Shakespeare Talk on April 23

Talk on Shakespeare's Sonnets

On April 23 the Institute of Germanic-Romance Languages and Cultures of Tallinn University celebrated the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare with a talk “Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Their Reception in Estonia, which some of the ESU Estonia members attended and enjoyed. It was very interesting to hear and compare two different versions of translation of the sonnets into Estonian. We would like to thank Professor Suliko Liiv, Director of the Institute and ESU Estonia member for the invitation.

NPSC Finalists Have Lunch With Ambassador Jeff Levine


On April 23 finalists of the 2014 National Public Speaking Competition were invited to a luncheon at the residence of US Ambassador Jeffrey Levine. Here is what Gertrud Metsa from Tartu Hugo Treffner Gymnasium had to say about the event.

Since I can’t remember my own birth, yesterday had been one of the most prominent days of my life. I will probably never forget that I had the privilege to not only meet but to have lunch with Jeffrey D. Levine. The ambassador was a humble and lively man with unquenchable curiosity and a very good taste in watches. Topics at the lunch table ranged from videogames, language skills to college choices. I hope the tradition to have lunch with the six finalists from the National Public Speaking Competition continues, as it will give the competitors something else, except winning, to look forward to.

English in Action: A Program We Can All Benefit From

The English-Speaking Union has branches in 55 countries, the United States of America being one of them. As a way to support newcomers to the country in improving their English skills and give them confidence to carry out conversations and not feel lost in the local cultural environment, the ESU of the US set up a program by the name of English in Action. Based on conversations with local volunteers, it is a mutual learning experience by which the newcomer learns about English and life in the US while the teacher can learn about their partner’s culture and language.

In addition to conversation classes, the program also offers Here/There – regularly published worksheets that teach idioms, expressions, and all things related to life in the United States. These are a good learning tool not just for those seeking to or already settling in in the States, but also for everyone looking to improve their understanding of American culture and linguistic specifics.

ESU Estonia’s very own Zinaida Jevgrafova has introduced her students to the program to great results. She has been using the exercises in the monthly Here/There newsletter since November 2011 to provide her students with something different from the usual material. The students have been enthusiastic about the variation in study methods as well as the chance to learn “real American English” and become more aware of the country’s culture.

This learning tool is perfect for anyone looking to further their knowledge of English and American culture in a simple way that doesn’t consume too much time. Teachers might find it a great opportunity to provide their students with a break from the usual routine. Why not head over to the English in Action website and learn more?

ESU of Estonia Visits the German Embassy


The ESU Estonia members enjoyed another event in the series “Diplomats Talk” on March 24. This time we visited the German Embassy in Tallinn and met Mr. Schlaga, Christian-Matthias, the German Ambassador to Estonia. We were led to the meeting room on the 3rd floor of the Embassy, a nice modern building in a quiet area of the city center, where we were offered some drinks. The Ambassador gave us a brief overview of his career, the work the Embassy does nowadays, Germany-Estonia partnership and answered our questions. We would like to thank Mr. Schlaga and the German Embassy Tallinn for a very interesting meeting and fruitful talk.

Zinaida Jevgrafova
Chairman, ESU of Estonia 


Annual General Meeting on April 15

On April 15 the ESU of Estonia will hold its Annual General Meeting, which is to take place at 6 PM at Tallinn University. The registration deadline for the meeting is April 7. Only members who have paid their membership fee for the ongoing year have the right to vote, so we urge everyone to make sure their membership has been renewed. 

We kindly ask any member who is not able to attend the meeting to organise their representation by proxy by submitting a signed application by the registration deadline. For more information, please contact us by email at 

St. Patrick’s Day Reception with the Irish Ambassador

On March 17 the traditional St. Patrick’s reception was held by the Irish Embassy, Tallinn. We would like to thank H. E. Peter McIvor, the Irish Ambassador to Estonia, and Mrs. McIvor for inviting some of our members to the event. The evening passed with networking and chatting in the festive atmosphere. 

Zinaida Jevgrafova, Chairman of the ESU of Estonia


Vikki Perijainen Wins NPSC 2014

On March 1 the 6th National Public Speaking Competition was held at Tallinn English College. 45 participants from 31 different schools of Estonia and about 80 supporters and guests came to enjoy the speeches.

Continue reading

February 20 Event Canceled

We are very sorry to announce that the Pop! Goes the Culture: Why We Game? event that was to be held on February 20 has been canceled due to low registration rates. Hopefully we will soon have a new, more accessible chance to come together to discuss elements of popular culture.

In the meanwhile, you might want to have a look at the National Public Speaking Competition 2014 page: the competition itself is on March 1 and fast approaching, so come back soon for updates and news.

Pop! Goes the Culture: Why We Game? on February 20

In the next installment of our pop culture themed event series, we are taking on a question that touches the lives of many technology enthusiasts. Video games have evolved from simple 8-bit games to an immersive art form with whole university programs dedicated to analyzing them.

With that in mind, we invite you to come together to ask each other and answer the question: why do we game? What makes us reach over and over again for familiar games as well as new ones? Is it escapism? A thirst for gratification? The stories? Let’s share our thoughts and find out together.

You are welcome to join us at the next Pop! Goes the Culture event complete with great company, valuable insights, and snacks, on February 20 at 6-8pm in room S-416 at Tallinn University. You can keep up with updates about the event and suggest discussion points on the event Facebook page.

Please register by transferring the participation fee to the ESU of Estonia bank account.

Participation fee: 3 euros 
Send to:
Bank: SEB Eesti Űhispank
Account name: English-Speaking Union of Estonia
Account number: EE131010220069810014

Please write your name and the event as explanation.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Seminar on Public Speaking for Students

Friday, January 24 was a special day for the ESU of Estonia as we were able to meet over 70 students from all over the country for a seminar on public speaking and the National Public Speaking Competition.

The audience received advice and guidance from a number of speakers tied to public speaking and the ESU in different ways. HM Ambassador Chris Holtby provided some encouraging words and stressed the importance of public speaking in all walks of life. Phillip Marsdale, the Director of ILS Europe, introduced newly created learning resources for the NPSC, complete with videos and exercises, available for free here (follow the instructions on our Facebook page for access). As the Chairman of the ESU of Estonia and the Convenor of the upcoming competition, Zinaida Jevgrafova introduced the organization and its central annual event, the NPSC, in detail. Steven Wilson from Junior Chamber International Scotland talked briefly about the organization and went over the basics of public speaking. Emmet Tuohy, Research Fellow at International Center for Defense Studies and debate champion at Georgetown University, shared his perspective on what makes a successful speech. Finally, two former NPSC contestants – Triinu Lepp, runner-up of the first Estonian NPSC in 2009 and current Secretary of the ESU, and Deivi Õis, winner of the NPSC 2013 and finalist at the IPSC 2013 – shared their experiences at the national and international finals of the competition and gave advice to future contestants. 

After the speakers had had their say, the students were able to practice impromptu speech in small groups with help and feedback from Zinaida Jevgrafova, Emmet Tuohy, and Marje Liigus.

We extend our gratitude to all guests and speakers for coming out as well as to our member Marje Liigus and Jakob Westholm School for hosting the seminar. We sincerely hope to see all Friday’s participants and more at the National Public Speaking Competition on March 1. We are especially happy to have seen many students from schools that have registered for the competition for the very first time and are hopeful that their enthusiasm and interest will spread knowledge of the NPSC even further.