Destination Theatre: Another Challenge

At first sight, Destination Theatre looked like too big a challenge for me. It took me a great deal of time considering if I should take this course or not. But in the end, I decided to take it. After all, coming to Canada from South Korea and studying at Western was already a challenge for me. In fact, everything I had to go through in Canada was a challenge. Not only studying and doing assignments, but also going to restaurants and trying to order things without stuttering, calling the bank to figure out what happened to my money, and of course, seeing plays and never figuring out what the characters are saying to each other. Such challenges are stressful, but they never are impossible to overcome, and in the end they improve me. So why not go through another?

The reason I was attracted to Destination Theatre was because I thought the course will allow me to experience studying theatre abroad with a whole group of other students (and a professor) with a common interest (I am technically already abroad, but you know what I mean). It is a rare opportunity to meet a group of people that are interested and passionate about theatre, and discuss the plays we were able to see together. It seemed like an opportunity I should not miss. I hope to hear from a lot of different perspectives, and share my perspective as well.

The first thing I hope to get from our time in London is the courage to continue studying theatre. I am of course very much interested in theatre, and have been planning my career in the theatre industry. However, as an art-loving woman from a country that is misogynistic and does not encourage art, an inevitable depression has clouded me lately. I hope the experience in London, UK will ignite my passion once more and give me the strength to keep on my path.

Another thing I hope to get is friends. It is not easy to find people with common interests, but I think it is even more difficult when your interest is theatre. This is a precious chance to spend a lot of time with people who are not only insightful, but also are in love with theatre. I hope that we will get a lot of time to talk and become friends with each other.

My biggest fear is that, because of my lack of proficiency in English, that I might not be able to understand all the performances we are going to see. It is an obstacle I find very difficult to overcome, and I am afraid such difficulties will keep me from contributing insightful thoughts to the class or even understanding what the class is discussing in the first place. For the same reason, I am also concerned that I might not be able to understand the contexts of some lines in the plays. I hope I will be able to overcome at least a portion of it by engaging in more conversations with my classmates.

Art Over Adversity

I have always wanted to study internationally for a while, however I noticed that there weren’t many worthwhile abroad opportunities for humanities students. One morning I came across a promotion e-mail from the department of humanities at Western. My first reaction was like ummm this sounds dope! I honestly didn’t even think that my application would be considered as I am not in the Theatre Studies program at Western. But I thought ah what the heck, let me give it a shot! And about a month later I got an e-mail with my acceptance to the course! It sounds pretty silly that I was so excited for a course – but like, it’s THEATRE… in ENGLAND.

I have to be honest, after taking in that I was going to UK… I got a little hesitant. There’s an uncomfortable amount of Islamophobia and hate crimes in that part of the world, which for me, opened room for doubts about this trip. However, as a student eager to learn more knowledge from all different parts of the world, no matter how challenging – I know travel can be very empowering. There are bigots and racists everywhere in the world, and as a person of colour, I know I have to be prepared for that – and growing up as a visible racial minority, certain upsetting encounters have already prepared me for the most part. It’s unfortunate to see that a place as beautiful as England, with all of its artistic and literary glory (I wouldn’t say fully attractive – as romanticizing imperialism and exploitation is never cute!), has major social setbacks… but I guess that can be said about most places.

On a more positive note! One thing I will definitely be observing is the art and culture throughout London. While I am looking forward to just enjoying the art for what it is in the moment, I will have to be taking lots of photos for my final project so I have some content and authenticity to work off of (stay tuned to see some dope art visuals created by yours truly!).

I travel quite a bit and one thing I have noticed over the years is that I tend to compare different cities… a lot. Comparing the diversity or lack thereof, the warmth one may or may not feel from its people, the hustle n bustle or slowness, the billboards, the quirky advertisements, the independent coffee shops, the number of stray cats I can spot, subway musicians playing all sorts of instruments that I never knew existed, hidden art murals, vintage record shops… OKAY, you get the picture. That being said, I’m hoping to find a little bit of beauty in both London and Stratford – which I am sure will not be hard to come across!

Although this trip definitely put a strain on my finances for the year, I know it will all be worth it! I’m looking forward to spending time with my classmates and getting to know them better as well. One of my English professors at Brescia told me that I must check out The Tate Gallery as it has a TON of breathtaking art – so if anyone wants to tag along with M.J. and me, please do! Overall, I am super pumped to soon be in England and can’t wait for the opportunities in store for all of us!