Student Voices – Finding Inspiration On & Offstage with an IES Abroad London Alum

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IES Abroad
July 23, 2019

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IES Abroad Social Media Correspondent Hope JohnsonHope Johnson, currently participating in an internship in London, had the opportunity to cross paths with alum Sarah Kosar (IES Abroad London, Spring 2009 | The Pennsylvania State University), who is now living her dreams as a critically-acclaimed playwright in the U.K.

Hear how Hope was inspired by Sarah, who chased her dreams to stay in the city she fell in love with while studying abroad.

A few weeks ago, I was inspired. I had the opportunity to attend a play written by an IES Abroad alum Sarah Kosar that was playing at The Yard Theatre. As a Social Correspondent for IES Abroad, I was surprised one afternoon with an offer to attend the show in my inbox. I quickly jumped on the opportunity to go see what Armadillo, Sarah’s play, was all about. Armadillo was intense from start to finish, featuring a kidnapped girl, an anxiety-inducing marriage and a woman who feels unsafe with guns. The performance was equally powerful and technically impressive. I held my breath (and my friend I got to bring along) throughout the play and only finally began to relax on the way home. Sarah’s play was fantastic, and London critics agree. I was very impressed.

What was even more impressive to me, though, was Sarah’s story. My friend and I had the opportunity to meet her before the show as she mingled with guests and friends in the unique and lovely Yard Theatre. I learned that as a student in the United States, Sarah attended the IES Abroad London Theater Studies Program and fell in love. It didn’t take long for her to realize that London was where she wanted to be. And, standing in front of me, with yet another play showing in London (which was extended at The Yard, I might add), she really had done it. She had chased her dreams, and here she was. I enjoyed hearing her story and soaking up her wisdom. 

Meeting Sarah reminded me of so many things. First, to chase your dreams no matter how big (or far away) they might seem. I had been considering graduate school in the United States for some time, but after falling in love with London, I’ve started exploring graduate school options here in the U.K. I’m not ready to commit to moving here permanently, but I do know that I need to spend more time in this beautiful place. I’ve set up a tour [at a graduate school] in two weeks. I think Sarah is to thank for some of that confidence that propelled me to set up the appointment.

Second, there are so many people who have participated in IES Abroad programs before me, and there are many more who will participate after. And, of course, there are the friendships I’ve cultivated over the last month and a half with the other members of my program. The network that comes from a community like this one is almost as valuable as the experience itself. I left the experience feeling lucky - for this new community I’ve gained over the course of two months, for a possibly life-changing decision to tour graduate schools that was inspired by an IES Abroad alum’s success story and for this adventure of a lifetime I’ve been living. 

Hope Johnson, IES Abroad Social Media Correspondent 

Hope Johnson is a senior studying Art and Journalism at the University of Missouri. Currently, she is interning at Mediablaze, a London content marketing agency, as part of the IES Internships London Summer Internship Program. She works as a content intern and specializes in graphic design and social media for the company. She is also a social media correspondent for IES Abroad. Follow along on her London study abroad experience by following on Instagram.

Feeling inspired? Read our other London Correspondent's take on Sarah's play in the blog post, A Play Called "Armadillo" and the IES Abroad Alum Who Wrote It: Sarah Kosar.

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