Thaddeus is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2017, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A BFA major at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, he is studying abroad in London this semester.
In his first post, Thaddeus talks about how his study abroad in London motivated him to save money, eat healthy, travel to Italy, and immerse himself in classical texts.
Well, here we go.
When I was deciding on where to go to college, I knew that I needed to find a program with some sort of global perspective opportunity. Luckily, the University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA Actor Training Program requires its students to study abroad as part of the curriculum and degree requirements. After hearing about that opportunity, I immediately knew that this program was the strongest choice for me as an artist.
While it seems like forever ago that I started my collegiate education, it's now finally time to cash in (quite literally) on my study abroad experience. I remember discussing with my mother how different the culture was going to be from the typical American experience, and we both decided to team up and go to Italy for two weeks before my program start date so that we could have a taste of an intense EU culture and experience.
Thus, Buona Sera, as I write this from Italy! This is my first time ever traveling abroad (if you don’t count Canada). I never quite had the opportunity to travel abroad before I turned 20, since financing trips abroad was always a complication for my family. But having this trip as a requirement for my degree completion that I didn't have a choice in, turned out to be a great motivator!
My degree program requires us to go to London to further our work on studying performance techniques for classical texts such as Shakespeare and Restoration plays. I am really looking forward to seeing productions staged at the Globe Theater, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Donmar Warehouse to hopefully get a glimpse into the evolving performance practices of classical theater. Perhaps those experiences will better inspire me to find ways to bring dense classical texts back to an American community - and make these plays feel like a communal experience rather than a paid individual experience.
Financing this trip has been very challenging since college costs in America itself are criminal. But luckily, I was able to get aid by applying for scholarships through CAPA and the Study Abroad Center at the University of Minnesota. A huge shout out to them for bridging my hop across the pond! In addition to this, I had to focus heavily this summer on making money, and more difficult part, saving money.
This summer I budgeted myself only $200 to live off of each month. While that sounds difficult (and it was at first) I eventually found tricks to spend only $40 every week and a half for groceries. I borrowed Timothy Ferris' diet plan from his book The Four Hour Body.
"Wait ... Thaddeus, are you telling me you found a way to eat healthily AND save money for Europe AND lose some weight?"
If I was serious about saving money this summer to study abroad, why not find a healthy way to do it? My diet consisted of lentils, black beans, pinto beans, eggs, spinach, flax seeds, and chicken for three months. I know, it's not the gourmet McDouble that everyone in America cherishes, but it works! And you get one binge day to eat whatever you want! (Okay so maybe $45 if you add on a large weekly bubble tea binge day). I was able to consistently save money to pay rent, eat well, and save for my semester abroad.
The reason I like to share that is because it gave me a good meal system that I can carry with me to Europe, where groceries can be more expensive across currencies. That way, I hopefully won't use my entire stipend on groceries and can use it for other experiences!
So if you are a college student looking to save money for a trip to Europe but also are looking for that Zac Efron beach bod, Beans and Greens are the way to go.
I am very excited to begin my journey in London, which I'm sure by now is a stigma amongst most students studying with CAPA this semester. However, for American students, study abroad semesters are very rare opportunity that should not be taken for granted.
Europe is home to many of the ancient civilizations that created what we know as the "United States" today. I think that studying the art and culture of this region can give students a much stronger global perspective and allow us to build more informed thoughts and opinions about our own culture (of what little we may have). This will possibly allow us to find new innovative ways to approach our trades.
Now I just have to actually get to London... Until next time!
Thaddeus's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.