Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute

The application period for the 2022 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute has started!

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The U.S. Embassy in Finland is now accepting applications for the 2022 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship summer exchange program for upper secondary school students. The institute is hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the program will last four weeks from June 25 to July 23, 2022. One Finnish student will be selected to represent Finland on the program.  All costs of the participant will be covered.

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

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship (BFTF) empowers and fosters relationships among the younger generation of Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and an awareness of shared values. 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

About 45 European and 10 American teenagers ages 16-18 will participate in this intensive, four-week exchange program focused on common challenges that youth on both sides of the Atlantic face in the 21st century.

The program will consist of a series of lectures, seminar discussions and presentations, and a broad assortment of practical, faculty- and mentor-led workshops.

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

The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by community service activities, site visits, social and cultural activities, and homestays with American families to deepen participants’ experience of U.S. society during the program.

Funding/Travel

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

Participants will travel to the United States on J-1 visas and will have to be able to meet all travel requirements applicable at the time of departure.

Candidate Qualifications

  • Be a citizen of Finland
  • Be born between June 26, 2003, and June 26, 2006 (i.e., be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start)
  • Be highly proficient in English
  • Be committed to enrolling in high school or university studies in Finland in fall 2022, following completion of the program
  • Demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy
  • Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States
  • Sustained high-level of academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher recommendations
  • Demonstrate a commitment to community and extracurricular activities
  • Have had little or no prior U.S. study or travel experience in the United States
  • Be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful and inquisitive
  • Be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, community service, and active educational travel program
  • Be comfortable with campus life, shared living accommodations, travel and interaction with a multinational, co-ed group of participants from across Europe and the U.S., and comfortable with engaging with various Americans in the broader community.
  • Be able to adjust to different cultural and social practices.

The in-person on-campus exchange is contingent upon the safety and feasibility of in-person programming and travel.  A virtual program option may be available if in-person programming is not possible due to the global health pandemic.

Application Requirements and Procedure

The selection process will be conducted by U.S. Embassy officials and is merit based. One principal and one alternate candidate will be selected based on their application submission and interview. Phone interviews with selected candidates will be conducted during week 9 in February – March, 2022.

Please send the completed Application Form (.docx, 19 kb) as well as a letter of recommendation in English (optional) via e-mail to USHelsinkiExchanges@state.gov

Deadline for applications: February 21, 2022.

More information on the program https://www.education.purdue.edu/ben-franklin-institute/fellows/