Why Study Acting Abroad? A Drama Student’s Perspective

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Camilo Lascano Tribin is an Australian student who has recently been selected to study acting at Atlantic, a prestigious New York drama school. He tells us why making the move abroad will benefit his career.

“I was born in Bogota, Colombia and I came to Australia when I was eight years old. I’m now 22, and I’ve just finished my Bachelor of Arts majoring in History and Spanish at the University of Sydney. I was always passionate about performance, and for a long time, I wanted to be an orchestral musician – a violinist. Never did I think I’d be selected to study acting abroad one day.

“When I was 15, I started getting into musical theatre and got voice training at my high school, the Sydney Conservatorium High School (a specialist music school). I fell in love with acting when I started doing musicals. When I got to university I joined the drama society and just kept falling in love. Now I’m about to move to New York to complete an Advanced Diploma in Performance (Acting).”

Why study acting abroad?

“The reason I applied for a school in the US was that there was nothing in Australia that inspired me in terms of my education.

“Atlantic’s acting philosophy and their whole approach to the acting profession appeals to me. I really like the way the course is structured and the teaching methods they use. Also in your final semester, they teach you the business side of the acting industry and help you to make professional connections.

“I will also get the opportunity to work with some fantastic people while I develop my skills as an actor. Sam Shepard, Ethan Cohen and David Mamet are just a few of the industry professionals that you will get the chance to work with.”

What was the application process like?

“All the information I needed was online, so that was very useful. The few times I had a problem, I would email the head of admissions and she would answer me within a couple of days. The application process, including the eventual audition, was exciting and fun. The visa application process was also straightforward. Being an Australian citizen was helpful actually, as a lot of countries have good immigration policies for Australians.”

Why study acting abroad in America?

“I think Americans understand the industry a lot better than Australians do. From what I know about the leading institutions in Australia and the USA, US schools seem to provide their students with more tangible work prospects. Most schools in the USA devote classes to showing you how to go about making your own work. They teach you how to start your own theatre company, how to work at getting an agent and how to make it past the first round of an audition.

“It seems to me that the schools in the US treat acting like it’s an actual profession. You know, something you can actually make a living out of. Australian schools, at least from what I can see, are not there yet. Sure, they will teach you how to act, but they don’t seem to teach you how to be a business person and sell the product you have: you.

“I’m looking forward to being surrounded by theatre-makers 24/7. I can’t wait to live and breathe this stuff; it’s just so exciting. I’m excited about getting constructive criticism back from people that I trust and being put to the test. The challenge excites me, and at the end of it, I will be a much better performer than when I came in.”

Are you nervous about being an international student?

“I think one of the biggest disadvantages to being an international student will be the lack of support that you have in the city you are studying in. My biggest concern is financial stability and how that will affect my studies. This is because I will need to work quite hard in order to afford rent and all other living expenses while still working hard at my education.

“Most of my family has taken the news very well too, they’re very proud that I was accepted. I still haven’t told my mother, as she wants me to be a doctor like her! All my friends have been over the moon though. Mostly because they’re in the theatre as well, and they understand that this is one of the best schools in the world.

“Everyone has been very supportive and if I have a moment of doubt, they have given me the support I need. The truth is, I have no idea what to expect from this course. I don’t have a life in New York, a network or a safety net. For the months before (and after) I get there I expect to feel like I’m in no man’s land.

“I also think that leaving my very comfortable life will be a difficult aspect of international study. However, the experience and knowledge that I’ll gain from studying acting overseas will be priceless.”

Enjoyed this article? Why not check out our other alumni stories.