As a Teaching Fellow, you have the incredible opportunity to travel for FREE over winter term freshman year up and down the East coast AND earn credit for a history course. I’m here to give you the inside scoop on what the trip is really like and give you tips to make the most out of your travels! This will be a series of blog posts detailing things to know before you take off and what to do in each city!
I hope that reading about what I have learned will inspire you to keep track of your own travels and start your own travel blog! Having a sort of “online scrapbook” to look back on is such a wonderful thing. Happy blogging and more importantly, happy traveling from my cohort to yours!
2019 Teaching Fellows Cohort
Quite possibly the most annoying part of this class is that it requires work over Christmas Break. Do not be mollified by the director’s insistence that this isn’t actually that much work – it is a solid amount for a short break and he is a fairly hard grader. The book itself, 1776, is enjoyable but long. I recommend starting it right away on the plane or car ride home. Once you have it out of the way, writing the essay itself isn’t too bad. However, you’ll want to have read the essay prompt before reading the book so that you can look out for quotes and things to use in your essay! I recommend putting sticky notes on pages with quotes or summaries that you want to use. This will make the writing process so much easier. There are also going to be some articles and book chapters up on Moodle that you have to read. You’ll need to read these for discussions and in-class writing assignments that will take place in the couple days before your trip takes off. Once this is out of the way, the real fun can begin!
What to pack
WARM CLOTHES. That is pretty much the gist of everything you need to know about this one. As a Texan, I was completely unprepared for how gosh darn cold it would be. With the wind coming off the ocean, it can be absolutely brutal. Prepare for it to be 0 degrees or even colder with the wind chill. Most of my Christmas presents before the trip were warm clothing items to bring. In addition to your normal packing list, I would recommend:
- MULTIPLE pairs of gloves
- Wool socks
- Snow boots or other warm walking boots
- Ear warmers
- Thick sweaters
- Snacks for the bus and hotel
- Medicine (people will get sick!
- Layers, layers, layers
- This includes pants and shirts!
- Cute shoes that are also comfortable for walking
- A cross body bag
- Cash (you will need it!)
What to expect:
This trip is a blast and a half. Expect to have so much fun! If I could do it all again, I would! While you should expect to work hard and learn, this is the perfect opportunity to explore and have great times in amazing cities with friends that will last a lifetime. This trip really encourages you to get to know your cohort and by the end, you’ll be so much closer. My roommate Kristy and I had daily dance party breaks during our journaling time each day.
However, to be quite honest with you, I was not expecting this class to be as much work as it is. They tell you that the afternoon will be yours to spend freely, but working on the journal takes up a decent portion of that time. In addition, the trip is physically exhausting. You will be doing A LOT of walking. I recommend planning some time in each day to spend resting and journaling at the hotel. Kristy and I usually planned this time to be right after our morning group outings. That way, you regain some energy and get some work done at the same time. We’d spend the rest of the afternoon and early evening doing our own thing in smaller groups and exploring the city.
Riding on the bus was not nearly as bad as I expected it to be. Most travel days you’ll get on the bus around 8:30 and spend a good portion of the morning and afternoon on it, but you’ll be tired enough that the rest will be appreciated. You stop every two hours or so at gas stations that usually have multiple restaurants in them. Be prepared – there will be a lot of fast food and Wendy’s. I recommend eating lighter things like sandwiches or salads while on the road. I don’t eat out a ton and found that food was not settling so well by the end of the trip. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to eat great food in the cities, so don’t be afraid to take it light on the road!
The reason that this so special because of this man right here. The History Study Tour is not your typical history class. Instead of having you blindly accept the status quo and believe everything that books and museums tell you, Jim encourages you to question everything and consider their bias. This makes learning about history so much more fun! Instead of being asked to memorize facts that you’ll never remember anyway, you are asked to challenge authority. This was definitely the best history class I’ve ever taken. While Jim takes the class seriously and is not an “easy” grader, he makes the trip fun and is an overall great guy to be around.
- Keep up with your journal each day
- Go to bed as early as possible so that you can make the most of each day
- Edit your journal entries on the bus
- Combine rest time with journaling time
- Break into smaller groups when possible to get things done more quickly
- Request separate checks BEFORE you order at the restaurant
- Be social BUT plan some down time for yourself
- Budget your money and save some for shopping and souvenirs (you have plenty!)
- Take tons of cute pictures!
- And of course, keep a personal journal or take notes each day so that you can blog about your trip