Written by 1 Year Course Student Amanda Barlow
After spending five years of my life in New York studying a degree in acting and then working in the industry, I wanted to make a change and do something new. For most aspiring actresses from America, the conventional route would be to move to California to immerse oneself in all that Hollywood has to offer. But I was looking for something a little more exciting and adventurous and that is when the idea of continuing my education abroad first came to me.
After exploring the idea further it quickly became apparent that London would be a great choice. First, I am a city girl and would struggle to live anywhere that wasn't busy, multicultural and multifaceted. But beyond my own preferences, London has a global reputation for fantastic theatre, film and television. The incredible West End and the legendary Ealing Studios (alongside of course, the legacy of the Harry Potter films!) all provide prime examples.
The more I researched my year away, the more excited I started to become. The prospect of getting to grips with English styles of acting as well as developing my understanding of theatre history particularly appealed to me. I also knew that I would always stand out among other American actors back home, as very few decide to take the bold step to discover more about their chosen profession overseas.
After sending off a number of applications to various schools, DSL invited me to a recall audition. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to audition in New York but because I was doing so, I had to audition by myself instead of with a group as is normal protocol. At first this daunted me but while I found the one on one interview process very challenging, it was also immensely enjoyable. And later I grew to learn that the attention that I had received at audition was the same level that I would be given on a daily basis at DSL.
I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous about coming over to the UK. I had no idea what a Cornish pasty was or why anyone thought black pudding was a good idea. I was also acutely concerned that my accent would give me a disadvantage or that, worst case, I'd be eating my lunch alone in the bathroom like a scene out of Mean Girls. I was wrong on both accounts. DSL teaches you that it's what makes you different and unique that gets people interested. The students and the faculty alike have been incredibly welcoming and friendly. The international transition could have been overwhelming at times, but DSL has made every effort to make it easy for me. I know that studying here was the right choice and a decision I will be thankful I made for years to come.