Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Sora Friedman


Cold Weather for Winter Novices is a weeklong experiential education trip developed for students, between the ages of 17 and 21, from the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West (UWC-USA), an international boarding school in Montezuma, New Mexico. This trip is an opportunity to examine multicultural perspectives of adventure and wilderness. Specifically, the research question focuses on if the concepts of adventure and wilderness present inherent hurdles for diverse populations.

This program was developed trough a detailed literature review and needs assessment that involved both outdoor education professionals and potential students. The literature review looked at the physiological and educational benefits of spending time in nature and the unique impact of adventurous outdoor experiences. Additionally, best practices and the challenges faced by outdoor education organizations who are working toward increasing diversity was examined. Five professionals already engaged in this line of work were interviewed for this project. Also, input was used from potential student participants, who represented six different countries. The curriculum and trip vision was particularly shaped taking into account the students prior wilderness experiences and interests. The research methodology was qualitative and included on-line surveys for the students and interviews for the professionals.

This project yielded several notable conclusions. Outdoor education organization must immediately begin or continue work on appealing to diverse audiences. Many preexisting notions of wilderness and numerous common practices serve as hurdles to expanding the demographics of outdoor users. Yet, the importance of taking these steps cannot be diminished, given the extensive research that shows the benefits for all demographics of any time spent in the outdoors.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Health and Physical Education | Other Teacher Education and Professional Development | Outdoor Education


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