Participants of the Workshop on Best Practices in Hosting U.S. Students and Visiting Scholars in 2019

Workshop on Best Practices in Hosting U.S. Students and Visiting Scholars

Workshop organized on August 20, 2019 by the Fulbright Finland Foundation with support from the USAStudyAbroad.

The workshop brought together hosts of U.S. students, teachers, and scholars from Finnish HEIs, and provided them with an opportunity to share and discuss best hosting practices. The workshop was facilitated by an experienced administrator in the internationalization of higher education. Best practices were also shared by higher education administrators and faculty members from Finnish HEIs with a proven track-record of going beyond basic procedures in helping U.S. students and visiting scholars to feel welcome, get settled, and connected with professional networks.


11:45 Registration
12:00 Networking lunch (provided)
13:00-16:00  Workshop on Best Practices in Hosting U.S. Students and Visiting Scholars
13:00-13:40 Fulbright Finland Foundation Services and Resources

Welcome Remarks
Terhi Mölsä, Chief Executive Officer, Fulbright Finland Foundation

Fulbright Finland Foundation Services and Resources for Hosts and U.S. Fulbrighters
Emmi Jelekäinen, Program Coordinator, Fulbright Finland Foundation

  • Pre-arrival:  Webinars, Online Guide, Advising Services
  • In-country: Orientations, Program Coordinators, Annual Events, Fulbright Buddy
  • Beyond grant period in Finland: Alumni network
  • Fulbright Finland Foundation Programs to deepen and continue collaboration with the U.S. Fulbright Visiting Scholars and Teachers: Travel Grants, Specialist Program

Fulbright Finland Foundation Guidance on Host Responsibilities
Mirka McIntire, Manager, Teacher Exchange and Education Programs, Fulbright Finland Foundation

13:40 Panel Discussion: Perspectives on Hosting U.S. Students and Visiting Scholars (watch a recording of the panel discussion below)
Facilitator: Leasa Weimer, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships , Fulbright Finland Foundation

  • National Perspective: Internationalization of Finnish Education and Attracting Talent to Finland
    Anu Härkönen, Head of International Affairs, Turku University of Applied Sciences,
  • Host Perspective: Making Most of the Host Experience
    Hanna Pöyliö, University Teacher, University of Jyväskylä; Project Coordinator, Niilo Mäki Institute; 2018-2019 Fulbright Finland Travel Grant for Research Collaboration
  • Visiting U.S. Scholar Perspective:
    John Broussard, Professor of Finance, Estonian Business School; 2016-2017 Fulbright-Hanken Distinguished Chair in Business and Economics   

14:30-14:50 Coffee Break
14:50-15:50 Workshop: Taking Hosting to the Next Level
Brainstorming concrete ideas to help current and future hosts to make the most of the experience (in small groups)
Facilitator: Leasa Weimer, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships , Fulbright Finland Foundation

Workshop partcipants discussing best practices on hosting

15:50-16:00  Closing Words, Steps Forward
Leasa Weimer, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships , Fulbright Finland Foundation

16:15 Bus to the U.S. Embassy

17:00 Reception in Honor of the 70th Anniversary of the ASLA-Fulbright Exchanges and the Centennial of Finnish-U.S. Diplomatic Relations (by invitation only)
Host: Robert F. Pence, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Finland, Honorary Chair of the Fulbright Finland Foundation Board of Directors

Special Remarks on Behalf of the Government of Finland: Pekka Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

18:30 Reception Closes

Read the Fulbright Finland News Article: "Super Host" Making Most of the Host Experience

Speaker Biographies

Photo collage on the speakers of the Workshop on Best Practices in Hosting U.S. Students and Visiting Scholars
Left to right: Hanna Pöyliö, John Broussard and Leasa Weimer

Hanna Pöyliö
Hanna Pöyliö works as a project coordinator in Niilo Mäki Institute. Her interest is in literacy research. Pöyliö is a Fulbright Finland Travel grant alumna. She spent 3 weeks in Boston, MA in Pittsburgh, PA researching phonological awareness and phonics materials and assessment tools and is currently developing such materials to English as a foreign language teaching in Finland. The project originated from a Fulbright grantee project in 2016 and the collaboration has been active ever since. Pöyliö has acted as a faculty advisor for three Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching grantees and collaborated closely with three more. She continues having active contact with all of them. 

