2020 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute

Application period for the 2020 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute has started!


The U.S. Embassy in Helsinki is pleased to invite applications for the 2020 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institutes for upper secondary school students. The institute is hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and will take place in June and July 2020 with approximately 45 students: up to 35 European students and 10 Americans.  Activities will include discussions of global issues of common interest, leadership and media training, collaborative project development, community service, educational travel, and plans for follow-on activities.

Program Background

Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows institute aims to foster relationships among the younger generations of Europeans and Americans, in order to promote awareness of shared values in light of the global challenges of the 21st Century.  The initiative is named after the legendary American statesman and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin, in honor of the inspiration his own life and career provides to those who are working to strengthen transatlantic cooperation.

Institute Description

The Summer Institute will enable teenagers ages 16-18 to participate in an intensive, four-week exchange program in the United States that focuses on the global issues that both European and American youth face.

The students will learn more about democratic practices, volunteer service, conflict resolution, problem solving, communication skills, critical thinking, tolerance and respect for diversity, youth leadership, team building and the media.

Activities will include training sessions, workshops, community-based programs, study tours, and cultural events. The participants will work together to prepare a joint project that presents and promotes the stated goals and objectives of the Institute.

The participants will also explore how freedom of expression both provides rights to and imposes responsibilities on citizens.

Community service activities, social and cultural activities, and home stays with American families will deepen the participants’ experience of the U.S. society during the program.


The program is funded by the U.S. Government and will provide a full scholarship for participants, which covers visa, travel, lodging, educational materials, ground transportation expenses, and travel insurance.

Candidate Qualifications
  • Be born between July 22, 2001, and June 22, 2004 (i.e., be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start)
  • Highly proficient in English
  • Committed to enrolling in high school or university in Finland in fall 2020
  • Demonstrates strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations
  • Indicates a serious interest in learning about the United States
  • Sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher recommendations
  • Demonstrates a commitment to community and extracurricular activities
  • Little or no prior U.S. study or travel experience in the United States
  • Mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful and inquisitive
  • Willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, community service, and active educational travel program
  • Comfortable with campus life, shared living accommodations, travel and interaction with a multinational, coed group of participants from across Europe and the U.S., and comfortable with engaging various Americans in the broader community.
  • Able to adjust to different cultural and social practices.
Application Requirements and Procedure

The selection process will be conducted by US Embassy officials and is merit based. Phone interviews with selected candidates will be conducted during week 7 in February, 2020.

To apply for the program, you will need to send your application based on the listed requirements above as well as a letter of recommendation in English (optional) electronically to the Embassy of the United States, Education and Exchange Programs Coordinator at USHelsinkiExchanges@state.gov.

Deadline for applications: January 31, 2020.

Download the flyer (PDF, 1.1 MB)