NOLS
98% Rating
(35 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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Lizzie

Incredible Experience

10/10

If you're looking to be challenged, both physically and mentally, then this program is for you. I came into this trip without any prior hiking or backpacking experience and the instructors were very helpful in showing me the ropes and supporting me when I was struggling. I also really enjoyed the education part of the course. We had classes almost everyday on kiswalhili, the environment, or leadership, which were interesting and informative. We also had members of the Massai tribe hiking with us for most of the trip, so we really got an understanding about that culture. Making it to the summit of Kilimanjaro gave me such a feeling of accomplishment and was definitely worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears. If you're wanting to learn more about yourself, as well as be immersed in another culture, then I would highly recommend this program. I've made friends and memories that will last a lifetime.

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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!

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...
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...
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...
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...