Summer Seminar

One of the special benefits of the Flinn Scholarship is the tradition of mutual support and community. 

And while each new class of Flinn Scholars starts to form those connections shortly after accepting the Flinn Scholarship in the spring, it’s the international summer seminar immediately following freshman year that cements these strong bonds for life. 

The seminar allows Scholars to deeply experience other cultures in both urban and rural settings, which have ranged from Hungary and Romania to China and France and most recently, Finland. The time abroad also prepares each Flinn Scholar for their individual study-abroad experience, which can range from a summer to a semester to a year. 

Flinn Scholars finishing their freshman year in 2023 were the first class to travel to Finland as a group, participating in a program with an array of activities and a thematic focus on the world-renowned Finnish model of education.

Here are some of their reflections: 

Alicia Salazar Contreras 
2022 Flinn Scholar

“My most valuable experience has to be getting to sit down with a special teacher at Kulosaari Secondary School and asking her about special education. I was also able to express my perspective on special education and compare many aspects that I felt were either drastically different or similar to those in the United States. This experience really solidified my great interest in special education and sparked new ideas and questions I wanted to further investigate.” 

Hannah Lennon  
2022 Flinn Scholar

“Walking around Helsinki during our free time was the most valuable experience for me. I was able to feel Finnish culture; I sensed the quietude of the city and experienced feelings of peace and contentment from the simple and gratified lifestyle that many of the Finnish people seemed to live.  Conversing with the locals allowed me to gain honest and unfiltered insight into Finnish culture and education.”  

Mia Osmonbekov 
2022 Flinn Scholar 

“The daycare visit, the teaching college, and the lifelong learning center were the most valuable to me in that they really honed in how Finnish values support a thriving education and social system.”

Bradley Reece  
2022 Flinn Scholar

“The ‘library culture’ in Helsinki was almost shocking to me. Our first visit there showed me how the Finns encompass architecture, literacy, creativity, food/drink, the outdoors, games, and so much more in their public sector. 

“I loved seeing Finnish performing arts while visiting. The stories that were being sung and acted out were also culturally relevant, as they were a prominent part of Russo-Finnish history and fables.” 

The seminar returned to Finland in 2024 and continues to make a lasting impact on the Flinn Scholars each summer. And the knowledge and lessons they absorb overseas will continue to help them make a positive impact on Arizona. 

Read more:
Flinn Scholarship Study Abroad