A group of Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary School Educators in 2016

Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary School Educators

The Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Secondary School Educators are designed to strengthen curricula and improve the quality of teaching about the United States in secondary schools and other academic institutions. The Institutes will take place over the course of five weeks during the summer months.

Application period for summer '24 has ended.

What are the Study of the U.S. Institute Programs?

Participants spend approximately four weeks at host universities where they take part in a series of lectures, seminar discussions and site visits related to each Institute’s theme. The programs provide educators with a deeper understanding of U.S. society, culture, values, and institutions. The program goal is to strengthen curricula and to enhance the quality of teaching about the United States in secondary schools and other academic institutions abroad. 

Each Institute concludes with a one week study tour, which complements the academic program and includes visits to sites of interest in another region of the country. The aim of the study tour is to showcase the cultural, geographic, and ethnic diversity of the United States.

Overview of the grant program

The Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary School Educators will provide three multinational groups of 20 experienced secondary school educators (including secondary school teachers, administrators, teacher trainers, curriculum developers, textbook writers, Ministry of Education officials, and others) with a deeper understanding of U.S. society, education, and culture – past and present. The focus of the Institutes will be on providing content and materials for participants to develop high school level curricula about the United States. Two of the Institutes are tailored for secondary school teachers and the third Institute is tailored for experienced administrators including teacher trainers, curriculum developers, textbook writers, Ministry of Education officials, and others.

The impact of the extremely well-organized and thorough program on my work as a teacher of English has been immense. I now have an extensive insight into the similarities and differences between the U.S. and Europe. - Perttu Järvenpää, English Teacher, Omnia vocational school, Espoo; 2016 SUSI for Secondary School Educators (more comments are featured in Fulbright Finland News article "Strategic Focus on Education.")

Through a combination of traditional, multi-disciplinary, and interdisciplinary approaches, the program will examine the history and evolution of U.S. institutions and values, broadly defined. The programs will also illuminate contemporary political, social, and economic debates in American society. The four-week academic residencies will take place at U.S. universities and college campuses, and will consist of a balanced series of lectures, panels, seminar discussions, readings, workshops, site visits, meetings with practitioners in the field, and cultural activities. A one-week study tour to a different region of the United States will complement the four-week academic residencies and showcase the cultural, geographical, and ethnic diversity of the United States. The program features curriculum based on the study of how America’s foundations and historical development have shaped and continue to inform U.S. politics, economics, and society. A key cultural component of the program involves community service activities, which will provide participants with a first-hand experience of how volunteerism plays a vital role in U.S. civil society. The program will offer multiple opportunities for follow-on engagement through alumni webinars, grant-funded follow-on projects, social media, and an alumni workshop.


Candidates should be mid-career, typically between the ages of 30-50, highly-motivated and experienced secondary school teachers and administrators whose students are approximately 14-18 years of age. Candidates should have little or no prior experience in the United States. Ideal candidates come from institutions seeking to introduce aspects of U.S. studies into their curricula, to develop new courses in the Institute subject, to enhance and update existing courses on the United States, or to offer specialized seminars/workshops for professionals in U.S. studies areas related to the program theme. Candidates should be willing and able to take part fully in an intensive postgraduate level academic program and study tour.

It is imperative that all candidates demonstrate English language fluency. The programs are rigorous and demanding; participants will be expected to read and comprehend substantial written materials and assignments in English and to fully and actively participate in all seminar and panel discussions.

Finnish citizenship is not required. However, candidates recommended for the program from Finland will need to demonstrate how their participation in the SUSI program will further contribute to their efforts in teaching/education/research in Finland.

Please note that U.S. citizens or permanent residents (green card holders) are not eligible for the program. Participants who have taken part in past SUSI programs are not eligible to apply. Relatives of U.S. embassy or the Fulbright Finland Foundation employees are not eligible to apply.

Essential Information about the Program

Program Funding: The program will cover participant costs, including program administration, international travel, ground transportation in the U.S., housing, and subsistence, book, cultural, mailing, and incidental allowances as well as arrange and pay for participants’ international and visa travel costs and travel allowances within set limits and in coordination with the Fulbright Finland Foundation and the U.S. Embassy Helsinki.

