Study Abroad Outdoors

Credit: Annemarie Vocca

Explore the World on a Wilderness Expedition

Dive into a study abroad experience like no other. Travel to one of our campuses around the world, then head into the wilderness. On a NOLS course, you’ll embrace experiential learning, earning academic credit as you get to know a new place and culture firsthand. In the beginning, you’ll work on building key outdoor and leadership skills under the guidance of experienced instructors. At the same time, you’ll engage with local communities through daily interactions and structured homestays. You’ll return to your home university with the confidence to lead in class, outdoors, and beyond.

Culture & Service

Cultural Experiences

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On a NOLS course, you’ll find unique opportunities to engage with local communities as you explore beautiful and remote wilderness areas. Far from the tourist centers, you’ll immerse yourself in local culture. That might include helping your host family herd livestock in Patagonia, chatting with local fishermen in Baja, or practicing your conversational Hindi over a cup of chai in the Himalayas.

Service Opportunities


Service on a NOLS course is an opportunity to engage with a local community and contribute to a meaningful project. You might volunteer to help renovate a school building, restore backcountry trails, or teach English at a local school. All projects are a way of giving back to the communities you’ve had the privilege of visiting.

Leadership Skills for Life

Grow your leadership skills in a dynamic environment under the guidance of our experienced instructors. Learn to support a team and make decisions in the face of uncertainty. Return to your home university with the confidence to lead at school and beyond.

Skills to Travel in the Backcountry

Academic Credit

Earn up to 27 credit hours in a variety of fields, including Cultural Studies, Leadership Techniques, Environmental Studies, and Risk Management.

See Academic Credit Options

Financial Aid

NOLS offers nearly $1.9 million in scholarships each year. You can also use 529 savings plans, consortium agreements for federal financial aid, veterans’ benefits, and AmeriCorps awards to help fund your study abroad experience.

See Financial Aid Options

Send More Study Abroad Information

Blog: Stories From the Wild

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I Belong in the Woods

I spent the summer before my junior year of college working for a trail crew. That summer was the most... Read More

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Tolerance for Uncertainty on a Patagonia Semester

Learn, just learn about this unique and remote place in the world, connect with the people, nature... Read More


Why I Left School for a NOLS Semester

At the same time, I felt my energy and creativity drain through the holes that the classroom grind had... Read More