NOLS Semester in Baja California, Mexico

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Flanked by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Sea of Cortez on the east, the Baja California Peninsula is a land of extremes and contrasts.

Granite and volcanic mountain ranges extend over 1,000 miles down the peninsulas central spine, and Picacho del Diablo, a 10,126-foot peak in the northern mountains, is snow-covered in winter months.

The rest of Baja California, while still very rugged and mountainous, is Sonoran Desert country, receiving less than 10 inches of rainfall each year. Here exists an amazing variety of desert life, including more than 110 species of cacti. For three months, you'll explore these contrasting environments on foot, in a sea kayak, and under sail while having ample opportunities for cultural and Spanish language interactions with local students, educators, ranchers, and fishermen.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Ocean Oasis

As a gap year semester student, NOLS gave me the space to go deeper into myself and figure out what was truly important to me. Away from frontcountry pressures of school, work, family and friends, I was able to learn who I was and what I was capable of—and it was far greater than I had ever imagined. This confidence carried me through college and into my career.

Baja is an incredible classroom. The dessert travel is challenging for very different reasons than the mountains I grew up in, and the Sea of Cortez is a beautiful and magical place to explore by drascombe sailboat or sea kayak. Top that with cultural interactions with rancheros and pongeros (fisherman), and this easily sits as one of the most memorable and formative experiences of my life.

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Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Semester Ever!

My semester in Baja was the best part of my college career, and an important part of my life. I learned more about myself and the world around me than at any other time in life. Not only did I learn the fundamentals of sailing, which is how I make my living, but I also learned communication and leadership skills that have helped me in all aspects of my life.