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LAMDA U.K. Drama vs.uncsa

mommajingmommajing Registered User Posts: 23 Junior Member
Som has been accepted to both Uncsa and LAMDA. Both excellent schools- any feedback positive and negative about either? Down to the wire! LAMDA had him audition once and sent him to the North American recalls without other auditons or call backs. Now big decision!

Replies to: LAMDA U.K. Drama vs.uncsa

  • KTVoiceKTVoice Registered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    LAMDA has a great reputation and a decent price. Especially considering it is only a 3 year program.

    I lived in London for 10 years. and it is expensive.. but the exchange rate now is great. I would choose LAMDA over UNCSA hands down.
  • mommajingmommajing Registered User Posts: 23 Junior Member
    Did you attend a drama school there? Both are win win schools. Uncsa is a more secure campus "bubble" with great US connections. LAMDA is top flight and I would think that they are closer to the reality of the business?
    Biggest concern would be how the connections are after graduating? Or does LAMDA give your resume a special foot into the door?
  • EmsDadEmsDad Registered User Posts: 1,509 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Not trying to argue one way or the other, I think attending school in the UK would be great for an actor and offers lots of intriguing possibilities, but some things to consider:

    For many, attending school in the UK limits or precludes participation in summer stock due to scheduling difficulties, i.e., many summer stock theatres begin rehearsals before UK programs let out for the summer. And while video audition submittals are now very common, attending school in the UK makes it very difficult or impossible to attend summer stock auditions like Strawhats, MWTA's, etc. Not necessarily a deal-breaker, but something to consider. Maybe LAMDA lets out earlier than other UK programs.

    I seriously doubt that LAMDA holds any particular advantage vs. UNCSA on a resume or offers any particular advantage in getting auditions post-graduation. No doubt that there are plenty of anecdotal situations that could probably be cited to argue this point.

    It is extremely difficult for a US actor to work in the UK after graduation, but there are exceptions to every rule.

    Adjusting to college life is difficult for some students, attending a college across the pond magnifies those difficulties. For some, its an amazing opportunity, for others, it could be a disaster. At a minimum, students should recognize that they will have to be much more independent in the UK. Colleges offer much less "life support, i.e., UK students typically live off campus (sometimes many miles away in facilities shared by several different schools), cook all or almost all of their meals, have to shop much more frequently for food, laundry tends to be much more of a hassle, managing money across international boundaries can be a challenge, social life in the UK, while it may seem similar, is distinctly different than the US, etc. Even with lots of friends, it can feel very lonely living overseas.
  • mommajingmommajing Registered User Posts: 23 Junior Member
    Thanks for input.... yes summer stock is a slight issue with the semesters. And after graduating the network of people tend to travel together and live together. Might be harder when coming back to US...
  • KTVoiceKTVoice Registered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    I did not attend drama school. I do know grad's of both programs. I agree it is a very personal decision. And I would not discount the added difficulties of living in a foreign country. We might speak English on both sides of the pond...but the differences are huge. A person needs to be able to be very flexible and adaptable.

    What I would say, based on what I know about both programs, and the opportunity to go to school in the UK. I would choose LAMDA. I now live in NC, but the time I spent in London was amazing. I hope my daughter has an opportunity to study there.
  • connectionsconnections Registered User Posts: 1,327 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    I don't know if @mommajing is a real person or is posting this question legitimately as she has only 4 total posts in the past 2 years and apparently hasn't returned to this thread.

    But for anyone else who is reading this--- I just want to be clear that I'm not endorsing LAMDA over UNCSA. UNCSA Is a superlative program, and there are many compelling reasons to go there over LAMDA. Btw, total cost is less at UNCSA even with the current exchange rates and LAMDA's three year progam. My main point is that it's a very personal decision based on personal pros and cons.
  • KTVoiceKTVoice Registered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    @connections Not sure what numbers you are using. But it looks to me like tuition at LAMBDA is 18K GBP and UNCSA out of state is $22,000 USD.. so they are about the same. Of course living in England would be more expensive than NC. And if you live in NC there is no real cost comparison.

    Unless you have NC residency. I think LAMBDA would end up about the same or cheaper.

    That said @mommajing has posted in this thread three times. I don't think it is necessary to suggest they might not be a "real person".
  • bisouubisouu Registered User Posts: 2,553 Senior Member
    You get your degree in three years at LAMBDA so that is where the cost is less. If i'm not mistaken...
  • connectionsconnections Registered User Posts: 1,327 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    @KTVoice, I'm using the numbers I've spent on my son as well as LAMDA's own estimates of total cost.

