January Term Study Abroad Program
3-week course on travel writing with 2 weeks in London.
Travel Writing is for the adventurous. In three weeks, students will learn to navigate London, one of the world’s greatest cities, and craft compelling, vivid essays about what they’ve discovered. Through curiosity, research and writing they will transcend from tourist to traveler, gaining a confidence in their ability to master the unfamiliar as well as pen publishable stories about place.
The UNH London J-Term Travel Writing program allows students to spend two weeks engaging with one of the world's greatest cities through a creative writing course. Program benefits include:
- Engage with London on a different level. Create effective travel writing based on your experience there.
- Travel with an experienced UNH faculty member
- Experience London! One of the most culturally diverse and fascinating cities in the world.
- Independent experience: outside of mandatory in-class sessions, the program is designed to allow you to explore the city for your writing projects.
Dec. 27, 2023-Jan. 18, 2024 (1 week online, 2 weeks in London)
Thursday, September 14th from 1:00-2:00 PM in Hamilton Smith 201
May 1st, 2023 (early admittance)
September 30th, 2023 (any spots still available)
October 15, 2023
At the time of application, all students are expected to meet the following criteria:
- At least 12 credits earned at UNH
- Freshmen students not meeting the 12-credit requirement may be allowed to participate in the program. Approval is needed from both the Program Faculty Director. Contact the COLA Center for Study Abroad for guidance.
- A declared major
- A minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA
- Students who do not have a declared major or who have an established GPA between 2.0 and 2.5 may still apply. Admission will be at the discretion of the program faculty director.
- Good standing with the Student Conduct System
- A student who is on probation, regardless of the underlying violation, must successfully petition through the Academic Standards and Advising Committee (ASAC) for permission to participate. Students who have had a past violation will also be required to petition. Please contact your Dean’s Office for more guidance and the petition form, if needed.
Course pre-requisite: Prior to the start of the program, students should have completed either ENGL 501, 621 or 623. Students who have not taken any of these courses can contact the faculty director for permission to apply.
Dec. 27, 2023 - Jan. 2, 2024: Students will delve into travel writing through a series of four modules posted on Canvas. Each module addresses a different element of travel writing and contains a combination of explanation, reading, and writing assignments. Each weekday of a J-term course equals one-week of a standard semester so prepare to devote three to six hours a day to course work. All assignments will be submitted to individual OneDrive folders. In addition, students will research London and prepare their wish list for places and events to research when they arrive.
Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 Fly overnight to London. Take notes on the trip, detailing what you’re experiencing (use all of your senses), feeling, and thinking. Chronicle dialogue and interactions.
Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024 Arrive in London and head to Hyde Park View Hostel, 16 Leinster Terrace, London W2 3EU. https://www.smarthostels.com/hyde-park-view
4 p.m. meeting in the hostel’s lounge
Friday. Jan. 5 Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour of London. Meet in hostel lounge at 10 a.m. Take lots of notes and photos. Jot down sites you passed that you’d like to visit.
Welcome dinner. Meet in hostel lounge at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 6 London excursion to Trafalgar Square and visits to the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Wear your walking shoes. Post an Insta-Essay.
Sunday, Jan. 7 London excursion to the South Bank and visits to Borough Market, the Tate Gallery, and the National Theatre complex. Post an Insta-essay.
Monday, Jan. 8 9:30-11:30 a.m. Hostel Bar lounge/ Gathering content
- Discuss “The Longest Crawl”
- Visit a place you saw during the Big Bus tour that captured your curiosity. Could be a major tourist destination (Westminster Abbey; Buckingham Palace; Tower of London) or perhaps a park, or a street with quirky shops. Take notes, jot down impressions, talk to people.
- Post a photo/video and 500-word mini-essay #1 on Instagram.
Tuesday, Jan. 9 9:30-11:30 a.m. Hostel bar lounge/ Scenes
- Discuss “Swallowing Fear”
- Visit a museum (e.g. History of London Museum, Charles Dickens Museum; British Library; National Portrait Gallery, Tate; Wembley Stadium).
- Write a scene from the visit, either focused on your reflections (internal) or something you learned about the museum, or artifact, or history, or anything else external.
- Post a photo/video and 500-word mini-essay #2 on Instagram.
Wednesday, Jan. 10 10 a.m. Meet in hostel bar lounge and we will head to the British Museum for class. Afterwards, experience the London outdoors (e.g. Hyde Park, the London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Hampstead Heath, any walking tour).
- Discuss on Canvas Discussions “Summer in the Far North”
- Write an Instagram post with special attention to sensory detail -- what you saw, heard, touched, smelled, tasted during your outdoor adventure.
- 7:30 p.m., Theatre TBD
Thursday, Jan. 11 9:30 -11:30 a.m. Hostel bar lounge/ Interviewing & content collecting
- Discuss “My Beirut Hostage Crisis”
- Experience London culinary icons (e.g. afternoon tea at Claridge’s; Harrod’s food court; fish & chips at Sea Shell of Lisson Grove). Interview a food vendor about his/her specialty.
