What if the following was part of your course curriculum?
Mountain climbing, kayaking, and rappelling. Also, hiking through forests, exploring caves, or learning to surf professionally. And, by the end of it you come out with a degree.
If this got your attention, then here’s an offbeat global ed choice for you to consider: Adventure Education. If the world outside excites you, this insight is for you.
What is adventure education? In the simplest of terms, you learn through adventures. It is an interdisciplinary, niche course that combines the practical side of the adventure with the theories of its everyday application. A degree in adventure education typically begins with a foundation course on outdoor learning, safety protocols, and first responder training and can morph into leadership and management, psychology and adventure therapy, geomorphology, climate change, adventure training or any such option that your university might offer.
However, if you have even the smallest notion that this course seems like a vacation, you need to rethink. This programme is not only about fun activities and fancy selfies. Most college portfolios will tell you that it is for students who love the outdoors and the library equally.
As a course, the degree is to systematise and turn the adrenaline of adventure into spaces of viable careers and personal development. While alpine mountaineering or surfing might be the prime attraction, you will also be digging into the philosophy of adventure, the history of it, and even the pedagogy of it, if you choose to be a camp/ expedition leader in the future. Your choices can include life science courses if you are interested in flora or fauna, risk management and organisation if you want to be affiliated with management, or even psychology or anthropology courses if you want to club your love for adventure with the social sciences.
This course is so rich and versatile that you can even choose to learn a foreign language and become this adventure travel guide in a location of your choosing. Adventure education plus law allows you to work in niche areas of corporate consulting with travel/ adventure/ experience-centric agencies. Of course, if education and pedagogy interest you, you can always return to teaching adventure education.
Whatever the combination is, this incredibly adaptable course will quite literally be a breath of fresh air.
This primarily depends on the physical location of your university and the terrain around it. Typically, universities that offer such courses are situated in the vicinity of mountains, rivers, oceans or forest areas so that classrooms can quickly transition from within four-walls to under the trees or up on the mountain.
The knowledge and skillset you develop from an adventure program are quite intricately connected to the outdoor environment that you study in. So ensure, you research that before applying. It defeats the purpose if you can feel the ocean calling out to you but you are enrolled in a course located in a landlocked city.
Another thing to look for, before deciding on a course, is the number of hours of practical training offered. While all adventure courses do offer some amount of practical training, it would be worth your while to choose those that provide extensive real-time training opportunities.
Some colleges/ universities that offer a Bachelor’s in adventure education
- Humak Institute of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland
- University of Chichester, England
- University of Highlands and Islands, Scotland
- University of Stirling, Scotland
- Aberystwyth University, Wales
- Thomson Rivers University, Canada
- Fleming College, Canada
- Plymouth State University, New Hampshire, U.S.A
- Fort Lewis College, Colorado, U.S.A
- University of Notre Dame, Australia
So, you decide to pursue this field. What next? What careers could you look into? As mentioned earlier, the versatility of the course allows you to combine it almost any discipline of your choosing and carve a niche space for yourself. That said, here are some careers you can consider:
- Recreation Therapist
- Adventure guide/ organiser
- Wilderness first responder
- Roles in hospitality and adventure tourism
- Research in environmental sciences
- Conservation and preservation-related work
- Animal care
- Health and Wellness
- NGO-based work
- the Army
With the world constantly evolving, newer specialisations and opportunities abound. Any skillset can be made into a marketable career. And, if you are passionate about the outdoors, why not make a living out of it? It is multidisciplinary nature will certainly allow you to scale different peaks and cross different oceans, should you choose to. Read also about virtual internships for college students.