Estonia is a country of 1.3 million people and is one of nine states that have shorelines along the Baltic Sea. It is also one of three countries (Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia) referred to as a Baltic state. After gaining its independence from the Soviet Union more than two decades ago, Estonia has progressed quickly as an entrepreneurial and innovative country.
Estonia has a rich history that tells many stories from Viking times to modern times. Covered with gorgeous forests, bog lands and fertile soils and coasts on the Baltic Sea, Estonia’s culture is deeply-rooted in nature. Because it is so far north, summer days are really long and winter days are really short. Weather in Estonia is very mild where you can count on sunshine and 24°C (75°F), unless a thunderstorm rolls through.
What to Expect:
IFYEs will arrive in Tallinn, generally staying a couple of days before going to their first host families. They are normally hosted by 3-4 diverse and rural-based families. At first, Estonians can be shy and reserved, but they warm up to you; it's a blast. And, of course, any relationships built with Estonians will last a lifetime.
Many host families will share some of their personal histories of their families and farms throughout Soviet and independent times. As an IFYE in Estonia, seize the opportunity to experience small-scale organic farming, large-scale gardening, and entrepreneurial endeavors. From growing berries and packing sausages to cyber security and creative marketing, you will have the chance to be hands-on with diverse family business ventures.
Living in a “meat and potatoes” country, you will learn how to make traditional Estonian dishes such as: rye bread, potato salad, and kringel. Aside from helping families with their farms and businesses, you will also have a chance to relax at the nearby beaches and household saunas. During the summer, it seems that there is always a festival going on. Get involved in the local communities by volunteering with your families and experience culture of folk music and dance, take in the rich history of Estonia from ancient times to WWII, and perhaps find some Pokus.
IFYEs at Work and Play
Applications for the 2019 program can be found on the IFYEUSA.ORG website under the Foreign Exchange Programs tab.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Until Filled
For further information including whether deadline has been extended, please contact:
Alan Lambert, IFYE National Program Director