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Fulbright students welcomed to Wales

26 June 2012

Fullbright students
The First Minister with Fulbright students and representatives from the Universities of Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Bangor. See full caption below.

Eight talented US students have just been welcomed to Wales to study the nation's culture, politics, geography, economy and history.

Hosted by Cardiff, Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities, the American 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. Now the Fulbright Commission has now asked them to run another course, which will carry credits towards the students' final degree.

The eight competitively selected students come from Universities across the US, from Florida to Washington State. Their specialisms include computer science, human geography, and economics. They have already been shown around Cardiff's civic centre and been impressed with what they've seen. Gary Yin, studying at the University of Illinois, said many of the group had an interest in education and public health and wanted to learn more about the systems in Wales.

The students were officially welcomed to Wales 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."

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: (front row, left to right) Fulbright Course Director, Aberystwyth, Katherine Stewart, Fulbright Course Director, Bangor, Tecwyn Vaughan Jones, Fulbright scholars Clara Martinez (Linfield College), Macey Beal (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), First Minister Carwyn Jones, Emily Mixon (University of Texas-Austin), Cardiff University Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Terry Threadgold (back row, left to right) International Office Director, Aberystwyth, Rachel Tod, Cultural Attache, Us Embassy Monique Quesda, Fulbright scholars 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), Communications and International Relations Director, Cardiff, Sandra Elliott.

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