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What kind of exchange experience do you want?
I want to spend a all program lengths  studying in Estonia, or maybe all regions. And I'm looking for something with a traditional exchange  and I definitely want to show off my need for  any language skills. Can I go whenever?
  • All around the world.

    all regions
    Africa & Middle East
    Asia & Pacific
    Eastern Europe
    Latin America
    Scandinavian Countries
    Western Europe
    North America
  • Pick a place, any place.

    Say what?

    Any language requirements?

     Any  Yes  No
  • What I'm into.

    a traditional exchange
    a gap year option
    college & university programs
    language classes
    a connection to the Arts
    sports & outdoors
    a volunteer program
  • How long I want to go.

    All program lengths

    When can I leave?

    May to September
    December to March
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Scholarships Available

385 - Holcomb & Farnell Foreign Stud...
368 - YFU Community Grant
384 - YFU Financial Aid Fund

Age Requirement

Spring 2019 departure: July 5, 2000 - January 5, 2004. 2019 Fall 2019 departure: February 14, 2001 - August 15, 2004. Students who do not meet this age requirement or will graduate from high school before the start of their program will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.


Estonian. Previous language study is not required. Students may also be placed with Russian-speaking families.

Host Family Placement

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


Begins in early September and ends in early June, with breaks in October, at Christmas, in February, and in April. The school day begins around 8 a.m. and ends around 3 p.m.


A weekend trip to Viljandi in November, a 3 day bus trip through southern Estonia, and a 2 day trip to Narva in the spring are offered as optional add-ons to the program.

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!
Learn more about Estonia.


During your time in Estonia you will live with a host family and attend a local school. Part of your experience will be:


School: Schools in Estonia emphasize a high level 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, geography, physics, chemistry, physical education, music, and art. Many schools will offer foreign languages including Russian and German, and sometimes French, Swedish, or Spanish as well.  

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


Orientations: All students applying for the year programs must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation, which usually takes place in mid-July or early December. This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas. All students will participate in a one-day local pre-departure orientation in May or June. 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 June. 


Optional Excursions: YFU students may also have the opportunity to participate in additional excursions while on program for an additional fee:


-Southern Estonia: Students may have the opportunity to travel to Southern Estonia for a three-day trip to see the beautiful countryside, including the Setomaa area. The cost of this trip is usually around 100 euro, which includes transportation, meals, hostel lodging, and museum tickets.  


-Weekend Trip to Viljandi: Students may have the opportunity to travel to Viljandi, a folk music town where they can experience many of Estonia's cultural traditions. The cost of this trip is usually around 100 euro, which includes travel, meals, accommodations, and the excursions. 


-Trip to Narva: Students will travel to Narva- a town in Estonia that shares its border with Russia. The trip typically takes place over 2 days in March or April. On this trip, students will get to visit the fortress as well as meet other local students, and to discover one of Estonia’s hidden gems.  This trip is usually offered for around 60 euros, which includes lodging, some meals, transportation, and entry to the fortress. 


Special Interest Programs: Visual Arts, Film, Music, Theater, and Nature 

YFU offers several unique options that can be added to enhance your academic exchange and make your experience in Estonia even richer. Students participating in these specialized programs will receive the same support, attend all of the same orientations and be offered the same optional trips as those in the traditional academic program. For each of these programs, students will attend a schools focused on these subjects or a traditional high school and take courses in their chosen specialization either at the school or at a nearby school.  


Visual Art Program: The art program is perfect for students who are mainly interested in fine arts. Artistic woodcarving and working with textile, 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 may be able to study subjects like art history, drawing, painting, graphic arts, ceramics, textile design, leather art, wood restoration, iron work and more. Tuition for this program includes materials for school art work and school art camps if available.  Please submit photographs of at least six of your previous pieces of artwork with your application.

Film and Media: Several high schools have special programs for Film and Media, where students can learn the theory and practice of movie making.  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 film making, 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 are expected to have previous knowledge of film-making in order to participate in this program option and must submit an example of their previous film work or a letter of motivation to take part in the program.


Music: Students will attend public music-focused high schools or a special music high school in Tallin, based on your instrument and level. 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. Tuition includes private lessons, instrument rental and maintenance, and the costs of any concert trips within Estonia.  Extra costs may include concert trips outside of Estonia and any concert tickets. Please submit at least one CD with examples of your music level, as well as a written description of your music studies and experiences, along with your application.


Theater and Drama: During your stay in Estonia, you will attend regular academic classes during the day and participate in an after school theater program, where you will learn about acting and theater in theory and practice. Program tuition includes possible theater camps is provided, tickets to several plays, and support in finding local theater related activities. Please submit a motivational statement explaining why you want to participate in the theater program with your application.

Nature, Environment, and the Outdoors: 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.  These field experiences will be led by YFU volunteers or professionals. You will not only appreciate the natural beauty of Estonia, but you will also learn about 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 Vohandu Rivers; visiting the island of Piirissaar, the virgin forests of Alutaguse, the Old Shale Mine Park in Kohtla-Nomme, Lahemaa National Park, and the Alam-Pedja Nature Conservation; salmon marking at the Polula Fish Farm, using an ice road on a trip to Vormsi island and the peninsula of Noarootsi; skiing in Korvemaa; and bird watching in Matsalu National Park!  


The tuition for this program covers all meals and transportation during the organized trips, as well as support in finding local nature clubs and other nature related activities during the year. 

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




Year program students may have the option to participate in the YFU Young Europeans' Seminar, a week-long program of seminars, educational workshops, inspiring guest speakers, panel discussions, and other activities.  The Seminar takes place in Germany in late June and is attended by around 500 other YFU exchange program participants from across the continent. Space is limited and participation requires an additional application and fee.


-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



Visa Information: Information regarding visas and other immigration processes will be provided upon enrollment. To learn more, please visit the Estonia Embassy website.


Additional Costs:  Possible costs include transportation to school, schoolbooks, a residence permit (€65), and personal spending money. Please keep in mind that you will need to buy proper winter clothes 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. Students should also bring a notarized and apostilled parent permission form with them on program. 



Programs Code Departure Return Full Tuition
Fall Year
Fall Year Music
Fall Year Nature
Fall Year Specialized
Spring Year
Spring Year Nature

0666 *
1286 *
1059 *
0716 *
1371 *
1372 *

mid August
mid August
mid August
mid August
early January
early January

early July
early July
early July
early July
late December
late December


* Programs also available to graduates