Finnish Language and Culture Teaching Assistant fellows with the university mascot

Fulbright Finnish Language and Culture Teaching Assistant Program (FLTA)

The FLTA grant program offers Finnish students an opportunity to spend one academic year at an American university. Grantees provide assistance in teaching duties related to Finnish language and culture. Additionally, they can do additional studies and research by attending university courses without paying tuition fees.
Application period for the academic year 2021-22 has ended!

The Purpose of the Grant Program

The purpose of the program is to support and diversify the teaching of Finnish language and culture in the U.S. At the same time, it enables Finnish students to get to know the world of American higher education. Selected grantees act as ambassadors for the Fulbright program, Finland, and their home institutions, sharing their culture and contributing to the relations between Finland and the U.S.

The grants currently available are meant for the academic year of 2021–2022. The academic year lasts for 9 months and starts either in August or September 2021, depending on the schedule of the host university. The American collaborative partner of the FLTA program is the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Teaching Assistants (the ”TAs”) are common on American campuses. A TA is usually a master or doctoral-level student who works in the faculty or department for a defined number of hours per week and, as compensation, gets a discount on tuition fees or is completely freed of them. The contents of the work tasks largely depend on the department but they usually include assisting teachers or even teaching independently. The tasks can also include organizing different kinds of events related to Finnish language and culture.

The program provides Finnish students a great opportunity to develop their teaching skills in a challenging and fruitful environment, to strengthen their English skills, and to add to their knowledge of American culture and society, and the cultural exchange between Finland and the U.S.

Benefits

  • The grant for living expenses: between 15 000 and 18 000 USD (depending on the university).
  • The support and advice services provided by the Fulbright Finland Foundation are available for the grantees the entire year. The orientation training is organized in May 2021. In the orientation, you will receive information on e.g. social security, visa, apartments, and practical issues related to the American study and research environment.
  • During the FLTA year, the grantee has a right to complete four university courses for free: two during the fall semester and two during the spring semester. The courses are agreed on together with the university and depending on the university, the courses are for credit or audit-only.
  • The support and advice services provided by the Institute of International Education in the U.S.: The IIE contact person is available to help in questions related to e.g. visa, taxation, and local regulations of the U.S.
  • In the U.S., there will be two Fulbright seminars organized for the grantees. These seminars are meant for all Teaching Assistant grantees coming from all over the world. The mid-year enrichment conference is an opportunity to receive additional training on teaching techniques and pedagogy and to share your current teaching experiences with other Fulbright FLTA participants.
  • Fulbright grantees do not have to pay visa fees.
  • The Fulbright grant and network bring additional value to your career development: the grant is internationally known and valued.
  • The alumni network and activities.
Finnish FLTA Laura Tuomainen presenting about Finland

Eligibility

Participating in the FLTA program means you have to have a strong interest in teaching, intercultural communication, Finnish culture and language, and cultural exchange between Finland and the U.S.

  • The program is meant for those who have at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • The program is suitable for master's and doctoral level students from all fields who are interested in teaching Finnish language and culture in the U.S.
  • Applicants graduated within three years when applying for the program are also eligible to apply.
  • The applicant has to have good English skills, needed for the duties in the U.S.
  • The applicant has to be a Finnish citizen and has to arrive in the U.S. with a J-1 visa. Dual citizens of Finland and the U.S. cannot apply for the FLTA grant. An applicant who aims at getting, or who already has a permanent residence permit in the U.S., cannot apply for the grant. The grant will also not be awarded to someone who already resides in the U.S.
  • There are some restrictions for employees of the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. missions abroad (section 525). Please see more information on eligibility guidelines and other Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB) policies.

FLTA applicants should be aware that flexibility will be required due to possible COVID-19 related adjustments to the 2021-2022 academic year.

