Get Out and Learn in the Real Live World

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Classrooms have their place (I guess), but to learn about the natural world, the best place really to do that is outside in that natural world. You can get out there on your own and learn a lot, from friends and books and the Internet, and exploring. But if you feel you want some in-depth, hands-on, academic, outdoor eco-experience, it might be time to give the School for Field Studies a look.

Founded in 1980, the School is one of the country’s oldest and largest undergraduate environmental study-abroad programs. They have permanent field stations in Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico, Australia, and the Turks & Caicos. Students learn about critical real-world problems first-hand, getting outdoors into nature and interacting with local communities. Students gain a deeper understanding of the complexity of environmental issues and a unique perspective on what it really takes to develop long-term conservation solutions.

You can take a semester-long class or just a summer course at any of the field stations. Courses include offerings in ecology, policy, economics, social and ethical issues, research methods, and management techniques.

The School also offers year-long internship programs that provide room and board plus a little pocket money.

I had some great classes and read some worthwhile books when I was in school, but there’s no question the most memorable times are when you get to be in the outdoors. I remember going canoeing and birdwatching when I was in high school, and making maps of wildlife habitat in college, and exploring lava caves and tropical forests during grad school in Hawaii. To get out and travel and spend some time in a place, really getting to know it, and learning a lot at the same time, that’s a pretty good deal.

More info:
The School for Field Studies