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Gap Year & Semester Programs

Learn by doing.

Over the past 50 years, more than one million students in the United States have benefited from Outward Bound's powerful gap year ticketapproach to "learning by doing." Since its founding, Outward Bound has believed in the power and the potential of young people. It has 50 years of experience successfully preparing students to confront the challenges they face in pursuit of their goals with self-confidence, tenacity and compassion.

Our expeditions are ideal for gap year students or students seeking a challenging and formative experience for their off-campus semester. You will travel as a group in remote, rugged settings that will broaden your view of the world while building your skills in teamwork and leadership.

Semester courses require strong a commitment to persevere through the physical and mental challenges presented by an extended wilderness expedition. Successful completion of your course demands mastery of skills, trust, fitness, confidence, tenacity, leadership, initiative and compassion.

What kind of semester courses does NCOBS offer?

States to South America Leadership Semester Course

The 72-Day Leadership Semester offers extended leadership, challenge and personal development. Majestic landscapes in three different course areas (North Carolina mountains, Florida Everglades and Patagonia) support the growth and development of teamwork as you and your crew find your way, set up camp, cook meals over a camp stove and learn Leave No Trace techniques minimizing your impact on the land. When you live and travel in the great outdoor classroom, you gain a clearer sense of your abilities, build strong bonds with your crew and walk away with a greater understanding of the wilderness, our world and the direction you want your life to take.

Students benefit from working with trained and motivated instructors who are specialists in their chosen field. Students participate in a progression of experiences that begin with skill building, advance to increasingly complex decision making and culminate with real leadership.

States to South America Leadership Semester - Spring

States to South America Leadership Semester- Fall

Outdoor Leader Course

The Outdoor Leader Course combines technical outdoor skill development with hands-on learning and teaching experience. The goal of the Outdoor Leader Course is to prepare you for an entry-level position as an outdoor educator. Like all Outward Bound courses, the Outdoor Leader Course is structured to offer opportunities to grow as an individual, as a member of a team and as a leader. Our aim is to create a safe and supportive environment that utilizes challenge, adventure and problem solving to help you learn. While on course, you'll receive valuable feedback from your instructors and peers furthering your development as an outdoor educator.

As a participant in the Outdoor Leader Course, you are expected to:

  • Participate in all scheduled and independent activities including any formal, lecture-style presentations
  • Commit to being a team player
  • Respect, support and share with fellow students and instructors

The Outdoor Leader Course is designed for those with a strong interest in outdoor education. It is not interchangeable with our semester courses. You can be an outdoor novice and still enroll in the Outdoor Leader Course. We simply ask that participants be committed to learning as much about themselves as an outdoor leader as they are about themselves as an individual.

What else is there?

Outward Bound has other gap year & semester courses available at various locations across the country. Click here to check them out.

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