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 the Finnish language and culture. Additionally, he or she can do additional studies or research by attending university courses without paying tuition fees.
Apply now for the academic year 2020-2021! Deadline for applications is October 15, 2019.

The Purpose of the grant program

The purpose of the program is to support and diversify the teaching of the 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.

The grants currently available are meant for the academic year of 2020–2021. The academic year lasts for 9 months and starts either in August or September 2020, 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 in 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 a compensation, gets a discount on tuition fees or is completely freed from 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 the Finnish language and culture.

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


  • 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 2020. In the orientation, you will receive information on e.g. social security, visa, apartments, and the 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; in some cases, they can also be independent research or participation in the courses without credits (the so-called audit).
  • 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.
  • 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


Participating in the FLTA program means you have to have a strong interest in teaching, intercultural communication, the 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 especially for those studying Finnish language or literature as a main subject but also for those whose main subject is related to the Finnish culture and who have Finnish language as a minor subject.
  • Completed S2 studies, teacher training or experience in teacher will be considered as a special merit
  • The applicant does not have to be enrolled at a Finnish university. However, they have to have graduated within one year before the start of the FLTA period.
  • 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 he or she has to arrive in the U.S. with a J- 1 visa. The 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 for someone who already resides in the U.S.

The limitations of the FLTA program for the grantee

  • One of the courses the grantee takes in the U.S. has to, in some way, include studies about the 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 visa, which means that the grantee with a J-1 visa cannot take his or her family with them. However, it is possible for families to briefly visit grantees as tourists.

Host Universities in the U.S

  • Indiana University, Bloomington
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Washington

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 the applications that have been submitted by the application deadline and include all the required attachments.
  • Application Instructions
  • Check List (has to be attached to the application, a mandatory part of the application)
    • Use the checklist to make sure that you have attached all the necessary documents in 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 information of the interview



Application period opens Mid-August
Application period ends October 15, 2019
Interviews* November 7, 2019
Final Selections In the end of November/beginning of December

*The interview committee will interview the applicants who pass the pre-selection in Helsinki on November 7, 2019. The interview invitations will be sent to the selected applicants on October 31, 2019. 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.

What happens after the selection?

  • All selected grantees must do a TOEFL language test in January 2020. The grantees receive a coupon from the Fulbright Finland Foundation for the test. More information on the test can be found at here.
  • All selected grantees must obtain a medical certificate for insurance purposes during spring 2020 (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 2020. 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 2020. All grantees must attend the event.
  • The departure for the U.S. will take place in August or September 2020. The IIE organizes another orientation event for the FLTA grantees in the U.S.

Alumni Experiences

Program Partner

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


Emilia Holopainen
Program Coordinator
Phone: +358 44 703 5284
[email protected]


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 Finnish higher education institutions.

What Makes the Fulbright program unique?

  • In addition to the grant, the Fulbright Finland Foundation offers the grantees several additional benefits and free support services, as well as an access to a global, multi-professional network.
  • We are looking for applicants who want to impact the future and to 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 organization 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

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