NOLS
98% Rating
(34 Reviews)

NOLS

NOLS is a nonprofit global wilderness school that will help you step forward boldly as a leader.

We believe that anyone can be a leader; it's our role to provide the environment and training to help you discover your full potential. We do that in classrooms close to home and in remote wilderness areas around the world.

We're an organization with heart, expertise, and wildness, and these qualities help us support powerful, authentic experiences.

Our mission is to be the leading source and teacher of wilderness skills and leadership that serve people and the environment. Our community—staff, students, trustees, and alumni—shares a commitment to wilderness, education, leadership, safety, community, and excellence.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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James
Male
19 years old
Jackson, MS

The best trip of my life

10/10

The semester that I spent with NOLS was by far the most meaningful, impactful trip that I've ever taken in my entire life. The students and instructors were great fun, the lessons were interesting, and the landscape was unreal. One of my fondest memories from my semester was watching the full moon rise on a cloudless night, while sitting in my kayak in the middle of Nydia Bay, singing Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" in my head, meanwhile our "pod" was surrounded by hundreds of glowing moon jellyfish.

How can this program be improved?

Already perfect the way it is

Emily
Female
24 years old
Belton, Missouri

Fall Semester In India 2016

10/10

My NOLS experience was nothing short of phenomenal. My favorite part of every day was waking up in the mornings. It might seem strange, but I can explain. There is something magical about waking up in the Himilayas. It's a place none of my friends or family have been, it's a place that from my comfortable life in Kansas City, Missouri, seemed so far away and out of reach. To wake up there every single morning was amazing. I woke up under a shelter of trees, I woke up covered in sand from the beach, I woke up to the rushing water in the Kali river, I woke up after a comfy nights rest in a generous villager's house, I woke up in my stinky sleeping bag in a tent with 3 other stinky people and every second of it was perfect. To top it off, I woke up with a sense of purpose. Every. Single. Day. Every day I had a goal that was realistic and that I was proud to accomplish before I went to bed at night. I was challenged physically and walked distances I didn't know I could. I helped local families in their fields, took part in their livelihood. I helped them. I helped them, but they helped me more. They helped me in a way that is hard to put into words. I set SMART goals and actually follow through, I see people differently than I did before - gently and with positive intent, and I have a confidence and craving for adventure that can't be tamed.

How can this program be improved?

PLEASE MAKE THE NATURE AND CULTURE SECTION A FEW DAYS LONGER.

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Michael
Male
20 years old
Princeton, New Jersey
Brown University

NOLS pushed me to discover how I want to live my life.

10/10

NOLS pushed me to discover what I value in life, and how to effect ethics to shape my life around those values. Going to the Himalayas for three months was incredibly daunting. However, NOLS gave me the knowledge, skills, and tools to accomplish things I never thought I could do, physically and emotionally. They didn't make it easy - nobody could. But they made it possible, when it otherwise would not have been. NOLS created a space for me to mature, learn impressive technical and leadership skills, and live my life better.

There were times when I was so frustrated I cried, when I was so cold I could barely talk. But much more often, I found successes by pushing through my frustration and finally getting me group to my campspot, or working through the cold to summit a 15,000 ft pass. NOLS forced me to push myself in this way and taught me how to find success.

NOLS accomodated my allergy very well and worked out my field rations to make it easy for me to maintain proper nutrition in the field.

How can this program be improved?

This course consisted of three sections: trekking, homestay/cultural, and rafting. I wish we could have had even more sections, like mountaineering or rock climbing.

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Mabel
Female
22 years old
Marin County, California

NOLS semester in New Zealand

10/10

Choosing the NOLS program was a decision that I will never regret and an opportunity that I am forever grateful for. This trip opened up my eyes and challenged every part of my being in the most unforgettable ways. From my inspiring instructors, the New Zealand terrain, to my fellow group members. It taught me how important communication is, how to be an authentic leader and how to persevere though the toughest of days. Sleeping under the stars almost every night and being completely unplugged in nature was only part of a trip of a lifetime. I would recommend this program/trip to anyone and everyone!

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Lauren
Female
20 years old
Sacramento, California
Colorado College

NOLS India Semester

10/10

My semester spent in India was life changing to say the least. I made friends that will last a lifetime, met incredible human beings, learned another language, saw things that one could only understand if they saw it themselves. I pushed myself to my limits and experienced the incredibly breathing taking raw gorgeousness of the Himalayas. I wish I could accurately put into words just how absolutely incredible this experience was for me, just so everyone would know just how amazing it is so they can go and experience this for themselves. I would not be nearly as prepared to take on my adult life and college if it wasn't for NOLS. If anyone could take this trip, take it. Because otherwise they would be missing out on a trip of a lifetime. http://www.jetsetter.com/feature/what-we-are-thankful-for-in-2015?nm=ma…

How can this program be improved?

The only thing I would say is students with nut allergies, be aware of how severe your allergies are and be appropriately prepared to take on a harsh environment for someone with allergies.

Response from NOLS

Hi Lauren,

Thanks so much for reviewing here and for mentioning us in the Jetsetter article! We really appreciate it!

Program Listings

India

NOLS
Touch down in the ancient and mystical world of the Himalaya and prepare for a semester packed with unparalleled language and...

New Zealand

NOLS
Join us for an exciting educational opportunity in a remarkable country. New Zealand's South Island is a varied region of alp...

United States of America

NOLS
Your semester in Alaska includes everything from forested coastlines to the snow and ice of the high mountain peaks to the tu...

United States of America

NOLS
NOLS invented the outdoor semester, and this course is where it all began. A Rockies Semester will take you on a Wild West to...

United States of America

NOLS
This 89-day semester is jam-packed with an entire curriculum dedicated to the field of outdoor education. You'll be with othe...

Mexico

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

Canada

NOLS
An action-packed learning adventure, this semester begins and ends in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada, and it takes place...

United States of America

NOLS
A semester in the Southwest will give you a unique glimpse into the American Southwest's living desert. You will discover the...

United States of America

NOLS
The Wilderness Medicine and Rescue Semester is a unique blend of wilderness skills, medicine, rescue, leadership, and environ...

United States of America

NOLS
The wilderness of the Northwest—your home for two and a half months—is like no other region in the country. In close proximit...

Tanzania

NOLS
A Semester in East Africa means two and a half months of camping in the bush, exploring the wonders of Tanzania, developing l...

Chile

NOLS
Deemed one of the most challenging NOLS courses, the Semester in Patagonia has strong leadership outcomes on account of adapt...

Chile

NOLS
This is it—the longest course at NOLS. This extended expedition packs in outdoor skills, wilderness certifications, and inter...

United States of America

NOLS
This is one of the most geographically diverse semesters at NOLS. Your adventure will begin in the desert Southwest, a land o...

United States of America

NOLS
In education, less can sometimes be more. In the case of the Pacific Northwest Quarter, fewer sections translate to fewer tra...