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My Path to Outdoor Education from a Semester in Alaska

By Katiya Gombar on 7/15/19 7:41 AM

Editor's note: Katiya took a semester in Alaska in the summer of 2016 and became a NOLS instructor in May 2019.

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Topics: study abroad, Semester, Live the Dream, Alaska, leadership, story

12 Days That Changed My Life: A Homestay in East Africa

By Steve Stoddard on 5/6/19 12:27 PM

Photo courtesy of Steve Stoddard.
 

Rather than my watch alarm bringing me out of sleep, it was roosters and cows. Instead of bundling up to get out of my tent and start boiling water for my cook group, I was waking up in someone else’s home.

This was all pretty different than what I had gotten accustomed to during the previous six weeks of backpacking on my NOLS semester.

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Topics: Behind the Scenes, study abroad, culture, NOLS East Africa, story, homestay

Why I Left School for a NOLS Semester

By Claire Burgeson on 10/15/18 9:50 AM


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, NOLS Mexico, Gap Year, outdoor semester, Semester in Baja, story

Tolerance for Uncertainty & Adversity

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


Not every day can be sunshine and rainbows. Photo by Carolyn Highland.

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: study abroad, Semester, NOLS New Zealand, Live the Dream, Gap Year

Choose Chai Every Time

By Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin on 10/14/10 8:45 AM

NOLS Semester in India students on a chai break

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Topics: NOLS, study abroad, college drinking, National Outdoor Leadership School, drinking while studying abroad, Educators Notebook, chai, Semester in India, NOLS India, Gap Year