- Start work on a 1000-1500-word essay either based on an insta-essay or a whole new exploration. First draft due by 9 a.m., in OneDrive on Monday, Jan. 15.
Fri., Jan. 12 Cambridge (Links to an external site.) Day Trip. Meet in the bar/lounge at 9:30 a.m. We will then head to King’s Cross Station and Platform 9 ¾ to catch a train to Cambridge.
- On Canvas Discussions, discuss “Such Perfection”
- Each of you will be assigned one place/person/institution to explore in Cambridge and post an essay and art about it on Instagram.
- Writing: Continue work on long essay What other content do you need?
Sat., Jan. 13 Open day. Suggestion: Portobello or Camden markets (Watch your valuables!! Crowded street markets famous for pickpockets.)
Sun., Jan. 14 All-day excursion TBD
Mon., Jan. 15 9:30 -11:30 a.m. hostel lounge/ Beginnings & Workshop essays
- Discuss “London” from Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling
- Work on revision, which is due 5 p.m., Wed., Jan. 19
- Explore one of London's neighborhoods, or villages as they are often called. Possible destinations are: Mayfair; Marylebone; Knightsbridge; Hampstead; Shoreditch; Camden; Neal's Yard; SoHo; Paddington; Westminster; Bethnal Green; Little Venice; Bloomsbury; Battersea; Pimlico; Sloan Square; Fulham; Maida Vale; Limehouse.
Tues., Jan. 16 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. hostel bar Lounge/ Structure/ workshop essay drafts
- Discuss “Born to Travel”
- Revise essay. Gather more content. Write more scenes. Add more commentary.
Wed., Jan. 17 10 a.m. meet in hostel bar lounge for off-hostel class
- Final draft due in OneDrive at 5 p.m.
- Farewell dinner. Meet in hostel bar lounge at 6 p.m.
Thurs., Jan. 18 Fly home
PRE-REQUISITE: ENGL 501 or 621 or 623, or permission of instructor. Students enroll in the 4-credit course ENGL 703/803 Travel Writing. Travel Writing begins with a week of online coursework in which students will study the craft of writing about place, pen their first essay, and read widely about London. By the time they arrive in the United Kingdom, they will have a firm idea of what they would like to explore.
Each weekday morning, the class will meet for a two-hour workshop. The rest of the day will be devoted to exploring and writing about London. A travel writer’s mission is not to see 108 attractions in 14 days. Instead, the goal is to research and observe a selection of sites and events thoroughly enough to write about them creatively and with authority.
London is one of the world's truly great cities. It's a bustling and modern economic hub of with a population of over 9,000,000. It's one of the world's cultural capitals with legendary theatre and music scenes, and some of the greatest museums available. It's a political power center and a city with a rich historical legacy. It's a diverse urban environment with over 300 languages spoken by residents. London is all of these things and more.
The city is divided by the Thames River as it rambles its way eastwards into the North Sea. Famous bridges like the Waterloo, Tower, and London Bridges connect the north and south banks of the city. London is vast and stretches out over a huge expanse of ground. Historic sites like the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Globe Theatre, and Westminster Abbey are located along the Thames. Lush urban parks fill in sizeable portions of the city to the north and west including the famous Hyde Park, Regent's Park, and Primrose Hill. Distinct and endlessly interesting neighborhoods are nestled throughout the city from nightlife hubs of Soho and Covent Garden in the heart of London, to the posh and residential Kensington, hip and eclectic Brixton to the south, and Canary Wharf financial zone to the east. Students will get a taste for an exciting, complicated, and inspiring city so vast that it would take lifetimes to know.
- Rick Steves' London Guide
- Rick Steves' Best of Europe Video "London: Historic and Dynamic"
- Lonely Planet: London
- Time Out London
The tuition for the program covers the 4-credit course, and the program fee covers 14 nights' lodging and breakfast, as well as a Big Bus Tour and 24-hour bus pass; two dinners; one theatre performance; and two day trip outside London. The costs below are estimated and subject to change.
|Undergraduate Students||Graduate Students|
|NH Residents||Non-NH Residents||NH Residents||Non-NH Residents|
|UNH J-Term Tuition (4 credits)||$1,884||$2,128||$2,200||$2,420|
|Program Fee (estimated)||$950||$950||$950||$950|
|UNH Technology & Registration Fees||$46||$46||$46||$46|
|UNH Study Abroad Administrative Fee||$100||$100||$100||$100|
|UNH International Health Insurance Fee||$35||$35||$35||$35|
Housing & Meals
Students stay at the Meininger Hotel in South Kensington, one of the safest and poshest neighborhoods in London -- just steps away from Harrod’s and the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as tons of funky restaurants, book shops, Stella McCartney clothing, and a Lamborghini dealer. Breakfast is included.
- Comprehensive international insurance and travel assistance coverage
- Bus tour of London
- Theatre ticket
- Day-long excursion outside of London
- Breakfast and two dinners
- Application fee ($20)
- Airfare to and from London
- Most meals (breakfasts and two group dinners included)
- Public transportation in London
- Other travel
- UK SIM card (required, but can be purchased in the UK for as little as $20)
Payment Info and Refund Policy
Accepted students must submit a $200 non-refundable program deposit to confirm a spot on the program.
