The grant applicants are interviewed at the Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki. The interview lasts about 20 minutes. There are usually 3 to 5 Finnish and/or American members in the interview committee and the language of the interview is English.
The interview is dialogic in style. The interview enables both the applicant and the committee to ask and tell. The committee wants to get to know the applicant and his/her study/research plans better. There are no right or wrong answers to most of the interview questions. The purpose is to hear about the applicant’s own thoughts.
Please note that the scientific evaluation of the projects has been carried out by the experts in your field already in advance. This means that the purpose of the interview is not to focus on the details of the study/research plan but instead discuss the goals of the Fulbright period on a general level. Also note that some of the interviewers have not read your research plan on purpose, because the interview is also evaluated based on how well you could tell about your own field and goals in the U.S. for an academic audience who does not represent your own field or does not know your background.
When preparing for the interview, you should take into account the following:
The ASLA-Fulbright Graduate Grant and the Fulbright-Technology Industries of Finland Grant applicants: You have to have a clear picture of those American universities which you are interested in and which are suitable in terms of your study/research plans. Be prepared to tell about your plans and your contacts to the potential host universities.
- Why are you applying for the Fulbright grant? Why do you want to study/do research in the U.S. in particular?
- Why would it be important that the Fulbright Finland Foundation would support your studies/research?
- Which universities have you considered and why?
- What would you estimate that the costs of studies in the U.S. are and what are your plans to cover these costs?
- How do you consider the meaning of your project from the view point of developing the knowledge of your own field in Finland?
- How do you consider your role in the field in the future?
- Which skills and knowledge can you bring to the host organization but also to your field in Finland?
- How are you planning to utilize and share the knowledge and skills acquired in the U.S. after returning to Finland?
- Where do you see yourself in five years, for example?
- What kind of job would you like to aim at having?
The vision of the Fulbright Finland Foundation is “to empower the minds that will find global solutions to tomorrow’s challenges by fostering academic and professional expertise and excellence in leadership“. The mission of the Foundation is “to promote wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents between Finland and the United States”. In other words, the Fulbright Finland Foundation is looking for applicants who have the will to impact and facilitate change, and who want to develop and improve their own professional or scientific field and cause wide-ranging impact. So consider also the following questions:
- What do you have to give to the Finnish Fulbright program and its goals?
- As a Fulbright grantee, how would you advance the exchange of knowledge and skills between Finland and the U.S.?
- What kind of a creator of change do you see yourself to be now and in the future?
- What kind of an ambassador of the Fulbright program and Finland would you like to be?
In the interview, also your English skills will be evaluated. The grantees do not have to have perfect language skills. However, they will have to have adequate language and communication skills which guarantee that they can manage in the American everyday life, in university settings, and to do their studies/research, as well as function as an ambassador of Finland and the Fulbright program in the U.S.