The GoGlobal Blog

Author: Taylor Utzig

Taylor Utzig is a Junior at Loyola University Chicago studying theatre and journalism. She is honored to be studying acting at the London Dramatic Academy at Fordham University's London Centre. Taylor is from south central Wisconsin and enjoys spending time with her family, including her one and a half year old nephew. Her other interests include reading, golfing and spending time with her sorority sisters in Alpha Delta Pi. She hopes to pursue a career in either acting or broadcast journalism after graduation.
Taylor’s New Jumper

Taylor’s New Jumper

So, it’s that time again for me to update you on all of my adventures over here.

Since coming back from Denmark, I’ve been keeping busy working on scenes and classes and that dreaded task of looking for an apartment and internship when I get back to Chicago.  But, I have had some fun, as well!

I did finally live out my childhood dream of visiting Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studios.  It was actually magical.  We drank butterbeer, rode brooms, visited Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, and, of course, the Great Hall. To give some perspective of how much fun we had, we stayed for 5 hours.  I’m happy to say I will be returning with my parents when they visit.harrypotter

A few of us also took a day trip to Oxford where we explored some of the more famous colleges and landmarks there.  We found Harry Potter magic there, as well, ironically.  Much of the architecture for Hogwarts was inspired by colleges at Oxford or even filmed there.  You might recognize this staircase from the second movie 🙂  If we weren’t big enough nerds already, we worked on a Lord of the Rings puzzle as we ate lunch at the Eagle and Child pub, where J. R. Tolkien used to frequent with C. S. Lewis.


Oh! I almost forgot to mention that we went to Brighton!  Wow, we’ve done a lot in the last few weeks.  Despite it being a bit chilly, I was so happy visiting the ocean.  The best part was definitely the Pier and boardwalk.  We rode all of the carnival rides multiple times, ate sugary and fried junk food, played arcade games, and enjoyed just being kids for a night.  It was definitely a much needed escape from the stress we have been under recently.


In the last 7 days, I have seen a record 5 shows!  Started off Monday seeing Harvey. Tuesday was musical night with Miss Emily and Miss Saigon.  After a short break, I went to see 3 new monologues by Peter Barnes at Trafalgar Studios on Friday.  Saturday, all of us adventured out to Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon and saw the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Jew of Malta.  And today will be the fifth of the last 7 days as my roommates and I see Kevin Spacey in Clarence Darrow at The Old Vic. I think I’ve fulfilled my quota of theatre.


Stratford was delightful.  It’s a rather quaint town with lots of small shops and tea rooms. It was relaxing to do some light shopping as we visited the historical houses and churches, including visiting the cursed Shakespeare grave at Holy Trinity Church.  Although out of all of it, I most enjoyed afternoon tea at the Anne Hathaway tea room, complete with dainty cakes, scones, clotted cream, and all of the finger sandwiches I could eat.


It’s starting to reach the end of the program and all of us are starting to realize we only have a few more weeks here. This next weekend we have a four-day break for the Easter holiday and I’ll be taking my last solo excursion to Edinburgh and St. Andrews to visit my friend Meghan. I recently learned that St. Andrews is not only the place where Prince William met Princess Kate Middleton, but is apparently where golf was invented!  There will be many pictures of golf courses.

Lastly, I got a new jumper from Primark.  It’s perfect for the drizzling spring days that are becoming more frequent as it gets warmer and warmer here.


Note: A jumper is a sweater.  A sweater to the Brits is a sweatshirt.  It’s confusing to me, too.

A Spring Break Full of ‘Hygge’

A Spring Break Full of ‘Hygge’

God efftermiddag!

I just returned  from a wonderful mid-semester vacation in Denmark!  (hence, the Danish greeting)  I stayed with a former Rotary Exchange student of my family, Karoline, her husband, Mads, and their two daughters, Silke and Rosa.  My five days with them were filled with relaxing on their family farm, puzzles at their beach house on the North Sea, and just experiencing the true Danish culture.


