Alzar School & Gap

Program Reviews

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Mahalie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Alzar School provided me with real world leadership skills. After attending in the fall of 2015, I have sought out leadership programs at other schools, and none compare. Alzar helped me learn that I have a lot to gain from the knowledge and experiences of others and that asking for feedback is a good thing. I also learned that I can handle extremely difficult situations, especially when others are depending on me. I learned to communicate with my peers through constructive feedback and small group expeditions in the backcountry. These communications skills carried over to my interactions and relationships with friends and family back home, and also in conversations with professionals when searching for jobs. I carry myself taller, trust in my own strength more, and have no fear to ask for help and support from others after coming back from the Alzar school. It is truly a life-changing experience. I conquered my fear of kayaking after years of being horrified of it, and created memories I will cherish for a lifetime. Thank you Alzar!!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would try to branch out with the friends that I made. Being an Idaho local, I gravitated towards a social group that was from Western states, and I wish I had gotten to know my fellow students better who grew up in other parts of the country.
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Charlotte
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Before coming to Alzar, I was hoping to get a sense of independence from my family and the routine that I live at home. I wanted to hone my leadership skills, make lasting friendships and apply my backpacking skills. I also wanted to explore the brand new realms of spanish and kayaking. At Alzar, I learned that I am able to broaden my definition of a leader from just being someone that people liked, and who knew the plan. I am now able to define many other types of leadership other than my own, and work with people to understand where my assets work best. I hope to be a better leader in my own home, communicating and being fair to my siblings, and also doing a good job of helping my parents around the house. Anyone is lucky to experience a semester at this special place.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Try everything the program offers. Expand your spanish skills, learn to kayak, and challenge yourself!
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Abby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Alzar helped me find lifelong friends, cultivated my desire to explore, and equipped me with the interpersonal skills I needed to become more independent and confident. Each day was filled with laughter and adventure, in and out of the classroom. I chose to attend Alzar because I wanted to diversify my high-school experience, and this program was certainly successful in helping me achieve that. I now have a passion for cultural exchange, leadership, and outdoor adventure as well as a broader perspective of the world.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have taken more pictures and videos! This experience was so memorable and I wish I had more content of the amazing scenery to prove it.
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Abe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went on the Payette River, one of three rivers featured in the Western Whitewater Gap program while I was a student at Alzar. Northwest whitewater is exciting, serene, and challenging. The landscapes are beautiful, the accommodations with Alzar are comfortable, and the staff does a fantastic job of balancing your comfort level and challenging you to improve. Additionally, I took a Swiftwater Rescue course at Kelly's Whitewater Park, just up the road from the main Alzar campus. Kelly's is well equipped with three main features to accommodate all Swiftwater Rescue lessons and we had well trained staff to guide us along each different scenario. Alzar also integrates student leadership well into each of its expeditions, and gives everyone the chance to help plan and facilitate the trip.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Before my Alzar expeditions, I had no whitewater kayaking experience, so each time I got into a kayak was somewhat nerve-wracking. The Alzar staff helped assuage these fears with careful guidance and appropriate challenges. While I pushed the limits of my comfort zone, I never felt out of control. After a few weeks of paddling, I became much more comfortable and enjoyed my time on the river!
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Viv
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

At Alzar, I was hoping to have a fun experience with amazing people, and I achieved this! The expeditions were amazing because of the challenges and bonding with friends. Kayaking is amazing! I learned so much about why/how I make decisions. I also learned what I like about leaders and what I want to do with my life! Im so thankful for the network of friends across the country. The teachers are an awesome support system that i feel i can rely on and who will help me move forward in my life. I could not be more thankful for my experience at The Alzar School!

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Abe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Alzar is a fantastic opportunity for young people of all ability levels to spend time with a uniquely motivated group of peers exploring the world and developing their leadership skills. From designated leadership experiences in the front and backcountry geared towards building confidence to tailored challenges in outdoor and social settings, the programs are geared towards and inspired by suggestions from students. Beyond outdoor adventures, the social atmosphere of the program is beyond compare. Students come from all across the country with unique stories, talents, and backgrounds, but all with the commonality of saying "yes" to this amazing adventure. Both the Idaho and Chile campuses are gorgeous, fully equipped, and extremely comfortable for all students. While academics are rigorous, students have ample time to explore their surroundings, take fun trips to explore local areas, relax, and spend time with each other.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
With little kayaking experience and no white water experience, my proudest accomplishment throughout the semester was gaining comfort and confidence in a hardshell and inflatable kayak. The program does a good job of preparing students in flat, warmer water before transitioning to bigger and more exciting rapids. The staff is extremely accomodating of all ability and comfort levels and there are always ways to expand or reduce the level of challenge.