SCSU: Live and Study in a Castle! Alnwick, England

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The purpose of the British Studies Center in Alnwick, England is to give students an opportunity to spend a semester in a culture different from their own. The program is designed to expose students to new values, customs, and outlooks and to give them an understanding of life in Great Britain. By living within the walls of a medieval castle and study Great Britain both inside and outside the classroom, students gain a historical and contemporary perspective on British life. At the same time, students can make normal progress toward completion of their degree.

The British Studies Center in Alnwick is a branch campus of St. Cloud State University. All courses carry SCSU credit and you may earn credit towards your major, minor or general education program.

Students and faculty reside in Alnwick Castle. Dating from the middle ages, the castle is a large complex of towers, a chapel, a library and two museums. SCSU students and faculty occupy only a portion of the facility.

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Questions & Answers


based on 5 reviews
  • Academics 9.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9.8
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
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One of the Best Experiences of My Life!

21 years after living in Alnwick Castle, some of my closest friends today are the people I lived with then. I changed my major as a result of living in the castle and am so happy that I did. I've been an Anglophile my whole life, so having this chance to live in an English castle was kind of like a fairy tale. And that was BEFORE Harry Potter and Downtown Abbey were filmed there and it's popularity exploded! Now it is even more of a destination to visit, and to say I lived there is priceless. A college study abroad program is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I think everyone should take advantage of if they can. I'm forever grateful for the friends and the memories I made during my time there.

How can this program be improved?
It's been 21 years since I lived there, so much has already been improved upon, like electric heat in the sleeping rooms. :-)
Yes, I recommend
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I mean...You live in a CASTLE!

To say that this program is fantastic is an understatement. There are many programs out there that you can have the experience of studying in another country but where can you study and live in a castle? The price is also reasonable when it comes to studying abroad. Flights, Course Credits, Meals (Monday through Friday), Field Trips every Friday, Room and Board for all around $12,000! It is hard to find a program for that.

All of the people involved in this program in Alnwick are phenomenal. Wade, the resident coordinator, is always available to help the students and to make sure that everyone is enjoying their experience. Also the British Faculty are amazing. Christine is a walking history book and David really makes you think about your place in this world.

I think the best part about this program is that it is offered to any university student regardless if they go to St. Cloud State.

How can this program be improved?
More courses offered.
Yes, I recommend
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Absolute best experience of my life

if you know anyone who has ever studied abroad, you have most likely heard them say that it was the best experience of their life.. Alnwick absolutely lives up to this in every way! Whether you are a history buff, a Harry Potter fanatic or just have an itch to travel, Alnwick has the perfect combination of all things wonderful!

With living in a castle, to weekly trips around the UK, to week long breaks to do your own adventures.. This program really does meet and exceeds everyone's desires. Highly highly recommend

How can this program be improved?
Technology could be improved
Yes, I recommend

A Unique and Memorable Program

I would HIGHLY recommend this program to anyone who is interested in studying abroad. Yes, I'm a little biased as I went to Alnwick myself; however, the program really is that great. How many people can say they've lived in the Harry Potter castle?! The weekly field-trips allow you to explore all over England and Scotland, and because of them, you are able to see many aspects of the United Kingdom that you might miss out on if you attend a program in a bigger city. Speaking of bigger cities, there are many opportunities to visit larger areas (like the longer group trip to London, for example). Newcastle is great for shopping, visiting historical sites, or just a night out, and is only a short bus ride away. Edinburgh is also an awesome nearby destination--the train ride there is beautiful enough in itself to make the trip worth it. The Alnwick program also has time set aside for students to travel on their own, so you really get the full European experience. When you are in the town of Alnwick, you really become a part of the community. Instead of constantly being surrounded by fellow American students, you really immerse yourself in everything British. The townspeople are so welcoming and you quickly develop friendships that will last a lifetime. In all, Alnwick is an experience like no other. That being said, again, I highly recommend the program to anyone looking to have an adventure abroad.

Yes, I recommend
Photo of Anna Morris

How Alnwick Shaped My Life

The program that St. Cloud State University runs is unlike any other experience on the market. As students, we lived and studied in the Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. SCSU is the only university with a lease agreement with the Duke & Duchess of Northumberland (the Percy family) so it's truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Every semester (Fall, Spring, Summer) two different SCSU faculty travel with the group to teach major-specific courses. In addition, there are two British faculty that teach cultural courses. I completed 12 credits during the summer session. 6 credits counted towards my major(s) requirements and the remaining 6 credits applied towards my Generals.

Aside from the academic benefits, there are also endless immersion opportunities. Because we are the only exchange students in the fairly small town, we were able to get to know the locals quite well! Alnwick is an extremely welcoming city and as long as you and your fellow students are respectful, there will be no issues. It's a place where you feel like home after just a couple of weeks. There are plenty of places to eat, shop and experience the nightlife scene.

I volunteered at the local radio station as I was a Broadcast Journalism major. Gaining on-air experience abroad was a huge value-add to my resume. I produced a show along with two other guys on my program. We had a blast playing our favorite music, talking about our daily experiences, responding to listeners and operating the equipment. Our 4-hour once a week block quickly became a highlight of my summer.

Day to day, we had class all day Monday - Thursday with breaks to work on homework and group projects. Every Friday there was a field trip led by one of our British faculty. We had our weekends free to travel -- and there was a week-long holiday break in the middle of the term, too. I made it to Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, London and other cities all over England during our free time. Newcastle is about a 30 minute bus ride away so there's easy access to a metropolitan area.

This program is open to non-SCSU students so I'd highly recommend checking it out! Oh, I forgot to mention that this castle is affectionately known as Hogwarts as Harry's first broom ride was filmed in the outer Bailey. Who else can say that they ACTUALLY lived inside Hogwarts?! The Chamber of Secrets has yet to be found...

How can this program be improved?
Honestly, this program has been running for 30+ years. It runs like clockwork.
Yes, I recommend


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