Mindvalley UniversityTallinn 2023Source: Kersti Niglas

Estonia: A destination for life-long learning

Estonia as a global leader in education, offers unique learning opportunities and events for visitors and is perfect for educational tourism.

Educational tourism is an increasingly popular way to build knowledge and skills while getting to know a destination on a deeper level. Estonia has emerged in recent years as a global leader in education, offering unique learning opportunities and events for visitors.

What is educational tourism?

Today, travelling is no longer just about leisure, and learning isn’t confined to a classroom. Educational tourism involves travelling to a destination with the main intention to learn through courses, experiences or other means. 

Kadi Oja, Head of Flagship Events at Mindvalley, a leading personal growth education company with offices in Estonia and Malaysia, has noticed that “An increasing number of travellers are seeking opportunities to engage in mindful learning and personal growth while exploring new destinations.”

The benefits of going abroad to learn include fostering personal growth, cross-cultural understanding, and global citizenship. Kadi, who organises one of Estonia’s largest international education events, explains, “It challenges us to step outside of our comfort zones by adapting to new environments and navigating unfamiliar situations which cultivates resilience, self-discovery, problem-solving abilities, and social skills.”

International educational experiences are relevant for young learners as well as adults. According to Kadi, “It encourages a mindset of curiosity, exploration, and continuous self-improvement, which are fundamental principles of lifelong learning.” 

The European leader in education

The Estonian education system has drawn attention after Estonian 15-year-olds topped the charts in Europe and scored eighth globally in the 2022 PISA assessments. While many factors played a role in this outcome, digitisation and a growth mindset are key. 

The ripples of this approach to learning are evident throughout Estonian society, with the country having the highest number of startups and unicorns (privately-owned startups valued at over US$1 billion) per capita in the world. Those looking to learn from Estonia’s success story luckily have more opportunities than ever to do so.

An example of educational tourism in Estonia: Mindvalley University

The personal growth education company Mindvalley, which has an international community spanning 100 countries and 20 million followers across its media channels, organises both online and in-person trainings. One of their largest events, Mindvalley University, is a three-week global conference for transformational learning where attendees can participate in daily workshops, talks and seminars, and network with the brightest minds in personal development. 

The family-friendly event started in 2017 and includes programs for adults, teens, kids and toddlers. After holding the event in Barcelona, Spain in 2017 and Pula, Croatia in 2019, it will take place for the fourth time in Tallinn July 1-21, 2024 with over 1,800 attendees from more than 80 countries. 

Tallinn for large-scale educational events

Kadi explains why after organising over a dozen events for the organisation, Tallinn is a favourite location for Mindvalley University: “We think of the hosting city as part of the programming of the whole concept. Estonia is a wonderful destination with a rich history and culture, and the fairytale-like Old Town of Tallinn has been a highlight on its own for our event attendees.” 

Kadi also highlights, “At the same time, Estonia is known for its innovative approach, cutting-edge digital infrastructure, impressive startup scene, pristine nature, and so much more which make it a very attractive destination.”

Tallinn is a unique city because it can host large-scale events like Mindvalley University with three simultaneous stages for adults and three youth programs while being compact enough to create a sense of community among participants. Mindvalley University takes place at Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel), a former power plant turned event venue, which is just steps away from the seaside, Old Town, and a selection of top museums.

Mindvalley University Tallinn 2023

Source: Kersti Niglas

Tallinn Creative Hub

Architecture and history

This industrial-looking historic building used to be a boiler house for a power plant and its 700-square-metre boiler room still contains two giant...

Tallinn Creative Hub

Source: Kaupo Kalda

Since experiencing the local culture and destination is a key part of educational tourism, Kadi and her team put together an Attendee Guide for Mindvalley University participants with museums, cultural experiences, local cuisine to try, nature trails and more. Some of her recommended educational destinations are listed below.

Recommendations for educational activities in Estonia