The language learning hub, created to support the Estonian language learning of international staff, international students and students who speak Estonian as a foreign language, gives an overview of the wide range of Estonian courses and language practice opportunities offered by the University of Tartu.
According to the results of the university's language attitudes survey conducted by Kerttu Rozenvalde and Birute Klaas-Lang, quite a few international staff members rarely or never use Estonian. In addition, international staff tend to lack information about the university's language policy and the opportunities for learning Estonian.
Based on the results of the survey and to follow the university's strategic plan, a project for activities fostering the learning and use of Estonian was developed in autumn 2022 with the aim of offering new language courses to students and staff or creating additional groups. "The project includes eight courses of action for international students and students who speak Estonian as a foreign language, and eleven for international staff. When planning the activities, we tried to think about the needs of all learners – besides general courses, the project includes language activities in a more informal setting. Language courses range from beginners' to advanced level and are available both in the classroom and online," said the university's Estonian Language Counsellor Helika Mäekivi.
The partners of the Estonian language project are the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics, the Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures, and the Centre for Professional Development, which helped to gather the information about the university's Estonian language courses and other self-development opportunities on the web page ut.ee/en/language-learning-hub.
According to Mäekivi, the language learning hub provides a good overview of both existing and new language courses. "The page is divided between the university's main target groups, who will hopefully find the information they need quickly and easily. The hub also includes information about testing one's language level and about courses offered outside the university. It will be updated as new courses and other language-learning opportunities are added. User feedback is most welcome," added Mäekivi.