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News article29 August 2019European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Translator receives a warm welcome in Estonia

The Welcoming Programme is Estonia’s way of helping expats to adapt to their new country once they’ve arrived. We recently caught up with one of those expats – Oksana Nesmiian, a translator and language teacher from Ukraine.

Translator receives a warm welcome in Estonia
© Oksana Nesmiian, 2019

Oksana and her family were living in Donetsk, Ukraine, when the Donbass War broke out. They knew they couldn’t stay and began looking for other options. ‘My husband had Estonian family members,’ Oksana says, ‘and in 2016 he got a residence permit for repatriation. My family and I then came to Estonia in July of that year.’ 

Moving to a new country can be an intimidating option. Thankfully, The Welcoming Programme was there to support Oksana through the process and help her to settle in her new home. ‘I received a lot of useful information through all of the modules [of The Welcoming Programme]. I liked the Estonian language course and business module the most as they were particularly useful for me.’

The reason they were particularly useful was that Oksana wanted to set up a translation business in her new home. ‘After I sent my CV to all the translation agencies in Estonia and only two replied – to say they didn’t need my services – I started to think about my own business,’ she shares. ‘I already had clients for translation and language lessons from the UK, Israel, Germany and Ukraine, so I wasn’t afraid of the idea of starting a company.’

‘I set up Pleasant English two months after I arrived in Estonia and registered it via the internet. It is great for me because all of my business is online and Estonia is a very comfortable place to do online business.’

Pleasant English has gradually become more and more successful since then, with Oksana receiving a license from the Ministry of Education in Estonia and her company officially becoming Pleasant English Hobby School. Recently, she was awarded the Estonian distribution rights for major international publishing house Cambridge University Press. ‘Now I mostly buy their online products for my students and online professional development courses for my teachers. That was the main goal. And I dream about a day when many schools in the Baltic region use online books and courses from Cambridge University Press.’

Outside of her work, Oksana credits The Welcoming Programme with helping her to create a new social circle in Estonia. ‘The Welcoming Programme was the first place where I made new friends. I still communicate with a lot of the people I met during the programme and I believe every newly arrived person should participate in order to meet new people who are in a similar situation.’

‘Life and work in Estonia is completely different from life in Ukraine,’ Oksana concludes when asked about her experience. ‘For me, everything is much easier. There’s no bureaucracy, legislation is clear and the state departments are ready to help. I like Estonia and I feel at home here.’

The Welcoming Programme is one of two key initiatives that Estonia manages to encourage workers to move to Estonia and support them when they arrive. To find out more about them, check out our Estonia welcomes workers from beyond borders article.


Related links:

Pleasant English Hobby School

The Welcoming Programme

Work in Estonia


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