A Week in the Life

Now that we’ve been here a few weeks, I will try to generalize our daily life!

Midterms have ended, and finals are just around the corner. Instead of taking four courses over the course of a semester like I normally do back in Grinnell, here we are taking two courses in London and will be talking two courses plus a language course in Florence. For our London midterms and finals, we write papers for both our classes. Additional projects giving a presentation about a visual text’s narrative for our London as Visual Text class, and writing a 10-minute play for our theatre class. But both courses are heavily field trip dependent–which I love becuase it really takes advantage of living in the middle of London.
Theatrical Spaces, Enduring Questions, Changeable Lives — is the class in which we get to see so many incredible plays like Escaped Alone and This House and Curious Incident and discuss them together afterwards. It’s different from my intro to Shakespeare class (what I learned in that class definitely has been applicable to this class) I took back in the States because we focus on performance, staging, and production interpretations in addition to the actual scripts. 

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London as Visual Text: Constructions of Heritage — is where we go on so many interesting walking tours and get a taste of history and heritage from inside museums and out on the streets of London. We always go a level above what we are actually seeing and discuss the overall “narrative” of places and exhibits we go to. Professor Kennedy is quite funny and very knowledgeable; it’s great being taught by someone who’s lived in London for a while. 

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It feels like no two weeks are the same here, since we often go on field trips that change things up. Moreover, we go see a show for our theatre course on average 2 times a week, which can happen Monday-Thursday. If we did have a typical week though, it would be something like this:

Mondays:

  • 9am Theatre class begins
  • 11am Visual Text class begins
  • 12-1pm lunch
  • meet at 1 or 2pm to go on a walking tour for Visual Text class
  • May see a show

Tuesday:

  • Professor Barry (theatre class) office hours in the morning
  • at around 1 or 2pm, go on another walking tour!
  • May see a show

Wednesday:

  • No class! unless we have a theatre show in the evening.
  • May see a show

Thursday:

  • 1-3pm theatre class
  • May see a show

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

  • No class

Even though our only two days of actual “classroom” class occur on Monday and Thursday, we also spend a lot of time on walking tours, which is essentially an outdoor classroom, and watching theatre shows, each show being around 3 hours long. On the surface, this schedule looks lighter than it does during my normal semester, but every day is actually very busy for me. It’s up to you really, how much you want to push yourself everyday, but the extra time we have is often spent on exploring even more of London when not doing homework or readings. 

What is unique about our experience overall is how the classes and program are built to enable and encourage us to pursue independent travel exploration.Our visual text course doesn’t end just at the tour–walking the city with Professor Kennedy really opens up the city for us to go back to places to study more in depth for our essays and presentation. Our theatre course also teaches us how to book our own tickets and be informed consumers of theatre (of my own choosing, I’ve seen Much Ado About Nothing and Les Miserables outside of class). Furthermore, the three day weekend is a perfect chance to take trips outside the UK or to other parts of the UK. In fact, this weekend I’m flying to Edinburgh.

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