Article Written by Sofia Korol. Photo by Sofiia Korol.

St. Cloud State University in Alnwick offers one of the most unique study abroad opportunities where students can live and attend classes in a castle that is home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. The campus is located in Alnwick Castle, one of the most famous castles in the UK and a prime location for many famous films and TV series. This program offers students a unique opportunity to fully immerse themselves in British culture while living and studying in the welcoming community of which St. Cloud University has been a part since 1976.

More than 4,000 students have been a part of the Alnwick program since its inception, and students consistently return to St. Cloud and say they had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s not just staying in the castle, but the town and the community that make your time in Alnwick so unforgettable. During the program students have the opportunity to explore parts of England that many have never heard of.

“I think that the most important thing is to gain international experience and participate in the life of the community. Students go on field trips on Friday, travel in their free time. It develops their marketability when they look for work, and the experience of living abroad gives them an understanding of many aspects of a multicultural environment. Moreover, Alnwick is such a nice community and comfortable place to live,” says Wade Sherman, Alnwick Resident Coordinator.

Programs and opportunities for students

Different programs are offered in Alnwick every year. These include: fall and spring semester programs and short-term programs (winter, spring break, and summer). Because this program is led by different St. Cloud State University faculty members each year, the courses change each semester depending on the faculty who travel for the teaching program. At Alnwick, students can also choose from courses taught by British teachers during the autumn and spring terms. All courses are designed to take advantage of experiential learning opportunities in the Northumberland region.

Many of the courses offered in the St. Cloud State at Alnwick, are enrolled in the Liberal Education Program (LEP/MnTC). St. Cloud State at Alnwick offers courses that change each semester depending on the professors who teach at Alnwick.

The list of subjects taught annually includes:

1. BRIT 201 – Reflections on the British Cultural Experience (Goal 8) where students explore observations and reflections on living, studying and traveling in the UK. The advantage and uniqueness of the class is the opportunity to go on excursions to different cities of Britain every week and study history and culture from the place of events, visit ancient churches, architectural monuments and places that influenced the development of Britain.

2. BRIT 250 – Contemporary Britain (Goal 5) where students study critical analysis of constitutional politics, education and health provision, employment, media, religion, consumer culture and sport in the UK; including reflections on nationalism, regionalism, race, immigration, class, gender and sexuality.

3. HIST 336 – Early Modern England (Goal 5) where students have the opportunity to delve into the history of Britain from the Reformation to the Revolution, study the personalities and religion of the Tudor and Stuart periods.

“One of the reasons to come here is the opportunity for students to live here on campus, but take SCSU classes and have SCSU professors,” notes Wade Sherman.

Impact of international education on career

Camille Matheny is an example of how studying in Britain changed her life.

“My mom, aunt, and cousin all attended Alnwick Castle in the 90s and all graduated from SCSU. Of course, I grew up with stories about my mom’s travels and how those events shaped her. I first visited Alnwick Castle during a reunion program graduates in 2019 with my mom and several other families. The moment I got to the castle, I knew I had to get back here as soon as possible and start my own independent journey”, said Matheny.

She studied in Britain during the spring semester in 2022, and also returned here for the summer Business/Mass Communications program for 6 weeks.

“My experience at Alnwick was truly incredible. My time abroad allowed me so much growth and self-discovery, I truly feel that I learned to be independent. I also gained a new perspective on the world and life outside of America. My whole family noticed how much I became more trusting, and I felt it too”, said Matheny.

After she returned to America, Matheny got a job with Education Abroad as a global mentor. Through studying in Britain, she decided to change her career to education abroad and international research at a professional level.

Additional resources

Apply for participation in the St. Cloud State at Alnwick is very simple! All interested students are encouraged to begin their application as soon as possible in order to complete the necessary program requirements in a timely manner.

Eligibility:

• Cumulative GPA Requirement: 2.5

• Open to non-St. Cloud State students

• Class Eligibility: Spring Semester of 1st year and later

• Disciplinary record may also impact eligibility

For further information, we encourage you to visit the Center for International Studies