Training Theatre Artists to Make a Difference
Rachel Foley is a current undergraduate majoring in Drama while pursuing her Master’s in Education. She has starred in many CUAdrama productions, most currently Witch in “Macbeth” and Nara in “Sissy: Accompanied by Johann Sebastian Bach and a Mouse.” Here is an interview describing her study abroad experience at Oxford University during the summer of 2017.
1.) What did you study while at Oxford?
While at Oxford I studied Shakespearean Performance under the tutelage of Miranda Fay Thomas at Trinity College, one of the 38 Oxford colleges. My tutorial covered five Shakespeare plays and through a culmination of productions, articles, and select readings, I wrote an analysis/social commentary on each. My final essay was a reflection on the elite title, Shakespearean Actor. Also offered through the 2017 summer program was Dr. Mack’s ENG 462 class which involved literary analysis of six Shakespeare plays. Through the WISC program, my class was actually offered the opportunity to see two of our required texts, Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Globe and Julius Caesar at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
2.) What is the most exciting thing you have done while abroad?
This program enabled me an excellent balance of work and fun. My little study abroad family and I would work all day using the incredible Oxford libraries and adorable cafes, and then go out at night to socialize. It was so exciting to discover and explore all of the fun clubs, bars, coffee shops, markets, and parks Oxford had to offer. We also planned little trips and between the 12 of us, visited Stonehenge, London, Scotland, France, Bath, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Dublin.
3.) What has been the most challenging thing about being abroad? Have you had any moments where culture shock hits you?
The most challenging aspect of any study abroad program is the isolation you experience. Because this program was so school-heavy, I spent a large amount of time by myself. I didn’t mind if I was studying or exploring but if I was procrastinating or had finished my studies before my friends, it could get very boring. I missed my twin sister tremendously and not being able to engage in “summer activities” with my friends from home was a little disheartening. We were also spending a lot of money and were not working to replenish it. I would recommend saving up for a study abroad trip so you can fully enjoy your experience on a budget, but without too many limitations.
4.) If you could give any piece of advice to a student who is interested in studying abroad, what would it be?
Do it!! It will honestly change your life. The people you travel with will soon become your best friends, and everyone is so unique and inclusive. We often had family dinner night to save money and hang out after a day of intense studying. In this environments, people who normally wouldn’t associate with each other now depend on each other to have fun and understand the culture. It is so different and worth experiencing! The independence in a new country gave the experience an elevated sense of fun. The opportunities to meet people in clubs, bars, museums, gardens, and neighborhoods are endless. When studying abroad, you gain the ability to make friends and decisions quickly and also find a better sense of yourself.
Below are some pictures from Rachel’s time abroad.
If you are interested in the study abroad programs offered at CUA, please visit: https://www.catholic.edu/academics/undergraduate/study-abroad/index.html