A Once in a Lifetime Experience for Any Aspiring College Actor Past Review

By (Musical Theatre., University of Southern California) - abroad from 01/07/2013 to 04/13/2013 with

Sarah Lawrence College: London - London Theatre Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
On the education side, I honestly believe that I learned more in my 13 weeks at BADA than I have in 3 years at college. The professors treat you like professional, adult actors, which helps you expand and hone your craft and work ethic. Also, seeing a minimum of 8 productions and being exposed to that much theatre was very eye-opening in terms of how different cultures approach theatrical productions (and I mean, it really doesn't get any better than London theater). Life-wise, I learned more about budgeting myself and how to take care of myself without my parents being a quick phone call away. It was hard, at times, but definitely rewarding in the end.

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.

Some of the best training any aspiring college actor could receive.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They definitely didn't baby us -- we paid for our own Oyster cards, were given directions on how to get to the theatres, but were not taken there by the school, and only had a brief bus tour of London to expose us to the city. But I think that allowed all of the students to become residents in London, rather than students trapped in their own bubble, and I certainly appreciated that.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It does the job, but is not the best. Not much is provided in the way of dishes and cooking utensils. Things get broken and, while it got fixed fairly quickly, would usually not stay fixed. The internet is spotty and unreliable (and not unlimited). But you are right smack dab in the middle of Central London, and you can't really complain about that.

* Food:

Just as with everything in London, food is expensive, but living in such an international city allows you to get a taste of just about everything. Housing is located in Little Cairo, where you can get your taste of Iranian, Iraqi, Saudi Arabian, Moroccan, and Persian food. Brick Lane is the place to go for the best Indian food I've ever had. And, of course, Chinatown for authentic Chinese, and so on, and so forth. Camden Town, which is just down the street from BADA, also has a ton of cute cafes (Yumchaa and Dandelion Cafe are a must-stop) as well as the market a bit further down. Overall, you will definitely not have any problem finding good things to eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Even though we were all American students, as I above, we were definitely left to our own devices to explore the city, which I believe allowed us to feel like residents rather than students trapped inside our own bubble.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no problems whatsoever.

* Safety:

I never feel threatened, even walking alone late at night. That being said, it is a huge city, so of course there are going to be pick pockets and bad people milling about. Use common sense -- keep a hand on your purse (especially on crowded subways), don't walk alone at night, make sure you stay in lighted areas, etc, etc.

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)

As I said earlier, SAVE UP. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and it becomes all too easy to just go out to dinner or pubs every night. ASDA is a cheap delivery grocery option, while Tesco or Sainsbury's is your cheapest walk-in option (Waitrose has high-quality things, but is by far the most expensive). Make a budget for yourself at the beginning of the semester and try and stick to it as much as you can.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Over 50 pounds a week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? As I said above, buy your groceries from ASDA or Tesco. They don't really have buy-in-bulk groceries and things spoil much faster because they do not use as many preservatives in their food, so think about that before you buy 2 dozen bananas. It will be difficult, but try and make your own food as much as you can rather than going out -- getting a drink and a meal for under 10 pounds (=$16) is a steal. Usually, when I went out, I spent between 15 - 25 pounds ($24 - $40...the exchange rate ain't no joke). Once you think you can figure it out, take the bus instead of the tube. It's cheaper and sometimes it gets you there faster. And as much as you can, walk to school. Yes, it's a 40 minute trek, but it's not any faster by tube, bus, or cab, so you're either spending money to get to school or you aren't.


* 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
* 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?
  • Training
  • City Life
  • Bonding
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Just how much money I was going to spend that semester.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!