Internship and placement

Estonia FlagWork experience

Student placements and internships are an important part of Estonian education. This work-related learning experience, under the guidance of a tutor, aims to give students actual work experience in their field of study. It gives them the opportunity to develop skills or obtain the qualifications needed for their future career development.

Estonian students also have the option of studying abroad as exchange students for one or two semesters; to this end, grants are available in a variety of forms- through international programmes and organizations, partnership agreements, as well as government initiatives and funds.

Host organisations providing student placements vary – they may be training centres, enterprises, research centres and various other organisations including higher education institutions in one of the 31 participating European countries. Placements and internerships can be paid or unpaid, some might cover expenses such as. meals, travel, language courses etc.

The majority of Estonian Universities participate in the Erasmus Exchange programme for higher education, which provides the opportunity to study at a foreign university or to undertake training abroad. The programme works in partnership with over 400 higher education institutions. When participating in the programme, free tuition is guaranteed and a grant is provided which covers  travel and subsistence costs. The amount of support is set each academic year, and students may also be required to cover some expenses themselves, depending on the cost of living in the country of their choice.

In addition, some Estonian universities (such as Tartu University or Tallinn Universities) have a combined international student exchange programme ISEP, that offers study opportunities in America, among  other countries. The participating universities guarantee free tuition, accommodation and a meals  allowance for exchange students.

Internship and placement advice

There are many practical issues related to international internship and work experience that need to be considered by the student or a host company and essential time should be set aside for all the arrangements and formalities.

Social security and European health insurance card

Life expectancy in Estonia is generally lower than the OECD average. Estonia also lags behind the OECD average in terms of water quality.

 Citizens of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) are entitled to the same social welfare benefits in Estonia as the country’s residents. Therefore, if you are a student from an EU/EEA country, it is advisable to bring your EU health insurance card (EHIC) or equivalent certificate with you.

You need to be aware that as an EU or  EEA student studying in Estonia, you will  not be covered by the Estonian social security system, unless you are employed, in which case you will need only your EHIC.

If you are a non EU/EEA citizen and need to apply for a  residence permit in order to study in Estonia, you must have health insurance in order to receive medical care.

The following insurance companies are recognized and recommended by the Estonian Migration Board: AON Student Insurance; SwissCare International Student Health Insurance; ERGO Insurance and Crystal Studies Insurance.

If you are intending to stay for long periods of time in Estonia, it might be worth registering with a family doctor. This is because the Estonian health system requires you to speak to your general practitioner (GP) first before you are referred to a consultant.

 As in many other European countries, the emergency number to call is 112. The national family doctor helpline, speed dial number is 1220 (or if you are abroad you can dial +372 630 4107).

For more information please see:
Estonian Health Insurance Fund

Ministry of Social Affairs and the Social Insurance Board;

Health insurance companies:


Estonia is a relatively safe country to live in, but it falls behind the OECD average on a number of safety indicators such as the assault rate, homicide rate and fear of crime by people generally. The Estonian authorities are watchful in combating terrorism and various threats to security. Overall, the threat of terrorism is low in Estonia; however you should also be mindful of the  global risk of terrorist attacks.

During the summer tourist season, sporadic crime in Tallinn’s Old Town can be an ongoing concern. Tourist-targeted crime, particularly petty theft is on the rise. You should be aware of the higher risks of pick pocketing and mugging, especially in bars, pubs, nightclubs and hotels in Tallinn’s Old Town.

Similar to the Scandinavian countries, Estonia has short day light hours and it gets dark quickly during the winter time (from October to April). The law requires that pedestrians wear reflectors so that drivers can see them  in the dark. These can be pinned to your coat or bags. There is not much use for this law in cities which tend to be well lit, but should you find yourself in a rural area, you must make sure that you have these reflectors on.

For more information:

Do I need visa?

Citizens from approximately 60 countries, including the EU and EEA states, Japan, Canada and the USA, do not need a visa to enter Estonia. Other nationalities are able to acquire a visa from their nearest Estonian Consulate or Embassy. All students accepted by an Estonian educational institution should have a passport valid for their entire period of study.

If you are an international student whose intended period of study in Estonia will exceed three months, you will need to apply for a residence permit. The citizens of EU countries, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and the USA are able to do this in Estonia, however, if you  fall outside this category you should contact the nearest Estonian Embassy or Consulate in your home country. The process of getting a residence permit may take up to three months  but the average time is around one month.

Your residence permit for study will usually be granted for up to one year but never longer than the estimated duration of your studies. If you are an international student and you continue studying at the same educa­tional institution, your residence permit would generally be extended annually but would not exceed six years in total.

For more information please see:

Other useful websites:

Internship and placement salary

Students’ placements vary as in many other countries and might be paid, partly paid or unpaid.

There is a minimum wage in Estonia, which is regularly reviewed and sets out a minimum hourly and monthly rate. It is prohibited to pay anybody a lower wage than the national minimum. As with other countries, the start date of your work placement, the gross salary and the terms and conditions are all agreed with the employer.

A basic salary is used as a starting point; usually however, there are organisations which also offer performance-related pay. Any changes to your wage will have to be agreed between you and your employer.

The salary is usually paid on a monthly basis, and the transaction tends to be made by direct bank transfer. It is therefore helpful if you have a bank account already open when you start your employment. Monthly salary slips itemize all deductions such as taxes etc., and show hours paid as well as any bonuses and extra pay.

For more information please see:

Internship and placement accommodation

In Estonia, it is possible to rent a flat or a house. Rentals may be furnished or unfurnished (more frequently furnished, especially in the case of flats). A flat can be rented directly from the owner or through a real estate company. The employer or the host organization may also help to find or recommend a place to stay. In some places – generally rural areas – accommodation often comes with a job; this is common when teachers are hired by schools in rural areas and also in the case of agricultural jobs.

Rental prices of flats and houses vary  across different regions of Estonia. For example, prices are highest in Harju County (in the capital Tallinn) and lowest in small towns and rural areas away from town centres.

The rental prices in Tallinn can be as little as EUR 130 per month or almost four times that where location, condition and the number of rooms will determine the value. Utility costs are not included in the rent and have to be calculated on top. A deposit of at least one month’s rent is usually required as well as payment of the estate agent’s fees, if one is used, which can be equivalent to one month’s rent.

For more information please see:

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