GSA Symposium and IAPP Delegation Visit

Paasitorni, Helsinki
Generation Study Abroad Symposium, Helsinki 2018

Generation Study Abroad International Symposium

Fulbright Finland Foundation partnered in the IIE Generation Study Abroad International Symposium (GSA) in Helsinki on September 2018. This was the first GSA Symposium taking place outside the United States. The Symposium aimed to help U.S. and Finnish institutions in their partnership building efforts to increase student mobility. The Symposium featured case examples on successful and innovative existing partnerships between U.S. and Finnish HEI's and provided tips on how to sustain and advance partnerships over time. The expert speakers at the Symposium also discussed how to maximize U.S. Faculty-led Study Abroad Programs through international partnerships. The Symposium was followed by a Partnership Forum as well as campus visits to nearby Finnish HEI's allowing opportunities for one-on-one discussions between Finnish and U.S. institution representatives. The Symposium attracted over 50 participants from several different countries.

Assistant Secretary of State Marie Royce and Fulbright Finland Alum Andrew House
The Symposium welcome remarks were given by Marie Royce (left), Assistant Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State. A first generation college student from Alabama and a Fulbright Finland Alum, Andrew House (right) sharing his experience as a current Biology PhD student at the University of Helsinki.

IAPP Delegation Visit to Finland

IAPP delegation visiting Fulbright Finland Foundation, 2018
IAPP delegation visiting Fulbright Finland Foundation.

During the week of the Symposium, Fulbright Finland partnered also in the program for the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP) delegation visit to Finland. The IAPP delegation members took part in the Symposium, as part of a larger six-month program, which is provided for the U.S. HEI’s by IIE and is designed to improve universities’ capacity to engage in strategic international partnership building and connect with institutions in Finland to explore opportunities for meaningful academic collaboration. The delegation consists of seven members from four different U.S. institutions.

Why Finland?

At the closing debrief of the delegation visit, the delegation members pointed out that an important next step for them is to get their own instuítution faculty engaged in building partnerships with Finnish institutions. For this purpose, the IAPP delegation listed from the U.S. HEI representative point of view the following talking points on Why Finland:

  • High quality educational system and the value system of support for education
  • Openness and flexibility of Finnish institutions e.g. co-teaching
  • New cutting edge innovative pedagogies tried out in Finland
  • Finnish institutions experienced in Double Degree Programs
  • Great Technology in the classrooms
  • Partnerships, very good connections with industries in many institutions
  • Genuine interest in partnering with the U.S. institutions
  • Innovative ways on building career services into study programs
  • Excellent student infrastructure and international student services including tutors
  • Plenty of discounts for students which significantly decrease the cost of living e.g. healthy hot lunches available at campuses, travel discounts
  • Very safe country
  • Easy to manage with English
  • Finnish social policies valued by many Americans
  • Straightforwardness, modesty, hospitality
  • Access to astonishing nature and Arctic, experiencing nature in a high tech country
  • Weather not worse than in the U.S. – misconception

Fulbright Finland Promoting Its Practical Tools

During the course of the week, Fulbright Finland staff introduced the Finnish and U.S. institutions to the Fulbright Finland provided tools applicable for the purpose of exploring partnership opportunities and for partnerships building.

The usage of Fulbright Finland programs for partnership building was also showcased in one of the Symposium sessions by a Finnish host of a U.S. Fulbright professor. The session provided the Symposium participants with practical insight to faculty exchange, institutional partnerships and industry collaboration by using Fulbright Specialist program as a vehicle for developing collaboration.

In addition, recent U.S. Fulbright Fellows to Finland presented as part of the Symposium panel discussion their motivations to study abroad and own experiences as a doctoral student in Finland.

Fulbright Finland Promoting Its Practical Tools
Fulbright Finland Alum, Professor Loovis connecting with Finnish HEI representatives and introducing his home institution, Cleveland State University (left), Fulbright Finland staff discussing on ways to use Fulbright Finland tools for creating linkages with Finnish institutions (right).
GSA Symposium 2017, IAPP Introduction to the week
The IAPP delegation kicking off their Finland visit with IIE, EDUFI and Fulbright Finland staff and sharing goals and expectations for the week.