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Study in Estonia
Choose Your Program

During your time in Estonia you will live with a host family and attend a local school.

PROGRAM DEPARTURE RETURN FULL TUITION
2025 Fall Year Mid-August Early July $15,595
2025 Fall Year Art Mid-August Early July $16,095
2025 Fall Year Film and Media Mid-August Early July $16,095
2025 Fall Year Music Mid-August Early July $16,095
2025 Fall Year Nature Mid-August Early July $16,095
2025 Fall Year Entrepreneurship- IT/Informatics Mid-August Early July $16,095
2025 Fall Year Sports Mid-August Early July $16,095
  • Placement with a carefully selected host family
  • Enrollment in a local Estonian high school
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic and international travel
  • All pre-departure and post-arrival orientations
  • Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
  • Support from a YFU Estonia Area Representative while on program
  • Comprehensive insurance

Schools in Estonia emphasize a high level of academic performance. YFU students are typically placed in the 10th or 11th grade according to their age and interests. The classroom atmosphere is formal, and students treat their teachers with respect, but if you are willing to work hard, teachers are happy to help you develop your skills! You will take classes at the upper secondary level in a wide variety of subjects, including Estonian, math, history, biology, music, art, and sports.

YFU exchange students to Estonia also have the opportunity to attend a specialized program focused on Art, Film and Media, Music, Nature, or Theater. For each of these programs, students will attend a traditional high school and take courses in their chosen specialization.

All students applying for the year program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation*, which usually takes place in mid-July or early-mid December (Spring departures). This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas.

*Due to COVID-19, the 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation described above may take place online, dependent upon recommended guidelines at the time of the event. YFU will continue to assess the situation as it develops.

YFU Estonia will provide a four-day post-arrival orientation, which includes a basic language course. They will also offer gatherings for YFU students and their host families throughout the year, and a re-entry session for two days in May.

Students will also usually have the option of participating in a number of educational trips and excursions during their stay at an additional cost.

Weekend Trip to Viljandi: During this weekend trip, which typically takes place in November, students will have the opportunity to travel to Viljandi. This quaint and historic town is famous for folk music festivals. Students will have the opportunity to experience the true heart of Estonian folk music and vocal heritage. Previously students have visited the Estonian Traditional Music Center, participated in music lessons on a new instrument, attended a concert, and went sightseeing around Viljandi.

Weekend Trip to South Estonia: Students may have the opportunity to travel to Southern Estonia to see the beautiful countryside. During this 3-day bus trip, students will be able to view the different traditions of Estonians and visit the Setomaa area, home to the Setos, an ethnic and linguistic minority. Students may also have the opportunity to visit nautral sights such as Suur Munamägi (Estonia’s highest mountain), Suurjärv (Estonia’s deepest lake), and explore local caves and waterfalls.

Trip to Narva: This exciting 3-day trip typically occurs in the spring months. During this time, students will travel to Narva, Estonia’s easternmost town that shares its border with Russia. Students will have the opportunity to meet local students in Narva for a debate. Students will be able to explore the Hermann Fortress, a castle that dates back to the 14th century, and discover one of Estonia’s hidden gems.

  • 2025 Fall departure: Students born August 15, 2007 – Augist 15, 2009
  • Students who do not meet this age requirement or will graduate from high school before the start of their program are welcome to apply and will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

Estonian. Previous language study is not required. Students may also be placed with bilingual Estonian and Russian-speaking families. Students will receive basic Estonian language classes during their arrival orientation.

YFU host families live in rural, suburban, or urban areas, including cities like Tartu, Tallinn, and other towns.

Art Program: The art program is perfect for students who are mainly interested in fine arts. Artistic woodcarving and working with textiles, amber, leather, and stone is very popular and is available as a specialty in many schools all over Estonia. In the special arts program, you will attend a public high school that focuses on the arts, or you will attend a regular high school and take afternoon classes at a special art school. You will take general subjects (like Estonian language, biology, history, etc.) as well as choose from a wide variety of art lessons, which typically take place at least 10 hours a week. You will be able to study subjects like art history, drawing, painting, graphic arts, ceramics, textile design, leather art, wood restoration, iron work and more.

