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Finding What Makes Others Tick on a Baja Semester

By Alison Peterson on May 8, 2019
Photo by Alison Peterson

Two months into our fall semester in Baja and dinner had just ended, wrapping up a weary day of classes and cleaning the kayaks. I strolled over to my coursemate, who was writing on the beach, asking if I could join in. In waves, a few more came to join us.

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Topics: Study Abroad Stories, NOLS Mexico, Baja, NOLS semester, outdoor semester, Stories, Student Stories

Dream with Your Eyes Open: Women's Baja Sea Kayaking Expedition

By Jessey Jansen on Apr 15, 2019
Photo by Lynn Petzold

Jessey shares rhythm and memories from the spring 2019 Women’s Baja Sea Kayaking - Adult course.

I have always been a dreamer. As a kid, I would perch myself on our hard living room floor, nestled in front of the heat-vent, and longingly riffle through the heavy Encyclopedia Britannica.

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Topics: NOLS Mexico, Sea Kayaking, Skills, Baja Sea Kayaking, Kayaking, women in leadership, Stories, Student Stories

Brave, Not Perfect

By Mairin Rogers on Mar 19, 2019
Photo by Alison Peterson

My mom always told me that I was brave. Brave for learning to play a new instrument, brave for trying out for a sports team, brave for venturing off on my own. During my three months in the backcountry on a NOLS course, however, I realized she was wrong. I wasn’t brave—I was scared.

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Topics: Semester, NOLS Mexico, Baja, outdoor semester, Semester in Baja, Stories, Student Stories

Andrew Bobilya: Taking the Classroom Outdoors

By Brooke Ortel on Feb 20, 2019
Andrew teaches rock climbing during an “Introduction to Outdoor Pursuits” class. Photo courtesy of Andrew Bobilya.

As an undergrad studying outdoor education, Andrew Bobilya didn’t aspire to be a professor. He didn’t plan on going into academia. Like many expeditions, his career didn’t follow exactly the path he expected.

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Topics: NOLS Mexico, NOLS alumni, NOLS Grad, Baja Sea Kayaking, Kayaking, outdoor education, Stories, Alumni Accomplishments

Why I Left School for a NOLS Semester

By Claire Burgeson on Oct 15, 2018
Photo by Claire Burgeson

The second week of my sophomore year of college, I walked into my 9:00 a.m. history class and asked myself, “What am I still doing here?”

I was doing what I'd always done: what was expected of me. I had graduated high school, chosen a college, and just chosen a major—journalism. I got good grades, had friends—on paper, I was a list of checked boxes.

At the same time, I felt my energy and creativity drain through the holes that the classroom grind had worn through me.

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Topics: Study Abroad Stories, NOLS Mexico, NOLS semester, Gap Year, outdoor semester, Semester in Baja, Stories, Student Stories

Learning a Non-Linear Leadership Style from Sea Kayaking

By Jen Dulz on Jun 12, 2018
Getting ready to launch the boats. Photo by Ali Bradley.

It was hot. I struggled to find shade as our group went through necessary orientation tasks: carry 3-5 water droms behind each boat, assign cook groups, gather group gear, divide group gear, assign and load boats.

Since I'd paddled on a NOLS trip before, I was "voluntold" to be the lead boat in a single kayak. I learned our heading, received a few instructions about monitoring my speed, and then we launched—a group of women on aBaja Sea Kayaking course.

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Topics: Leadership Skills, NOLS Mexico, Baja, Sea Kayaking, women, all-women, women in leadership, Stories, Student Stories

The Big Picture: How I Found My Grit on a Semester in Baja

By Sarah Buer on Jan 25, 2017
Photo courtesy of Tucker Cunningham

Three years ago, as part of a gap year, I took part in a semester-long, eighty-day NOLS course in Baja California.

This course consisted of 15 students and 4 highly-trained instructors embarking on a 100-mile hike from San Juanico to Mulegé, a 120-nautical mile sail on the Sea of Cortez from Loreto to just about south of Puerto Agua Verde, and ending with a 250-mile sea kayaking journey from Puerto Agua Verde to a town called Tecalote. (I also received 16 college credits for my course, ranging from wilderness first aid to Leave No Trace principles).

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Topics: Study Abroad Stories, Semester, NOLS Mexico, Sailing, Skills, Backpacking, Kayaking, NOLS semester, Gap Year, Stories, Student Stories

How You Can Be More Sustainable Every Day

By Sarah Zimmerman on Apr 22, 2016

Photo by Austin D.

At NOLS, we try hard to incorporate earth-friendly practices into our work every week, every day, around the world. We try new ideas, like planting native flower seeds, and stick with the old practices that we’ve been working on for years, like repairing gear to keep it in use.

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Topics: NOLS Yukon, NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Mexico, environment, NOLS Australia, NOLS Alaska, NOLS New Zealand, NOLS Pacific Northwest, NOLS India, NOLS Scandinavia, NOLS Southwest, education, NOLS Northeast, NOLS Teton Valley, NOLS East Africa, NOLS Three Peaks Ranch

12 Photos to Get You Excited for Spring

By Molly Herber on Mar 16, 2016

Spring is coming—it's time to start frolicking through wildflowers and get antsy for summer expeditions.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Mexico, NOLS India, NOLS Southwest

5 Cool Things You Learn From Sailing

By Molly Herber on Sep 10, 2015

Is sailing just for people like this?

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Topics: NOLS Mexico, Expedition Prep, Sailing, video

From A Gap Year to Yahoo! Sustainability

By Karly Copeland on May 27, 2015

Chris Page is passionate about a lot of things, but when we started talking about her time as a student at NOLS Mexico, the delight in her voice was apparent.

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Topics: Alumni, Leadership Skills, NOLS Mexico, environment, Baja, Becoming an Instructor

Weathering Storms and Riding Waves: Interview with Jim Acee (Part 2)

By Molly Herber on May 22, 2015

 

Jim on his student course in the Rockies in 1974. Photo courtesy of Jim Acee.
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Topics: NOLS Mexico, environment, Baja Sea Kayaking, adventure, Becoming an Instructor

Weathering Storms and Riding Waves: Interview with Jim Acee (Part 1)

By Molly Herber on May 21, 2015

Jim Acee, a Pittsburgh native, took the first NOLS semester course, a Semester in the Rockies in 1974. After that, he filled various positions: a NOLS instructor in the Rockies, Baja, and Utah, scrap metal salesman, corporate marketer, professor, director of Boise State’s Center for Executive Management Development, caregiver, dancer, whitewater rafter, and more. We caught up with him to hear the stories of his adventures (and he has many) with NOLS and beyond.

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Topics: Alumni, Leadership Skills, NOLS Mexico, NOLS Rocky Mountain, Wyoming, Becoming an Instructor

Beyond the Ration: Sustainable Food at NOLS

By Karly Copeland on May 6, 2015

The NOLS ration is carefully engineered to meet the nutritional needs of our students and instructors. It is sprinkled with sweet treats to celebrate summits, birthdays, and other events that call for chocolate! And who doesn’t think of those peanut butter filled pretzels with fondness? However, to the NOLSie fresh off a 30-day expedition, even the most delicious maltball pales in comparison to the idea of fresh produce. As such, when our students and staff are in town we do our best to feed them the freshest food possible. Some locations are able to take things even further by growing their own food on site.

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Topics: NOLS Patagonia, NOLS Mexico, environment, cooking, NOLS Alaska, NOLS India