Why this story matters:
After Estonia joined the European Union, many Estonians used the opportunity to find better-paying job opportunities abroad. It's remarkable that those who left with their families are trying to keep Estonian language and traditions alive.
"This keeping together has come with us here abroad. Always, if we have a problem, no matter what the subject is, we Estonians stick together. It's pure love."
They also are keeping alive a wish to return home one day.
Details from the story:
- Mari-Liis Hendrikson teaches Estonian children who live in Finland their native language. She also marks their hometowns on a map of Estonia to help them stay connected to their roots.
- Hendrickson and her students live in Vantaa, the largest foreign-language community in the world. So many Estonians live there that, like the Russian and Somali languages, Estonian is considered to be a major language in Vantaa.
- Not all of Hendrickson's students are Estonians - Estonian classes are also popular among Estonian Russians living in Finland - although most classes are small.