    It's true tuition is inexpensive compared to an American school, but London is extraordinarily expensive. (Glasgow is much cheaper :-) Yes, it is a 3 year program, so it is not as expensive as, say, NYU Tisch, which has another year added to it. LAMDA itself estimates about $55K/year total. Like you, when I was first figuring out expenses, I thought that was an overestimate, but it's not. For room and board and other expenses, you will spend far, far more than any American college, including those in expensive American cities like LA and NYC. The recent exchange rates have eased the cost a bit but it's still very expensive.

    Obviously flights home are expensive, so you are left with either flying them home or they stay there during breaks--which is also very expensive (living in London for a month is not cheap. Indeed, my son's program ends in ate July, but he has to return in September to rehearse for the American showcase--and it is cheaper to fly him home for a month at a cost of around $1200 than it is to have him live there for a month).

    There are many difficult things, e.g. a non-citizen with no UK guarantor has to pay rent six months entirely in advance, and often has to pay an additional UK guarantor service about $1000. There are tube expenses, which are about double NYC subway costs. There are visa expenses and living expenses -- haircuts, toiletries, pharmaceuticals, clothing, household expenses, going out occasionally to a pub which is very expensive. For instance, if you're not careful, a drink can easily go for $15-$20. A single drink. A hamburger can cost $18. Obviously you can budget and never spend this money - the local grocery is fairly reasonable, and there are also pubs in which you can get a pint for $7 (still expensive!)- but as it works out practically, when you are in school 13 hours straight and a group wants to unwind in a pub afterwards, or grab a bite, sometimes you do too. Not all the time, but occasionally. And little things like these add up.

    The program is very high pressure, very intense--this is what makes it so superlative. But at the same time, it is very hard to budget rigorously while at the same working 70 hours a week in school. It is not budgeted for you as it is in an American school. You have to take care of everything--finding internet for your flat and making sure your'e there when they install it; finding a TV hookup; locating a doctor in an emergency or urgent situation and figuring out how and when to go and then what meds to buy and how to get them; using other doctors not covered in their health insurance, e.g. a chiropractor if needed. And of course if you want to travel at all anywhere - up north to visit a classmate's family, say - it is going to cost.

    Obviously UNSCA is also very rigorous and busy. But the costs of living there are far cheaper. Again, when I was first trying to figure all this out going into the program, I thought LAMDA's estimate of $55k/year was too high. Other people who'd sent their kids ahead of mine said they spent even more, $65K/year. I thought in both cases they were overestimating. They're not.

    All that said, the total cost of LAMDA and other London drama programs is still a lot cheaper, because of the 3 years, than many American BFA programs. But it is certainly more expensive than UNCSA.
  • connectionsconnections Registered User Posts: 1,327 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Also, "That said @mommajing has posted in this thread three times. I don't think it is necessary to suggest they might not be a "real person"."

    It's that she has posted 4 times total in 2 years and has not responded to my pm offer. I've been on CC for years now, and sometimes people use alter-egos or even made-up posts. This can happen. I was wondering if that was the case here. I'm totally, completely happy to be proven wrong.
  • SU88BFASU88BFA Registered User Posts: 353 Member
    OUCH! Connections-- London is WAY more expensive than Glasgow. Yikes! RCS and living there cost about half of what you mentioned. (But, I guess it's like living in NYC.) S stayed there all summer last year, and will do so again this summer before he needs to leave (visa expires mid-October.) He's working at the hotel job he loves, saving $$ before he comes back to the states to ply his craft. (exchange rate will kill him going the other way.....been great for us sending USD!)
  • connectionsconnections Registered User Posts: 1,327 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Yeah, @SU88BFA, my S went to a summer program a few years back at RCS and loved Glasgow. Much cheaper than London! And a lovely city, too :-) Great that your S has a hotel job!
  • ThespDad17ThespDad17 Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    @connections Thank you so much for this post! It's extremely helpful for those weighing US v. London opportunities for their children. FYI: I have tried to PM you, but that option does not seem to be available. I'm new to this so I hope I'm not doing anything wrong. My D was accepted to LAMDA and is leaning in that direction. I would like to chat more about the details with you given your experience. If you are open to that, please PM me.
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