of the valid residence permit.

After the validity of the residence permit expires, you will develop a right pursuant to law to stay in Estonia and apply for a residence permit here on new grounds. For example, find a job and transfer to a residence permit for working or enter the next level of higher education and apply for the extension of a residence permit given for studying.

You will be allowed to work during that time.

A condition for receiving the right is that the term of validity of your residence permit expired. If your temporary residence permit was declared invalid, then a right to stay in Estonia does not follow. Staying in Estonia is lawful over the course of 270 days.

• sign university applications, peti-

What can you do with your ID or residence permit card?

• use several state online services such as eesti.ee,

• banks, etc.; • digitally sign contracts and other official documents;

tions and, for example, your final thesis.

Note! A document signed on paper and scanned is not a digital signature!

1.4 Health insurance www.studyinestonia.ee/en/ healthcare

Estonia is covered by a health insurance system wherein the insurer is the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Students from EU countries must apply for a European Health Insurance


Card in their home country. The European Health Insurance Card might not cover all expenses (e.g. visit fees, private doctor’s fees, etc.), there-

You have been admitted TO EXCHANGE STUDIES Do you have EU* citizenship?

YES Find a place to stay during your studies (dormitory, privateapartment)

Register your place of stay with the City Government Office

Apply for an ID-card at the nearest service office of the Police and Border Guard Board

Do you require a visa or TRP to travel to Estonia?


If you are staying up to 1 year

If you are staying for more than 1 year

Option 1 Apply for D-visa at the nearest Estonian Embassy


Option 2


If you are staying If you are staying up to 1 year more than 1 year

Option 3

For BA, MA For BA, MA and For MA and andPhD PhD students PhD students students Apply for TRP Apply for visa Apply for TRP and visa at the at the nearest at the nearest nearest Estonian Estonian Estonian Embassy Embassy Embassy

After receiving Use visa to Use visa to the TRP travel travel to Estonia travel to to Estonia and receive Estonia and your TRP in local apply for TRP office after after arriving arriving to to Estonia Estonia.

Apply for D-visa at the nearest Estonian Embassy before coming to Estonia or during your visa free period (90 days)

Option 1

Option 2

Apply for TRP at the nearest Estonian Embassy

Get a D-visa from an Estonian embassy and travel to Estonia. Apply for TRP, once in Estonia

Receive your TRP at the Estonian Embassy and travel to Estonia with TRP

Find a place to stay during your studies (dormitory, private apartment)

Find a place to stay during your studies (dormitory, private apartment) Go to City Government Office to register your place of residence

As soon as As soon as you have you have received your received your TRP go to City TRP go to City Government Government Office to Office to register your register your place of place of residence residence

fore it is advisable to get an additional travel insurance. Students from third countries must hold a valid insurance policy thorughtout the duration of their stay in Estonia. Without an insurance, the temporary residence permit may be revoked. The list of insurance companies accepted by the Police and Border Guard Board can be found on the Study in Estonia website: www.studyinestonia.ee/en/ healthcare. Estonian health insurance covers citizens of Estonia, and people who live in Estonia with a temporary residence permit or have the right of residence, whose employer or they themselves pay the social security tax. Students who work during their studies are covered by health insurance like any other workers. Note! If the state of Estonia pays the doctoral student a PhD scholarship, the student will automatically become eligible for health insurance.

Go to CityGovernment Office to register your place of residence

As soon as you have received your TRP go to City Government Office to register your place of residence

Ask your university pursuant about what kind of contract you are undertaking in your doctoral studies.

Further information: Residence permits, documents, about renewing the residence permit:

• The Police and Border Guard Board: www.politsei.ee

• Travel and Consular Information: Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.vm.ee

University websites (including information about orientation courses)

• University of Tartu,

www.ut.ee/en/welcome/ international-students

• Tallinn University of Technology, www.ttu.ee/studying/practical/

• Estonian University of Life

Sciences, www.emu.ee/en/studies/estonia/

• Study in Estonia,

www.studyinestonia.ee 11

2. Estonian education system International Student Assessment (PISA) study of the year 2015 indicates that the Estonian 15-year-old basic school students are among the best of the world in their knowledge and in natural sciences, Estonia shares the 1-2nd places with Finland in Europe.


The Estonian education system is divided into general, vocational and hobby education. The levels of education are preschool education, basic education, secondary education, and higher education (see image). Schooling education is obligatory for all children from the age of seven until they complete basic education or turn 17. There is very little educational inequality that can be observed in Estonia, i.e. the quality of education is relatively uniform regardless of the size and location of the school. Es-

tonian education has received good feedback in international comparative studies (PISA, QS World University Rankings). The Estonian educational system allows all pupils to move from lower educational levels to higher ones, i.e. there are no dead ends in education. It is considered important to develop positive attitudes towards education as a way of life, while promoting lifelong learning.

2.1 Preschool, basic, and upper secondary education Most children between 1.5 and 7 years of age go to kindergarten. It is the responsibility of the local governments to guarantee children between 1.5 and 7 years of age the opportunity to attend a local kindergarten upon the request of their parents. Estonian kindergartens form part of the educational system, and kindergarten teachers have pedagogical training. The preschool education offered in kindergartens aims to foster children’s versatile development and learning through play. In addition to kindergartens, there are childcare centres and voluntary preschools, both usually involving fee-paying. Children start school at the age of seven. Each child has the opportunity to attend a school near their home. Schools have their own service areas, and local governments must guarantee a place in the school for each child living in its service area. Basic education lasts from the 1st to the 9th grade. To complete basic education, examinations must be taken in three subjects: Estonian, Mathematics, and one subject of the pupil’s own choice. The level of Estonian basic school pupils is among the best in the world. In Natural Science, for instance, Estonian 15 year old pupils share the 1st and the 2nd place in Europe with Finland (according to the PISA study). Basic education is mandatory for all children. There are mainly three options to pursue education after the completion of basic education: academic general secondary education, more practical vocational secondary education, or simply vocational education. Approximately 70–75% of pupils continue their studies with upper secondary schools after the completion of basic education. General secondary education and vocational secondary education enable the continuation of studies in higher education. General secondary education is offered in upper secondary schools, and the duration of study is three years (grades 10–12). To complete

