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Cream of American students attracted back to Wales

19 June 2012

Visiting American students, competitively selected by the US-UK Fulbright Commission, will study Welsh history, culture, politics and geography. In particular, they will investigate how industry has shaped the nation’s landscape and population. Hosted by Cardiff, Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities, the US undergraduates will meet people the length and breadth of the country, from the top of Pen-y-Fan to the copper mines of Parys Mountain.

The three Universities hosted the first Wales Fulbright Summer Institute last year. The Fulbright Commission has now asked them to run another course, which will carry credits towards the students’ final degree.

The eight chosen students were welcomed to Wales today (Monday, June 25) by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, at a special reception in the Senedd in Cardiff.

The First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "I am delighted to welcome to Wales once again the Fulbright students. They will be spending time at three Welsh Universities and I hope it will give a flavour of student life here in Wales to share with others back home.

"This is an opportunity for these students to find out more about Wales’ proud heritage and our position as a modern nation within the UK and the wider world. We are proud of our longstanding links with America, but it is equally important that the younger generation knows what the relationship has to offer for the future of both our nations."

In May this year the First Minister led a trade mission to the USA to expand Wales’ links with the country.

The six-week course will involve the internationally-recognised research and teaching specialisms of all three Universities. In the initial two weeks at Cardiff, students will study economic and industrial change in South Wales over the past three centuries. Highlights will include a tour of the Big Pit at Blaenavon and of the Cardiff coast on the University survey vessel Guiding Light. At Bangor, the students will explore the impact of such industries as tourism, slate mining and highland agriculture, taking in Snowdon, the Llechwedd Slate Mines and Anglesey’s Wylfa Power Station. Finally, at Aberystwyth University, the students will look at Wales and its relationships with the wider world.

Michael Scott-Kline, Director of the Fulbright Awards Programme, said: "Cardiff University remains one of our premier partners and the only institution in the UK that can boast Fulbright exchanges at the undergraduate, postgraduate and professional levels this year. Beyond the rich cultural dialogue this facilitates, such exchanges play an important role in the Welsh economy, therefore I'm delighted that we're seeing so more Americans choosing Wales as their top study destination. The Fulbright Commission remains dedicated to supporting Welsh universities as they develop their internationalisation agendas, and to the Welsh people, some of whom we hope might cross the Atlantic in the other direction on a Fulbright exchange themselves."

Course Director for the Cardiff University section, Dr Bill Jones of the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, said: "The return of the Wales Fulbright Summer Institute is a great endorsement of Welsh higher education. We are welcoming some outstanding students from major US universities, who will bring fresh insights into our history, geography, language and culture. The fact that this course can carry credits towards final degrees reflects the Fulbright Commission’s confidence in the quality of our teaching and research. Here at Cardiff, we are hosting a total of eleven Fulbright scholars this year, more than any other University in the UK."

Tecwyn Vaughan Jones, Fulbright Course Director at Bangor University said: "Once again this year we have eight Fulbright Scholars attending summer school in Bangor University and following the success of last year's inaugural programme, I'm very excited for their arrival and also for the programme that we have set up for them. We will be visiting many sites of cultural and historical importance in North Wales and the students’ knowledge of Wales, its history and people will increase tenfold over the two weeks ... it's great to see this programme return to Wales and to Bangor in particular."

Rachel Tod, Director of the International Office at Aberystwyth University said: "We very much welcome the return of the Wales Fulbright Summer Institute which builds on the success of the 2011 programme. Working closely with the Royal Commission for the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and the Centre for Alternative Technology, we have developed a programme that offers the Fulbright scholars an excellent opportunity to learn about the culture and history of Wales, and study some of the world leading research that is being done here in response to local and global economic and environmental challenges. It is also an important opportunity for the University to build on its already extensive links in North America, and to increase awareness of what Aberystwyth and Wales have to offer. As well as learning about us, we very much hope that they will become ambassadors for us when they return to the US."

The Fulbright Commission has been promoting peace and cultural understanding through educational scholarships for more than 60 years. The Summer Institutes are designed to introduce students to the UK while developing their academic and leadership skills.


Caption: First Minister Carwyn Jones with Fulbright scholars (front row, left to right) Clara Martinez (Linfield College), Macey Beal (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Emily Mixon (University of Texas-Austin), Christine Goddard (University of South Florida), Alexandra Rawlings (University of Louisville), Gary Yin (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Daniel Gibson (University of Washington), Ian Campbell (Rice University).

For further information please contact:

Stephen Rouse

Public Relations Office

Cardiff University


Tel: +44(0)29 2087 5596

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University President Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.