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This summer I completed a Learning Abroad program in London, England. I spent 6 weeks studying Shakespeare, contemporary theatre, and London history, alongside 23 other students.

I took two classes abroad, one focusing on Shakespeare and the other on contemporary theatre. Both were taught by Tim Slover who, along with Jane England, led our group on tours throughout the city that left us feeling like locals. Our professors were amazing –– they truly made the effort to connect with each and every student and were fully committed to our happiness and success in London.

As a class, we took a daytrip to Oxford to walk the same halls as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein. We also spent a long weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon, where we were free to nerd out on all things Shakespeare. Speaking of Shakespeare, one of my favorite moments on the trip was the first time I walked into the Globe theatre. For me, and I’d imagine many of my peers on the abroad program, the Globe was something I had learned about and seen images of in theatre classes since middle school. To finally step foot into the theatre and see Shakespeare performed on the stage was an almost magical experience.

When we weren’t in class or seeing shows (My favorite was the Hills of California by Jez Butterworth… which opens on Broadway in September and is 100% worth the flight to NYC) we spent time seeing tourist attractions, pieces of royal history, food markets, and gorgeous Christopher Wren architecture. These day excursions were led by our professors and many were optional so if you are willing to miss a few then you have time for weekend trips to other places or even other countries (I did a small trip to Brighton and highly recommend). However, the tours are amazing and are a free way to see top tourist attractions with a guide. If you find yourself on the Learning Abroad program, you will regret not going to as many of these tours as possible.

carn1Lauren Carn, Maria Jensen, Zoe Seare

Even with these tours, we had plenty of time to explore on our own. With our flats being in South Kensington (our neighborhood looked like it was taken straight out of Mary Poppins!), we were close to the Kensington Palace Gardens and Hyde Park. One our weekly rituals was picnicking, journaling, and reading in the park.

While this program taught me a lot about theatre texts, it also gave me insight into possible careers and what I want mine to look like. As a theatre teaching major, one of the most impactful experiences was seeing a TVY show (Theatre for the Very Young: Ages 0-3). This type of theatre is pretty hard to come by in the states and, to my knowledge, nowhere in Utah, but is very supported in the UK. I got special permission to sit in on a baby opera performed by a company I had recently done a report about in a class from a previous semester. Seeing "You are the Sun" performed by HurlyBurly Theatre Company was a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about a form of theatre that I don’t have access to in Utah. I was able to speak with the company founders afterword and hear a bit on their perspective of TVY and their process of starting their company –– definitely an experience and professional contact I will take with me after graduation.

carn3Cade Freiermuth, Jack Anderson, Lauren Carn

I learned about this program by word of mouth from peers who had gone in the past. I’ve always known I wanted to do a learning abroad of some sort, and this program was the perfect fit. The program is open to all majors, even those outside of the Department of Theatre! Most participants are theatre majors, but this year we had students studying everything from art and film to nursing and political science. I found these non-theatre perspectives incredibly valuable in our post-show discussions.

To learn more about the Theatre, Fine Arts, and Humanities in London program, visit If you think a Learning Abroad is something you want as part of your education, plan ahead! The application process for the program and scholarships can take longer than you might think.

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Lauren Carn

Lauren Carn (she/her) is a theatre artist based in SLC, Utah, studying in the Theatre Teaching BFA program at the University of Utah. She currently teaches with the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program as a Drama Fellow, Studio Kids Music, Youth Theatre at the U, and Pioneer Theatre Company's educational outreach programs. Lauren is passionate about equitable access to quality arts education and the mental health benefits of participating in the arts, often participating in research projects within the field. Her work has been seen on the stages of Salt Lake Acting Company, Collide Arts Festival, and The University of Utah (Babcock and 115), among others. Lauren is excited to be continuing her career within the arts as an actor,​ k-12 teacher, and advocate.

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