secondary education, pupils must take state examinations in Estonian, Mathematics and a foreign language, one school examination, and complete either a research project or a practical project. Pupils whose native language is not Estonian can take the exam of Estonian as a second language. An adult of any age can also obtain secondary and vocational education, vocational schools do not have an age restriction and several adult secondary schools operate (which also teach basic school pupils if necessary) in Estonia. The school year traditionally starts on 1 September in Estonia. The academic year lasts for at least 35 weeks and there are usually four school holidays, in addition to long summer holidays. Summer holidays are quite long compared to many other countries: at least 2.5 months. Education is free in schools funded by the state and local governments (only workbooks are charged for). However, private schools charge a fee (300– 4500 EUR per year). Approximately 5% of children go to private schools. Kindergartens charge a fee and food money (catering occurs three times a day for children), and both amounts differ depending on the location and the type of kindergarten (private kindergartens are more expensive. Schoolchildren are catered to once per day, mainly with state support). All kindergartens and schools, including private schools, operate on the basis of the uniform national curriculum. Estonian schools were traditionally teacher and subject-centred and involved a strong discipline. However, in order to better prepare pupils for life in a changing world, schools have started to pay increasingly more attention to students’ creativity, teamwork and problem-solving skills, and the linking of different subjects and topics. Teachers give pupils more substantive feedback and adapt to the teaching to the needs of different pupils (both in the case of talented pupils and those with learning difficulties).

2.2 Learning a foreign language and foreign language tuition Pupils must study at least two foreign languages in Estonian schools. Most children begin with English, al-

though some schools teach German or French as the first foreign language. Studies of a second foreign language 13

(usually English, Russian or German) also start during basic school, in many schools a third language is also taught in secondary school. Upon the completion of the upper secondary education, pupils must have the level of an independent user (i.e. level B) in at least two foreign languages. Most Estonian schools teach in Estonian. It is possible to follow the international IB program (International Baccalaureate) in five schools in Tallinn and Tartu. Various schools offer intensive foreign language study and the opportunity to take internationally recognised language exams instead of state examinations in foreign languages. The schools offering the IB program are the International School of Estonia, Tallinn English College, International School of Tallinn, Audentes Private School and Tartu Miina Härma Gymnasium. The language of instruction in international schools and the Tallinn European School is English. These schools have higher tuition fees, and most of the pupils are the children of foreign nationals working in Estonia for a shorter period of time (e.g. representatives of foreign companies, scientists, diplo-

mats, European Union officials). Each of those schools also has an Englishlanguage kindergarten. One fifth of the pupils in Estonia do not speak Estonian as their first language, and go to Russian-language kindergartens and schools or language immersion schools and classes. Most of the Russian-language schools and kindergartens are in Tallinn and in IdaViru county. There are also several vocational and higher education curricula available in Russian. There are also several Russian-language private schools. Tallinn European School – language of instruction is English and French, following the curriculum of European Schools, www.est.edu.ee The International School of Estonia – situated in Tallinn, language of instruction is English, following the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, www.ise.edu.ee Tartu International School – language of instruction is English, following the Estonian national curriculum, www.istartu.ee

2.3 Vocational education

Vocational schools and universities offer flexible study options for adults:

Vocational education may follow basic education and secondary education. An average vocational school is larger than a general education school, has an up-to-date working environment and technical equipment. Vocational training is becoming increasingly popular with adults who decide to acquire a vocation at a later age or opt for a more practical education in a vocational school or an institution of professional higher education after having acquired academic higher education. Vocational education is offered by vocational schools and institutions of professional higher education. Bodies providing vocational education are generally larger than regular schools, equipped with modern equipment and provide valuable practical knowledge.

Hobby education and youth work Estonia has a strong network of hobby schools. Almost a quarter of all pupils use their after school time for sports,


go to groups for technology or nature enthusiasts, and attend separate music schools or art schools. Hobby schools and centres are funded by local governments. More information about hobby schools and centres can be found on the website of the Estonian Youth Work Centre, www.entk.ee/noorsootoo/ olulised-organisatsioonid/

Further information: General information about the education system: Eurydice – the European educational cooperation network database contains detailed information about the education system in each of the countries participating in the Erasmus+ program, including Estonia

Haridussilm – education data and statistics environment where you can get visually clear and easily understandable information, e.g. compare schools or different areas, see where young people prefer to study, etc, www.haridussilm.ee

Estonian Education Information System – national online register which provides information about educational institutions, students, teachers, curricula, instruction rights and education certificates, www.ehis.ee (in Estonian)

• national level tests, basic school final examinations examinations;



• Estonian language examinations and citizenship examinations, and


Estonian Ministry of Education and Research – is in charge of policy making in the fields of education, research, youth, and languages in Estonia. The Ministry’s website gives a brief overview of all levels of education, the most important legislation in the field of education, and references to other practical databases and websites, www.hm.ee

Rajaleidja (PathFinder) – portal that provides information about study opportunities and career planning, which is geared towards three target groups (young people, adults, career advisers): www.rajaleidja.ee. It also includes a database of professions: www.ametid.rajaleidja.ee and contact details of study and career advice centres (Rajaleidja centres) in different counties.

National level tests, examinations, support services

Choice of school and kindergarten:

Innove – this state foundation is responsible for the development and implementation of general and vocational education curricula, national examinations, and educational support services, and manages the national and European Union-wide lifelong learning and language programs. The Innove website and specialists provide information about the following topics which might be useful for parents or pupils in general and vocational education:

State Portal Eesti.ee – contact details of local (city and municipality) governments responsible for managing kindergartens and general education schools (see the Department of Education, education advis. In er or education specialist): Tallinn, you can find out more about kindergartens and schools from the Tallinn Education Department: www.tallinn.ee/eng/haridus.


•• •



3. Organisation of higher education and research A total of 89% of international students are satisfied with their overall living and studying standard in Estonia (International Student Barometer 2018).

