Wales Study Abroad Country Profile

Wales Overview

Wales study abroad programs will give students a new and truly unique perspective on the United Kingdom. Located west of England, Wales has many unique features that differ from other countries in the United Kingdom. Sustainable development is central to the responsibilities of the Welsh government, who take a holistic approach to their various social, economic, and environmental objectives. The country is a standout with regard to many other aspects of its culture and day-to-day life as well; it has a thriving native language, sweeping and diverse landscapes, and the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris. Wales presents students with unique experiences and opportunities for self exploration.

Cultural Highlights

Though it isn’t the largest country, Wales packs a surprisingly large amount of unique culture into a small area. The National Museum of Cardiff, located in the capital city, is a must see for art students and art fans alike; it boasts the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings outside of Paris, including famous works by Renoir, Rodin, and Monet.

Despite English being the national language and the language you will be the most frequently exposed to, there is another language thriving in Wales. More than half a million people throughout Wales speak the Welsh language Cymraeg – that is more than 20% of the population! The language is kept alive due in large part to the public education system – instruction in Cymraeg is compulsory until age 16.

Wales is often referred to as “The Land of Song,” and nowhere is this more apparent than in the age-old instrumental folk music of Wales. Welsh music is made distinctive by uniquely Welsh instruments, like the triple harp.

Popular Fields of Study

Wales is home to dozens of colleges and universities that are perfect for students looking for a high-quality academic experience abroad. Because of its great university system, there are Wales study abroad programs that cater to virtually every academic interest. Students will find programs in music, psychology, religious studies, forestry, biology, and even marine biology (Bangor University is right on the coast and has an ocean-going research vessel)! Programs are available in anthropology and sociology, as well as history, law, math, physics and more! If it exists in the United States, there is a good chance that you will be able to find a complimentary program in Wales.

Why Study Abroad in Wales?

Wales has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Wales.

1. Geographic Diversity

For its small size, Wales has a wide variety of natural areas. Beautiful beaches and picturesque coastlines are set against a mountainous backdrop.

2. Cheese, Beef, Lamb

Wales is known for producing a variety of delicious, often award-winning cheeses. World Famous Welsh Black Beef and Welsh Mountain lamb are also popular.

3. Unusual Activities

Nothing is more memorable than seeing something completely unique in a new place. Check out unusual activities like the World Bog Snorkeling Championships.

4. Sports

Wales has excellent facilities and hosts a variety of events for different athletic activities. One unique event is Wakestock, Europe’s largest wakeboard festival.

5. Food Festivals

As a compliment to its cuisine, Wales is home to a number of food festivals. The Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival is a good one; The Abergavenny Food Festival is another.

6. Art

Wales study abroad participants will have a vast amount of art at their door step. The country is home to the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art outside of Paris. See works by Rodin, Renoir and Monet, among others.

7. The Pembrokeshire Coast

186 miles of scenic beaches! View dolphins, basking sharks, seals, and sea turtles.

8. Porthcawl Beach

A popular destination for surfers and other water sports fans. Near Europe’s largest dunes, Merthyr Mawr Warren.

9. Music Festivals

Wales hosts over 150 musical events every year, including a number of festivals. The Faenol Festival is a popular event, featuring both classical and popular Welsh music.

10. Friendly People

The Welsh are actually known for their warmth and hospitality.

Wales Study Abroad Statistics

Wales Country Ranking: 30+

(based on total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: less than 1.0%
  • Total US Students 2006/07: less than 1,000
  • Total US Students 2007/08: less than 1,000
  • Yearly 2007/08 Trend: NA
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