The application process for graduate studies in the U.S. can seem complicated and laborious for an international applicant. As a Fulbright grantee I was lucky to have the help of professionals who know the process inside out.

The Fulbright Finland Foundation has been with me every step of the way in the application process to graduate studies in the U.S. The best part of becoming a Fulbright grantee is being surrounded by the Fulbright community and having the support of U.S. graduate study experts, not only from the Fulbright Finland staff but also from Fulbright Finland alumni.

Getting help with the application process

Orientation webinars with the Fulbright Finland Foundation have been a vital part of preparation for my upcoming studies. I have gathered a massive amount of information which I have needed in all aspects of the preparation process from planning my applications to figuring out my pension insurance. The webinars also allowed me to meet other Fulbright grantees and gave us a chance to share our plans and tips.

The inside knowledge of Fulbright grantees of the previous years has been invaluable. The eager participation of the Fulbright alumni in the webinars has been such an encouragement and inspiration for me. The ‘welcome network’ of Fulbright Finland alumni, who are currently all around the U.S., can answer questions and give one perspective even before choosing an institution.

"The best part of becoming a Fulbright grantee is being surrounded by the Fulbright community and having the support of U.S. graduate study experts, not only from the Fulbright Finland staff but also from Fulbright Finland alumni."

Fulbright Finland has created comprehensive step-by-step instructions for graduate applicants on their website in Finnish. Everything from finding the right institution to the nitty-gritty of application requirements are listed on this page. For me, this page functioned as a fundamental basis for my application process, and I think it is great for anyone who is applying to graduate studies in the U.S. from Finland.

One of the perks of applying as an ASLA-Fulbright graduate grantee is the possibility to use the IIE placement service, which I personally strongly recommend. The Zoom meetings and email exchange with my IIE advisor were extremely important when I was choosing an institution and IIE made my application process as smooth as possible and even paid my university application fees for me.

Performing arts auditions during a pandemic

Since I applied to a performing arts program, live auditions were required. Quite exceptionally this year all auditions were held online, which meant much less travelling on my part. After sending my applications by December 1st, the next big step was the live virtual auditions during the first months of the following year. I found out my final admission decisions during March and April. It was extremely exciting to wait for the results and during the waiting period I checked and refreshed my email more than ever before. Finding out that I was accepted to Eastman School of Music made all the work and preparation worthwhile.

Present thoughts

Right now, I have a couple of months before my departure to the U.S. and my plan is to enjoy many sauna evenings with friends, go to the mökki and craft my homesickness music playlist. I feel well prepared for all the challenges my upcoming studies might bring, and most importantly I feel secure with the amazing supportive network of the Fulbright Finland Foundation.

Headshot of Iines Kiuru
Iines Kiuru
2021-22 ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grantee

In the fall of 2021 Iines Kiuru will be starting the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in clarinet performance in Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.