UWC-USA 2020 graduates Erica Lee, Hong Kong, and Andres Block Martinez, Mexico, have received scholarships from the National Outdoor Leadership School to backpack for a month in Alaska this summer.
NOLS is a non-profit outdoor education school based in the United States dedicated to teaching environmental ethics, technical outdoors skills, wilderness medicine, risk management and judgment, and leadership on extended wilderness expeditions.
Both received the scholarships last year, but the program was canceled because of COVID.
Erica is excited about receiving this year’s scholarship.
“I can finally have a break from technology and academics to truly enjoy the life without technology, which I always wanted to live in,” she said. “I was a bit disappointed in the beginning.”
“During my quarantine in Hong Kong, I had the chance to explore the wilderness in a city, which kept igniting my passions and interests in living in the wilderness and exploring the world in a different way,” Erica continued. “I decide to apply for this scholarship this year again because I want to keep finding my grit to step forward boldly as a leader.”
A freshman at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, she was chosen as a Colby Orientation Outdoor leader for the coming academic year.
Andres, who took a gap year to study music and spend time with family, is extremely happy about the opportunity.
“I was hoping I could get the scholarship again this year, but when I talked to Anders (Fristedt, co-director of the wilderness program at UWC-USA) and NOLS a few months ago, the prospects did not look too promising.”
During his time at UWC, Andres said he discovered how much he loves the wilderness.
“This experience has now become an essential part of my life and something that I want to keep with me in the future,” he said. “It is really hard to explain how much I have grown as a result of my interactions with the wilderness. The 14-day leadership expedition was doubtlessly the most beautiful and impactful experience of my life.”