My Study Abroad Essay

There is something to be said about the fact that I learned to read at a very young age. Perhaps it is not entirely true that it changed the course of my life, but I can say for certain that it opened up a world vastly different from my own earlier, I think, than my parents intended. Instead of Sesame Street, I watched documentaries about the great princes of Egypt and the deep jungles of Africa. Instead of reading Where The Wild Things Are, I read the great classics and dreamed of the day that I too could travel and write great books.
For me, England has always held a special fascination. Some of my favorite memories are of warm summer nights spent pouring over Charles Dickens’ accounts of London and dreaming of spending foggy nights solving mysteries out on the moors with Sherlock Holmes and Watson. This is why, 17 years from that day when I awkwardly stuttered out the first few lines of my first read words, I am struggling to choose the right words to express how deeply I want to study abroad in England.
My decision to study abroad has not come lightly. As a theatre major, my classes are only a part of my education–the productions I audition for and participate in also become part of my learning process as an actress. Giving up an entire season was not a decision I made lightly, but I know that the opportunities I will have in England far outweigh a few lines on my resume. As a life long lover of Shakespeare, I cannot begin to describe my excitement at the prospect of literally walking in his footsteps and studying where he lived and worked.
Many of my friends and family have asked me why I have chosen to study at Edge Hill University rather than in London. There are many reasons, from the differences in culture and town living to Liverpool being chosen the 2008 culture capital of England. (Also, as a huge Beatles fan, I am not opposed to living only 20 minutes away from the birthplace of their music!) I also especially liked the fact that Edge Hill has a dance and costuming program, two things I greatly enjoy doing both as a past time and as part of my training to be an actress. Also having a quality theatre on campus (and a beautiful studio space) makes it feel more like home. In addition, I have been a writer for several years now, and when I looked at the course catalog, I was enthralled by the many writing courses and especially the cross-disciplinary courses that cater to many of my interests. I hope to leave Edge Hill with a better knowledge of British culture and British literature, especially newer authors and playwrights that I may not be exposed to here in the Midwest.
Several years ago, I had the good fortune to meet an elderly gentleman who had lived in Coventry for many years. I would pester him with questions about every aspect of English life, and he was more than happy to regale me with fantastic stories of his life and of the adventures he’d had traveling through Europe as a young man. As a young girl, I wanted nothing more to experience what he had, to see the sights that he had seen–and now I have that opportunity. I can actually see the moors that Emily Bronte told me about in Wuthering Heights, I can hear Shakespeare’s immortal words spoken on stage at The Globe, or spend the day eating real, authentic fish and chips where T.S. Elliot might have written his poems.
I think I am most excited for the little things: picking up on the differences between local accents, trying my first cup of real English tea, picking out the perfect souvenirs to take home, honing my photography skills and shopping the famous shops of London. But most of all, I’ve realized that this is my chance to finally see my dream of traveling and writing great books become a reality, and I want that more than anything.

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