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

These exciting summer programs on Civic Engagement, and on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, provide undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the U.S. culture and society, 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.
Stay tuned for the application period for summer 2020!

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 activities, and volunteer opportunities within the local community. The Institutes will include an academic residency component of approximately four weeks and a one-week integrated study tour tour to another region of the United States. 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 2019. Exact program dates are typically confirmed in April.

2019 SUSI UTC Students

Institute Descriptions

The Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders from Europe on Civic Engagement will provide participants with an overview of how citizens have shaped U.S. history, government, and society both as individuals and groups. The academic program will define civic engagement, examine its development in the United States, and explore topics such as citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, political leadership, and volunteerism. In order to enhance the academic experience, to the Institute may focus on a specific theme or sub-themes such as civil rights and protections, public health, education, entrepreneurship, ethics, leadership, or media. To the extent possible, academic sessions will be complemented with hands-on sessions or workshops designed to build skills in the topics mentioned above.  The Institute will encourage participants to develop innovative and practical plans to become engaged citizens in their own communities. In 2019, the Institute is hosted by the University of South Carolina.

Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders from Europe on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development will provide participants with an overview of entrepreneurial approaches by reviewing the development, history, challenges, and successes of U.S. entrepreneurial enterprises, including social enterprises, business leadership and women’s economic empowerment, in the United States and globally. Topics may include, but are not limited to, trade, investment, financial literacy, banking, microfinance, organizational development and management, innovation, emerging markets and risk analysis, strategic business planning, corporate social responsibility, and minorities in entrepreneurship. To the extent possible, academic sessions will be complemented with hands-on sessions or workshops designed to build skills in the topics mentioned above. In 2019, the Institute is hosted by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Essential Information about the SUSI Program

Program funding: The program will cover all costs related to the program, including program administration; domestic travel and ground transportation; visa travel; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence. The program partners in the U.S. will arrange and pay for participants’ international and visa travel costs and travel allowances within set limits and in coordination with the U.S. Embassy and Fulbright Finland Foundation.

Housing and meal arrangements: Housing will be in shared university dorms on campus with common bathrooms. Male participants will be housed on one floor and female participants on a separate floor. 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 worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.

Health benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s supplemental health coverage of $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and $75 co-pay per emergency room visit for the duration of the program.  Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Information on the health benefit program may be found online at Participants are responsible for their own health and travel insurance for the duration of the program.

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.

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.

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:

  • be a Finnish citizen and hold a Finnish passport;
  • 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 14, 2019.
  • 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?

You can download the application form here. Save the form on your computer in order to return to fill it in. Please note, if you cannot fill in the slots, open the document e.g. with Adobe Acrobat.

A complete application includes the following:

  • US Summer Institute Application Form
  • Academic Transcript
  • One Letter of Recommendation
Fulbright Finland Foundation recommends starting your application by requesting the Letter of Recommendation in support of your application.

Send the application by email to:
[email protected]

Save the application documents on your computer, fill them in, and attach to email. Please note that the letter of recommendation has to be signed, scanned and attached to the email. If you are not able to fill in the actual forms, please type your answers to all questions in word format on a separate document and send that as an email attachment.

The application deadline is Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Incomplete or late applications will not be received.


Applicants that pass an initial screening will be invited for a personal interview. The interviews are compulsory and will take place on January 31 and/or February 1, 2019 at the Fulbright Finland Foundation office in Helsinki. Candidates invited to the interviews will be notified via email approximately a week before the interviews. Read instruction on how to prepare for the interview.

Fulbright Finland Foundation Board of Directors 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 2019.

The Fulbright Finland organizes a pre-departure orientation, award ceremony and reception on May 14, 2019, in which participation is mandatory for all grantees. Please reserve all day for the event.


Application period starts October/November
Application period ends December/January
Interview invitations are sent out to selected candidates One week before the interviews
Interviews at the FFF office December/January
Selections are made April
Pre-Departure orientation May
Program starts June


Alumni Experiences

Read experiences of SUSI Student Leader alumni from the articles they have written.


Mirka McIntire
Phone. 044 5535 269
[email protected]