The Estonian higher education system has three levels and follows the European Higher Education Area’s Bachelor’s-Master’s-PhD model. There are two types of higher education institutions: universities and institutions of professional higher education. Universities provide Bachelor´s, Master´s and PhD, and professional higher education programmes. Institutions of professional higher education offer professional higher education and some offer Master level studies as well. Estonian universities offer a wide selection of courses ranging from veterinary science to semiotics, and from animation to international relations. A total of 21 educational institutions offer higher education in Estonia (as of 2019), of those:

• 6 universities under public law

• 1 privately owned university • 8 state professional higher education institutions

• 5 private professional higher education institutions

Universities under public law are the largest ones, and three quarters of all students study there. Higher education is valued in Estonia: 44% of 30–34 year old people have a higher education. In the European Union, this percentage is only higher in Ireland, Lithuania and Luxembourg. One third of young people in Estonia study social sciences, law and business; one-fifth study natural and hard sciences, and 15% focus on the fields of technology, production and construction.

3.1 Various levels of higher education First level of higher education

Those wishing to study courses taught in English can submit documents via the electronic admissions portal DreamApply: www.estonia.dreamapply.com

Secondary education is required to access higher education in Estonia. In addition, universities may impose additional entry requirements such as entrance examinations, results of state examinations, academic tests or interviews. Those wishing to study courses taught in English can submit documents via the electronic admissions portal DreamApply, www.estonia.dreamapply.com. Estonian students use the electronic Admission Information System SAIS, www.sais.ee. You may also submit your documents in person. The first level of higher education comprises professional higher education study and Bachelor’s study. The first level of study usually lasts 3–4 years. Professional higher education study provides the skills required to work at a specific vocation or continue on the Master’s study level. Bachelor’s study is more academic and provides


the basic theoretical knowledge and main skills required to either continue the studies or start work. The first level of higher education ends with an exam or a final research paper. A Bachelor’s degree is often insufficient to work at one’s chosen profession, and a Master’s degree or professional experience may be required. For example, you can only study to be a doctor, a veterinarian, a pharmacist, a dentist, an architect, a civil engineer or a class teacher through an integrated programme which combines the Bachelor’s and Master’s study and lasts 5–6 years and generally ends with an exam, sometimes also with a final thesis or project. The second level of higher education is Master’s study, which allows students to acquire more profound knowledge and skills in their subject, and provides them with the knowledge and independent work skills to continue at the doctoral level. A

System of higher education in Estonia, www.hm.ee/et/tegevused/korgharidus

Bachelor’s or equal degree is a prerequisite for applying for Master’s study. A Master’s study generally lasts two years and ends with a Master’s exam or independently prepared and thoroughly researched Master’s thesis. A Master’s degree is generally deemed sufficient to commence work in the field studied and it is also the minimum level for teaching at university. The third level of higher education is doctoral study, which provides knowledge and skills for independent re-

search, development or creative work. A doctoral study lasts 3–4 years. The outcome of doctoral study is a PhD degree – a research degree that requires the student to write and defend a doctoral thesis. A doctoral thesis may be a creative work (depending on the area of speciality) or scientific research in the form of a monograph or a collection of scientific articles. A PhD degree is a prerequisite for becoming a researcher, but some higher-level civil servants are also expected to have it.

3.2 Higher education important definitions and information The volume of study is measured in European Credit Transfer System credits (ECTS). A single ECTS is equivalent to 26 hours of work done by a student. Students can study at universities full time or part time. However, it is also possible to study as an external student without matriculation at the university, for a fee. Full-time study – 75–100% of the nominal volume (usually 60 ECTS per academic year) of the curriculum must be completed by the end of the academic year (i.e. 45–60 ECTS per academic year). If the student does not fulfil the requirements of full-time study by the beginning of the following academic year, he or she will be transferred to part-time study. In or-

der to obtain and retain a residence permit for studying, you must study full time. Full-time tuition is a prerequisite for studying free of charge when studying Estonian-language (and several English-language) programmes and it is required by many grants and scholarships. Part-time study – 50–75% of the curriculum must be completed by the end of the academic year (i.e. 30–44 ECTS per academic year). A part-time student is a fully entitled student in the eyes of the university. External student – a student whose workload is less than that of a parttime student, but who has the right to complete the curriculum, take examinations and tests, and/or complete 17

the final examination or defend their thesis. External students do not have the student status or rights.

Scholarships: www.archimedes.ee/ grants/

There are mainly three forms of study in Estonian higher education. Daytime study means Mon-Fri during the daytime; cyclical study lectures take place on the weekends or in the evenings, and distance learning attends school less often than once a month and at other times, studies take place independently and at home. Which form of study is used depends on the curriculum and it is not in correlation with the workload of the students. Curricula are generally in Estonian, but it is exceedingly more possible to study in English and some higher education institutions also offer Russian-language study. More information about English-language programmes can be found at www. studyinestonia.ee. Curricula taught in Russian are offered by Euroacademy, (www.euroakadeemia.ee/ru) and The University of Tartu’s Narva College (www.narva.ut.ee/ru).

There are generally no tuition fees in Estonia, Estonian-language curricula are free. A fee is generally charged for studying courses taught in English at Bachelor’s and Master’s levels, but all Doctoral study courses are free at universities under public law. It is possible to take out a student loan during studies and apply for scholarships. Read more about scholarships offered to foreign students on the Archimedes Foundation’s website, http://haridus. archimedes.ee/en/scholarships. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL, or VÕTA in Estonian) Estonia has developed its own principles of Recognition of Prior Learning. RPL is a process, which allows having your prior studies at another educational institution or work experience in the studied field recognised. RPL can be used when applying for a course, completing the curriculum or acquiring a vocation. Universities also have RPL advisers who can give information about the implementation possibilities of RPL.

