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ESTONIA


Table of Contents 2 | YFU History 3 | The Journey of a Lifetime 4 | Why YFU? 5 | About Estonia 6 | History 7 | YFU Estonia 8 | Host Family 9 | Orientations, Trips and Activities 10 | Optional Activities 11 | About Our Special Programs 12 | Nature Program 13 | Film Program 14 | Theatre Program 15 | Music Program 16 | Art Program

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YFU History YFU began in 1951 as an effort to heal the wounds of World War II. The hardships prevalent in Germany during this time had devastating the Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Rachel Andresen founded YFU, the hope was that by teaching young people tolerance, and acceptance of different cultures, they would be motivated to go back to Germany, and help re-build the country. The legacy, and philosophy of our founder is as powerful, and timely today as it was more than 60 years ago, and in that time, we have established a track record success. oldest, largest, and most respected International education programs. Since its inception, YFU offices around the world have exchanged more than 260,000 students who have in turn made lasting impressions on millions around the world.

Mission YFU advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families, and communities.

YFU came into the world to meet the need to heal a broken world. Our mission is still as vital as it ever was. Our cultural exchange programs provide the ultimate reality check to a world-view based on stereotypes. In helping people of all ages to make the world their home, participants learn to appreciate differences, and embrace similarities. YFU is a positive first step in a lifelong journey of International connection.

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The Journey of a Lifetime! The Youth for Understanding exchange program offers you a journey of a lifetime, an adventure that allows you to discover the best in yourself, and your family, forge lifelong connections, and change the way you see the world. While it is true that all travel broadens perspective, and exposes the traveler to transform who you are, and permanently change the way you see the world. YFU for those eager to explore the path less taken, who are open to discovery, and the realization that there is more than one way to live. If this sounds like you,

selected host family who will open their hearts, and home to you providing room, board, and a safe, and caring environment. You will attend a local high learn what life is like for teens in Estonia.

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Why YFU? YFU provides all students, and families with the support, logistics, and tools for a safe exchange experience. From preparing you for exchange to travel, and airport assistance, student receive support, and guidance throughout their entire journey.

YFU offers educational exchanges based on the highest standards of quality and transparency. In all policies and practices, YFU recognizes the responsibility to consider: the well‐being of each individual involved with YFU,the economic stability of all partners in YFU and the best ecological options.

All students:  Are placed with a carefully screened, and selected host family  Enrolled in an accredited school  Receive full travel assistance at major airports  Have access to counseling, tutoring, worldwide assistance, and 24-hour emergency support through their dedicated supporters and  Participate in 3 or more local orientations with fellow YFU students

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The 24th of June: Midsummer Day.

About Estonia At a Full Name: Republic of Estonia Population: 1.3 million Capital City: Tallinn- population 430,000

Commonly known as Jaanip채ev is celebrated with bonfires, different events and festivities that take place all around Estonia, and is one of the most important dates in a year for Estonians.

Area: 45.226 sq. km/ 17,462 sq. mi Official Language: Estonian Religion: No state religion, ~23% Christian (Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic) Currency: Euro (1 EUR = ~ 1.12 DOL) Government: Parliamentary Democracy Head of the Republic: President Toomas Hendrik Ilves European Union: Member since 2004

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History The history of Estonia and of the other Baltic States has been one of constant struggle to maintain independence and national integrity against the predatory instincts of larger neighbors. Estonia was ruled by Poles, Danes, Germans, Swedes, and Russians after the thirteenth century. The middle of the nineteenth century marked the beginning of the national awakening. A small group of intellectuals played a vital role in giving the traditional culture a national meaning. By the late 1800s, an Estonian identity had been established and efforts were being made to retrieve the "original culture" by collecting folk poems, sayings, and songs.

e-Estonia is a term commonly used to describe Estonia's emergence as one of the most advanced e-societies in the world. The primary picture I.D. card in Estonia can be used to vote online, access medical history, sign documents, store prescriptions, do your online banking, etc. You can even pay for parking using SMS or text messages! YFU Estonia 6


YFU Estonia Our Offices YFU Estonia is, as in all other countries where YFU is involved, a volunteer organization. Besides the many enthusiastic volunteers, we also have two offices where a small team of professional staff From left: Agnes, Reeli, Eva-Helen, Anna-Stina, Diina, coordinates everything that is involved with Heili,the Terjeexchange and Kadri programs. Supporters During your exchange you will have two support persons, one about your age and one adult. These persons are the ones to talk to when you feel like talking to someone neutral, when you want to share your happiness and in case you have any difficulties or

questions. It is important to have contact with them on a regular basis so they can help you solve any problems before they become too big. Do not hesitate to call them; they are willing to listen to you.

Meet our Inbound Coordinators, Diina (top) and Heili (bottom)! They will facilitate your entire exchange year and are there to help you with anything that you may need! Contact Information:  diina@yfu.ee  heili@yfu.ee

The Estonians invented Kiiking, which is considered a sport. It involves fastening yourself to an enormous standing steal swing (kiik means swing in Estonian) which has a full 360 degrees of rotation to it.

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Host Family

that you are going to live in a single parent family.

During your exchange you will live with a host family. Before your departure you will receive information about them.

Your host family might be living in a bigger town such as Tallinn or Tartu, but it is also possible that they live in the countryside or on the islands.

We want to remind you that all kinds of families can be a host family. If you have host sisters or brothers, they might be very young or already living somewhere else. As quite a lot of families in Estonia are divorced, it could also happen

Your host family will be a very important part of your exchange experience. They will be your basis during your year and daily life will involve a lot of time with them. They will also be the ones that introduce you to the Estonian culture.

