In their own words

UB drama students talk about their journeys in international education

Participants in the “Theatre, Cultures and Civilizations” summer program in Romania gather in front of Bran (Dracula’s) Castle.

“Aside from exploring the culture of Romania and other parts of Europe, being able to experience a whole set of people with different mindsets was one of the best experiences of my life. First of all, the people we encountered from Romania, Hungary, Iran, Korea and China—just to name a few—have a completely different concept of history. Our entire nation’s history only goes back to the late 15th century with Columbus, but the other nations represented have a cultural heritage dating back at least two millennia. It was great to see was how theater as the language of communication was able to transcend any issues with people not knowing English, French, Korean, etc. This common love and knowledge brought together the next generation of world theater artists.”

—Matthew Gellin, BFA Theater, graduated December 2006

“The overwhelming emotional highs and lows that one can experience in the theater were confronted on this trip; you see more theater in two days than you thought you could see in two months. You’re introduced to styles of acting and performing that you’ve only read about in books. On top of all that you’re wedged onto the side of a mountain whose treasures and panoramic views are endless. It was awesome!”

—Jack Holahan, BFA Musical Theater, graduated December 2006

“The most amazing thing was getting the chance to see theater performances from all over the world. In class, I’ve studied some of the art forms of these countries, but I’ve never really experienced them up close, which was really exciting. It changed me as an actress to work on a challenging role that would be presented in front of people from more than 10 different countries. It also changed me as a person to travel somewhere unknown, become a part of a new culture and also show them what Americans can be like.”

—Stephanie Mallick, BFA Theater, graduated May 2007

“I was there to learn from others, present my work on Medea by Euripides (of which I was really proud and poured my soul into), and to learn new insights about myself for personal, professional and artistic growth. I wish that I could have done this years ago, so that all the maturity and knowledge now inside me could have been there for previous endeavors. The course on Ancient Indian Sanskrit drama was intense both physically and artistically. The coolest part was collaborating as a group of international students who speak many different languages, yet we were able to communicate through the story of Shakuntala and express it physically.”

—Amber Abdella, BFA Theater, graduated May 2007

“During the trip, I not only stayed in seven different cities throughout Romania, but I was also exposed to performances by seven delegations from seven countries. With some of these delegations, I participated in an ancient Indian theater class taught by a professor from India. This program exposed me to theater that is happening across the world without having to travel to each of these countries.”

—Drew Derek Piatek, BFA Theater, graduated May 2007

“We live much of our lives in the same towns and even on the same streets. Our friends and acquaintances are often from those same towns and streets. The Study Abroad program, however, provides a timeframe of opportunity when we can experience what Odysseus felt on his life-changing voyage. Our ship ‘Argo’ is the modern jetliner that can transport us across vast oceans to new and different lands where we can partake—just as Odysseus did—of the culture of another human society. And like Odysseus when we return we are the richer for the experience.”

—Mark F. Tattenbaum, PhD candidate in American Studies