3.3 More about higher education Quality of higher education The quality of higher education can primarily be assessed by international comparison. QS World University Rankings has placed the University of Tartu as the highest ranked university in Estonia.. The Tallinn University of Technology is among the top 50, and the Estonian University of Life Sciences is among the top 100 universities in its respective fields (out of 3500 assessed universities). Each curricula group taught in Estonia and each institution is assessed regularly, every seven years. Curricula are also regularly assessed by the state and new curricula must also receive state approval before opening. The main direction of education is towards a more practical and problem-solving based study. Curricula aims to include more modern methods and teach life skills such as group work and interdisciplinary approaches. Students with special needs are also welcome at Estonian higher education institutions. The state supports students with special needs in acquiring higher education. Students with special needs who study in Estonia as long-term residents, with a temporary residence permit, or with a permanent or temporary right of residence, are also eligible for the 18

scholarship scheme. Universities are mostly accessible: academic buildings are equipped with ramps and/or lifts. Larger libraries have Braille printers and other technical aids available. More information is available from the school you are interested in. Besides the main studies, universities also offer shorter (1–4 week long) courses, taught in English, on Estonian language and culture, and courses on other topics (e.g. humanities, e-services and cybersecurity). More information is available on the Study in Estonia website, www.studyinestonia. ee/short-courses The universities’ training centres also organise further training courses of varying lengths for professional development, as well as hobby trainings. These can be organised as study days, longer programs, e-learning courses, summer schools, a series of lectures, or commissioned trainings all over Estonia. A fee is normally charged for further training courses.

Further information: Dreamapply – admissions portal for foreign students who do not have an Estonian ID card or bank account. Dreamapply allows you to search for

programmes taught in English in Estonia by name or a keyword, and provides information about admissions according to the applicant’s citizenship, www.estonia.dreamapply.com (in English)

student life in Estonia. Includes a list of courses taught in English, answers to student’s frequently asked questions (about scholarships, language requirements, etc.), useful links and examples from real life,

Admission Information System (SAIS) – to apply for courses taught in Estonian. To apply through SAIS, you need an Estonian ID card or an Estonian Internet banking account that allows you to sign in. SAIS allows you to apply to several universities, track your application’s status compared to other applicants, and confirm your place. SAIS also exchanges information with other state databases, www.sais.ee


Study in Estonia – a comprehensive and practical website introducing higher education opportunities and

Archimedes Foundation – manages information about funding, scholarships and mobility opportunities, and directs it towards students, young scholars, and teachers. State Portal Eesti.ee – contact details of universities. Each university’s website will have more information about courses offered, the organisation of studies, etc. The websites of larger universities also have a lot of practical information about admission requirements, scholarships, studying and student life,

3.4 Research According to the Essential Science Indicators (ESI), Estonia’s research is within the top 50% of the world in all 22 research fields. The highest priority research areas are information and communication technologies, health technologies and services, and the effective use of resources. Dozens of researchers working in Estonia are in the world’s top 1% of most frequently cited researchers, e.g. in the fields of molecular biology and genetics, neurosciences and behavioural sciences, chemistry, computer sciences, nanotechnology, and material sciences. Estonia’s R&D activities are conditionally divided into four subject areas:

• • • •

Life and Environmental Sciences Social Sciences and Culture Medical Studies Natural Sciences and Technology

Research is mostly conducted at universities. The largest research universities in Estonia are the University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn University, and the Estonian University of Life Sciences. There are also independent research centres, such as the Estonian Biocentre, the Tartu Observatory, the Estonian Literary Museum, and the Institute of the Estonian Language. Private sector research centres mostly focus on product development and innovation. Internationally recognized research groups are united as centres of excel-

NB! To submit residence permit applications at the PPA service centre in Estonia, you need to make an appointment through the PPA website

To submit applications at an Estonian representation abroad, you also need to make an appointment through the website of the embassy.

Why are permanent residents guaranteed more extensive rights than aliens temporarily staying in the country?

In which domains are thirdcountry nationals that are long-term residents treated equally with the country’s own citizens?

lence in research, and receive separate funding. The infrastructure of Estonian research and development institutions has been developed strongly in recent years, and has reached a high international level.

Research funding and main research areas Research is primarily financed on the basis of quality competition. Financing mainly comes from

• the state budget; • companies (e.g. large enterprises such

• as Eesti Energia and Viru Keemia Grupp);

• foreign funds (mainly the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020, and other EU initiatives, such as the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI), Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI), etc.).

The main national funding opportunities are:

• basic financing – for reaching strategic goals, opening new research directions, and developing the infrastructure;

• research grants – to support

the work of institutions, research groups, and the top scientists; 19

• national research programs; • financing for centres of excellence and doctoral schools;

• covering the infrastructure costs of R&D institutions.

Estonia’s research is within the top 50% in the world in all 22 research fields.

National funding is organised by the Estonian Research Council (www. etag.ee) or the ministry corresponding to the field of research ( ). Research funding is mainly requested by and awarded to research groups. University students can participate in research as members of research groups. More information is available to students during their studies at specific universities.

In Estonia, the priority research fields (i.e. the Economic Growth Areas) are:

• information and communication

technology (ICT), such as the use of ICT in industries (automation and robotics), cybersecurity, software development;

• medical technologies and services,

such as biotechnology, e-medicine;

Research in Estonia:

• efficient use of resources, such


as material science and industry, “Smart Houses”, healthy food, chemical engineering.

Research, development and innovation in these fields receives priority funding. Centres of excellence in research European Union funds are used to finance the activities of research groups that have a high potential, including basic research, applied research and development; the acquisition and modernisation of small tools and equipment needed for the R&D; researcher mobility and training, as well as the activities of young researchers; national and international cooperation; the development and testing of innovative ideas; and dissemination and popularisation of research results.


A total of nine centres of excellence receive funding. As of 2016, you will find more information about centres of excellence on the Archimedes . Foundation website:


Support for doctoral studies To support the next generation of scientists, universities have established doctoral schools, which organise summer and winter schools, international study mobility and interdisciplinary research projects for PhD students, and which support students who have dis-


continued their doctoral studies upon completing their degrees. Information about doctoral schools can be found on the websites of different universities (as of 2016). Doctoral students receive a Doctoral allowance (660 EUR per month in 2019) and can apply for additional scholarships from various Estonian and international programs. In addition there are various programme-based doctoral study placements, the funding for which comes from other sources. Opportunities that are more specific can be inquired about from the department of the university where you wish to study. Young researchers can also participate in reasearch competitions; see more at the Estonian Research Council: www. etag.ee/en/science-communication.