Besides also catching up on sleep, I accompanied both Karoline and Mads to the classes they teach in the town of Skjern.  As both an aspiring journalist and university student, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see the inner-workings of the Danish education system.  It was amazing to see Karoline’s work teaching refugee students the Danish language, helping them acclimate to the local culture.  I was able to not only sit with them and work on my basic and very limited Danish skills, but also interact with them one-on-one.  Let me explain…

There was a Colombian woman in my learner class who spoke Spanish.  It was apparent just watching her from across the room she was comprehending hardly anything the instructor said.  When we went on break, I mentioned off-offhandedly I spoke a bit of Spanish.  For the rest of the day, I sat with the Colombian woman translating instructions and teaching her how to use a computer, for I’m pretty sure she has never seen one in her life.  And she is only one of the thousands of refugees the country takes in everyday.  It’s inspiring. The social system in Denmark, while it may still have its kinks, is astounding in its ability to educate and provide opportunity to every one of its citizens. But I digress…

Trying to speak Danish is incredibly difficult!  I picked up a lot on my visit, but it has to be one of the hardest languages to pronounce.  Karoline and Mads definitely humored my attempts 🙂   Although, it’s not imperative to learn Danish when you visit anyways since nearly all students are required to learn English.

In Denmark, I also found out that I love Danish food.  Karoline made it her mission to cook authentic Danish dishes for me almost every night, including making a full Christmas feast with pork roast, three kinds of potatoes, and my new favorite dessert, rice pudding with cherry sauce! For people unfamiliar with Danish culture, pork and potatoes are the main food staples.  And for people unfamiliar with my eating habits, I LOVE pork and potatoes.  I’m also  a new fan of the Danish brew, Carlsberg.  I was pretty happy about the situation.


Overall, my trips were filled with hygge.  ‘Hygge’ is a Danish word meaning the warmth of spending good time with good friends.  Karoline explained it to me on my very first night, sitting in front of a fire sipping wine in their beautiful farmhouse. It’s a Danish word that has no English equivalent and describes perfectly my time in Denmark.




Scones and Clotted Cream

Scones and Clotted Cream

   Well, I suppose another update is required. It is now the sixth week of the 14-week theatre conservatory and just about mid-term season. Yet, even with homework and exhaustion bearing down on all of us, we are still enjoying ourselves in our beautiful European home. And, of course, working hard and learning lots!

In the little free time I have had, I’ve been able to explore even more of London, including St. Paul’s Cathedral and Kensington Palace, home of Prince William and Princess Kate. While touring the palace, my friend Meghan and I learned all about the romantic tale of Queen Victoria and King Albert, who, suffice to say, have become my favorite monarchs. It inspired us to watch Young Victoria, a film starring Emily Blunt about Victoria’s rise to the throne and her relationship with Albert, on Britain’s Netflix directly after and make a trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum.


During our time at St. Paul’s Cathedral, we went on bit of an adventure, climbing over 300 steps to the very tip-top of the dome to overlook the city. As a person who is rather fearful of heights, I was very impressed that I made it all the way up, even though that did include some gentle urgings by Meghan along the way. But the view was worth it J


Four friends and I also made a quick trip to Amsterdam for a weekend! Unfortunately, it was by bus, which took 11 hours one way and required a ferry… However, in the end it was an enjoyable experience. While there, we visited the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House (or huis as the Dutch spell it), and the Royal Palace of Amsterdam! We also made the decision to pay for a canal boat tour, which was one of the best choices of the trip as we were able to learn much more about the architecture and history of the city we would have missed otherwise.


The list of plays I have seen is becoming overwhelmingly long; I have somehow already written more than 50 pages in my dramatic criticism journal! Anyways, some of my recent favorites have been Billy Elliot, How to Hold Your Breath, The Nether, and The Grand Tour. And, I can finally cross “seeing a play at the Globe Theatre” of my bucket list, since we saw The Changeling by John Middleton there last week.

Amidst everything, I taught myself how to make scones and they are delicious.  When you eat scones here, the popular thing to spread on them is jam and what is known as clotted cream.  I’m not sure how to describe it besides saying it is a magical invention that is similar to butter and whipped cream, in essence, heaven.  I can’t believe it is not a thing in the United States and I will do everything in my power to recreate it when I return!


Anyways, next week, I am looking forward to spring break, which starts on the 28th.  I will be traveling to Denmark to visit a family-friend, Karoline, and her beautiful family. So, you can expect pictures of the Danish countryside and seaside in the next posting. Until then!





Fun U.K. Fact! The Welsh (people from Wales, hope you know that, but just in case) call microwaves “poppity-pings”

More tea, please!

More tea, please!

If I thought I was busy the first week in London, my goodness, was I mistaken! The last week and a half, the London Drama students and myself have seen three more shows, made a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath, and visited Platform 9 ¾!


