By studying abroad I have become more confident in my ability to be self-dependent. Even though I am dependent at school, it was different eating, traveling, and taking care myself abroad because of the unfamiliarity of London and the group I traveled with. At school I have friends and faculty relationships to help me with any problems, and abroad that I solved most of my problems on my own. For such a small amount of time studying abroad, I was happy to realize how easy it was to make friends and relate to people so quickly. In class, especially Improvisation for Entrepreneurs, what sticks with me was that the fear of failure is not as bad as it seems, and trying new tactics on stage, no matter how ridiculous, is a sign of strength and the birth of creativity.
I have always been interested in acting for a young age but I only started pursuing to academically in the past few years. I have not had any schoolwork on voice, posture, and stage technique, but these classes have given me an understanding of how difficult it can be to do something on stage. Many improvements get a point across in theater are subtle. What these classes and my experience abroad have taught me the most is that developing a craft to a particular job is difficult but can be just as rewarding as the final product you want to show an audience. At times I would only do something to get a positive response, and if I did not I either assumed that I should completely scrap the idea I and try to get the audience to like whatever I’m doing. But attempting to act that way to me now does not seem genuine and taking the time at fine tune every little detail has been the biggest reward of this trip.
Becoming friends in a short amount of time was a lot easier than I expected. At first I was a bit worried that there were many friend groups already and that assimilating would be difficult, but everyone was warm and accepting. Whether it was at the dinner table, playing cards, or through our activities in class, you always learned something new about each individual. These opening up moments would then carry over to activities, and by the end of the first week I truly believed I made some great friends. This was important for our acting classes. On stage I felt more comfortable failing onstage, knowing that I would have the support of the audience and I would be less discourage to try something. My other fear was not being able see all the sights I wanted to due to a hectic schedule and short time abroad. While I didn’t get to visit all of London, especially West London, I am very satisfied with all the places I did see. After getting the very touristy but must see places out of the way like the London Eye and Trafalgar Square, I made it a mission to visit galleries, museums, and some of the best rated pubs in London. I could not see everything, but I was glad to accomplish what I did.
The greatest benefit to studying abroad is exploring at your own place. While the group had a common connection of being interested in entrepreneurship, everyone was interested in doing other things on their own time. Some wanted to visit art galleries, others Shakespeare plays, and some loved going to the park and enjoying the weather. Being on your own allows you to enjoy what you want at your own pace- you never feel rushed and slowed down by a professor or parent to do what you want.
My favorite experience was going to all the performances in London, but particularly the Jew of Malta on our two-day trip to Stratford. Stratford was a lovely town with such a drastic feeling to London (very peaceful and quiet). The show was the most entertaining and well acted, and the proximity to the actors gives a new perspective on how to get emotion across to the audience.
The best advice I would give is to take care of your body on the trip medically- get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated. With two weeks to go I got a fever in Stratford, and it ended up making the next five or so days miserable. While the nightlife is fun and tempting, try to limit yourself, you will end up spending a lot of money and getting home can be a pain. For the trip itself, try to see as much as you can, but do not get upset if you don’t cover all you wanted- you can always go back. Try to appreciate what is right in front of you. I expect to visit London again on my own, I love it here.
I would absolutely study abroad again and I fully expect to, whether it be a dialogue or an international co-op. I want to travel to another continent, maybe Asia or Australia. Ideally, I would be in a place that is accessible to mountains and outdoor adventure, like New Zealand, Japan, or Eastern Europe. The one thing missing from London was that nature-esc feel to it- we were completely in a city. I love cities and will probably live in one when I’m older, but there is so much natural beauty out there that I still want to discover.