UCLA: Shakespeare in Stratford and London

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UCLA's English Department offers a delightful summer in Stratford-upon-Avon and London studying the works of William Shakespeare. During this intensive, month-long program you will read and analyze multiple plays and you’ll see performances by the esteemed Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, Shakespeare’s birthplace, and at the Globe Theatre in London. You’ll also meet the actors, directors, and crew involved in these performances.

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  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.3
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best. Experience. Ever.

I would 100% recommend this trip. Seeing performances of Shakespeare done by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and at the Globe Theater would alone make this trip worth it. Add in the wonderful professor, the amazing sights in Stratford and London, the manageable amount of schoolwork... every aspect of this trip was wonderful.

Day-to-Day: Generally we would have 2-3 hours of class in the morning, and the rest of the day to explore. As a class we saw ~6 plays (most at night, some were matinee) together.

Free Time: There was a lot of free time throughout the trip. After class it was our decision to do whatever we wanted. We had one completely free weekend in London, and I think 2 other free days. There was always so much to do. Most of us saw additional Shakespeare plays at the RSC (student tickets are ridiculously cheap at only 5£) and several musicals or other performances in London (which were more expensive but still within budget).

If you want to have the best time of your life, go on this trip! Even if you're not that interested in Shakespeare (actually, especially if you're not interested in Shakespeare!) this experience will change your mind because there is nothing more entertaining than well performed Shakespeare.

What would you improve about this program?
It is a lot of money to go on this program, but that's how it will be with every study abroad trip. It's still worth it!
1 person found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

You won't regret it!

This past summer I completed this wonderful program, and I have to say it was the best trip I've taken! As a theater major, I found this to be a particularly beneficial study abroad. Although the program is centered around English-Lit, I would argue that it is just as much centered around theater in London. The curriculum is based on the current summer season of plays being performed in both London and Stratford. Essentially, you read a play, use class time to discuss history and textual analysis, and then go to see the plays with everyone else on the trip. The venues that the program attends are the best in England. The RSC, the National Theater in London, and the Globe Theater are comparable to our Broadway. The shows are THAT amazing! If you are a theater student, studying Shakespeare is incredibly important. This program will definitely get you familiar and comfortable with the text. Likewise, if you are an English major, the program will challenge you to look at the text through performance and theatrical analysis. Apart from the academic side, you will have so much fun in England! Art museums, pub-crawls, hiking the rolling hills, getting to know the RSC actors at the Dirty Duck... Trust me, you will have so many stories when you return to the states. BUT you won't know until you go! If you want to visit a great English speaking country and have an amazing summer, do this program!

1 person found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The start of a theater addiction...

This trip is an credible opportunity for English majors from the entire UC system, not just UCLA. You'll stay in Stratford-upon-Avon (and after a week, you'll OWN that town) and London--a good pairing that lets you see more of England than you might otherwise. You have class almost every day from 11-3, and section maybe twice a week, so there is a lot of free time to roam/read/rage/whatever.

The best and most underpublicized aspect of the program is Professor Post's relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford. You see every play you read, even in London, but in Stratford you get to discuss the theater business with actors, costume designers, directors, and media relations (Hi Cath!). The theater experience was unlike anything else I've ever done, and all of us saw as much theater as we could outside of scheduled visits.

As far as the teaching staff goes, we only had Professor Post last year, and he was fantastic. Let's be real... most people don't want to work that hard on a study abroad program. He gets that, and our entire grade was based on 3 straightforward tests, participation, and 3-4 basic response papers from section. Post is a great professor for this program because he understands that he's living with you and understands how to make himself accessible without letting you knock on his door. I really appreciated his knowledge of the material and the areas we lived, and he always gave us good advice!

Though the TA probably changes from year to year, Megan was great and definitely got us to get our hands dirty with the theater aspect of the program. She was also very knowledgeable about Renaissance drama and graded fairly.

Bottom line: if you can go, do it. If you need to do summer school, do this instead. If you want to go abroad but your parents want you to go to school, do this instead. Studying English? Theater? Comm? Phy/Sci? Do it.

1 person found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Shakespearience

I loved the Shakespeare program in Stratford and London! Professor Post was so entertaining and made learning about Shakespeare easy! The shows were fabulous! This is one of the easiest and most stimulating
classes at UCLA.
I became close with all of the students in my program and now when I take an English class I always have someone to study with!
You stay in two different hotels and both provide breakfast and on show nights you also get dinner! This really reduced the expenses of buying food.
We were able to take day trips to Oxford and Bath and I took a weekend trip to Brighton.
If you are an English major and looking to get finish your 1500-1700 requirement, DO THIS TRAVEL STUDY!

What would you improve about this program?
Our year, the Olympics were going on so we were in Stratford more than unusual and were only in London for a week. That was unfortunate because Stratford is adorable, but very small and got boring quickly. I would love it if we could spend more time in London, but I understand that the hotel is more expensive there.
1 person found this review helpful.