I studied abroad at Mountview Academy for the Theatre Arts, and I couldn't have picked a better place to study theatre than London. The school is one of the most prominent theatre conservatories in the UK, and the school definitely lived up to its reputation.
The students were some of the most welcoming and friendly people I had ever met. As soon as they met me, they accepted me into their family with open arms, no questions asked.
Most schools abroad are lecture based and have a pretty manageable schedule, like Tuesdays and Thursdays 11-1 and 2-4 and Mondays and Wednesdays 12 - 3 or something like that. But the schedule at Mountview was 9-6 Monday through Friday every single day. They kept us very busy. The students were all incredibly talented and the teachers were brilliant, many of them still working professional performers. Because my residence hall was so far from campus, I had to make a forty minute commute there and back. This made it a little difficult to stay in touch with my classmates outside of school.
But even so, one of the best parts about the direct enrollment program was the freedom I had. After my first day of classes, IES basically said, "There you go! Have a fun time! Call us if you need us!" and that was that! So I was free to go sight seeing, plan weekend trips like Stratford-Upon-Avon and Dublin. I got to plan my own events and live by my own ambitions.
More than a learning experience, it was a growing experience. I traveled by myself, handled clothes and expenses by myself, provided for all my meals by myself, got lost in the city and found my way home by myself. It was like a rite of passage being dropped in a different city in a different country across the sea and to be able to hold my own. Without a doubt, the best three months of my life.