Spring Semester on the Borders

Credit: Benjamin Lester

Spring Semester on the Borders

Explore the wild from desert to sea

Get an education that’s beyond your regular classes on the Semester on the Borders. This course covers some of North America’s most diverse places, meaning you’ll be better prepared than anyone to pursue the adventure you’re dreaming about. Start by exploring cliff dwellings in the American Southwest as you learn about backpacking and rock climbing. Then head to the green, rocky coasts of the Pacific Northwest for sailing and sea kayaking in British Columbia, Canada. On the way, you’ll see a desert that’s alive with plants and animals. You’ll forge new friendships and navigate secret coves. You’ll walk away with a first aid certification that will prepare you for the unexpected. And you’ll surprise yourself as you overcome new challenges every day.

You’ll find out that there’s more to exploring than knowing how to camp. You and your team will make real decisions, learn about managing risk, and meet goals together. It’s your opportunity to grow and find out what your leadership style is. These are the skills you’ll use for the rest of your life when you’re at home, at school, and beyond.

It’s not about being the perfect leader or the perfect explorer. It’s about learning what your personal leadership style is so you can be ready for whatever life throws your way, all in some of the country’s most diverse wild places.



2018 Dates

March 7 – May 31, 2018

Tuition: $15,560
Details: Backpacking, Wilderness First Aid, Rock Climbing, Sailing, Sea Kayaking
In Progress


All course information at a glance

Learn about Financial Aid & Scholarships
Equipment Deposit
86 days
Minimum Age
17 yrs.
Academic Credit
16 College Credits
  • 3 Risk Assessment
  • 6 Skills Practicum
  • 4 Leadership Techniques
  • 3 Environmental Studies

2 High School Credits

  • 1.00 Leadership
  • 1.00 Physical Education
Learn about Academic Credit


Leave No Trace - Trainer

Wilderness First Aid


Course Description

Equipment List

Travel and Logistics

Tucson, Arizona / Conway, Washington
Fly in/out
Tucson, Arizona / Seattle, Washington
Skills learned


Rock Climbing


Sea Kayaking

Wilderness Medicine

Additional Details

Semester Scholarship Form



See Photos and Videos from Students and Instructors

What Our Grads Say

“On the course I learned a lot about communication with others, giving and receiving feedback, and leadership. I am now more self-aware and know that I have a lot to learn about leadership and myself.”

— Caroline W., NOLS Spring Semester on the Borders grad

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