65 Years | 65 Faces of IES Abroad – Acclaimed Writer John Irving

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Ashley Houston
December 14, 2015

“I've always had an interest in other countries and other places, and surely the experience of living abroad for the first time, of living in a place where English was not the first language, of feeling the foreignness was an experience that I repeatedly have sought in my life...I can't imagine what my perspective on writing or the world would be if I hadn't gotten so outside myself.”


As an Academy Award-winning screenwriter and acclaimed novelist, John Irving has given us The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, and now, Avenue of Mysteries. An IES Abroad Vienna alumnus (1963-64), John’s time studying abroad enabled him to not only grow as a person, but his experience also influenced his perspective on writing and the greater world around him. John says, “What I loved about Vienna, frankly, was being alone. I've always felt like I don't belong where I'm from or where I live.”

John also shared that he almost missed out on studying abroad in Vienna thanks to a crush he had on a girl in college. We’re sure glad he didn’t!

Read our full interview with John!


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Ashley Houston

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