Writing Workshop FAQ

Who will be teaching the program?

You’ll always have three teaching staff conducting your writing workshops, and we have a bunch of legends on rotation. As well as working for Global Hobo, all our teaching staff work as freelance writers, dabbling in magazine and online publication editing, sub-editing, journalism, podcast producing, documentary producing and copywriting. Though most used to be employed in full-time, office-style media, they all decided that freedom and being on the road most of the time was more of a vibe, and as a result, have their fingers in many-a creative pie at one time. At the moment, our teaching staff are our editor Gemma Clarke, our assistant editor Nat Kassel, Ali Klinkenberg, Lucy Dayman, Paige Leacey, David Allegretti, Alexi Falson and Wade Davis. Feel free to creep them all online — everyone’s portfolios are diverse and varied, but we’re hoping you’ll be able to glean a lot of relevant knowledge from each.

Will I get a job after the course?

You’ll get as much out of this course as you put in. It’s not an internship, but a crash course in becoming a freelance writer, and our aim is that by the end of the program, you’ll have three pieces to add to your portfolio (two published stories and an eBook), and a lot more knowledge and oomph to add to your skillset. Many students who do the course continue to write for Global Hobo on a freelance basis, and we have actually employed two former students as teachers thanks to the work they put in once they finished with us in other arenas (Paige Leacey and David Allegretti).

How do you pick people?

There is no singular framework for selecting students to come on the course. We look for a range of qualities: an excellent storytelling ability, strong control over writing, a beautiful way of looking at the world, a sense of cultural relativism and an open mind, or even just a keenness and enthusiasm that glows so strongly in an application that it blinds us through the computer screen. Maybe you’ve never written anything beyond a secret diary of poetry; perhaps you’ve already had your food reviews published in a range of newspapers and interned in a bunch of newsrooms. Each participant brings something different to the program, and your age and experience do not necessarily matter.

How do I know if I’m under or overqualified for the course?

There is no such thing as too underqualified — formal qualifications are becoming less and less important in the writing world and freelancing economy, and we’re of the opinion that if you are passionate about writing, then you can be a writer. In terms of being overqualified, we’ll delve into a bunch of writing styles, from editorial to feature writing, so if you’ve done that in a journalism degree, perhaps some of the content will be old hat. On top of that, we’ll focus heavily on writing for change, writing inclusively and removing bias and ethnocentrism from writing, as well as pitching, working as a freelancer and starting a publication — practical and important skills we tend to find universities neglect. If you’re already working as a freelance writer, or you have extreme confidence pitching and have been published by a range of mediums already, then perhaps this program isn’t for you. If, however, your writing training has been super structured — like you’ve done a degree and worked only in the confines of a newsroom, many of the practical skills we impart, especially with regards to freelancing, will likely be useful.

How old do people who do the program tend to be?

Between the ages of 18 and 35, but the majority of students are in their 20s. Most, but not all, are studying journalism; some are studying wildly different degrees, such as biomed or engineering; some have never studied; some have graduated. Our teaching staff are all in their late 20s to late 30s. But age is just a number — we’re more than happy to take students who are older, and can even arrange separate accommodation — just be aware that you’ll be hanging out with young people a lot (which can actually be a really refreshing and enriching experience).

I have a disability — how will you accommodate this?

We’ve had students with vision, hearing and mobility impairments before, and are more than willing to do what we can to accommodate your disability. For instance, when we had a wheelchair user in Bali, we helped her arrange more accessible accommodation and had ramps built at our place of learning. When we had students with hearing aids, we made sure they sat at the front of the room and checked in with them to make sure no content was missed. Whatever your disability, we’d love to know how we can be more inclusive and make sure your time with us is possible and pleasurable, so just get in touch via email and we can chat.

How do I get uni credit?

We’ve had students from a range of Australian and New Zealand universities get credit before, from Griffith to La Trobe to Wollongong to Curtin to the University of Queensland. We currently have official partnerships with Griffith and RMIT, and if your university wants to get on board, we’d be stoked to tee up something official. For the most part though, you need to sort the credit situation yourselves. The majority of journalism degrees have a Work Integrated Learning unit, which is usually the best avenue for credit. Talk to your head of department about what you need to do. Other options we’ve seen students have success with are open electives or internship units. Usually, we need to sign some forms and assess you afterwards, which we are more than willing to do provided you put the work in!

Do I need to bring a laptop?

Yes — or something you can write with. You’ll be doing truckloads of writing, and will need to submit it online, so even a tablet with a keyboard will suffice.

Where does the money go (hyperinked where possible)?

Bali:

  • Accommodation is in twin-share bungalows in Dalung, out the back of Canggu.
  • Language classes are held with Cinta Bahasa.
  • Classroom rental is done through Dojo Bali.
  • Coworking space memberships are also done through Dojo Bali.
  • Airport transfers are done through our delightful friend Nyoman Nak, who hasn’t yet set up a website, but trust us, he and his team are guns.
  • Tuition — our staff are paid handsomely for their excellent efforts, and are also paid a retainer to be social and live away. Their accommodation, flights, visas and insurance are also obviously covered by Global Hobo.
  • We have comprehensive public liability insurance to cover all of you in the course of your learning.
  • Any profits made from the program (workshops are sold on a tiny profit margin that is only met if the course is 3/4 full) go straight back into the site to pay our editor, our assistant editor, our hosting fees and our writers. We are proud to remain largely independent and retain a sense of integrity than to pander to big brands and corporate entities.