Further information: The welcoming programme’s research module – the one-day course with study materials provided focuses on the organisation of research in Estonia, www.settleinestonia.ee The Estonian Research Council – deals with the financing of research, the analysis of financing results, the popularisation of science, and the development of international cooperation in research, www.etag.ee/en The Estonian Research Information System – concentrates information on R&D activities in Estonia, e.g. information about researchers, research projects, published articles, financing information, etc., www.etis.ee Research in Estonia – a website that introduces Estonian research to foreign scientists, doctoral students, and research officers. The website gives an overview of different research fields and institutions that deal with research. You can also find information there about financing opportunities and references to other websites about research in Estonia, www.researchinestonia.eu Archimedes Foundation – manages information about funding, scholarships and mobility opportunities, and directs it towards students, young scholars and teachers.

The oldest university in Estonia is the University of Tartu, which was established by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in 1632.

The Estonian Academy of Sciences – connects 72 Estonian academics and 16 foreign members. The academy provides suggestions and expert opinions, participates in the prepara-

tion of legislation related to R&D, helps to popularise science, cooperates with researchers on the national and international levels, www.akadeemia.ee/en


4. Academic culture Overview of studying and teaching within Estonian higher education

There is a relatively small power distance between students and university teachers in Estonia, i.e. professors treat students as their equals, students can initiate discussions, learning is studentcentred, and the professor is more of an expert and advisor.

The organisation of the work of Estonian higher education is formal and informal at the same time. On the one hand, the differences between lecturers and students are small, but in order to succeed in higher education it is important to always follow proper documentation rules and deadlines. Organisation of study and the documentation related to it To succeed at an Estonian higher education institution it is incredibly important to keep in mind all documents and deadlines related thereto. There is a clear set of rules in place in each school, according to which study type takes place. Compliance with these rules is necessary. Each school also has deadlines, which must be followed and all documents must be submitted officially. Here are some more important documents and deadlines that must be remembered.

• Academic calendar – the school’s

deadlines for registering for subjects, passing, etc., in addition to the academic calendar each institute and faculty has their own deadlines.

• Rules of the organisation of studies

(ÕKE in Estonian, OSR) – the regulations for studying and teaching in the school. OSR regulations cannot be surpassed and they cannot be changed by the lecturer, student advisers or individual students.

In addition, each school also has several other guidelines for students and it is important to learn these when commencing studies. It is not possible to surpass regulations and deadlines in Estonia by asking, negotiating or offering money. The same also applies in respect to the instructions and requirements for passing a subject given by lecturers. There are also other formalities in Estonian higher education, which a foreign student must know. Even though communication is informal, lecturers and others expect politeness in correspondence and general compliance with politeness rules. The student’s attire is also important, for example, when defending the final thesis, proper and academic clothing must be worn; and formal 22

and academic clothing must be worn at the graduation ceremony. More information can be found from your curriculum adviser. Generally in Estonia differences between lecturers and students are small, interaction is rather friendly and informal. Active participation and cooperation with other lecturers, is anticipated in lectures. Most lecturers expect active participation from students. Lecturers presume that students are also active in asking for additional information if what was learned is unclear. Independence is presumed when carrying out study tasks, for example when preparing and submitting homework. The lecturer presumes that upon problems arising, the student shall contact the lecturer himself or herself. In Estonian higher education the student himself or herself is responsible for their studies (incl. the choice of and passing of the subjects). Estonian higher education is flexible, allowing the student to make a lot of choices themselves, there are advisers and curriculum leaders in order to aid in decisions, but the student himself or herself is responsible for their decisions. In Estonia, plagiarism is considered the most serious violation of academic ethics. Plagiarism means publishing another author’s work (e.g. a study, an article or another text, but also a picture or a figure) or part of it (e.g. a diagram, a formula, a citation, but also a point of view or idea) as one’s own or using it extensively without referencing the source. To prevent plagiarism and detect it in a piece of work, Estonian universities use electronic plagiarism detection systems. Severe sanctions are in place both for plagiarism and for cheating, ranging from lowering the mark all the way to expulsion from university or not awarding the degree. In Estonia, it is not permitted to use someone else’s thoughts and ideas at all without reference i.e. the percentage of plagiarism permitted is zero (0). Each school has separate regulations for plagiarism and it is important that the student comply with them. In addition to plagiarism, correct language use and compliance with content requirements must be followed.

What are the mutual expectations of students and professors, and what are their self-images like? STUDENT


A professor thinks that a good student:

A student thinks that a good professor:

• is motivated (interested in the

• generates interest about the

• is conscientious, adheres

• relates the subject with its

subject, with clear aims and a positive attitude, is active) to deadlines, is precise and proper

• participates actively in class,

asks questions, expresses his or her opinion

subject, is active and enthusiastic, happy and humorous practical application, expresses oneself well and is interesting to listen to

• is approachable, empathic,

flexible, friendly, and helpful

A student thinks that a good student:

A professor thinks that a good professor:

• adheres to deadlines, is diligent

• has profound knowledge on

and conscientious, hard-working and studious

• attends lectures and semi-

nars, participates actively, asks questions

• is interested in the subject, develops oneself and is self-motivated

the subject and is broad-minded, furthers his or her knowledge and develops oneself

• presents the subject in an

interesting way, loves his or her teaching profession and is committed to it

• presents information clear-

ly, varies teaching methods, prompts students to ask questions and answers them

Source: adapted from Vadi et al., 2014


5. Student support services

Foreign students are entitled to the same support services as home students.

