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Pay It Forward: How My NOLS Semester Helped Me Lead My Own Backcountry Trips

By Carolyn Highland on 6/27/18 10:00 AM


Photo by Carolyn Highland

November 21, 2012 was one of my favorite days on this planet. Up until this point, the idea of identifying a favorite day had seemed impossible, like choosing your favorite drop of water in a rushing river. But this was a day that made you realize if you couldn’t identify days that made the shortlist, you hadn’t yet experienced the type of day worthy of it.

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Topics: NOLS New Zealand, Semester, leadership, Live the Dream, skiing

A Letter to My Future Self

By Carolyn Highland on 11/29/17 8:39 AM

Editor’s Note: Carolyn wrote this letter to her future self on a one-night solo near the end of her Semester in New Zealand.

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Topics: Live the Dream, NOLS New Zealand, Semester

Tolerance for Uncertainty & Adversity

By Carolyn Highland on 2/22/17 10:31 AM

It was four in the morning, it was sideways sleeting, and the tent pole cup was broken. I stood huddled in my rain gear, aiming my headlamp down at my tentmate and my instructor, who were lying sideways on the icy snow, trying to speedy-stitch the stirrup back to the tent body before they lost all dexterity in their hands.

It was four in the morning and I was supposed to be snuggled up in my sleeping bag inside the tent, but instead I was outside getting pelted with rain on the side of a snowy mountain, the blackness around me increasing the sense of being in the absolute middle of nowhere.

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Topics: Live the Dream, NOLS New Zealand, Semester, Gap Year

How You Can Be More Sustainable Every Day

By Sarah Zimmerman on 4/22/16 8:34 AM

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

Educator Expedition: Kiwi Boot Camp

By NOLS Blog on 3/29/16 4:04 PM
A short paddle on the Landsborough River before the rains came: Aaron Reimer, Amy Christeson, Ben Weigl, Dulkara Martig (pictured left to right). Photo courtesy of Amy Christeson.
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Topics: education, Educators Notebook, IDF, instructor, Instructor Development Fund (IDF), leadership, NOLS Alaska, NOLS New Zealand, packrafting

Waking Up in the Wilderness

By Carolyn Highland on 10/14/15 8:00 AM

I woke in the middle of the night to cold on my nose and a black strip of sky smattered with stars in my vision. It was all I could see, my sleeping bag cinched up around my face, laid out on the bare ground. I lay there unmoving, every cell of my body awake and aware of itself. It felt as though I’d been tapped on the shoulder, as though some massive universal force had tugged at me, whispering “you need to see this.”

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Topics: Alumni, Live the Dream, mountaineering, NOLS New Zealand, Sea Kayaking, wilderness

I Belong in the Woods: Spring Semester in New Zealand

By Natalie Beittel on 8/19/15 8:00 AM

I spent the summer before my junior year of college working for a trail crew. That summer was the most wonderful, the most physically and the most mentally challenging three months of my life.

We hiked 20 miles a day cutting out fallen trees. We carried loaded pack boards up mountains to work sites where we quarried rock to build staircases on the trail. The constant challenge was exhausting but liberating.

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Topics: Alumni, education, Gap Year, Live the Dream, NOLS New Zealand, Semester

What I Learned from My Child’s Gap Year [Interview]

By Molly Herber on 7/7/15 8:00 AM

"Just listen to your child."

A little while back we shared Molly Hunt’s story of her gap year, which included a NOLS Semester in New Zealand. We caught up with her mother to hear about what the gap year experience is like from a parent’s perspective, and she offered some great advice on why a gap year is a powerful learning tool and how to build a meaningful gap year.

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Topics: Alumni, Behind the Scenes, Gap Year, NOLS New Zealand, Semester

Gap Year: An Incredible Opportunity

By Molly Hunt on 6/19/15 8:00 AM
Pausing to scout the route. Photo by Cameron Pattison.

While taking a gap year is not a normal thing to do in the U.S. after graduating from high school, it was hands-down the best experience that I could have had before entering college. I had no guidance in selecting a gap year—my college counselor didn’t even know what a gap year was. I, alone, had to plan my year with diligence, create goals, and nail down the things in my life that I sought to improve before entering college. Little did I know when I chose NOLS that I was about to embark on a hugely positive, life changing adventure. 

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Topics: Alumni, Backpacking, Live the Dream, NOLS New Zealand, Sea Kayaking, Semester, video

Educator Expedition: New Zealand Whitewater

By Casey Adams on 3/20/15 2:00 AM

By Geoff Kooy, NOLS Instructor

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Topics: NOLS New Zealand, kayaking, Educators Notebook, instructor

NOLS New Zealand is open

By Roo Riley on 1/11/15 10:34 AM

NOLS New Zealand is now open for the season. We all enjoyed a classic New Zealand christmas break with heavy rain and scorching hot days.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, NOLS New Zealand

Get to Know NOLS New Zealand

By Casey Adams on 5/12/14 7:00 AM

You may remember meeting Mark Jordan, NOLS Australasia director, a few weeks ago. His passion and expertise extend from Australia to New Zealand. Read what he has to say about NOLS New Zealand below.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, NOLS New Zealand

Out of my Comfort Zone

By Casey Adams on 11/27/12 1:13 AM

By Julie McGeorge,
NOLS New Zealand Rations & Catering manager

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Topics: Expedition Prep, NOLS New Zealand

NOLS New Zealand to plant permanent roots

By Casey Adams on 7/18/12 1:28 AM

NOLS will be breaking ground on newly acquired land in Aniseed Valley, New Zealand.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, NOLS New Zealand