Housing and Meal Arrangements: When possible each participant will have a private room with a shared bathroom during the residency portion of the institute. However, private room accommodations are not guaranteed. During the residency, housing will typically be in college or university-owned accommodation or nearby hotels. During the study tour, participants will likely share a hotel room with another participant of the same gender. Most meals will be provided at campus facilities, though participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own. Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily or weekly worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied. 

Health Benefits: While all participants will receive the Department of State's supplemental health benefit ASPE (with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit) for the duration of the program, participants are responsible for their own comprehensive health and travel insurance for the duration of the program. (Information on the health benefit program may be found online at https://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos). 

Program Requirements and Restrictions: Participants are expected to participate fully in the program. They are expected to attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings. Family members and/or friends may not accompany participants on any part of the program. Please note that teaching methodology and pedagogical methods will not be addressed formally in the Institute. The Institute is not a research program ad thus should not be viewed as a research program.

Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the SUSI will pivot to a virtual format. The virtual program will consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming and will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. To the extent possible, the virtual programming will include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, assignments, and individual and group activities. Participants are required to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their home location outside the United States.

Expectations: Violations of program rules, U.S. host institution rules, or U.S. local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. 

Host Universities

The University of Montana in Missoula, MT will oversee and administer the three SUSIs for Secondary Educators.

  • The University of Montana in Missoula, MT will conduct one Institute for teachers which will explore U.S. studies through the lens of democracy and citizenship. The exact dates will be confirmed in spring 2024.
  • The Institute for Training and Development (ITD) in Amherst, Massachusetts will conduct the second Institute for teachers which will explore the ways in which individual rights and social obligations have evolved through American history. The exact dates will be confirmed in spring 2024.
  • California State University at Chico will conduct the Institute for Administrators and will focus on sociocultural understanding, equitable learning communities, and diversity and inclusion in U.S. education and society. The exact dates will be confirmed in spring 2024.


How to Apply?

The application form and CV should be submitted no later than 10am on November 8, 2023 (Finnish time) via this SurveyMonkey link: SUSI Secondary Educators Application Submission

One letter of recommendation from an individual who knows you in a professional capacity is to be uploaded by the recommender via this link by the application deadline: SUSI Recommendation Letters

Application: Here is the application form for Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary School Educators

Priority will be given to candidates who have firm plans to enhance, update or develop courses and/or educational materials with a U.S. studies focus or component, who have little or no prior experience in the United States, and who have special interest in the program subject areas as demonstrated through past accomplishments and professional duties.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the U.S. State Department’s The Study of the U.S. Branch website to obtain general information about the Institutes.


Applicants that pass an initial screening will be invited for a compulsory interview. 

The interviews will take place virtually via Zoom on December 11, 2023. Candidates invited to the interviews will be notified via email by December 1, 2023.

The Fulbright Finland Foundation does not cover expenses resulting from the interview. The Fulbright Finland Foundation will select applications to be forwarded to the U.S. for consideration. Read more about the selection process and preparing for the interview here.

Final review of the international candidates and selection of the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary School Educator and Administrator nominees from the multinational candidate pool will be conducted by the Study of the U.S. Branch of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Fulbright Finland Foundation organizes a mandatory full day pre-departure orientation for all Finnish Fulbright Finland grantees in May, 2024 (Date TBC). All grantees are expected to attend.

Application period startsSeptember 29, 2023
Application period endsNovember 8, 2023 10 o'clock Finnish time
Interview invitations are sent out December 5, 2023
Interviews December 11, 2023
Selections are madeby early April
Pre-Departure Orientation for all Fulbright Finland Grantees to the U.S.May, 2024 (date TBC)
Program startsLate May - Early June 2024


Alumni Experiences

My Exchange Experience in Big Sky Country
Maria Virokannas
Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary School Educators
Summer 2022

Päivi Parkkonen
Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary School Educators
Summer 2018

Fulbright Finland Outreach Ambassadors are happy to share their experiences from the U.S. Feel free to contact them.

Program Partner

The Study of the U.S. Branch, U.S. Department of State



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 Programs 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.