The University of Tartu, the Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn University, and the Estonian University of Life Sciences have special foreign student support centres, where specialists can give advice on topics related to residence permits and studies. Just like other students, foreign students can use the services of the career adviser, the psychological counsellor, and the counsellor for students with special needs. Foreign students can also turn to tutors – more experienced students who have completed special training – for help. Furthermore, the Erasmus Student Network offers student-to-student counselling. Support services are free of charge for students. Foreign students are entitled to the same support services as local students. In addition, larger universities have special centres that cater to foreign students’ more specific questions about residence permits and studying, and that can point you in the right direction:

• The University of Tartu,

• •• • Estonian University of Life

• Tallinn University of Technology


•• •



The range of services and their content may vary in different universities. Larger universities are able to offer more services, whereas smaller ones might not have a separate career adviser and psychological counsellor. Generally, the following services are available: Career counselling – advice, information and training that can help you to plan and promote your career, make decisions concerning education and professional development, and improve job seeking skills.


Academic or educational counselling – advice and help in planning studies and with questions about the organization of studies (e.g. the choice of modules, completing the curriculum). Psychological counselling – trained psychologist’s support in case of study-related problems or difficulties in personal life (this counselling service is available at the University of Tartu, at the Tallinn University of Technology, at Tallinn University, and at the Estonian University of Life Sciences). Counselling for students with special needs – information about available grants and technical aids; advice and help in adapting to and coping with studies, (this counselling service is available at the University of Tartu, at Tallinn University of Technology, and at Tallinn University). Tutors – student volunteers who have completed special training and can help first year students and foreign students of their course at the beginning of their studies. Tutors give advice about where to find necessary information, explain the basics on the organisation of studies and study planning opportunities, and help with practical daily issues (the tutor system is in place at the University of Tartu, at Tallinn University of Technology, at Tallinn University, and at the Estonian University of Life Sciences). Supporting students – student volunteers who have completed special training and help students with special needs (only at the University of Tartu). Entrepreneurship counselling – assessment of the potential and feasibility of a business idea, help with drawing up a business plan (only at the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology).

Contact details of the counselling centres at larger universities:

• The University of Tartu,

• , ••• •• • Tallinn University, •••• • Estonian University of Life

• Tallinn University of Technology,



Rajaleidja (PathFinder) – portal that provides information about study opportunities and career planning, and is geared towards three target groups (young people, adults, career advisers), www.rajaleidja.ee. It also includes a database of professions, ametid. rajaleidja.ee and contact details of study and career advice centres (Rajaleidja centres) in different counties, www.rajaleidja.ee/ taiskasvanutekarjaariabi/ (in Estonian and Russian)


•• • •• •• •• •• •


6. Libraries 6.1 Higher education libraries

To use the library, you must register in person or electronically with your ID card.

Libraries have joined international databases and common database search platforms, which enable to search for scientific journal articles, e-books, research papers, etc. in many databases.

Every university has a library, and in addition, larger universities have specialised libraries for different departments and institutes. Libraries administer electronic databases, which make it easy to find the necessary materials for teaching and research. You can find quiet study areas in libraries, but many of the services they offer (e.g. finding information in databases, extending return dates, etc.) can also be done via the internet.

universities have an expert for each field, who can help find materials.

Information about the location and hours of libraries can be found on the university’s website. To use the library, you must register in person or electronically with your ID card. A student of the university can register as a reader, but in several instances other interested parties can do so as well, though they have less options, more information can be found at the website of the library of each university itself. Each library has different opportunities for, which publications can be loaned, what can be used on site and what can be accessed at home. Libraries use the interlibrary loan system, and documents can also be ordered from abroad (for an extra fee). All additional information is available on the library websites.

Libraries have joined international databases (e.g. Academic Search Complete, ERIC, MEDLINE) and common database search platforms (e.g. EBSCO Discovery, EBSCOhost Integrated Search, Web of Knowledge), which enable the searching of scientific journal articles, e-books, research papers, etc., in many databases. You do not need to be physically present to use databases as you can easily do it online. Each library has precise instructions on how to access scientific articles and which searches to use.

In the autumn, libraries offer short orientation courses for new users (regarding - how to look for books in the catalogue or on the shelf, how to borrow books and extend the return date, and other services offered by the library). The websites of some libraries also have instructions on how to search the library catalogue. Larger

Larger libraries and departments/institutes also offer more in depth courses on specialised searches and referencing (as well as online courses) for students writing Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral theses. Library websites also have instructions for self learners on how to search the library catalogue and on how to use databases.

Libraries also offer other services:

• printing, copying, scanning • using computers (all academic

buildings, including the library, offer free Wifi connection and Eduroam (Education Roaming – roaming in academic networks), which you can access with your smart devices)

• booking private or group study rooms

• renting computer accessories (e.g. an ID card reader, headphones) and devices for the visually impaired

6.2 Other libraries In addition to university libraries there are also public libraries open to everyone. The largest of these are the National Library (www.nlib.ee/en) in Tallinn, and the city libraries in Tartu (www.luts.ee/index.php/eng) and Tallinn (www.keskraamatukogu.ee/ en). At these libraries, anyone can register as a reader. These libraries also 26

have large collections of foreign language and professional literature and access to online databases. In addition, these libraries have facilities for:

• printing and making photocopies, scanning

• using a computer • listening to music, reading periodicals

• binding services The Estonian National Library also deals with national culture more broadly, and collects and preserves documents published in or about Estonia, and makes them available. It also acts as the parliamentary library, a research library in the fields of social sciences and humanities, and as a cultural centre where conferences,

exhibitions and theatre performances are held. Searching for books Online Catalogue ESTER – 15 of Estonia’s largest libraries share a common online catalogue, which also contains information about items found at university college libraries and specialised libraries. ESTER contains records for books, periodicals, musical scores, sound recordings, electronic resources, etc., www.ester.ee.


7. Student organisations and networks 7.1 Students’ unions at universities

Most universities have students’ unions which represent students interests and protect their rights at the university.


