What is more exciting than traveling from my home in Costa Rica for the past 48 hours? Oh, yes, packing all your stuff for London on the day of your flight departure—please note the sarcasm, I hate packing. Yes, dear reader, it has been a crazy time, filled with anxiety, excitement, questions, statements (pitter-patter, pitter-patter). What a time to be alive!
My name is Paulina (they/she), and I am a senior at St. Olaf College. I am majoring in Inclusivity in the Performing Arts, a self-designed major that focuses on creating space in the performing arts for immigrants, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. The London Theater Studies program from IES Abroad is going to be an incredible opportunity to enrich my theater skills, knowledge, and overall understanding of the craft.
One of the most exciting aspects of my program is the fact that I will get to watch a theater show every week! Yes, you read that correctly: EVERY WEEK. This is a requirement for the Theater Studies program and honestly, I could not be happier. It honestly feels more like a present than a requirement. The theater world is finally awakening after a COVID-infested reality. Artists are finally back doing what they do best. It is such an honor to be not only an actor, but also an audience member. There is nothing more thrilling than the calm before a show!
Younger Paulina would have never guessed that their dreams come true. My mother and I joke about this all the time, as we are constantly surprised of the master plan created by a supernatural force (the universe/God/whatever you believe in). When I was 12 years old, I used to research and reach out to different high schools in the UK as I desperately wanted to study abroad, specifically in the UK. Schools would not reply, or I would not get any financial aid, so that dream was put away into a trunk. Until now. Little did I know I would be writing this today; as I said, the master plan was there, I just did not know the timeline.
Preparing for London has been a long process. I went from excitement to confusion to reassurance. If you resonate with this, then here are some suggestions into making your experience a little bit easier:
- Ask questions! Reach out to the IES team, peers who might have been on the program before you, or read past blogs!
- If you are a terrible packer like me (hence why I packed on the day of), watch videos on how to pack your bag for an extended period of time!
- Use the official UK visa website or Passport Index website to check if you need a visa for the UK.
- Always, ALWAYS, carry an umbrella and a rain jacket, no matter the destination. You will thank me later.
- Carry a diary and document your every thought and feeling throughout your journey, BE PRESENT!
- Lastly, have fun with the process :)
I hope these contribute to your travel preparations ;) Stay tuned for more updates on my study abroad experience!
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Paulina Morera Quesada
My name is Paulina, I am a artist from Costa Rica. I attend St. Olaf College, where I study Inclusivity in the Performing Arts. My life mission is to create inclusive spaces for people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals in the performing arts.