Summer university: Current Social Issues in East Asia: Aging Societies and the Role of Women (12.08-23.08)


The University of Tartu Asian Centre together with the UT International Summer University are organizing a summer program titled Current Social Issues in East Asia: Aging Societies and the Role of Women this August.

East Asia is often discussed from the perspectives of global economy, international relations or ancient history and culture. However, there are other economic and societal topics deserving the limelight and discussion in a summer school setting. The summer school brings two topics to the fore.

China, Japan and Korea are all facing challenges due to their aging populations. This makes them interestingly comparable to most European states. The summer university seeks to find answers to questions as: What is the economic impact of aging societies? How are the challenges being dealt with? What could be learned from the experiences of East Asian states? What does it mean to become old in contemporary East Asia? Equally important are questions about the changing role of women. East Asian societies have for centuries followed gender roles based on Confucian values. In the past decades major shifts have occurred due to changes in the political and economic systems. What is the current role and position of women in East Asian societies? How are women’s rights upheld? How does the changing role of women impact the economy? 

The two topics are interlinked and have multiple layers that will be dissected during the summer school. The topics discussed in this summer school are of interests for students of various disciplines. Economics students will learn about economic challenges and opportunities in the changing setting. Students of culture studies will get an understanding of the conflict between traditional values and contemporary changes. Political scientists will be interested in how politics and regulations are used to tackle these issues or how they have been intensified by misguided politics. The summer university will focus on the cases of Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam with comparisons drawn with Europe and Estonia.

This is the second Asia related summer university held in University of Tartu. The purpose of the summer school is to contribute to the ongoing studies or previous experience of students interested in East Asia. The two-week program is full of theoretical lectures, interesting case studies, interactive seminars and thought-provoking group works.

More information on the programme homepage.

Application deadline: 17th of June
Addmission results: 20th of June

General information:
Level: BA and MA students
Credits: 4 ECTS
Language of instruction: English

Entry requirements: 

Online application form with the following documents:

  • Motivation letter (up to 1,5 page) that demonstrates the applicant’s motivation to participate;

  • Transcript of academic records

  • Copy of the passport

PS! Only complete applications including all annexes submitted within the deadline will be considered for selection.

Applications are evaluated based on: Motivation letter (up to 1,5 page) that demonstrates the applicant’s motivation to participate, explains his/her expectations about the program and explains how the participation in the summer program is connected with his/hers studies and interests, and how the applicant plans to use gained experience and knowledge in the future.

Programme fee and scholarships:

The fee is 1000 € which includes tuition, cost of the study visits, cultural and social programme, services of the host university with accommodation in double rooms in a student dormitory.

Alternatively, participants can arrange their own housing and in this case the tuition fee for the academic and cultural programme is 700 €.

Students are responsible for their travel and travel insurance (visa arrangements, if needed) from their home country to Tartu and back to their home country.
There are scholarships available. Participants can apply for the Estonian Scholarship Programme for Short Courses. For most up-to-date information on scholarships, please see the programme homepage. 

The summer university programme is supported by the Asian Centre of the University of Tartu.

Mari Mäesaar, Programme Manager of International Summer University
(+372) 737 5561
(+372) 5919 2943
mari.maesaar [ät]

PS: UT is also launching a brand new MA program in Contemporary Asian and Middle Eastern Studies in Autumn 2019. The program provides a comprehensive curriculum in Asian and Middle Eastern economies, politics, languages and societies, a flexible and personalised study plan, and a multinational study environment. More information at