Japan:

  • Accommodation is the biggest sting in Tokyo — it’s not known as the most expensive city in the world for nothing! As foreigners, it’s difficult to break into the rental market, and very few hostels and guesthouses were keen to house a group of us for a month and thus bar themselves from accepting other guests. A few housing agencies offered to place us in suburbs all over Tokyo, but we want all the students to live together, otherwise it’s too difficult to coordinate activities, kind of scary and isolating for first-time travellers, and not fair for the students who get placed in dud suburbs. As a result, students in Japan all live together at Sakura Hotel in Nippori. It’s expensive, but it’s nice and convenient. You can scope prices for yourself here.
  • Language classes and cultural workshops are held with GenkiJKACS.
  • Classroom rental is done through a coworking space called Hapon.
  • Cooking classes are taught by the lovely Atsuko Nabata, who rents a hip kitchen in Yoyogi and is an expert in homestyle Japanese cooking that is so tasty it will knock your socks off.
  • Tuition — our staff are paid handsomely for their excellent efforts, and are also paid a retainer to be social and live away. Their accommodation, flights, visas and insurance are also obviously covered by Global Hobo.
  • We have comprehensive public liability insurance to cover all of you in the course of your learning.
  • Any profits made from the program (workshops are sold on a tiny profit margin that is only met if the course is 3/4 full) go straight back into the site to pay our editor, our assistant editor, our hosting fees and our writers. We are proud to remain largely independent and retain a sense of integrity than to pander to big brands and corporate entities.

Spain:

  • Accommodation at the peak of European summer with a big group has been no mean feat to organise, and beds in hostels in places like San Sebastian can be $100AUD a night! As a result, we’ve varied the places we’ll be staying as much as possible to keep within the budget and not charge you guys a whole lot more, from old farmhouses to funky apartments to backpackers, and even one night a campsite
  • Language classes will be taught by rollerskating queen Susana Valbuena, aka Sugu, who will be on the road with us the whole time.
  • Classroom rental is done through all different channels depending on what city we’re in.
  • Tuition — our staff are paid handsomely for their excellent efforts, and are also paid a retainer to be social and live away for a whole month. In Spain, teachers kind of have to be working all the time as we’re constantly on the road, so their wages need to reflect that. Their accommodation, flights, visas and insurance are also obviously covered by Global Hobo.
  • We have comprehensive public liability insurance to cover all of you in the course of your learning.
  • Any profits made from the program (workshops are sold on a tiny profit margin that is only met if the course is 3/4 full) go staight back into the site to pay our editor, our assistant editor, our hosting fees and our writers. We are proud to remain largely independent and retain a sense of integrity than to pander to big brands and corporate entities.

What are the learning outcomes?

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • analyse features of different creative non-fiction and non-fiction genres
  • conduct research for articles and travel junket
  • interview effectively
  • identify and sculpt relevant content for target audiences
  • develop story concepts and pitches in the appropriate format for identified markets and platforms
  • write articles in various creative non-fiction and non-fiction genres, coming up with original and unique angles for story ideas appropriate for specific target demographics
  • critically edit and review their own and other writers’ work, and provide constructive feedback
  • communicate effectively with editors and have confidence pitching your work
  • build an online platform to showcase your own work
  • speak basic Indonesian, Japanese or Spanish and integrate more effectively in the local community
  • have an awareness of the importance of cultural relativism and sustainable travel practices.

When do applications close?

Our applications open about nine months before a program starts. They’re rolling, and tend to work on a first-and-best-in-best-dressed kind of principle (is that a word?). They fill up quickly, but last-minute spaces do free up, so it’s best to apply as soon as possible and at the very least get into our database so we can notify you when we have a place for you.

How soon after I get in is the money due?

We require a deposit four weeks after you get in. If you’re struggling financially, the price of this deposit can be negotiated, and we are willing to discuss payment plans too.

Is the course refundable?

The deposit is non-refundable, as we use it to lock in your place with our service providers and can’t get that money back. The actual price of the course, however, is fully refundable until five weeks before the program starts, by which time we’ve spent all your money arranging the trip and will have a very difficult time finding someone rich and spontaneous enough to replace you. We do, however, offer flexibility when changing dates for your trip, and if in the rare chance you can’t come, your course deposit is transferrable. This means you can send a (qualified and hobo-worthy!) friend in your place instead. It’s also a policy of ours that you have travel insurance before you come, so that if something happens, you can claim the cost of the course back through your insurance provider.

When do I need to fly in, and when can I fly out?

Ideally, you should fly in the Sunday before the program starts, as the course starts on the Monday. If you’re going to be a few days late, that’s okay — just let us know and we’ll make sure we catch you up on whatever you’ve missed. The last class is always taught the Thursday of the final week, but your accommodation is always covered until the final Sunday. We usually spend the last Friday and Saturday hanging out, tidying up loose ends and partying, but if you need to leave during this time, that’s also cool! Most people fly out Sunday.

Is there any way I can make this cheaper?

We don’t currently have the funding to offer scholarships, but we’ve had students apply for grants before through their universities and government or private programs. If you need any supporting documentation, we are of course happy to provide it!

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