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The Exeter Award

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Journal writingWhat is the journal or learning log?

  • A reflective and analytical paper-based or web blog journal, written in English, for the period preparing for and during the time abroad.
  • Entries can be written as frequently as you want. They will probably be written more frequently in the early stages of the time abroad and then become less frequent as things settle down into a routine.
  • Approximately 6,000 words overall, but word length is not critical - write as much as you want.
  • You are encouraged to send draft entries to the module tutor (currently Mike Dobson) by email (e.g. as Word attachments) for feedback.
  • Submitted in completed form in about the fourth week of the autumn term of the academic year following the period abroad. The exact date will be arranged nearer the time, once the dates of the presentations have been setup - you submit the journal a week after giving your presentation, so that you can choose to reflect on the presentation in the journal.
  • See the ELE pages for the module and the relevant module description for more information.

Why write one?

  • It encourages you to reflect on your year abroad and on the differences between the two countries/universities.
  • It helps you to track your progress over the year or term, and see how you gained from the experience.
  • It formalises a way for you to give us feedback on the places students are going to.
  • It ensures that we hear from you during your time abroad, and helps to answer questions about the quality of the experience.
  • We like to make them available to future students going abroad so that they can get an idea of what things are like. The journal gives information far beyond anything that we could hope to provide, on issues directly relevant to students.
  • By being in English and reflective in nature, it helps to mitigate the effects of studying in a foreign language and/or environment.

How do you write 'reflectively'?

There is guidance for writing critically about your experiences and expectations etc., in the handbook Reflective Writing by P. Watton et al. - available online as a PDF file.


  • The journal can be either word processed or a web blog.
  • There are no rules about the layout, margin sizes, type size of style, etc. Present things in whatever way you think communicates the best.
  • Include as many photographs as you wish
  • Submissions can be entirely electronic (e.g. Word, PDF) or on paper. An electronic version will be required, if submitting on paper.

How is it marked?

  • The journal is marked as a single piece of work, regardless of how many entries there are or how long it is.
  • The markers will be looking for critical writing and the ability for reflection. For example, if you are studying abroad, include discussion of the modules you studied, with critical comments about how you felt about them, nature of teaching, assessment, feedback, class sizes, class activities, etc.

Past learning logs

  • Sample past learning logs are available on ELE in the area for FCH3002/FCH3003.