John Broussard
Prof. John Paul Broussard was 2016-2017 Fulbright-Hanken Distinguished Chair in Business and Economics. John's research is on international financial markets and the risks imposed. John recently retired from Rutgers University, and is Professor of Finance at Estonian Business School, where he teaches at both the Tallinn and Helsinki campuses.

Leasa Weimer
Leasa Weimer, Ph.D, is Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives for the Fulbright Finland Foundation. She is also a researcher at the Finnish Institute for Education Research where she’s currently involved in a UNESCO project. She has over 20 years of experience in higher education and has been active in European international education as a principal investigator for a Ministry-funded project on ‘internationalisation at home’, Fulbright grantee, president of the Erasmus Mundus Association, and has authored several academic publications.


Panel Discussion Recording

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Workshop Results

The workshop groups discussed actions needed from three perspectives and came up with the following ideas:


(6 months - 1 day before arrival)

(1st - 2nd week)

into everyday life and internalization efforts (full grant period)

Pre-visit to familiarize the scholar with the place and people include welcome coffee into the visit (if possible) Welcome Coffee (ask other Fulbrighters to join, have a presentation of your organization) Visit different cultural events (to explore Finnish culture) - theatre, musicals, concerts
Help plan family life Have a meeting and discuss mutual expectations and project details Explain Finnish holidays - Finnish Vappu, Epiphany, Ascension Day etc.
Assess the project before hand -> adjust to local context as needed

Assist the scholar in getting a cellphone and pre-paid with limitless data

Have coffee with grantee regularly, explain coffee break culture
Skype with the scholar (discuss expectation of the grant period & get to know each other) Support with banking and visit to Maistraatti right away Warn and help plan for long holidays, invite/explain x-mas party, crayfish party
Letter from Host university dean to the home university dean Introduction of the grantee in organization's intranet (fun/formal) Shared google drive or calendar (with all the hosts)
Send the scholar a link to international staff guide Language class (focus on spoken Finnish with conversational practices) Schedule of activities at school, community and Finland. Involve the grantee in everyday Finnish traditions
Secure housing in advance Support for multilingual working environment (be mindful when including the scholar in pertinent meetings or other situations that are traditionally conducted in Finnish language) Encourage the scholar to coordinate individual meetings with researchers and staff at the department (host can facilitate this)
Prepare the scholar for July (when uni closes down and most people go on holiday) International staff orientation Summer cottage experience
Inform the faculty of the incoming scholar and ask them to be in contact also    

Higher Education Institutions and Host Organizations should also review Fulbright Finland Foundation Guidance on Host Responsibilities.

Fulbright Finland Foundation Events

The Fulbright Finland Foundation organizes multiple events throughout the academic year. Some of the events are mandatory for the Fulbright Finland grantees. Mandatory events include arrival orientation in August or January, American Voices Seminar in October and Fulbright Forum in March. The Fulbright Finland Foundation also organizes voluntary events during Thanksgiving in November and the Fulbright Finland Award Ceremony and Reception for grantees going to the U.S. in May in which the U.S. grantees are welcome.

Workshop partcipants discussing best practices on hosting

Fulbright Finland Foundation Programs for HEIs and other Institutes

The Fulbright Finland Foundation administers multiple programs that Finnish HEIs and other institutes may apply for or benefit from.

  • Inter-Country Travel Grant
    • Program offers a possibility to invite a U.S. Fulbright professional from Europe for a short visit to Finland!
  • Fulbright Specialist Program
    • This program offers a unique opportunity to host a leading U.S. academic or established professional to work on diverse, short-term collaborative projects ranging from two to six weeks in length.
  • Grants for Postdoctoral Research
    • The Fulbright Finland Foundation offers many different types of opportunities for postdoctoral research and lecturing in the U.S.
  • Fulbright Finland Travel Grants for Research Collaboration
    • For researchers from Finland for advancing research in the applicant’s field as well as initiating or advancing institutional and research collaboration between Finland and the U.S
  • Fulbright Finland Travel Grants for Institutional Partnership Building
    • For administrators and faculty for initiating or advancing institutional partnerships between the candidate’s Finnish home institution and U.S. host institution.
  • Fulbright Speaker Program
    • Invite an American Fulbright grantee from Finland to your school or institution to give a talk on a specific research topic of more general American theme!
  • Fulbright Dialogues
    • International Perspectives and Current roundtable discussions on timely topics selected in collaboration with local institutions and organizations


Workshop Photographs

Photos of the workshop have been posted to the Foundation's Facebook page

Logos on the Fulbright Finland Foundation, USAStudyAbroad and U.S.  Department of State