Policy makers in the Estonian government want to keep non-EU students out, student organisations and activists want to keep international students in Estonia. An independent NGO, Estonishing Evenings, and the Federation of Estonian Student Unions will on 31 August take a deeper look at this issue, the current situation, its underlying reasons and potential for development.
Estonia welcomes an increasing amount of international students from different countries each year. Last year, more than 12 percent (over 5,500 people) of students in Estonian higher education were from outside of Estonia – this represents a more than fivefold increase in the number of international students compared to just 10 years ago.
The rapid increase in the number of international students has not been without controversy. Based on an alleged potential threat to national security, the Estonian interior ministry has created a draft legislation that intends to curb the rights of students from outside of the European Union. This draft will be discussed in the Estonian parliament beginning in September.
Furthermore, TalTech (Tallinn University of Technology) has announced that they will not be accepting international students from non-EU countries with high coronavirus rates for the starting academic year, citing public health concerns. This decision has created outrage from those directly affected as well as wider discussion on how welcoming Estonia should be towards international students.
Estonishing Evenings together with the Federation of Estonian Student Unions is taking a deeper look at this issue, the current situation, its underlying reasons and potential for development. Estonian World online magazine and the Estonian newspaper, Postimees, are the media partners and will also live stream the event.
The evening starts with a thorough overview of the statistics and the current state of affairs, given by Eero Loonurm from Study in Estonia. The presentation is followed by an in-depth panel discussion, participated by:
- Daniele Monticelli, professor of Italian Studies and Semiotics at Tallinn University, School of Humanities
- Eleri Pilliroog, chairperson of the Federation of Estonian Student Unions
- Karl Sander Kase, communications director of Isamaa Party
- Ann Miller, a Ukrainian student at Baltic Film and Media School, Tallinn University.
Throughout the event, personal stories of international students will be presented, explaining why they chose to study in Estonia and what benefits and drawbacks they have experienced.
Doors open at 18:30 and the event starts at 19:00 on 31 August at the Club of Different Rooms, Telliskivi Creative City, Tallinn.
Organised in partnership with the Estonian World online magazine and the Telliskivi Creative City, the Estonishing Evenings series runs English-speaking events that host different speakers expressing their viewpoints and experiences on hot topics and matters concerning both the locals and non-natives living in Estonia. So far, it has hosted over 20 events, attended by over 2,000 people from 65 different countries.