Castle in countryside

From Coal Mines to Castles: Conflicting English Identities

  1. Program Details

    Spend three weeks in student-friendly Newcastle, learning about the northeast England "Geordie" identity.

    Location Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
    Term May Session
    Housing Dormitory
    Credit Type Resident Credit
    Sponsor Learning Abroad Center

    Program Eligibility

    GPA 2.5
    Student Type UofM Students
    Student Year Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
    Language No Language Prerequisite
  2. About From Coal Mines to Castles: Conflicting English Identities

    Residents of northeast England, colloquially known as "Geordies," have a unique cultural identity. As the largest city in the region, Newcastle reflects this uniqueness. From working-class roots surrounding the coal mining and ship building industries, to the modern, arts-driven, student-focused city of today, Newcastle's regional cultural identity has changed significantly over time. This class will explore this dynamic: visits to sites like Alnwick Castle and Cragside House will display the wealth of the ages, while the Beamish Museum and other visits around Newcastle will highlight the region's blue-collar identity.

    This program has been canceled for May 2021 due to concerns related to covid-19.  

    Housing & Meals

    You will live on campus at Northumbria University, in student dorms alongside local students. Most meals will be on your own, although all facilities include a full kitchen. Two days and two nights at Alnwick Castle are included in the program fee. 


    Several excursions in and around Newcastle will accentuate classroom learning. Visits will include:

    • A two-day orientation at Alnwick Castle, England's second-largest and second-most visited castle, and site of filming of Harry Potter movies and Downton Abbey.
    • Day-long visit to the Beamish Museum, a 350-acre outdoor park with life-size scenes of daily life in Georgian, Victorian, and WW2-era history. 
    • Day-long visit to Cragside House, a Victorian county estate, demonstrating the wealth of the age and the deep class divides of the time. 
    • Visit to the Roman fortress Houseteads, highlighting the origins and development of the Newcastle region.
    • One day-long weekend visit to York, Carlisle, Edinburgh, or another city in the region.

    This program is based at Northumbria University, and will be on campus towards the end of Spring semester. Other social activities include events with local students.

    Faculty & Staff

    The class will be taught by Jon Robinson, lecturer in English & Scottish Literature at Northumbria University, and Director of International Development & Recruitment. This class is a condensed version of a semester-long class Dr. Robinson regularly teaches for visiting students during the semester.  

    About the Learning Abroad Center

    Learning Abroad Center programs are:

    • Affordable: our programs are cost effective.
    • Academically strong: many programs have strong University of Minnesota departmental support and offer pre-approved courses for many majors.
    • Culturally rich: regardless of the program you choose, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
    • Expertly managed: our staff in Minnesota and abroad are trained professionals and are always available to answer your questions from extensive pre-departure advising and online orientations to reentry programming. Your safety and well-being are paramount, and we work hard to ensure you have a rewarding and safe experience abroad.
  3. Program Structure

    Program Type Host University Study
    Program Level 3000 level courses

    One 3-credit course

    This three-week study abroad program will be taught by local Northumbria faculty, with student support provided by Northumbria international staff. Other features include:

    • Intensive learning in a location that illuminates the topic
    • Small groups of 15–25 students
    • No prerequisites or language requirements
    • Included excursions and cultural activities
    • Instruction in English


    Through lectures, visits and excursions, you will discover some of the main themes of life and identity in British history, specifically northeast England, in the 19th and early 20th centuries. You will explore some of the conceptual challenges associated with studying "British" culture, and learn the characteristics associated with northeast England's "Geordie" culture and identity.

    2020 draft syllabus

    This course must be taken for an A–F letter grade. S/N grading is not available. 

    Liberal Education FulfillmentHistorical Perspectives core and Global Perspectives theme.

  4. Term Program Dates Priority Application Deadline* Final Application Deadline
    May Session 2020 May 15 - June 4, 2020 March 1, 2020 April 1, 2020

    Important note: Enrollment on this program is restricted to 25 students, after which students will be admitted only if additional housing is available. Admission is granted on a rolling basis and applications are reviewed in the order they become complete. Some programs have a history of filling to capacity prior to the application deadline, therefore applying early is recommended.

    *Students who apply by the priority deadline and confirm within their allotted time will receive the published program fee. All other students may be subject to an airfare increase. Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline.

    *Program dates are subject to change. Contact the LAC for verification of dates before purchasing your airfare.
    **If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.

    Orientation Dates & Locations

    Orientation will be conducted in 2 parts: an online orientation, which is mandatory for all students, and an in-person session. You will receive more information about the online orientation via email. Failure to complete the online orientation will impact your ability to go abroad.

    The date for the in-person Fall semester 2020 & Academic Year 2020-2021 orientation session is as follows:

    Term Abroad Date/Time Location
    Fall 2021 TBD TBD
  5. Fees for From Coal Mines to Castles: Conflicting English Identities

    May 2020 Cost of Participation

    The program fee includes including tuition, housing, field trips and excursions, and international health insurance. You must also budget for your plane ticket to and from the UK, passport and passport photos, meals, textbooks, independent travel, and miscellaneous living expenses.

    Billing & Payments

    • Upon submission of your Confirmation and Payment Agreement Form, the Learning Abroad Center will charge you a $400 non-refundable deposit, which is due shortly after it posts to your University of Minnesota student billing account.
    • You will receive an official e-bill notification via your University of Minnesota email account.
    • The deposit due date is noted on your e-bill and is due prior to the release of financial aid.
    • The remainder of your program fee will be billed to your University student billing account and is payable via the same method and due dates as regular University of Minnesota tuition.
    • Visit One Stop for information on payment methods and due dates.

    Financial Aid & Scholarships

    • Most financial aid may be applied to study abroad. Note that May and Summer Session students must enroll in at least 6 credits to maintain minimal eligibility for financial aid.
    • University of Minnesota students are eligible for $1.5 million in study abroad scholarships. Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.
    • Attend our You CAN Afford to Study Abroad and scholarship info sessions (offered twice each semester). Check Learning Abroad Center News & Events for upcoming session times and locations.

    Cancellation Policy

    Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.
  6. Prepare

    Complete pre-application advising.

    Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.

    Important note: Enrollment on this program is limited to 25 students. Admission is granted on a rolling basis and applications are reviewed in the order that they become complete. Some programs have a history of filling to capacity prior to the application deadline, therefore applying early is recommended.

    Know the following program information, which you will provide on the online application: 

    Center Name TC Learning Abroad Ctr
    Program Name From Coal Mines to Castles: Conflicting English Identities
    Country United Kingdom

    This program has been canceled for May 2021 due to concerns related to covid-19.  


    University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Use your University of Minnesota internet ID and password to log into the Education Abroad application system. Your student account will be charged a $50 application fee.


    After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:

    • Essay

    Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.

    If you do not meet the GPA requirement for this program you may be asked for supplemental application materials.  

    After your application checklist is complete, your application is reviewed by our program team. You will be notified of an acceptance decision by email. If accepted, you will be assigned a confirmation checklist, which you will complete to confirm your participation in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, login to the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.