Limitations of the FLTA program on the grantee

  • One of the courses the grantee takes in the U.S. has to, in some way, include studies about American society, history, or culture (the so-called American Studies).
  • The FLTA grant will only cover one academic year (9 months). The J-1 visa for the program cannot be extended.
  • The FLTA grants are subjected to the so-called two-year home country residence requirement. Based on this requirement, the grantee must return to Finland for two years after the grant period ends. The grantee cannot apply for a work permit or an immigration visa to the U.S. during this time. However, normal tourist visits and studying are possible.
  • The FLTA program does not support J-2 family visas, which means that the grantee with a J-1 visa cannot take family with them. However, it is possible for families to briefly visit grantees as tourists.

Host Universities in the U.S

How to Apply?

  • Application
    • If you encounter any technical problems when filling in the application, you can contact the Fulbright Finland Foundation.
    • Please note that the Fulbright Finland Foundation only processes applications that have been submitted by the application deadline and include all the required attachments.
  • Fill out the application by following the application instructions
  • Please make sure to submit all required documents with your application (attachments are a mandatory part of the application)
    • Checklist (has to be attached to the application)
    • CV/Resume
    • Official transcripts (opintorekisteriote) in English
    • University or post-secondary diploma (tutkintotodistus) in Finnish or in English
    • Official Diploma Supplement
    • Objectives and Motivations Statement
    • Passport
    • Three Recommendation Letters (recommender submits directly to the application portal) 
  • Use the checklist to make sure you have attached all the necessary documents to the application. The applicant is responsible for saving all the required attachments in the application system by the deadline and for sending them to the Fulbright Finland Foundation by email ([email protected]).
  • Application evaluation criteria and interview information

 

Timeline

Application period opens September 2, 2020
Application period ends October 13, 2020
Interviews* November 11, 2020
Selections In the end of November/beginning of December

*The interview committee will interview the applicants who pass the pre-selection on November 11, 2020. The interview invitations will be sent to the selected applicants on November 2, 2020. Attending the interview is a prerequisite for being applicable for the grant. The Fulbright Finland Foundation does not cover travel or other costs caused by the interview. In the fall of 2020, the interviews will be conducted via Zoom.

Please note: our office is observing the Finnish holiday season and closed from July 12 through to 30 and I will be on holiday July 3 to July 11, 2021. With any urgent inquiries, kindly contact us prior to June 30, thank you!

What happens after the selection?

  • All selected grantees must do a TOEFL language test in December 2020/January 2021. The grantees receive a coupon from the Fulbright Finland Foundation for the test. More information on the test can be found here.
  • All selected grantees must obtain a medical certificate for insurance purposes during spring 2021 (6 months before the start of the grant period at most). The expenses for obtaining this certificate will not be covered.
  • The grantees will be notified of their host university during January or February 2021. Both the university and the grantee have to commit to the program for the grantee to get the grant.
  • The orientation event for the FLTA grantees will be organized at the Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki in May 2021. All grantees must attend the event.
  • The departure to the U.S. will take place in August or September 2021. The IIE will organize another orientation event for the FLTA grantees in the U.S.

Alumni Experiences

Program Partner

The Finnish FLTA program is part of the Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program in the U.S. administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

 

What is the Fulbright Finland Foundation?

The Fulbright Finland Foundation is a private, independent, not-for-profit organization based in Helsinki, Finland. The Foundation’s aim is

  • to promote a wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents through educational contacts between Finland and the United States, and
  • to support the internationalization of education and research in Finland, and help U.S. and Finnish institutions create linkages.

What Makes the Fulbright Finland Foundation Program Unique?

  • In addition to the grant, the Fulbright Finland Foundation offers the grantees several additional benefits and free support services, as well as access to a global, multi-professional network.
  • We are looking for applicants who want to impact the future and make a difference – applicants who want to facilitate positive change, develop and advance their own profession or discipline, and find solutions to national and international challenges in their field.
  • The grantees also act as ambassadors for the Fulbright Finland Foundation, their home country, and their home organizations and, in this way, do their part in sharing their home country and culture and contributing to the relations between Finland and the U.S.
Global Fulbright Program logo

The Fulbright Finnish Language and Culture Teaching Assistant Program (FLTA) is part of the global Fulbright program operating in over 160 countries worldwide.