This class will be a platform to help launch your writing about your travel experiences on Semester at Sea, while deepening your critical thinking about travel and your ability to engage your audience. We will read strong examples of travel writing, including vivid and thoughtful pieces about the various countries and regions we are visiting. In class, we will discuss these examples to try to draw out the qualities of the best travel writing. Each student will write in travel journals every day of the journey, providing a fund of keen observations, rich insights, and broad reflections to draw on for more developed essays. Each student will also keep a travel blog and write a post after each port of call. In workshop classes, we will explore the strengths and weaknesses of each student’s best travel essays, with the aim of helping one another to develop and hone these pieces to fulfill their strongest potential. By the end of the course, each student will ideally have at least two polished, engaging, sensation- and reflection-packed pieces of travel writing; a permanent record of port-by-port experiences in a travel blog; and the skills to continue writing about and reflecting on travel for many years to come.
Field WorkCountry: China
Day: 2 - Friday, 5 February
“The Many Faces of Hong Kong.” This city tour will include a Tai Chi class, a walking tour of Central focusing on feng shui and the city’s architecture, observation of the food stalls at the Graham Street Wet Market, and a tram ride for a dim sum lunch and a walk at Victoria Peak. The lab is designed with an eye toward reflecting on and writing up the experience of the city in a compelling travel essay. Our objective will be to develop our ability to engage, reflect on, and explore a famous and heterogeneous city through our writing. The essay will make visible aspects of our experience in Hong Kong—the cultural nuances and contrasts, the built environment, the natural setting, the social structure, the history of the place, and/or the touristic coding and packaging. The essay should be reflective, original, and packed with sensation.
1. To develop the ability to engage, reflect on, and explore a famous and heterogeneous city through travel writing.
2. To learn how to make visible various aspects of a city, including its cultural nuances and contrasts, built environment, natural setting, social structure, local history, and touristic coding and packaging.
3. To write a travel essay that is reflective, original, and packed with sensation.