Last semester I talked a lot about why studying languages is important and fun. According to my programme, European Languages and Cultures, students are not required to choose courses related to only literature or linguistics. Instead, you can mix both and add many more courses that are interesting to you. Every course is useful in some way, otherwise it wouldn’t exist, right?

In this blogpost I want to talk about some of the courses that taught me new things and gave me tons of inspiration.

Introduction to Translation Studies

Basically, every person (or almost every person) who knows several languages and/or devotes their life to this field has thought about becoming a translator. So have I. This is a must-take course if you want to know how translation and translation studies as a discipline came about and evolved. Things might seem too obvious but then you start questioning entire translation process. Does writing my own thoughts down on a paper or typing them on my laptop mean that I am translating my thoughts? Does interpreting someone’s phrase mean translating it? If so, then we all deal with translation every day. Translation cannot be described in only one word. In real life it is much more complicated and multifaceted. Translators deal with many issues that we do not usually think of. The cultural norms of one society might not allow writing about certain topics, even if it is acceptable to do so in the source culture. What is lost in translation and how to address these issues? This course allows you to delve into these matters and read what prominent representatives of the field have to say in this regard.

Estonian in Multilingual Baltic-Sea Europe

If you are curious as to how the Estonian language has developed over the years and what has brought the changes, this course might interest you. I think this course is useful for almost all of the foreigners, as many of us come to Estonia with little to no knowledge of and about the Estonian language. The joke about no sex and no future but 14 grammatical cases is getting old, there is a lot more to Estonian language and its history than just that. It was very interesting to me to learn about the relationship between the language and the society and to see what this modern shift to multilingualism is bringing to the Estonian language, apart from advertisements with English words.

Basics of Quantitative Data Analysis for the Humanities with R

When I registered for this course, I did not even know what R was or why it would be useful. Personally, I think not dropping this course was the right decision. For a humanities’ student, creating my own code felt just great. At the same time, I saw the other side of coding, the struggles people whose studies are related to programming talk about. “The code is not working!” Yes, now I can say I have also been there. And I too have tried to do the same operation for over 30 minutes in a row, googling everything frantically to little avail. However, by the end of the course, I was able to create simple codes and graphs. Knowledge of R is actually very useful for doing research when working with big datasets.


Being serious all the time is a bit tiring. This course is sort of a therapy when you are tired from all the academia-related deadlines. You do not have to be a professional artist, anyone can join and try their hand at this. At this course we have gone from drawing stick figures to understanding perspective. We have worked with pencils, ink and even charcoal. It is a good opportunity to understand what kind of materials you like to draw with, as well as to practice every week and see how your drawings improve with time. By the way, we were drawing a real model every week and, in real life, artists do not get to find a model to pose for them too often. So, if you are interested, do not miss out on this opportunity!

So, if until now you were thinking that learning languages is literally “learning languages”, it is not quite like that. As no language exists separately from society and other languages spoken nearby, it is important and interesting to pay attention to these factors as well. Moreover, it is not a secret that humanities are trying to build their way in digital era; language studies are interconnected with other fields, and we can say that language truly matters.