Outdoor Learning is central to the general mission of the Castle Rock Institute. We sponsor semester-long gap year programs for students that combine a range of outdoor adventure activities and university-level courses in the Humanities. This is a unique gap year programs offering. Unlike other programs, the Castle Rock Institute semester programs have a significant outdoor and academic component.
An Alternative to Ordinary university Life
The Castle Rock Institute is an wilderness center for the Humanities affiliated with Brevard College. Offering gap year programs, it seeks applications from students and professors from around the world to live, study and experience the outdoors together. Housed in a lodge set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the Institute aims to enliven the Humanities through focused interdisciplinary classwork, cross-cultural travel experiences, and through organized group outdoor adventure activities.
The Institute's gap year programs encourage interdisciplinary thought and experimentation by focusing on a theme drawn from the Humanities. This theme serves as the main topic of discussion and area of research for residents at the Institute. A central idea to carry along through the semester.
A Full Semester of university Credit
All CRI students enroll in four courses taught by Institute Senior Fellows. Each course meets regularly throughout the semester and awards four hours of university credit. The Institute strives to balance and integrate scholarship and adventure, and believes that doing so can realize significant benefits for both.
The Castle Rock Institute curriculum is organized thematically, unlike the historical organization of most university humanities programs. Instead of sweeping through a series of "great books," all of the courses offered during each semester at the Institute address a single issue, idea or theme drawn from the Humanities. Accordingly, each class explicitly considers how insights offered by other disciplines can contribute to an overall understanding of the theme at hand.
Gap Year Programs
As a complement to its academic program goals, the Castle Rock Institute organizes for its students a variety of outdoor adventure activities. The Institute takes seriously the idea that there is a fundamental connection between body and mind, between lived experience and the more abstract, theoretical concerns of the intellect.
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