The city, while particularly gloomy this time of year, has been relatively splendid for all of my adventures thus far. Stonehenge was magnificent! For a bunch of really old rocks, they held a beautiful prestige that was fascinating to learn about. Definitely a place worth visiting when traveling to the United Kingdom, if just to learn a little about the incredible history of the land.


A place I also look forward to returning to is Bath! If I hadn’t known I was in England, I would have thought I was walking down the streets of an Italian city. The 18th century Georgian architecture was beautiful in its simple elegance. We made sure to make stops at the Royal Crescent, Circus, and Abbey of Bath, but waited to see the Roman Baths later when I return with my parents. While in Bath, I treated myself to a traditional English steak pie at the Georgian Teahouse with Elli and Emily, two women who are rapidly becoming my very close friends.


Oh, and the tea! I now understand what all the fuss is about! I have gone from a two-cups-a-day coffee drinker to not being able to function without my habitual cup of English breakfast tea. Before I know it, I’ll be eating scones and clotted cream every day. Of course, coming from Wisconsin, I’ve always been a fan of fish fry, but it is true; the English know how to do bloody good fish and chips.

Apart from London, I am happy to have finally booked most of my travels around Europe. I will be traveling to Scotland over Easter to visit my friend, Meghan, at St. Andrews, Denmark over spring break to visit a longtime family friend Karoline and her beautiful family, and in about ten days four friends and I will be making a quick jaunt up to Amsterdam! We’ve already booked our tickets to the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh museum, two places I have always longed to see. And, if the weather is nice, we will hopefully be either renting bikes or traveling along the canals to see all the different sites.

I can’t forget about classes… They have been amazingly insightful. By far, my favorite classes have been Shakespeare, Voice, and Stage Combat. My Shakespeare teacher, Zoey, casually dropped the bomb on us yesterday that her mentor was Woody Allen… WOODY ALLEN! And she’s a mentor at RADA, the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts, just the premiere school that any actor worth his salt would kill to attend: no big deal. Since I’m on the topic of teachers, my audition tutor also has an impressive resume, having performed at the Globe and mentored Eddie Redmayne, the star of the new film, the Theory of Everything. LDA has really brought in the best of the best and I am so ecstatic to have the opportunity to learn everything I can from them during the next 12 weeks!


Until next time,


For those who are interested, here is the running list of shows I’ve seen in London so far:

  •  Hamlet at the Baron’s Court Theatre
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers at the National Theatre of London
  • Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime at the Gielgud Theatre
  • Islands at the Bush Theatre
  • The Ruling Class at Trafalgar Studios

…and we will be seeing The Bull tomorrow night!

‘Ello Chaps!

‘Ello Chaps!

Hello there from across the pond!

It’s been a week and a half since arriving and already there have been so many adventures.

Despite the nagging exhaustion of jet-lag the first few days, the other students of the Fordham London Centre program and I wasted no time setting out to explore the beautiful city.


After some brief orientation to our housing and on-site campus at Heythrop College in Kensington, we set out in groups to explore the city’s best and most famous pubs.  Of course, there was a bit of drinking, but many of us were much more excited to see the exquisite landmarks of the city.


To say we do a lot of walking is an understatement!  The London Dramatic Academy, the program I am involved in, is housed 20 minutes from campus.  And even though it would be easier most days (especially the rainy ones) to ride the bus, walking is really the best way to see many of the beauties of London.  However, the double-decker bus also offers a pretty spectacular view of the city.

And I can’t forget about the tube!  It has already been a most important for transporting me to theaters on the South bankside of London.  The other LDA students and I have already been able to visit the Rose and Globe theatre, two theatre known specifically for their relationship to Shakespeare.  We also attended a performance of Behind the Beautiful Forevers at the National Theatre.

Along with visits famous theatrical landmarks and walks around areas such as Kensington Gardens, we also have classes.  Unlike typical study abroad programs, LDA is a rigorous conservatory.  We meet five days a week, usually from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Our classes include acting, Shakespeare, physical movement, period dance, speech and dialect, voice, dramatic criticism, stage combat, and various workshops throughout the semester.

Even though the schedule is demanding and often exhausting, the first week has been enlightening, fun and by far one of the most involved theatrical experiences of my life.

I could go on and on about all of the wonderful things we have gotten to do in the last several days, but I will refrain for now.  There will be more to expound upon in the next weeks I am sure as I continue my British explorations.

So for now, Cheerio!