Please submit a letter of motivation and photographs of at least six of your previous pieces of artwork with your application.

Film and Media: Several high schools have special programs for Media and Movies, where students can learn the theory and practice of moviemaking. In school, you will have a normal curriculum in addition to extra subjects focused on media and movies, such as computer design, photography, history of filmmaking, and movie making. Students may also get the opportunity to volunteer for Estonia’s biggest film festivals and, in some towns, join an after-school film club at a local youth center.

Students must submit an example of their previous film work or a letter of motivation to take part in the program.

Music: Students will either attend a music school or will be enrolled in a traditional high school with music schooling in the afternoons. The level of music education is very high, and studies will consist of subjects such as music theory, instruments, solfeggio, and performance auditions, or participation in choirs and orchestras.

Please submit examples of your music, as well as a written description of your music studies and experiences, along with your application.

Nature: More than 50% of Estonia is covered in forests, and the country has over 1,000 lakes! Estonia offers nature lovers a pristine and untouched landscape to explore. This innovative year program offers students many opportunities to learn about and appreciate the environment of this Baltic country. In addition to the regular academic program, students will take field trips each month to diverse locations throughout Estonia and its islands. You will not only appreciate the natural beauty of Estonia, but you will also learn about the environmental problems the country is facing. This is the perfect program for the adventurous nature lover!

Tentative activities (weather dependent) offered for the Nature program include canoeing the Ahja and Vōhandu Rivers, visiting the island of Piirissaar, the virgin forests of Alutaguse, the Oil Shale Mine Park in Kohtla-Nõmme, Lahemaa National Park, the Alam-Pedja Nature Conservation, the Pōlula Fish Farm, and the peninsula of Noarootsi; skiing in Kõrvemaa; taking an ice road to Vormsi Island; and bird watching in Matsalu National Park!

With their application, students are asked to submit a letter stating their motivation for participation in the Nature program.

Note: The Nature Program may not be suitable for students with serious health issues or allergies.

Sports: This program provides students the option to continue with a professional sports career or start practicing a new sport at a high level. In Estonia, the most common sports are soccer, basketball, volleyball, handball, badminton, and tennis, as well as athletic sports that involve competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking. Students in the Sports program study in schools specialized in sports studies or attend sports clubs after their school day. Every experience is different and depends on the level of the student.

Please submit a motivational statement explaining why you want to participate in the sports program with your application.

Entrepreneurship – Informatics Theme- NEW!: Estonia has a vibrant and welcoming informatics/IT community and Estonians are encouraged to become techies. Kids in primary school have lessons in computer programming, and in selected high schools, we even teach how to build Bitcoin apps. Our e-government solutions are top-notch! It is not a secret that Estonian is a bit tricky to learn but luckily, in the field of IT, the language is understandable to everyone, regardless of home country. We are eager to support ambitious students who wish to further develop themselves in programming, which includes both coding and other aspects of software creation and/or robotics, the field of study that is focused on developing robots and automation. Students in IT programs attend schools specialized in informatics and/or attend extra lessons offered by the regular school. We take each student’s individual levels into consideration to adapt the program as perfectly as possible to the student’s needs.

To apply for the informatics program, please send a sample of some of the work IT work you have done so far. This can be a piece of code or a drawing as you prefer.

During your time in Estonia you will live with a host family and attend a local school.

PROGRAM DEPARTURE RETURN FULL TUITION
2025 Fall Semester Mid-August Early January $15,095
2025 Fall Semester Music Mid-August Early January $15,595
2025 Fall Semester Nature Mid-August Early January $15,595
2025 Fall Semester Entrepreneurship- IT/Informatics Mid-August Early January $15,595
2025 Fall Semester Sports Mid-August Early January $15,595
2025 Spring Semester Mid-August Early January $15,595
2025 Spring Semester Nature Mid-August Early January $15,595
  • Placement with a carefully selected host family
  • Enrollment in a local Estonian high school
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic and international travel
  • All pre-departure and post-arrival orientations
  • Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
  • Support from a YFU Estonia Area Representative while on program
  • Comprehensive insurance

Schools in Estonia emphasize a high level of academic performance. YFU students are typically placed in the 10th or 11th grade according to their age and interests. The classroom atmosphere is formal, and students treat their teachers with respect, but if you are willing to work hard, teachers are happy to help you develop your skills! You will take classes at the upper secondary level in a wide variety of subjects, including Estonian, math, history, biology, music, art, and sports.