YFU appreciates differences in people natural or cultural, innate or learned, personal or formal, and we act accordingly, to contribute to a more peaceful world. We strive to engage a growing base of participants inclusive of that diversity.

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Orientations, Trips and Activities! Post Arrival Orientation (PAO) The PAO is a five day event (16th20th August), ending with a family picnic. During the PAO you will meet the other exchange students. Classes for the Estonian language, history and culture will be organized. You will also be advised about your school, free time activities and how to make the best of your exchange year. That week you will get to know the YFU Estonia volunteers who are always on your side and always working to come up with new, creative and fun ideas! October meeting for exchange students and their host families The first few months in your new family have passed and now is a good opportunity to share experiences and visit with other students. This meeting will be a one day event and all exchange

students are separated into two groups according to their location in Estonia. The support persons will also be here. Mid-term Orientation This orientation will take place for two or three days at the beginning of February. We will talk about your experiences in Estonia: What you are happy about and what you want to change or achieve in the second half-year. Together we will make plans to accomplish your goals. Re-entry Orientation Before you go back home you will have a chance to share your experiences with us and learn to be fully aware of the changes you have gone through this year. YFU volunteers will help you adapt to your former life waiting for you back at home. Also, there will be a family picnic.

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Optional Activities Every year in December YFU Estonia organizes a Christmas event for exchange students and their families. It is often spent in nature, cooking and relaxing. Estonia 9 Besides the activities mentionedYFU above, there are some optional activities you can join. They are not included in the program, so you have to pay for them yourself.

Every year we organize a . This is a weekend activity that takes place in Narva at the Estonian-Russian border in March. You will have the chance to meet the other students and see a bit more of Estonia.

Two of the highlights of the whole year will be: ďƒ˜ the weekend trip to Helsinki, capital of Finland (just before Christmas), ďƒ˜ and in springtime a three day trip to Riga and South-Estonia. You will have the chance to learn about the similarities and differences of the Baltic countries and our close neighbors; the people, the languages, the cultures, nature, history, traditions and much more.

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About Our Special Programs History The history of special programs in Estonia begins as early as 1997/1998 with Music program. Next we started Art program in 2001/2002. When two first special programs are based on special schools then our third program Nature program is both created and ran by volunteers. First Nature program student arrived to Estonia in 2007. But three was not enough. In 2010/2011 first student to Film program and in 2011/2012 to Theatre program came. Both special schools and extra activities included. It is hard to say that one program has been more popular than other ones. We are looking forward to students to all five special programs.

So make your choice between the five: - Nature program - Film program - Theatre program - Music program - Art program

Estonian, different from most spoken languages in Europe, does not belong to the IndoEuropean group, but rather it belongs to the Finno-Ugric language family, which also includes Finnish and Hungarian. YFU Estonia 11


Nature Program The aim of this program is to introduce and give students an opportunity to experience the nature of Estonia. Estonia is almost 50% forest and has over 1,500 islands! Estonians are surrounded by nature, and their long, close connection with the land has prompted them to preserve its many forms, diverse features and inhabitants.

The program consists of 9 fieldtrips to different parts of Estonia to visit/see/experience all kinds of nature. There will definitely be some hikes in the bogs, canoeing, bird-watching in Kabli Bird Station, trips on the frozen sea if the weather allows this. And perhaps even a skiing trip! You will have the chance to sleep under the starry sky, prepare food on a campfire, pick berries and mushrooms for eating and meet a lot of different volunteers as most of the trips are organized by different people. Trust us, there is a lot to discover!

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Film Program Several high schools in different parts of Estonia offer special programs for Media and Movie where you can learn the basic knowledge about how to make a movie in both theoretical and practical ways. YFU has special movie projects to take part in and also make movies for promoting YFU. There are different film festivals to take part in as a volunteer and get the real feeling of a movie.

The International Dark Nights Film Festival is the highlight of the festival year. Its importance does not lie only in the introduction of the world cinema to the inhabitants of Estonia, but also in bringing fresh ideas to the local film industry.

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Theatre Program The Estonian Drama Theatre has been operating in the attractive German theatre building at the centre of Tallinn since 1924. It is now the biggest drama company in Estonia. During a year, approximately 500 performances are given to a total audience of more than 100,000.

School theatre is just one part of this program. All students are offered extra activities according to the region where he/she lives. We work closely with many theatres around Estonia to give the students the best program possible.

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Music Program Estonians are very keen on music and singing. The tradition goes back to many centuries as if existing forever. Students in Music program study in schools specialized in music studies or attend music schools every day after school. Every experience is different and starts with the level of previous studies and also the instrument played before. We consider every student as an individual and try to find him/her school that would best fit his/her needs and level. Our goal is to give all the music program students the chance to grow in the musical field.

Estonians love to sing, And we like to do it in a crowd! Therefore, Estonia regularly hosts the largest choir festivals in the world, a tradition which dates back all the way to the 19th century and forms a large part of the Estonian identity.

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Art Program The Art program is aimed for those students who are mainly interested in fine arts. To spend a year abroad as an exchange student is already a big challenge but to combine and fill this year with fine arts would be an even bigger challenge.

Each year in November YFU Estonia has a photo competition to find the best 12 public vote determines the winners.

Students in Art program attend schools specialized in art and/or attend extra art lessons after school. As with Music program each student is taken as an individual to find the best solution for him/her.

In 2011, Tallinn was the European Capital of culture. The Old Town of Tallinn is considered to be the best protected and intact medieval city in Northern Europe. The history of the Old Town dates back as far as the 10th century and now is a place that is still very much enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

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Contact Information: Address | Kevade 4a-1 10137 Tallinn Website | www.yfu.ee Also find us on:

Designer | Alexa Musgrove

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