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The expeditions were perfect. Nothing to distract you: nothing superfluous, nothing unnecessary, nothing to hide behind. - Charlie; Los Angeles, California
During the HMI Semester, we place particular emphasis on experiential education. We provide a wide range of learning environments that encourage students to learn and study outside the traditional classroom. These varying experiences build upon the subject matter studied on campus. In the wilderness, there are many teachable moments when the power of the place offers concrete examples for learning.
Ask alumni what they remember about the three expeditions, and their answers vary. Some recall the inspiration they found amidst Colorado's 14,000 foot peaks or Utah's sandstone canyons. Others remember laughing and living simply. Many speak of a new confidence about learning that they could achieve seemingly impossible goals. All of our alumni point to the close and positive relationships they developed with their teachers and how this mentorship carried over to the classroom. Some say the expeditions were when they learned to be leaders. Finally, they do not forget the connections between classroom work and expeditions: academic lessons in science, history, and English came alive when evidence lay not only in a textbook, but also in canyon walls and surrounding mountain peaks.
NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.
An open mind, excellent attitude, and willingness to laugh are the traits and experiences held in common by incoming HMI Semester students. Students whose first night under the stars comes during our first expedition mingle with those who have completed several extended wilderness trips. There are ample learning opportunities for everyone. Students new to the outdoors make up the majority of our students. If you are a beginner, you will find challenge and a sense of accomplishment in adjusting to a new way of life. If you have outdoor experience, you will find opportunities to mentor your peers. By the end of the semester, we find it impossible to differentiate between those experienced in the outdoors and students who put on her first backpack just four months before.
All programs at the High Mountain Institute emphasize Leave No Trace camp and travel skills. We travel in small groups through the backcountry. This reduces our impact on the land, allows students to work more closely with faculty, and provides many opportunities for students to practice their leadership skills.