Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Grantees at Indiana University School of Education

Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching

Through the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching (Fulbright DAI) program, Finnish primary and secondary school teachers can gain fresh perspectives and deeper understanding of an educational topic of their choice by pursuing an inquiry project, by auditing courses for professional development at a host university in the U.S., and by visiting schools and sharing expertise with teachers and students.
Stay tuned for the 2020-2021 application period!

Overview of the Grant Program

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching (Fulbright DAI) invites teachers for a semester-long program in the U.S. beginning in January. The program will provide international educators from 18 countries with a professional development program at a U.S. university. The program includes academic coursework, leadership training, instructional technology seminars, and opportunities to observe, co-teach, and share their expertise in U.S. elementary and secondary schools. Each participant will also complete an individual or group project relevant to their practice.

2017-2018 Finnish Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching grantees presenting Finland
Fulbright Finland exchanges allow people to go abroad to experience how things can be done differently, and inspire them to change things for the better in their home countries as well. This is a truly unique chance to do something for the greater good and to help underserved students all over the world. - Emilia Heimonen, Fulbright DAI grantee 2017-2018

Participating teachers will be placed in groups of 16-20 at U.S. university schools of education. U.S. host universities will be selected through a competitive process. They will be responsible for designing a specialized orientation and seminars for the teachers, and will ensure that each group has access to a variety of professional development activities. Faculty advisors will guide the participants in the refinement and implementation of their projects.

The Goals of the Fulbright DAI Grant Program Are

  1. To promote mutual understanding between teachers, their schools and communities in the U.S. and abroad by building teachers’ and students’ global competencies and by sharing best educational practices internationally
  2. To provide professional development to enhance educators’ expertise in their disciplines and furnish them with a deeper understanding of best practices in education
  3. To contribute to improving education in participating countries by preparing participants to serve as educational leaders who are equipped to apply and share their experiences and skills with their colleagues and students upon returning home

Activities during the Fulbright DAI Program

Educator Training
Participants will take part in an intensive semester-long professional development program at a U.S. university. The curriculum includes academic coursework, leadership training, and instructional technology seminars.

Inquiry Projects
Participating teachers will complete an individual or group project relevant to their education practice. The inquiry project should enhance professional development and knowledge in the field.  Past projects covered topics such as methodologies for teaching math, science, music, visual and performing arts, and English as a second language. Other projects have included working with special needs students, promoting civic engagement or service learning, environmental education, school management and leadership, and others that have been met with a critical need in the candidate’s home country. Projects should develop educational materials, workshops, or other resources to meet an educational need in the participant’s home country.

Field Experience
Participants will be actively engaged with U.S. schools. They will be given opportunities to observe, co-teach and share expertise, building collaborative and lasting connections with teachers and students.

Best Practices Exchange
Fulbright Distinguished teachers will study and observe international best practices in education. Teachers will also share their professional expertise with educators and students in the U.S.

Civic and Cultural Activities
Participating teachers will also participate in U.S. cultural activities such as performances, sporting events, visits to U.S. homes, board of education meetings and trips to notable historical sites.

Benefits of the Fulbright DAI program

Travel: IREX will make international travel arrangements and provide all participants with an international airline ticket. Participants will also be reimbursed for round-trip travel expenses between their home city and the point of departure for the United States. Participants will be given the option of traveling after the end of their program during the thirty day grace period of the J-1 visa, provided that all conditions in the Terms and Conditions are met.

Housing: Participants will live near the host university campus in housing that is arranged for them.
Note: For participants who will be accompanied by family members, host university staff can provide information to assist the grantee in identifying alternate on- or off-campus housing; however participants are responsible for making housing arrangements.

Finances: Each Fulbright Distinguished Teacher will receive a maintenance allowance during the program to cover expenses such as supplies for classes, household items, personal items, medical co-payments, and for cultural and other activities. This allowance will also include a daily stipend for purchasing groceries, meals at local restaurants, or food from on-campus dining services. Costs associated with housing, required program activities, and other program-related expenses are paid in advance by the Fulbright DAI Program.

Policies Regarding Dependents: Children and spouses may accompany participants, but expenses and all of the arrangements for dependents, including schooling where appropriate, will be the responsibility of the grantee to arrange for the duration of the program. Participants will spend the majority of their time participating in FDAI activities and fulfilling the requirements of the program. This should be taken into consideration when making decisions about whether or not to bring family members to the United States.

Dependents may come to Washington, D.C., for the orientation and stay in the same hotel room. Minors are not permitted to attend the sessions.

DS-2019s for international participant dependents' J-2 visas will be issued upon receipt of proof of adequate financial resources and health insurance for dependents who will accompany participants for 80 percent or more of the program.


The candidate should have:

  • A full-time position as a primary or secondary educator (including teachers in any subject, primary and secondary library level media specialists, guidance counselors, curriculum specialists, special education coordinators, and other educators including administrators) who works with primary or secondary students at least 50 percent of their time.
  • At least three years of full-time teaching experience by the start of the program in January 2021. Other educators (librarians, guidance counselors, administrators, etc) must have a similar level of experience. Most competitive applicants will have at least five years' experience.
  • Proven track record of professional development activities and leadership
  • Finnish Citizenship
  • Good written and oral English language skills

The candidate should also comply with other requirements as indicated in the application. Preference will be given to candidates who have not had substantial recent professional experience in the U.S.
How to Apply?

Applications with all the required attachments should be submitted by date announced later this year.

The application is to be completed through the IREX Electronic Application. The Fulbright Finland Foundation will only accept applications submitted through the application system.

Start the application by reading the instructions for filling out the electronic application and looking at the model application.

If you have applied to the program before you can update your previous application in the program. You will need your email address and password to return to the application.

Your electronic application must include the following documents:

  • Completed online application form
  • Institutional support and reference form: one must be completed by your supervisor at the school where you are employed
  • Leave approval form: one must be completed and signed by your school director or the administrator in your municipality, who is in a position to grant leave of absence for the grant period.

Note: Individual files may not exceed 4 MB and must take less than 2 minutes to upload to the server. Any upload that takes more than 2 minutes to upload or is larger than 4 MB will fail.

More information on applying can be found from the website of our U.S. partner IREX.


You will receive an email from the Fulbright Finland Foundation if your application has passed an initial screening and you have been selected for an interview. At the very latest you will be notified of this a week before the date of your interview. Please note that the Fulbright Finland Foundation does not cover expenses resulting from the interview. A copy of your passport will be requested prior to the interviews.

The interviews are compulsory and will take place at the office of the Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki on a date announced later in the year.

The Fulbright Finland Foundation Board of Directors will select applications to be forwarded to the U.S. for consideration.
The final review of the international candidates and the selection of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching program nominees from the international candidate pool will be conducted by the Teacher Exchange Branch in the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The Fulbright Finland Foundation organizes a one day pre-departure orientation for all Finnish Fulbright grantees in May. In 2019, the orientation was held on May 14, 2019. All grantees are expected to attend.


Application period starts November/December
Application period ends February/March
Interview invitations go out One week prior the interviews
Interviews take place at the Fulbright Finland Foundation office February/March
Pre-departure orientation seminar in Helsinki for all Fulbright Finland grantees going to the U.S. May
Program begins January


Alumni Listing and Experiences

Find out who are the Fulbright DAI alumni, what were their inquiry projects about and read their blogs!

Program Partner

The Fulbright DAI program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered in the U.S. by IREX and by the Fulbright Finland Foundation in Finland.


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 Distinguished Awards in Teaching program is part of the global Fulbright program operating in over 160 countries worldwide.