study abroad programs

australia study abroad

International Study: Where We Go

The semester begins with a few weeks of orientation, skills training, and academic work at the Castle Rock Institute base camp. It is located four miles south of Brevard, a small town (with a population of 5,388 in 1990) in the mountains of western North Carolina. The Institute is surrounded by 200 acres of private land that includes areas of thick forest, waterfalls, and outcroppings of granite. This area of North Carolina is home to the highest peaks east of the Mississippi River, pockets of virgin forest, and abundant whitewater rivers. These first few weeks provide an introduction to the academic, outdoor, and cultural activities planned for the remainder of the semester.

The fall semester then departs for Western Australia. Beginning in the northern Kimberley region near Broome, an area known for its tropical weather, boab trees, dramatic gorges, and rugged desert terrain, we visit several Aboriginal communities, explore indigenous approaches to the land, and examine modern Australian attitudes toward nature. We then head to the southern part of the state, to Fremantle and further along the coast near Albany, with its karri forests, wildflowers, fantastic rock features, coastal parks and inland mountains. These weeks in the south provide further contasts of landscape and Aboriginal ways, as well as opportunities for additional outdoor activity.

The spring semester travels to New Zealand. Arriving on the North Island, we begin several weeks of Maori studies, stay at a traditional Maori Marae and examine Maori cultural attitudes toward nature and the environment. We then travel to the South Island for several days in the lush west coast region near Karamea, alpine experience near Arthur's Pass, the Abel Tasman National Park, and limestone rock outcroppings in Canterbury. This is the area of New Zealand's highest mountains, dense forests, active glaciers, and extraordinary lakes, and is ideal for outdoor adventure.

We end the semester back at the CRI base camp in North Carolina for final discussions, projects, and evaluations.

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