•• •

In Estonian higher education institutions, students’ rights are represented by student councils that represent the rights of their institution’s students; and participate in organising the lives of those in the higher education institution. In larger higher education institutions there are also smaller representative organisations in each faculty and/or institute. Representative organisations are members in all decision- making bodies of the higher education institution, and are active in the issues of social grants for students and also organise leisure events. The representations in various schools are different, but involving them in decision-making is mandatory. Each curriculum also has its own feedback system and it is also mandatory to involve students in changing the curriculum. In Estonia, councils are not party-political organisations, but members are not prohibited from belonging to parties as well. A foreign student can participate in student council elections and also run himself or herself. It is also possible to be a volunteer or a temporary assistant. So far, foreign students have mainly been passive in participating in the work of councils, but they are welcome and their contribution is necessary. Contact details of students’ unions at different universities:

• The University of Tartu, www.tyye.ee

• Tallinn University of Technology,

• Tallinn University, www.esindus.ee

• Estonian University of Life Sciences, www.ye.emu.ee/eng

• Estonian Academy of Arts:


• Estonian Academy of Music and

Theatre, www.facebook.com/EMTAesindus (in Estonian)

• Estonian Business School,

www.ebs.ee/et/bakalaureuseope/ yliopilasesindus (in Estonian)

• Euroacademy,


The umbrella organisation of all Estonian councils is the Federation of Estonian Student Unions (EÜL). The EÜL represents students on a national level and is a member of several international student organisations, such as the European Students Union, the National Unions of Students of Nordic Countries (NOM), etc. The EÜL is Estonia’s official representative of the international ISIC card aimed at pupils, students, teachers and young people, www.eyl.ee. Information about discounts in other countries is available on the website: www.isic.org.

7.2 International student organisations’ local offices in estonia AIESEC – this international youth organisation offers students a variety of programs, including internships and


volunteering opportunities. AIESEC’s offices are located in Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu, www.aiesec.ee

Erasmus Student Network (ESN) – represents exchange students, but all other foreign students are also welcome. Operates with the studentto-student principle. The members of ESN in Estonia are Tallinn University’s International Club (ESN TU), EBS (ESN EBS), the Tartu section (ESN Tartu), the Tallinn section (ESN Tallinn), and the Tallinn University of Technology’s International Club (TUT IC), www.esn.ee

AEGEE – one of the biggest student organisations in Europe, uniting 13000 members from 209 student cities in 40 countries. AEGEE is open to students of all subjects, www.aegee-tallinn.ee BEST – Europe’s largest engineering students’ organisation. Organises lectures and training courses, engineering competitions, and the job fair Key to the Future, www.best.ee/index. php/en

7.3 Other organisations There are also 24 academic organisations in Estonia, which are the Baltic-German equivalents to fraternities and sororities. These organisations are mainly gender-based and primarily expect local students.

Most universities also have subject and hobby groups / clubs (e.g. choirs, bands, student theatre, etc.) You can find more information on each university’s website, other students in your field or from a student counsellor.


8. Internship opportunities during and after studies Internships are usually unpaid, but there are some exceptions depending on employers.

It is presumed that as part of university studies, a student shall undertake work experience of some form. Internships are exceedingly more often a mandatory part of the curriculum and are also related to the aims of the curriculum. In addition, it is possible to obtain practical experience separately, independently and on the basis of personal interests. Internships are usually unpaid, but there are some exceptions depending on employers. A student does not have to pay to undergo an internship himself or herself and if a potential internship opportunity so claims, you should consult your university. Curriculum-based internship Having an internship is a mandatory part of most curricula. It is also very important because it provides an opportunity to put the knowledge and skills acquired during your theoretical training into practice in a real work environment. It also helps to make connections and gain experience, which is valuable if you plan to take up employment in Estonia after completing your studies. Internship places do often prefer interns with a knowledge of Estonian, but if there is an internship obligation in a foreign language curriculum, schools have generally found opportunities for foreign language students to also participate in an internship. The workflow organization of the university and the characteristics of the curriculum will dictate whether a student shall find an internship himself or herself, or if the school does it. The requirements and timeframes provided by the university must be taken into account when looking for an internship i.e. an internship must comply with the instructions provided by the school. Vocational higher education is generally of a more practical approach and its internships are often longer and more thorough. The head


of curriculum adviser can give instructions that are more precise. Keep in mind!

• A curriculum includes internship instructions and requirements, find these out at the first opportunity!

• Plan the internship according to the

instructions and consult with the university;

• Several curricula also allow completing internships abroad;

• To undertake an internship, it may

be necessary to arrange an internship contract, receive a permit from the school to undertake an internship or organise other documentation.

Independent internship A student may also carry out an internship independently, in Estonia or abroad, for example as part of AIESEC. In such case, they must find an internship position themselves and it does not have to comply with any specific requirements. An internship may still require documentation from the school, for example - proof of student status. How to find internships? Looking for an internship is similar to looking for a job. Help can be found in various information channels of the school - for example, from careers lists and field of speciality lists. In addition, it is worthwhile to check various international student organisations and contact authorities within your field. In addition, there is often information about internships under the section “Job offers” on the websites of companies and authorities. If application deadlines or specific requirements have been provided, these must be followed and the attitude when communicating with authorities must be positive and professional. In addition, there is information about Estonian internship opportunities on

the workinestonia.com environment where there are jobs, as well as internship offers. More useful internship links Võti Tulevikku (Key to the Future) – is the biggest career fair aimed at students and is organised each spring by BEST-Estonia, see more at www.vt.ee. Universities also organise smaller-scale fairs. AIESEC – you can find an internship abroad through the international youth organisation, www.aiesec.ee Erasmus+ – EU programme for education, which offers study migration grants also for undertaking an internship abroad, http://adm.archimedes. ee/erasmusplus/ EURES – Europe-wide job portal; provides job offers, job seekers’ CVs, information about work and residency permits, www.eures.ee EUROPASS – information about how to present your skills and experience to the employer in the best possible way, and how to prove your qualifications, www.europass.cedefop.europa. eu

