Outdoor Adventure Study Abroad Program
Leave the traditional classroom behind and join us on an outdoor adventure-based semester exploring Yosemite, Ecuador and Patagonia all while earning 16-18 academic credits.
Founded in 2007, the Summit Adventure Semester Program is a Christ-centered outdoor adventure college semester abroad spent learning, serving and exploring through classes, service work, home stays, & urban exploration. Students acquire outdoor skills in mountaineering, backpacking and rock climbing while embarking on adventures in Yosemite, Ecuador and Patagonia. But, you don’t need to have any prior outdoor experience in these areas to join us!
The program is designed for college students and gap year participants. Academically, it includes courses in Leadership, Communication, Spiritual Formation, Cross-Cultural Ministry, and Outdoor Physical Education. Students can obtain between 16-18 academic credits that can be transferred to other colleges and universities.
Applications are OPEN for Fall 2021 & Spring 2022
FALL 2021 APPLICATION DEADLINE – June 30, 2021
Have questions about how COVID will affect the Spring Semester? Send us an email at Ari@summitadventure.com
The college semester abroad program is the opportunity of a lifetime. You’ll get opportunity to climb to 19,000’ in the Andes, backpack and ski in Yosemite National Park, trek and rock climb in Patagonia, all while learning about each experience from a Christian academic perspective. There is also multi-cultural and service component to the program, where you will be immersed in South American culture and learn from Ecuadorians and Argentinians.
And, you’ll gain 16-18 transferrable credits while experiencing a life-transforming semester!
When you’re not taking classes in Ecuador, living with an Ecuadorian family, or exploring Patagonia, you’ll get to live at Summit Adventure’s base camp, a beautiful cabin in the Sierra mountains.
This semester is rigorous in its demands–academically, physically, and spiritually. But the effort makes it all the more rewarding.
While our program is oriented around the Christian faith, we welcome everyone from all different backgrounds and religions. We hope that Summit will be a safe place for our students to have open discussions about a number of topics and we understand that diversity only enriches these conversations. In a world that seems very divided, we hope to bring people together through our programs with the common goals of developing critical thinking, listening, learning and working to love each other well.
6 weeks at basecamp in Bass Lake, California
Orientation, syllabi, and academic explanation, classes 4 days a week, weekend mini-expeditions, community service with Boys & Girls Club Oakhurst and local churches, living in community at basecamp, and 15-day backpacking expedition in the High Sierra.
4 weeks in Ecuador
This college semester program will take you abroad. First to Ecuador! Experience a 10-day homestay with an Ecuadorian Family, serve at Remanso de Amor and the Happiness Foundation, exploring Quito and surrounding cities, high-altitude hiking, backpacking and mountaineering, periodic concentrated class times
2 weeks in Argentine Patagonia (may be affected by COVID)
3-4 days of trekking, 1-2 days of mission work, and a 2-day overnight hike to a spectacular crag called the Frey, opportunities to explore in the beautiful town of Bariloche, Argentina. Currently Argentina is closed to international travel because of COVID. While we are hoping this will change within the next few months, if we are not able to travel to Argentina, we will spend a total of 6 weeks in Ecuador.
3 weeks Expedition-Style
1 week expedition planning, 14-18 days Sierra expedition–backpacking, rock climbing, backcountry navigation, outdoor living skills. In the fall we will spend a lot of time backpacking and climbing in the High Sierra. For the Spring semester, we will embark on a cross-country ski trip in Yosemite and backpack in either Death Valley National Park or Joshua Tree National Park.
1 week of Transition and Semester Culmination before Re-entering “Home”
COVID-19 & The Semester Program
Ecuador has been open for months, so we do anticipate being able to travel there. We are closely monitoring the development of COVID-19, and hope to include Argentina in our travels as well (although this is TBD). In the event that we can not travel internationally, we have a “plan B” domestic program, should it come to that. We’ll paddle through the canyons of Utah, traverse the Sierras, scale the granite walls of Yosemite and embark on other mountaineering endeavors in the Pacific Northwest! No matter what happens in this time of uncertainty we are confident we can create a semester of learning and adventure you will never forget. This is the perfect time to take a gap semester, while life on college campuses is so strict. If you have any questions, email Ariella Carter at Ari@summitadventure.com (559) 642-3899.
Immersion programs, service learning, and outdoor adventure are state-of-the-art pedagogical tools that attract and develop today’s college student. In the hands of skilled experiential educators, these approaches to interpersonal and academic growth are unparalleled, and are what make Summit’s college semester abroad program unique.
Since the fall of 2007, Summit Adventure has woven service learning and outdoor adventure into an off-campus college program designed to develop relationship-building Christian young adults. We call this innovative Christ-centered program our College Semester Program.
The semester will be based in California’s High Sierra, the cities and mountains surrounding Quito, Ecuador, and Patagonia. Thousands of students over the years have come to Summit Adventure demonstrating a lack of proficiency in leadership, interpersonal communication, cross-cultural awareness, spiritual growth, and physical fitness.
As a result, we are focusing our semester program on these five competencies through the courses listed below. We call these 3-credit courses “pillars” because they are foundational to a student’s ability to build relationships in ministry and life.
Semester Program Academic Pillars
In this course, you will study small group behavior and interpersonal communication within the contexts of current theory, praxis, and Christian community. Course content includes the study of group dynamics, small group leadership, conflict resolution, non-violent communication, and the application of interpersonal interaction theories. Learning occurs in small group travel in mountains, rural settings, and international venues via class discussion, practical experiences, and communal living.
Patagonia Trekking and Service
Frequently Asked Questions
Patagonia Trekking and Service