To my students:

We are about three weeks away from the New Orleans trip and you are probably starting to think about it. The Spring Break trip through UNH-ABC provides a unique and rewarding opportunity to learn more about the New Orleans area, its culture, and its people. In addition, you might learn a good deal about yourself. And that is what I’d like for you to capture in your New Orleans Journal.

Mazant Street, New Orleans, March 2009.

I started my trip-related blog in 2008 to set an example for my students and because I regretted not recording my thoughts during my trips in 2006 and 2007. And I get so much out of reading your thoughts and perceptions of New Orleans and the experience. For that reason, the New Orleans journal assignment has become my favorite one to grade – ever.

As for the assignment: each student is required to keep a journal of their experience. You should begin writing at least a week before the trip in order to record your expectations, interests, fears, etc. You should also continue writing in your journal for at least a week after you return. This will give you time to process and reflect upon your experience. Your journal can be in any form that conforms to your communication style (notebook, illustrated portfolio, blog, etc.) just so long as I can read it!

I don’t want to be too prescriptive about the journal, because I want you to be able to play to your strengths. While entries in a blog work for me, it might not work so well for you. However, I do want to provide some guidance of what I’ll be looking for when I finally sit down to read them.

  • Your journal should include entries beginning a week before the commencement of the trip and for at least a week after you get back, with regular entries in between. I will not be collecting them until about mid-April, because some students choose to record their thoughts for several weeks after they come back. (25%)

Uptown Indian Parade, March 2008.

  • You should aim to describe and provide some context for the sights, sounds, and feel of New Orleans. (25%)
  • I’d like to see a substantial level of introspection about the overall experience, including the trip, workdays, group interaction, etc. This will likely become easier toward the end of the week and following the trip. (25%)
  • I almost always appreciate creativity, insight and humor, i.e. make me glad I get to read it! (25%)

These journals are part of your course work and, as such, I cannot nor will not share them with anyone else without your expressed permission. If you have any questions, just let me know.