Program Overview:

Learn what makes Finland a leader in education innovation through this 11-day study abroad in Central and Southern Finland. This program explores Finland’s unique cultural and geographic features, including its national identity and values of education, nature, equality, and design. Students will participate in a joint seminar at the University of Jyväskylä to glean comparisons between educational systems, visit diverse schools, and meet with education leaders in Jyväskylä and Helsinki. Additional experiences include cultural tours emphasizing architectural design, use of community spaces, and environmental and historic preservation will provide additional insight into what makes Finland a truly unique country.

Location & Program Features

Helsinki: The largest city and capital of Finland with a population of 1.4 million people, Helsinki is known as a unique seaside, urban city surrounded by beautiful islands and comprised green urban spaces. Easily walkable with exceptional public transportation, Helsinki boasts both contemporary and historic sites to explore, many at no or little cost.

Jyväskylä: Located 3 hours by train from Helsinki, Jyväskylä is the largest city in Central Finland with a population of 140,000. Home to Finland’s first three Finnish speaking schools, including the teachers’ college,  education has shaped the development of Jyväskylä. The city is surrounded by 328 lakes and includes many cultural sites and opportunities to explore nature.

The program begins in Jyväskylä where we will spend 3 days collaborating with Finnish and international students and faculty at the University of Jyväskylä, as well as visiting local schools and cultural sites like the Natural History Museum of Central Finland. Afterward, students will spend one week in Helsinki meeting with education leaders and innovators, visiting local schools, and exploring the city’s many sites by foot or tram, such as the National Library of Finland, Senate Square, the Helsinki Cathedral, and Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Students will register for one of three 3-credit-hour graduate-level courses (to meet their respective program needs):

  • EDL 591: Directed Independent Study (3 credit hours)
  • EDL 695: Special Topics in Educational Leadership (3 credit hours)
  • EDN 592: International Field Experience (3 credit hours)

This course will cover topics such as the history and culture of Finland, unique geographical features, education policies and practices with emphasis on innovations one can adapt to US educational contexts.


Summer I 2020


Finland (Jyväskylä and Helsinki)

Tentative Program Dates:

May 16-27, 2020

Program Leader(s):

Dr. Elizabeth O. Crawford, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Elementary Education

Application Deadline:

February 28, 2020


Students are eligible to apply for this program if they meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Graduate students in any college, as well as educators/administrators in the Watson College of Education professional partnership
  • Must be at least 21 years of age at time of participation
  • Good judicial standing
  • 3.0+ GPA at time of application

Estimated Program Fee:

Estimated Program Fee: $1,454

Program Fee Includes:

  • Program costs
  • Lodging
  • University seminar
  • Group dinner (one evening)
  • Some breakfasts
  • School visits
  • Meetings with education leaders
  • City museums and other excursions (no cost)
  • Health insurance

Additional Costs:
(not included in the program fee)

  • International airfare
  • Transportation to/from airport to Finland
  • Railway tickets and inner-city transportation (e.g., tram)
  • Graduate tuition
  • Most meals
  • Entrance fees (if chosen)
  • Passport, if needed

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Federal and state financial aid may be applied toward this program. Even if you are normally ineligible for financial aid, you should submit a financial aid application (FAFSA). You may find that you are eligible for additional funding. 

UNCW students may also apply for a UNCW Education Abroad Grant and additional study abroad scholarships. Grant applications and additional information are available at