With a Danish high school diploma, you can apply for a higher education in Estonia. Teaching is usually in Estonian, but there are still more educations and courses in English.
According to CountryAAH, Estonia is the northernmost and smallest of the three Baltic republics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) that seceded from the Soviet Union in 1991. The secession entailed extensive reforms of the country’s political and economic structure and entailed, among other things, a shift from a planned economy to a market economy. In May 2004, Estonia became a full member of the EU, and today it is considered the most modern and prosperous of the Baltic countries.
Estonia is closely linked to Finland both linguistically and culturally, and most Estonians and Finns can understand each other’s languages without much difficulty. Estonians, however, generally understand Finnish better than the other way around. because many people in northern Estonia can watch Finnish television. In addition, a large Russian minority lives in Estonia, which makes up about a quarter of the population.
Estonia has traditionally placed great emphasis on education and culture, and the level of education is on a par with that of Western Europe.
Vocational training in Estonia
Some vocational schools (kutseõppeasutus) in Estonia are aimed at students coming directly from primary school, other vocational schools are aimed at students with a secondary education. Some schools cater to both types of students.
- Põhihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta (basic vocational training for students from 9-year-old primary school) educates for skilled work. The education lasts a minimum of 3 years, including internships, and both general and subject-specific subjects are taught. However, the education can also be completed without general subjects and lasts in that case 1-2½ years.
- Keskhariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta (Vocational training for students with a secondary education) can be taken as an extension of the basic vocational training. This education is also aimed at students with a high school education. The education educates to be able to independently handle specialized skilled work. Students are expected to be mature and able to understand and analyze technological processes. The education lasts ½-2½ years, and both general and subject-specific subjects are taught. However, the main emphasis of the teaching (85 per cent) is on the subject-specific subjects.
If the education is also to provide access to higher education in Estonia, you can, in addition to your professional education, go up to state examinations (Riigieksamenitunnistu). You must take an exam in a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 subjects, including in mother tongue (Estonian). Other subjects can be math, English, German, Russian, French, physical, chemistry (after 11th grade), biology or history.
If you are thinking of taking all or part of your own internship abroad, read the section on internships abroad for vocational education under the section Primary school and upper secondary education.
Higher education in Estonia
There are 6 public universities in Estonia. Tartu University (Tartu Ülikool) from 1632 is the oldest and. The other 5 universities are Eesti Maaülikool, Tallinna Ülikool, Eesti Muusika- ja Teatriakadeemia, Eesti Kunstiakadeemia and Tallinna Tehnikaülikool. In addition, there is a private university: Estonian Business School.
At Study in Estonia you can find a list of relevant info for the Estonian universities that offer educations in English.
Rakenduskörgkoolid are educational institutions for vocational higher education. The 10 public rakenduskörgkoolid offer e.g. teacher education, engineering education and education in aviation, music and art. A number of private rakenduskörgkoolid primarily offer social science, business economics, theological and artistic educations.
Please note that private educational institutions and their educations must be recognized by the Estonian state in order to be publicly approved.
You can take the following degrees at university level in Estonia:
- Bakalaureusekraad, which lasts 3 years – in some cases 4 years. A bachelor’s assignment is included.
- Magistrikraad, which lasts 1-2 years after a bakalaureuseraad, however at least 5 years in total. The education ends with a thesis (magistritöö).
- Doktorikraad, the Estonian PhD degree, which lasts 3-4 years after magistrikraad. It ends with a doctoral dissertation (doktoritöö).
Most health science educations as well as teacher, architect and civil engineering educations last 5-6 years.
Rakenduskörgharisdusõppe is a professional higher education program. It is non-university higher education. The educations last 3 to 4½ years and contain both theory and practice. You take a rakenduskörgharisdusõppe at either university, rakenduskõrgkooli or in some cases at a vocational school. The educations are aimed at jobs, but you can also continue on to some master’s studies.
As in Denmark, the academic year is divided into an autumn and a spring semester and runs from September to mid-June.
Application for higher education
You must send your application directly to the educational institution where you want admission. In addition to a completed application form, you must usually enclose e.g. confirmed copies of your certificate for your Danish upper secondary school examination as well as a translation into English / Estonian, description of your purpose with the education, copy of your passport, 3 to 4 photos, fee for processing the application and any documentation for English language test. You will find the specific instructions on the individual educational institution’s website and in the international study guide at the educational institution. A guide to the application process can be found on S tudy in Estonia’s website
With a Danish high school diploma, you can apply for admission to a higher education in Estonia. There is a restriction on admission, and there may be requirements for subjects, exam averages and language skills. These entry requirements are determined by the individual educational institution. One or more entrance exams and / or a personal interview may be included in the assessment.
The language of instruction is Estonian at most educational institutions, and foreign students must pass a language test to be admitted to the programs. Many universities offer preparatory language courses in Estonian for foreign students, for example Tartu Ülikool.
However, there are still more educations and courses where the teaching takes place in English. You must prove your English skills in the form of, for example, a TOEFL test or other English language test to gain access. Some higher education institutions also offer courses in Russian.
The application deadline varies from institution to institution.
Recognition of foreign education
If you have completed a publicly recognized education abroad, you can have it assessed by the Danish Agency for Research and Education. Read more about the Application Procedure.
Economics and education
If you are going to study at a university in Estonia, and the stay is not part of an exchange agreement through your educational institution in Denmark, you must in most cases pay a tuition fee. However, the specific amount varies between the different institutions. The same goes for whether the fee is differentiated between students from the EU and non-EU countries. Overall, the amount of tuition fees varies from approx. 1000 to 7000 Euro annually.
A number of Estonian universities allow foreign graduate students, who are to study a full school year in Estonia, to apply for a scholarship of 287 Euro per month, paid from September to June.
Work in Estonia
In general, it is difficult for foreigners to find work in Estonia, primarily due to language barriers. If you speak Estonian, it is easier to find a job. Some international companies employ foreign students with specific language skills and qualifications.
The Estonian salaries are very low in comparison with the Danish ones, so as a Dane you must be willing to reduce your salary significantly.
You can receive unemployment benefits for 3 months while applying for a job in Estonia. See more about this in the article Job search abroad under the folder Paid Work.
You can get information about working in Estonia from the EURES Advisers at the country’s Job Centers.
Work-and residence permit
As an EU citizen, you are free to stay in Estonia for up to 3 months. Should you stay in the country for more than 3 months, e.g. in connection with work or study, you must apply for a residence permit.
If you are registered as a jobseeker, you can stay in the country for up to 6 months without a residence permit.
Danish citizens can apply for a residence permit with the Estonian police.
You can get more information about the rules for work and residence permits at the Estonian Embassy in Denmark. See also the article Visas, work and residence permits.
Working holidays in Estonia: The Estonian Nature Fund organizes work camps on remote small islands or in nature reserves.
Facts about Estonia
Population: 1.4 million
Language: Estonian (many Russian speakers).
Employment: Unemployment was 10.1% in 2012 (OECD).
Residence permit: Applied to the Estonian Citizenship and Migration Agency (Eesti Kodakondsus- ja Migratsiooniamet) after 3 months.