As I sit in the airport to head back to New Jersey, it’s hard to even know where to begin in regards to my seven weeks abroad. Of those seven weeks, six were spent studying and interning in London, while the remaining time was spent traveling in Madrid. Although I had been abroad once before, to China, this was an entirely different experience. I was merely a visitor during my two weeks in China, but living in London for a month and a half meant that I had become a local; I mastered the tube, discovered my favorite pub and coffee shop, and developed relationships with colleagues and other Londoners. Ultimately, I developed an entire life here in London.
I found the first couple of weeks challenging, as I had to make all new friends, adapt to a new city, and balance my work load with my desire to explore. However, once I got into my groove, I was able to thoroughly enjoy my time exploring London. I had to sacrifice some time in order to get ahead on school work, but that ultimately allowed me to have a much calmer schedule in the second half of the semester.
The class I took was Shakespeare & London, which was a really awesome way to not only study Shakespeare, but also to learn about London, both currently and during Shakespeare’s time. Throughout the course, we visited Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre for three shows: As You Like it, Hamlet, and The Two Noble Kinsmen. I enjoyed seeing these plays, as they made the stories come to life, and it allowed me to appreciate how much talent it takes to turn a Shakespeare play into something that can be enjoyed and understood by nearly every audience member. In addition to seeing these plays, we were responsible for seeing one play on our own, for which I chose to see Macbeth, starring Rory Kinnear, at the National Theatre. This was also a really great experience, as I got lucky enough to find cheap seats only two rows from the stage. While my main motive for taking this course was to fulfill my literature general education requirement, it ended up being a great course in which I learned and experienced a lot.
My other course here in London was the Global Internship Program, which consisted of my internship at Clic Sargent as well as a lecture. I found the lecture to be insignificant in my development, but the internship itself was better than I could have asked. Being that there is already an entire post dedicated to my internship experience, I will avoid redundancy here. However, I must thank CAPA for connecting me with a great organization that matches my interests, and Clic Sargent for giving me an unforgettable six-week internship and immense insight into working abroad.
Aside from academics and work, studying abroad offers nearly every opportunity under the sun. For instance, I was able to travel to both Paris and Madrid from London, which were both amazing cities. Without these trips, my experience abroad would not have been the same. Moreover, these trips weren’t merely vacations, but opportunities to learn more about the culture, the history, and the language of each city and country. While traveling to other countries is the perfect way of seeing and learning new things, CAPA also provided trips within England. For instance, I got to go to Oxford, Stratford Upon Avon, Stonehenge, and Bath, all of which allowed me to see more than just London during my time here. Ultimately, while the central focus of studying abroad is the coursework, it is safe to say that even more growth and development comes from traveling, exploring, and interacting with the people and the environment. I am excited to get home, but I will definitely miss London and Europe, in general. Until next time, cheers!
Pictured: Kensington Palace, Beefeater in front of The Queen’s House at the Tower of London, Inside of Holy Trinity Church (Shakespeare’s burial place in Stratford), The Two Noble Kinsmen opening set at the Globe