YFU exchange students to Estonia also have the opportunity to attend a specialized program focused on Art, Film and Media, Music, Nature, or Theater. For each of these programs, students will attend a traditional high school and take courses in their chosen specialization.

All students applying for the year program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation*, which usually takes place in mid-July or early-mid December (Spring departures). This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas.

*Due to COVID-19, the 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation described above may take place online, dependent upon recommended guidelines at the time of the event. YFU will continue to assess the situation as it develops.

YFU Estonia will provide a four-day post-arrival orientation, which includes a basic language course. They will also offer gatherings for YFU students and their host families throughout the year, and a re-entry session for two days in May.

Students will also usually have the option of participating in a number of educational trips and excursions during their stay at an additional cost.

Weekend Trip to Viljandi: During this weekend trip, which typically takes place in November, students will have the opportunity to travel to Viljandi. This quaint and historic town is famous for folk music festivals. Students will have the opportunity to experience the true heart of Estonian folk music and vocal heritage. Previously students have visited the Estonian Traditional Music Center, participated in music lessons on a new instrument, attended a concert, and went sightseeing around Viljandi.

Weekend Trip to South Estonia: Students may have the opportunity to travel to Southern Estonia to see the beautiful countryside. During this 3-day bus trip, students will be able to view the different traditions of Estonians and visit the Setomaa area, home to the Setos, an ethnic and linguistic minority. Students may also have the opportunity to visit nautral sights such as Suur Munamägi (Estonia’s highest mountain), Suurjärv (Estonia’s deepest lake), and explore local caves and waterfalls.

Trip to Narva: This exciting 3-day trip typically occurs in the spring months. During this time, students will travel to Narva, Estonia’s easternmost town that shares its border with Russia. Students will have the opportunity to meet local students in Narva for a debate. Students will be able to explore the Hermann Fortress, a castle that dates back to the 14th century, and discover one of Estonia’s hidden gems.

  • 2025 Fall departure: Students born August 15, 2007 – Augist 15, 2009
  • 2025 Spring departure: Students born August 31, 2006 – August 31, 2009
  • Students who do not meet this age requirement or will graduate from high school before the start of their program are welcome to apply and will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

Estonian. Previous language study is not required. Students may also be placed with bilingual Estonian and Russian-speaking families. Students will receive basic Estonian language classes during their arrival orientation.

YFU host families live in rural, suburban, or urban areas, including cities like Tartu, Tallinn, and other towns.

Music: Students will either attend a music school or will be enrolled in a traditional high school with music schooling in the afternoons. The level of music education is very high, and studies will consist of subjects such as music theory, instruments, solfeggio, and performance auditions, or participation in choirs and orchestras.

Please submit examples of your music, as well as a written description of your music studies and experiences, along with your application.

Nature: More than 50% of Estonia is covered in forests, and the country has over 1,000 lakes! Estonia offers nature lovers a pristine and untouched landscape to explore. This innovative year program offers students many opportunities to learn about and appreciate the environment of this Baltic country. In addition to the regular academic program, students will take field trips each month to diverse locations throughout Estonia and its islands. You will not only appreciate the natural beauty of Estonia, but you will also learn about the environmental problems the country is facing. This is the perfect program for the adventurous nature lover!

Tentative activities (weather dependent) offered for the Nature program include canoeing the Ahja and Vōhandu Rivers, visiting the island of Piirissaar, the virgin forests of Alutaguse, the Oil Shale Mine Park in Kohtla-Nõmme, Lahemaa National Park, the Alam-Pedja Nature Conservation, the Pōlula Fish Farm, and the peninsula of Noarootsi; skiing in Kõrvemaa; taking an ice road to Vormsi Island; and bird watching in Matsalu National Park!

With their application, students are asked to submit a letter stating their motivation for participation in the Nature program.

