Wales 2024: Community Transformations

Wales is an historic nation located within the United Kingdom, but with considerable autonomy. With their own cultural and environmental sector and laws, a strong and growing minority language, and a unique geography surrounded by coasts on three sides with the Cambrian Mountains running down the nation’s spine, Wales offers a diverse, beautiful, and safe environment for students to gain experience in the environmental humanities and social sciences.

Students will learn about unique expressions of cultural, community, and economic change working with a handful of industrial communities and heritage institutions. Students will visit the country's Parliament, national art museum, four national industrial heritage museums, three national parks, and two of the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Wales.

By the end of the program, the students will have a set of hands-on experiences (supported by a breadth of academic evidence) from which to draw upon as they question how we define community, the standards of community-based research, and how we understand the global political economy of resource extraction, use, and relations. The program fee includes registration for the Vernacular Architecture Forum hosted at MTU June 12-15 where all students will present a poster as a final project for the program. Wales: Community Transformations centers how we can better contextualize our cultural understandings of community, place, and nature to bring nuance, respect, integrity, and justice into independent research.

  • Program Dates: April 29 - June 15, 2024
  • Travel Dates: April 29 - May 15, 2024
  • Application and Deposit Deadline: February 2, 2024
  • Earn 6-9.5 credits, including 6 in HASS


Students enroll in 6-9.5 summer session credits (Track A) through Michigan Technological University and pay the associated tuition costs. Students choose two or three of the following courses: SS 3960 Cultural Immersion (3 credits; HASS) or SS 5201 Cultural Immersion (1-3 credits), SS 4551/5501 Industrial Communities (3 credits), and SS 4710 Geographies of Migrant Communities (3 credits; HASS). We will also offer an optional PE course (PE 0175- Hiking). Courses meet General Education requirements and capstone, methods, and major requirements for Social Sciences undergraduate and graduate students. Additional research opportunities may also be available - contact instructors if you are interested.

Instruction will occur in the field. Students’ involvement with partner institutions and personnel and within the larger group in exploration and discussion will replace the traditional lectures of the courses. 


Course Descriptions


We will leave Houghton on April 29th and return on May 14th. We will be staying in 4 different locations across Wales.

Days Location and Activities
April 29 - May 3 Cardiff (St. Fagans National Museum of History, Welsh Parliament, Cardiff Bay, National Museum Cardiff)
May 3 - 6 St. Davids (Waterfront National Museum, Pembrokeshire National Park, Ramsey Island, National Wool Museum, National Library of Wales)

May 6 - 10

Llanberis (National Slate Museum, Eryri National Park, Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales World Heritage Site)
May 10 -13 Blaenafon (Bannau Brycheiniau National Park, Big Pit, Blaenafon Industrial Landscape World Heritage Site, Tretower Court)
May 13-15 Cardiff (Offa's Dyke border hike, National Roman Legion Museum, free time)
June 12-15 Keweenaw Vernacular Architecture Forum Annual Meeting (individual poster presentations, conference banquet, mine towns tour, Finnish diaspora and Indigenous environmental remediation tour)


Students pay a $500 deposit. Students then register for summer Track A credits with MTU as normal and pay the associated tuition. Tuition will include a "lab fee" of $1,000. The deposit plus the lab fee covers the costs of the program ($1,500 overall) in addition to the instruction. This includes in-country transportation, lodging, activity expenses, some meals, and program administration. 

Study Away Information

Here are some other resources that will help you with your visit: