Study & Expedition in the United States

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In the wilderness, your best self becomes second nature.

Unlike survival, compassion isn’t always our first instinct. But what if it was? In the wilderness, and in life, compassion is the source of our resiliency. It reveals our best selves in the best and worst situations. Semester, Outdoor Educator or Pathfinder expeditions reveal who you are and who you want to be. Start your journey now.


Outward Bound Semester expeditions in the US are designed for both goal-oriented college students and individuals who are seeking clarity on their next step.

Learn alongside the best instructors in the industry as you backpack, climb, canoe, kayak, raft and sail in some of the most protected wilderness areas in the United States. Spanning from the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains and the North Cascades; the stunning canyons and rivers in the Southwest; the pristine lakes of the Boundary Waters; and the iconic Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail.

With a focus on leadership training and an unwavering commitment to excellence, our courses prepare students for future success. Choose from over 30 unique semester expeditions offered throughout the year.

Outward Bound is accredited with the American Gap Association and is the longest running program in this elite group dedicated to providing safe, meaningful and high-caliber educational experiences to students.

Questions & Answers


based on 4 reviews
  • Housing 9.3
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 10
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 4 of 4

Best Decision I have Ever Made!

I would not be the person I am today if I had not chosen to go on Outward Bound. My trip was sailing on the Maine coastline, and it was incredible. I overcame my fear of heights and was able to rock climb. One of my favorite parts of the program was solo, because I got to write and reflect on who I was becoming and how I had to evolve. A great tip for solo was definitely to to ration your food, because it’s easy to eat it all in one go and be starving for the rest of the time. I split the bagel up and ate the chocolate first so it wouldn’t melt all over my other food. I would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for Outward bound, and although I was homesick at the time, the experience gave me a whole new perspective on nature and how we can live within it rather than beside it.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Voyage Out

My time with Outward Bound was invaluable. In the two weeks I spent sailing, I learned lessons I still carry with me today. Of all I learned, the most valuable knowledge was that even though we are small in this vast world, we all have the ability to impact our environments for better or worse. This was also my first time exploring the world on my own. Which led to a passion for travel and study abroad.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Best Decision of My Life

My HIOBS Gap semester was truly one of the best experiences of my life. As a student at Northwestern University, I was looking for an opportunity to break from my rigorous academic schedule and seek out new, exciting experiences. Through Outward Bound, I made lifelong friends and learned just how far I could push myself. Returning to school after the trip, I possessed a completely new perspective on the opportunities in front of me! My favorite part of the trip was its emphasis on helping participants learn to live in the present. Being without a phone/laptop for several months was an incredibly refreshing experience and changed the way I interact with technology today.

Yes, I recommend this program
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I Can't Speak Highly Enough of Outward Bound

I spent 72 days with a small group of peers and instructors sailing around coastal Maine, rock climbing, backpacking, doing service projects, and taking a wilderness first responder course. I was challenged physically, emotionally, and socially in important ways which aided my personal growth and development throughout course, and especially after it ended. Two years after the course I studied my group for my senior thesis in college and found that it positively impacted participants by increasing open-mindedness, appreciation for the outdoors, motivation, improving relationships, and teaching independence, confidence, and leadership skills. I have participated on several other shorter Outward Bound programs and I would recommend them to anyone in a heartbeat. What you are willing to contribute to the experience and to the group, determines what you will get out of it. Be open to learn, grow, and have fun and Outward Bound will not disappoint.

Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Alumni

About Outward Bound

Here at Outward Bound, our motto is "learn by doing." Founded in 1962, Outward Bound has helped over 1 million students achieve their goals. Today, we equip students looking to pursue a gap year with self-confidence, tenacity and compassion. Outward...