Note: The Nature Program may not be suitable for students with serious health issues or allergies.

Sports: This program provides students the option to continue with a professional sports career or start practicing a new sport at a high level. In Estonia, the most common sports are soccer, basketball, volleyball, handball, badminton, and tennis, as well as athletic sports that involve competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking. Students in the Sports program study in schools specialized in sports studies or attend sports clubs after their school day. Every experience is different and depends on the level of the student.

Please submit a motivational statement explaining why you want to participate in the sports program with your application.

Entrepreneurship – Informatics Theme- NEW!: Estonia has a vibrant and welcoming informatics/IT community and Estonians are encouraged to become techies. Kids in primary school have lessons in computer programming, and in selected high schools, we even teach how to build Bitcoin apps. Our e-government solutions are top-notch! It is not a secret that Estonian is a bit tricky to learn but luckily, in the field of IT, the language is understandable to everyone, regardless of home country. We are eager to support ambitious students who wish to further develop themselves in programming, which includes both coding and other aspects of software creation and/or robotics, the field of study that is focused on developing robots and automation. Students in IT programs attend schools specialized in informatics and/or attend extra lessons offered by the regular school. We take each student’s individual levels into consideration to adapt the program as perfectly as possible to the student’s needs.

To apply for the informatics program, please send a sample of some of the work IT work you have done so far. This can be a piece of code or a drawing as you prefer.

Study Abroad Participants
What to Expect

Tere päevast! This is just one of the ways to say hello in Estonia. Celebrated for its diversity and multiculturalism, Estonia is home to over 100 spoken languages!

Russians, Ukrainians, Finns, and Belarusians comprise significant portions of the Estonian population. Estonian music blends traditional wind instruments and modern ones, such as the accordion and fiddle, creating a distinct sound like no other. There are many festivals you can attend throughout the year that incorporate both song and dance — maybe you’ll even find yourself doing the polka!

Most host families live in cities, though many have cottages in the country. Boating is an extremely popular pastime, and many people flock to Estonia’s beach resorts each summer. You may find yourself golfing or windsurfing with host siblings or friends or attending plays, movies, exhibitions, and concerts. One of the best ways to understand Estonian culture is to attend a local high school. In a typical Estonian school, you can take a variety of subjects such as math, biology, art, music, language, and sports. Soviet and European influences work together to create a wonderful culture with delicious food, welcoming people, and an interesting arts scene.

In today’s Estonia, the question of national identity is one that everyone is talking about – come see for yourself!

YFU USA is proud to send over 200 American students on cultural exchange with a full or partial scholarship each year. Financial assistance may be in the form of a merit-based scholarship, need-based financial aid, or Legacy Grant for students who are previously involved in the YFU Community. Scholarships may vary in deadline, requirements, and eligibility. To learn more, please visit our Scholarships Page to find details on the following scholarships eligible for Estonia:

Holcomb & Farnell Foreign Study Fund
YFU Legacy Grant
YFU Financial Aid Fund
Karla Topolka Scholarship Fund
Passport to Equity
Culture Connect Scholarship

Applications for tuition-based programs to Estonia must be submitted by August 27 for Winter/Spring departure programs and April 1st for Summer and Fall. Applications submitted after this date will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending upon availability.

Visa Information
Information regarding visas and other immigration processes will be provided upon enrollment. Visit the embassy website to learn more.

Additional Costs
Possible costs include visa fees, transportation to school, schoolbooks, a residence permit, and personal spending money. Please remember to buy proper winter clothing and shoes suitable for the Estonian winter- in January and February, temperatures can fall below -25° Celsius! Program tuition does not include personal spending money.

Important Information
YFU recommends that all students are vaccinated against any tick-borne illnesses before departing to Estonia. However, vaccines are also available in Estonia. Students should also bring a notarized and apostilled parent permission form with them on the program. This form will be provided upon enrollment.

The most scarcely populated country in Europe boasts the world’s second-highest literacy rate. One of the three Baltic League Nations, Estonia has beautiful beaches and wooded enclaves to offer, and as a YFU student, you’ll be able to experience it all!

Have questions or want to learn more about YFU Study Abroad Programs?