The Adventure I'd Been Waiting For All My Life Past Review

By (Bard College) - abroad from 09/01/2011 to 12/10/2011 with

Sarah Lawrence College: London - London Theatre Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I tend to dislike the term "life-changing experience", but it is perfect to describe my stay in London. I produced the best work I've ever done, fell in love with a city, saw the best theater productions I've ever seen, grew tremendously as an actor, was endlessly inspired, and came back to the States as a much-changed person. In London studying acting at this program, I was able to be myself more than I ever have been. I learned more about myself, my role as an artist, and what I want to do in my life than I have at any other given time. There is no way that I can ever fully describe the experience I had to another human being. It is one I still dream about, one I still write about, and one that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

You are working with some of the best, most respected instructors and directors in London. They will respect you if you show them the respect and effort they deserve. You will get out of this program exactly what you put into it. There are some unbelievable resources to be tapped into, but you must put in some serious effort. The best thing you can possibly do is get up every day with an open mind wondering, "I wonder what today will bring?" Many of my fellow students did not take the program seriously, and thus had an unsatisfying experience. Get rid of any expectations you may have going into the program, and accept and discover what is truly being offered. There are immense treasures to be found if you work hard (I found myself one evening in a one-on-one tutorial with a member of the original cast of Sarah Kane's "4:48 Psychosis".)

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Competent, charming, and helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Nice 12-storey apartment building with spectacular views out across London. It couldn't be more conveniently located - you can walk to almost everything.

* Food:

Ridiculously expensive but there are actually many affordable options if you know where to look and don't mind cooking your own meals most of the time. If you always eat out, you'll go bankrupt, so save it for a special occasion, buy fresh groceries at the local markets and eat like a king while filling your apartment with wonderful cooking smells.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt more at home in London than I've felt anywhere in the world. However, the program does not provide many opportunities to meet local students of similar age, so it's largely up to you to meet "natives" on your own. This can be easily accomplished in pubs, at farmer's markets, theaters and music venues, and cafes. If you're motivated you'll meet people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

London is a large city, and like all cities, there are certain areas (and situations) that can and should be avoided. If you use common sense you'll be fine.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Save a whole bunch of money before going on this program. London is very expensive and it's no fun being over there and feeling poor. Save enough to be comfortable.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200-$250
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Look for deals at grocers like Waitrose (there's often several), and shop at the farmer's markets (local, more fun, and usually a better bargain).


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The focused, inspiring environment in which to work, and the incredible local culture
  • The inherent beauty of London in the fall, and the proximity to Europe
  • The wonderful students and instructors who I grew closer to than anyone I've ever met
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing, in my opinion.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing!