International Summer Course in Finland

Consider enrolling in Social Work from a Global Perspective in Finland from May 23 - June 6

International Summer Course in Finland

Interested in meeting social work students from different countries?
Curious about human service programs in a progressive European Nordic country?
Interested in traveling to the Arctic Circle and experiencing the magic of the midnight sun?

Then consider enrolling in Social Work from a Global Perspective.

Social Work from a Global Perspective is a unique course based on a collaboration between the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi Finland. In addition to students from the U.S. and Finland, the program includes students and faculty from several countries. Since the program began in 1999, more than 900 students and teachers from about 50 countries have participated.  

The program includes lectures, small group discussions, agency visits, and cultural activities. It offers a rare opportunity to learn, study and interact with social work students from around the world, to explore our commonalities and differences, and to learn about the progressive social services system in Finland.

The first week is spent in Rovaniemi Finland at the University of Lapland. Mornings include lectures from professors from various countries and presentations by students. Afternoons consist mostly of small group discussions around topics relevant to students in social work and related fields. Other activities include a welcoming reception, “international night”” where participants share aspects of their culture in a light-hearted, relaxed setting, an international “pot luck” where participants share food and drink from their home countries, and museum visits.

The second part of the program is spent outside of the classroom. First, we travel to Kevo, a subarctic research station near the municipality of Utsjoki about 400 km north of the Arctic Circle. We learn about the flora and fauna of Northern Lapland and about the Sámi, the indigenous people of Finland. After a brief return to Rovaniemi, we travel to Helsinki, Finland’s largest city, where we visit social service agencies and experience some of the cultural offerings of this beautiful city. 

Some of the basics:
Dates: May 23 – June 6

Cost estimate: Approximately $2800 includes round trip airfare from JFK in New York and flights within Finland, all lodging, most ground transportation and other fees (e.g., museums) in Finland; and some food costs. There are a few incidental expenses (around $50) such as a shared taxis and an optional bike rental in Rovaniemi (approximately $100). Students have two options for registering for the course: (1) as a non-matriculated student at the University of Pennsylvania (tuition for this 3 credit course is $5,952), (2) through you own university. In this case you would pay tuition to your own university and the program fee for program expenses to the University of Pennsylvania. 

Living Arrangements:
In Rovaniemi and Helsinki students live in shared rooms in highly rated hostels near the city center.

There will be 3 or 4 orientation meetings during the Spring semester. These will take place on the UPenn campus or virtually through a platform such as Zoom.

Stanley Witkin is the co-founder of the Finland program. Dr. Witkin has been a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Lapland and in 2004 was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university. After 20 years, Professor Witkin remains passionate about this program and its importance for social work and human services students.

How to Apply
Interested students should contact Emily McCully at for more information and application forms.