Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching

Through Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching (FDAI) program, Finnish primary and secondary school teachers can gain fresh perspectives and deeper understanding of an educational topic of their choice by pursuing an inquiry project, auditing courses for professional development at a host university in the U.S., visiting schools and by sharing expertise with teachers and students.


  • March 3, 2019 - Application deadline
  • March 19, 2019 - Interview notifications will be sent out
  • March 27, 2019 - Interviews take place in Fulbright Finland office
  • May 14, 2019 - Pre-departure orientation for all Finnish Fulbright grantees in Helsinki
  • January 2020 - Program starts



The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching (FDAI) invites teachers for a semester-long program in the U.S. beginning in January 2020. The program will provide international educators from 18 countries with a professional development program at a U.S. university. The program includes academic coursework, leadership training, instructional technology seminars, and opportunities to observe, co-teach, and share their expertise in U.S. elementary and secondary schools. Each participant will also complete an individual or group project relevant to their practice.

Participating teachers will be placed in groups of 16-20 at U.S. university schools of education. U.S. host universities will be selected though a competitive process. They will be responsible for designing a specialized orientation and seminars for the teachers, and will ensure that each group has access to a variety of professional development activities. Faculty advisors will guide the participants in the refinement and implementation of their projects.

Fulbright Finland exchanges allow people to go abroad to experience how things can be done differently, and inspire them to change things for the better in their home countries as well. This is a truly unique chance to do something for the greater good and to help underserved students all over the world.

Emilia Heimonen, Fulbright DAI grantee 2017-2018

Goals of the program:

  1. To Promote mutual understanding between teachers, their schools and communities in the U.S. and abroad by building teachers’ and students’ global competence and by sharing best educational practices internationally
  2. To provide professional development to enhance educators’ expertise in their disciplines and furnish them with a deeper understanding of best practices in education
  3. Contribute to improving education in participating countries by preparing participants to serve as educational leaders who are equipped to apply and share their experience and skills with their colleagues and students upon returning home


Fulbright Distinguished Teachers support people-to-people diplomacy throughout their time in the United States, in U.S. host classrooms and communities.

Program U.S. Administrator IREX

Program Activities:

Educator training
Participants will take part in an intensive five-month professional development program at a US university. The curriculum includes academic coursework, leadership training, and instructional technology seminars.

Inquiry projects
Participating teachers will complete an individual or group project relevant to their education practice. The Inquiry project should enhance professional development and knowledge in the field. Past projects covered topics such as current methodologies for teaching math, science, music, visual arts, performing arts, and English as a second language; working with special needs students; promoting civic engagement or service learning; environmental education; school management and leadership; and others that meet a critical need in the candidate's home country. Projects should develop educational materials, workshops, or other resources to meet an educational need in the participants' home country.

Field experience
Participants will be actively engaged with U.S. Schools. They will be given opportunities to observe, co-teach and share expertise, building collaborative and lasting connections with teachers and students.

Best practices exchange
Fulbright Distinguished Teachers will study and observe international best practices in education. Teachers will also share their professional expertise with educators and students in the U.S.

Civic and cultural activities
Participating teachers will also participate in U.S. cultural activities such as performances, sporting events, visits to U.S. homes, board of education meetings and trips to notable historical sites.


Photo: Taru Pohtola, FDAT grantee 2015-2016

Essential Program Information

Program Funding: FDAI program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered in the U.S. by IREX and by Fulbright Finland Foundation in Finland.

Travel: IREX will make international travel arrangements and provide all participants with an international airline ticket. Participants will also be reimbursed for round-trip travel expenses between their home city and the point of departure for the United States. Participants will be given the option of travelling after the end of their program during the thirty day grace period of the J-1 visa, provided that all conditions in the Terms and Conditions are met.

Housing: Participants will live near the host university campus in housing that is arranged for them. Note: For participants who will be accompanied by family members, host university staff can provide information to assist the grantee in identifying alternate on- or off-campus housing accommodations; however participants are responsible for making housing arrangements.

Finances: Each Fulbright Distinguished Teacher will receive a maintenance allowance during the program to cover expenses such as supplies for classes, household items, personal items, medical co-payments, and cultural and other activities. Also included in this total is a daily stipend to purchase groceries, meals at local restaurants, or food from on-campus dining services. Costs associated with housing, required program activities, and other program-related expenses are paid in advance by the Fulbright DAI Program.

Policies Regarding Dependents: Children and spouses may accompany participants, but expenses and all of the arrangements for dependents, including schooling where appropriate, will be the responsibility of the grantee to arrange for the duration of the program. participants will spend the majority of their time participating in FDAI activities and fulfilling the requirements of the program. This should be taken into consideration when making decisions about whether or not to bring family members to the United States.

  • Dependents may come to Washington, D.C., for the end of program workshop and stay in the same hotel room. Minors are not permitted to attend the sessions.
  • DS-2019s for international participant dependents' J-2 visas will be issued upon receipt of proof of adequate financial resources and health insurance for dependents who will accompany participants for 80 percent or more of the program.


Candidate should have:

  • Full-time position as primary or secondary educator (incuding teachers in any subject, primary and secondary level library media specialists, guidance counselors, curriculum specialists, special education coordinators, and other educators including administrators) who work with primary or secondary students at least fifty percent of their time.
  • At least five years of full-time teaching experience by the start of the program (in January 2020).Other educators (librarians, guidance counselors, administrators, etc.) must have a similar level of experience.
  • Proven track record of professional development activities and leadership
  • Finnish Citizenship
  • Good written and oral English language skills

Candidate should also comply with other requirements as indicated in the application. Preference will be given to candidates who have no prior or limited experience in the United States.

How to Apply

Applications with all the required attachments should be submitted no later than Sunday, March 3, 2019.

Electronic Application

Fulbright Finland Foundation will only accept applications submitted through the online application system.

Electronic application includes the following documents:

  • Completed Online Application Form
  • Institutional Support and Reference Form: one must be completed by your supervisor at the school where you are employed
  • Leave Approval Form: one must be completed and signed by your school director or the administrator in your municipality, who is in the position to grant the leave of absence for the grant period.

Note: Individual files may not exceed 4 MB and must take less than 2 minutes to upload to the server. Any upload that takes more than 2 minutes to upload or is larger than 4 MB will fail.

More information can be read from website of our U.S. partner IREX.


Applicants that pass an initial screening will be invited for a personal interview. Please note that Fulbright Finland Foundation does not cover the expenses resulting from the interview.

The interviews are compulsory and will take place at the office of Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki on March 27, 2019. Candidates invited to the interviews will be notified via email by March 19, 2019. A copy of a passport will be requested prior to the interviews.
Fulbright Finland Foundation Board of Directors will select applications to be forwarded to the U.S. for consideration.
Final review of the international candidates and selection of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching program nominees from the international candidate pool will be conducted by the Teacher Exchange Branch in the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Fulbright Finland Foundation organizes a full day pre-departure orientation for all Finnish Fulbright grantees on May 14, 2019. All grantees are expected to attend.

More information:

Mirka McIntire
puh. 044 553 5269