Entrypark – Europe-wide, webbased career platform where you can find information about potential employers, career events, educational opportunities, and career advice, www.entrypark.com Euractiv – job site linked to a portal that deals with European Union topics, where you can find job and internship offers from EU institutions and agencies, international organisations, and NGOs related to the European Union, jobs.euractiv.com Fit For Europe – information about education, studying, and career opportunities in 31 European countries, www.fitforworkeurope.eu/ On the Move – information and advice about studying and working abroad, www.on-the-move.org Ploteus – information about studying and internship opportunities, education systems, and exchange programs in Europe, www.ec.europa.eu/ploteus EURAXESS Researchers in Motion – information about career opportunities for researchers, www.ec.europa.eu/euraxess

European Youth Portal – information on eight main topics, about 31 countries in 25 languages for young people living, studying and working abroad, www.europa.eu/youth


9. Working during and after studies Working while studying is very common in Estonia. Students from European Union countries (foreign students with the right of residence) are allowed to work during studies, just like Estonian students. Students from

third countries (foreign students living in Estonia with a residence permit granted for studying) are also allowed to work, as long as this does not hinder their studies.

9.1 Working during studies Foreign students from third countries are granted a residence permit for full time study. This means that if a foreign student, who lives in Estonia with a residence permit granted for studying, wishes to work, he or she must ensure that the job will not hinder his or her studies. If the student is unable to meet the full-time study requirements, his or her residence permit given for studying shall be revoked, whereupon the student must leave the country. Employed students are eligible for a study leave. For this, the student has to provide the employer with the university’s confirmation about his or

Students from third countries have 6 months to find a job after the completion of studies


her student status. Study leaves can be taken for up to 30 calendar days in a calendar year. During this period, the employee will be paid the average salary for 20 calendar days, and the remaining 10 calendar days count as unpaid leave. It is possible to take a further 15 days of study leave once to complete your studies. During this period, the employee will be paid minimum wage. If the completion is unsuccessful, the student will no longer be entitled to an additional study leave next year to complete the studies. The student retains the right to an annual study leave of 30 calendar days.

9.2 Working after studies In Estonia, there are few jobs entirely in English. If you are interested in finding a job in Estonia, you must be active in learning Estonian, if possible, and start to prepare for finding a job during your studies.

cation for a residence permit for employment.

Every citizen of the European Union has the right to live, work, look for a job, and retire in any of the 28 European Union member states. The European Union rules of the free movement of workers also apply in the European Economic Area countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and in Switzerland.

permit from the Unemployment Insurance Fund for hiring a foreign national. Exceptions apply for students who have received a degree or diploma from a school or university in Estonia. Please check the website of the Police and Border Guard Board for details;

Students from third countries are able to stay in Estonia for 270 days after their residence permit’s validity ends (e.g. to find a job). During this time the person is allowed to work in Estonia. To work after completing their studies, they must submit a new appli-

To do this:

• you must find a suitable job; • the employer must apply for a

• you must submit an application for

a residence permit to the Police and Border Guard Board.

Further information: Police and Border Guard Board:

Work in Estonia: www.workinestonia.com

9.3 Looking for a job Many people find work through acquaintances or contacts obtained at university. It is recommended that you look for work while studying and obtain general work experience in addition to professional. Young people’s career planning portal Rajaleidja (PathFinder), www. rajaleidja.ee (in Estonian and Russian) Job and career fairs, e.g. Key to the Future (Võti Tulevikku), www.vt.ee Employment search-sites

• CV-Online – one of the largest

job sites, this portal has a separate internship offers section, www.cv.ee

• Work in Estonia - website aimed

at spreading information about working in Estonia and advertising job offers, www.workinestonia. com/latest-offers/

• CV-Keskus – one of the largest

job sites, this portal has a separate internship offers section, www.cvkeskus.ee

• Hüppelaud – weekly job offers portal, www.ej.ee

• Job.ee, www.job.ee – recruitment company, single job offers, mainly for managers.

• The Welcoming Programme

working module gives additional information about finding a job and operating on the labour market – www.settleinestonia.ee

9.4 Unemployment protection Labour market policies and unemployment protection are the responsibilities of the Unemployment Insurance Fund. You can register as a job seeker or as unemployed at the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and use labour market services aimed at job seekers and unemployed people. Both EU citizens and citizens of third countries, who live in Estonia with a permanent or temporary residence permit, are entitled to both options.

There are two ways of registering as a job seeker or as unemployed:

• going to one of the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s offices in person (bring proof of identification!), contact details of the offices: www. tootukassa.ee/eng/kontaktid/ tootukassa-esindused;

• submit an electronic application

to register as a job seeker by logging on to the Unemployment 33

Insurance Fund’s portal and going to Avaldused ja otsused > Arvelevõtmine > Tööotsijana arvelevõtmine / Töötuna arvelevõtmine. Online services are only available in Estonian. Once registered as a job seeker, you can use the following services:

• help looking for job offers and a suitable job;

• development of the skills required to look for a job.

There are various limitations to registering as unemployed, for example registering is not allowed for a person who:

• works with en employment conYou can register as a job seeker or as unemployed at the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and use labour market services aimed at job seekers and unemployed people.

tract, a contract for services, an authorization agreement, or other contract under the law of obligations, or who is a civil servant;

• is a member of the board of a

company, or is self-employed;

• is in full time study. You will find more information about the conditions of registering as unemployed on the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s website: www. tootukassa.ee Once registered as unemployed, you can use the following services:

• help looking for job offers and finding a suitable job;

• development of the skills required to look for a job;

• drawing up a personalised job seeking plan;

• analysing possible problems that

might occur when looking for a job or starting a job;

• being instructed in what the sup-

port services required to get a job are.

People registered as unemployed can apply for:

• • • •


unemployment insurance benefits; unemployment allowance; business start-up subsidy; travel and housing subsidy (e.g. for participating in training courses aimed at unemployed people).

People registered as unemployed have health insurance from the 31st day of registration. Health insurance is maintained throughout the period of unemployment and is still valid for one month after the end of the individual’s unemployed status. If unemployment ends at the same time as the payment of the unemployment insurance benefit, health insurance will still be valid for another two months after the benefit is no longer paid.

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