While we cannot guarantee complete security abroad (just like on campus in Durham) the University of New Hampshire and the College of Liberal Arts (COLA) make every effort to facilitate safe international student experiences. Please find below important information on health and safety-related resources, policies, and procedures. If you have additional questions, please contact the program faculty director or the COLA Center for Study Abroad.
Travel to the UK
- Program Location and Support. During the London J-Term program, students and faculty reside at the Astor Hyde Park Hostel in South Kensington, a centrally-located and well-maintained budget hotel. Program faculty accompany students on all program-related activities while in London.
- US Department of State Country Information
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Information for Travelers to the UK
- Emergency Contacts at UNH
- COLA Center for Study Abroad: 603 862-3962
- International SOS (UNH Membership #11BCAS000009): 215 942-8478
- UNH Police Dispatch (emergencies only): 603 862-1212
- UNH SHARPP (Sexual Harassment & Rape Prevention Program): 603 862-723
- Additional Contacts
- US Embassy in London: + 44 (0)20-7499-9000 (US-citizen emergency contact number)
- UK Emergency Services: 112
Travel Writing is for the adventurous. In three weeks, students will learn to navigate London, one of the world’s greatest cities, and craft compelling, vivid essays about what they’ve discovered. Through curiosity, research and writing they will transcend from tourist to traveller, gaining a confidence in their ability to master the unfamiliar as well as pen publishable stories about place. Read these examples of student writing to gain insight into the types of experiences and craft you will focus on through the London Travel Writing Program.
As a group we got to see a lot of London (and Bath and Cambridge), but it was the amount of one-on-one time that we got with the city that meant the most to me. Considering we were only there for a few weeks and we had a solid schedule of outings and assignments, I feel like I still had plenty of time to visit and get to know the sections of the city that I liked best. Having that time to explore on my own made a relatively short trip feel a lot longer.
—Erin Mahoney, 2019
I would recommend the London J-term program to anyone who has always liked the idea of traveling the world but doesn’t know where to start. The program staff broke the logistics of international travel and the process of travel writing into manageable chunks. I was terrified to get on the plane to London, but by the end of the program, I felt not just comfortable but confident navigating the city on my own. I came out of J-term with long-form and social media content for my portfolio, plus some new friends. A warning: this program will give you the travel bug. I went back to London over the summer (staying in the same hostel) and am looking at going to grad school in the U.K.
—Grace Hanley, 2019
The London Travel Writing J-Term taught me how to be a traveler. It’s certainly not a passive experience, and that’s what I enjoyed most about the class. Professor Hertz combines classroom discussion, writing time, and independent excursions to create a really unique and fulfilling international experience. I made close friends that I still keep in touch with two years later—it’s incredible how much you can learn about each other when you travel, especially once you start reading each others’ writing. And London is a spectacular backdrop to any adventure. There’s a story in every travel experience, and this class will help you find it—just don’t forget to bring your umbrella.
—Hannah Drake, 2016
I am so grateful for my experience in the London J-Term class, as I don't think I would have ever convinced myself to travel outside of the country, let alone leave the Northeast. But here I am living on my own in Tennessee!
—Lane McDonough, 2015
Travel Writing in London takes classroom work and combines it with the living breathing classroom of London for a unique one of a kind course. Prior to leaving for the UK, online classwork will teach you the aspects of travel writing and get you familiar with the city of London itself, which is extremely important once you get there since the time goes by really fast. Once in London, part of the day is the classroom experience, where you get together as a group for writing exercises and to peer review the travel writing of your classmates. The rest of the day is spend traversing the city of London not as a tourist but as a travel writer seeking that aspect that will become a piece. By seeing London as a writer means that instead of just seeing the famous landmarks, which you will end up doing, you will also see the city on a different level and learn to express the experience so that others not only see what you did, but also feel your internal journey as well. In addition, you will get to experience London through the eyes of your classmates as you peer review their pieces. The aspects of writing that you learn will benefit journalism students, creative non-fiction students, and fiction students. Not only will you grow and expand as a writer but you will meet new friends and create a memorable college experience.
—Ken Johnson, 2014
The J-term travel writing course was an unforgettable experience. In fact, I had such a wonderful time with Sue and my classmates, that I actually just purchased a flight to go back this coming August. I’ll even be staying at the same place we stayed for the course—the Meininger Hotel—as it was clean, safe, and had a prime location. If you’re a writer, the travel writing course is priceless. And if you’re not a writer, this trip will make you one! Seriously though, travel writing is the best J-term course to take. With just two weeks in the city, the coursework pushes you to get out there and make every minute count. You'll learn a lot, but most of it happens outside the classroom. Professor Hertz inspires you to immerse yourself in the city and culture, and as a result you’ll walk away with a couple polished travel pieces, and plenty of subject matter for future writing. I will honestly never forget my J-term trip to London, and neither will you!
—Shannon Reville, 2014