Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders from Europe participant at Point Park in Chattanooga

Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders from Europe

This exciting summer program on Environmental Issues provides undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the Unites States while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills. Institute themes are confirmed annually. The program will cover travel, accommodation, studies and study tours in the United States, as well as program administration costs.

Program Overview

Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders from Europe are intensive five-week academic programs whose purpose is to provide groups of up to 20 undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States, while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills.

The Institutes consist of a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures. The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by educational travel, site visits, leadership and cultural activities, and community service within the local community. The Institutes will include an academic residency component of approximately four weeks and a one-week integrated study tour (if the conditions allow). During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom.

The Study of the U.S. Institutes will take place over the course of five weeks between June and August 2023. Exact program dates are typically confirmed in April.

2019 SUSI UTC Students

Institute Descriptions

The Study of the U.S. Institute on Environmental Issues will provide participants with an overview of climate change along with its impact on communities in the American west, natural resources, and the local economy. Academic sessions will explore clean energy, sustainable development, the risks of natural disasters, and the intersection of climate justice and community activism. In order to enhance the academic experience, the Institute will focus on specific themes and sub-topics such as strategic communication, social justice, emergency response, water rights, and energy efficiency and sustainability. Academic activities will be supplemented by opportunities to engage with the local community, including a weekend homestay and meeting with local environmental non-profits. The host institution will be identified at the time of participant selection.

Should conditions allow, the SUSIs for Student Leaders from Europe may begin with an Opening Forum in Washington, D.C., bringing together participants in all three Institutes for networking, foundational leadership skills development, and exploring relevant topics from multi-regional perspectives.

Essential Information about the SUSI Program

Program funding: The program will cover all costs related to the program, including program administration; international and visa travel, travel allowances, domestic travel ad ground transportation, book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances, and housing and subsistence. 

Housing and meal arrangements: Housing will be in shared or single university dorms on campus or full-service hotels within walking distance of most classroom activities. Female and male participants will be housed in separate quarters. In addition to regular group meals and a university meal plan, 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 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 in the U.S., 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 ASPE also covers up to $500 for routine COVID-19 testing requirements in the United States. COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the ASPE policy.

Program requirements and restrictions: Participants are expected to fully participate in the academic program. They should attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings. The program is very intensive and that there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program. Family members and/or friends may not accompany or join participants for any part of the program. 

Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the Institute or remain in the United States after its end date. Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends while in the United States. If a relative or friend wishes to visit them, it will be considered on a case by case basis. Participants are required to return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute.

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

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

English language ability: All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program. Host institutions will take into account that the level of comprehension and speaking ability of students may vary and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for students where English is their second or third language.

Fulbright Finland SUSI Student Leader from Europe Participant Inari Ahokas at Point Park
SUSI is an amazing opportunity for young students to learn about different cultures and different ways of doing business and making a change in the world we live in. This experience will change the lives of the participants and broaden their views of the world. The program will give them an opportunity to make friends and professionals contacts all around the world. - Inari Ahokas, 2017 Study of the U.S. Institute on Social Entrepreneurship


The participants are expected to be highly motivated first through third year undergraduate students from universities, and universities of applied sciences, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities. Their fields of study will be varied, and may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields.
Candidates nominated for this program will:

  • Finnish citizenship is not required. However, candidates recommended for the program from Finland will need to be in a position for applying new knowledge from the program in the Finnish context within Finland.
  • be proficient in English;
  • be interested in the Institute topic;
  • be between 18 and no older than 25 years old by the start of the Summer Institute program in the U.S.;
  • have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and therefore be committed to return to their home universities/universities of applied sciences following completion of the program;
  • demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university/university of applied sciences and community activities;
  • indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • have a sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  • demonstrate commitment to community and extracurricular university/university of applied sciences activities;
  • have little if any prior study or travel experience in the United States, or elsewhere outside Finland;
  • be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive;
  • be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel; and,
  • be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to make adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those of Finland.
  • be able to participate in the Fulbright Finland Foundation's full-day pre-departure orientation on May, 2023.
  • be prepared to submit a report to the Fulbright Finland Foundation on their program experience.

Participation in the Summer Institutes does not exclude participants from applying for a Fulbright award later in their academic career and returning to the USA as a Fulbright Finland Undergraduate grantee, or on graduate or postdoctoral level as a Fulbright Student or Scholar.

2017 SUSI Student Leaders from Europe on Environmental Issues Program Participants

How to Apply?

The application form, academic transcript and  CV should be submitted no later than Monday, November 14, 2022 at 10 am (Finnish time) via this SurveyMonkey link: SUSI Student Leaders 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 Student Leaders from Europe. Save the form on your computer in order to return to fill it in.

A complete application includes the following:

  • U.S. Summer Institute Application Form
  • Academic Transcript
  • CV
  • One Letter of Recommendation

Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Fulbright Finland Foundation recommends starting your application by requesting the Letter of Recommendation in support of your application.


Applicants that pass an initial screening will be invited for a personal interview. The interviews are compulsory and will take place on December 14, 2022 virtually through Zoom. Candidates invited to the interviews will be notified via email approximately a week before the interviews. Read more about the selection process and preparing for the interview here.

The Fulbright Finland Foundation will select one candidate and up to two alternate candidates per Institute to be forwarded to the U.S. for consideration. Final review of the international candidates and selection of the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders 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 in April 2023.

The Fulbright Finland Foundation organizes a pre-departure orientation, award ceremony and reception in May, 2023, in which participation is mandatory for all grantees. Please reserve all day for the event.


Application period starts September
Application period ends November 14, 2022 10:00am
Interview invitations are sent out to selected candidates One week before the interviews (December 7, 2022)
Interviews December 14, 2022
Selections are made April 2023
Pre-Departure orientation May 16, 2023
Program starts June/July 2023


Alumni Experiences

  • Fulbright Finland Outreach Ambassadors are happy to share their experiences from the U.S. Feel free to contact them.
  • Read experiences of SUSI Student Leader alumni from the articles they have written.


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.