NOLS National Outdoor Leadership School: Semester in Australia
Australian semesters are expeditions of discovery in a land of great contrasts. The spring semester consists of canoeing, backpacking and cultural sections. For 75 days, you’ll travel as a group through northwestern Australia’s Kimberley region, a place so remote you’ll get there by four-wheel drive vehicle or light plane, and you won’t return to civilization until the semester ends.
The 68-day summer semester includes first-aid, backpacking, sea kayaking, and cultural sections, where you’ll explore the Kimberley and the Pilbara regions, learning how to be comfortable in both bush and marine environments.
You’ll see crocodiles, kangaroos, wallabies, and kookaburras, as well as huge termite mounds. Both semesters spend time on the coast, spotting sea turtles, reef fish, coral, and other marine animals. The uniqueness of Australia’s natural surroundings makes this an ideal place for you to challenge yourself, learn, and have fun.
Your backpacking section will be in the Kimberley, in areas that offer everything from gorges and grasslands to billabongs (watering holes) and waterfalls. You’ll learn about the local cattle stations and how to backpack effectively in this hot, dry environment. You may also get the opportunity for a student expedition, hiking close by, yet independent of, your instructors.
For a week of your semester you’ll have an opportunity to explore the Bardi Aboriginal homelands, studying marine ecology and learning Bardi crafts and traditions like boomerang and spear making, or visit another local Aboriginal community, like Jarlmadangah, learning about their traditional and contemporary lifestyles.
During this five-week section, you’ll travel through the heart of the Kimberley, both by canoe and on foot. You’ll paddle and portage your boat and gear down the Drysdale River, one of the most remote rivers in the world, while you learn the intricacies of canoe travel and develop your leadership style. You’ll also take exploratory day hikes into the wilderness.
NOLS is widely recognized for its outdoor education, leadership and conservation curricula. As different as these may be from traditional academic programs, Western Washington University recognizes the educational value of a NOLS course. WWU students must register for University of Utah credit. Students must pay for the University of Utah credit fees, in addition to the course tuition, before the course begin. Registration forms and payment submitted after a course begins will not be accepted. More information about this process can be found on the NOLS website