Economics in Cambridge

28 September 2021

A Discussion with Faculty Director Michael Hemesath

Economics in Cambridge
Michael Hemesath, Faculty Director

What inspired you to propose and plan the Economics in Cambridge program? What did you want to accomplish?

The Economics in Cambridge program has been around since the late 1980s. I first hosted it in 1992, and this summer (Summer 2022) will be my eighth time running the program.

When I first came to Carleton, I had done a bit of work abroad for my dissertation. I was very interested in learning more about off-campus opportunities for Economics students, so when my colleagues informed me that there was an existing Carleton-led OCS program focused on British economic history and the Industrial Revolution, I leapt at the opportunity to be involved. 

England, being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, is the perfect place to study the field of economics. Since getting involved with the program, I have aimed to provide Economics in Cambridge participants with an immersive, engaging history of British economics and to encourage them to consider the role that economics and institutions play in today’s modern society.

What does a typical day look like on your program?

There are two “types” of days that one can expect from the Economics in Cambridge program. 

The first are the traditional “classroom” days, where students attend morning lectures taught at the University of Cambridge. Afternoons will often be spent studying and/or exploring the social and cultural life of Cambridge. 

Secondly, a few times each week, the group will go on planned, course-related excursions in the Cambridge/Oxford/London vicinity. These might include a visit to the Mini Cooper factory (an example of a multinational corporation) or a trip to Stratford to study Shakespearean literature and/or see a play. A few larger excursions (to the British Midlands, where the Industrial Revolution began, for example) will also take place. 

What makes this program different from other programs like it?

Carleton’s Economics in Cambridge program is an excellent program both for students who have had previous travel experience, and for students who are newer to the international travel scene. Cambridge is a safe, fun, and absolutely fascinating environment in which to learn about culture, history, and economics. 

What are the benefits to housing students in the University of Cambridge?

Students in the Economics in Cambridge program will be housed in one of the colleges at the beautiful University of Cambridge. They will get to experience what life is like for British undergraduate students and see how universities are structured in the United Kingdom, as opposed to here in the United States. 

What advice would you give to students to encourage them to study abroad during their Carleton career? What benefits do you see to the experience in general?

If you’re at Carleton, you are probably already a good student. You probably already have a desire to see new places and learn new things. Studying abroad is the perfect opportunity to stretch these desires to new levels. 

Furthermore, by choosing to go on a Carleton-specific study abroad program, you will undoubtedly forge close friendships with other members of the Carleton community–friendships that will continue even after the program ends.

Michael Hemesath is a Professor of Economics. He has been teaching at Carleton College since 1989.