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  • Writer's pictureBeth & Tim Manners

A Place Beyond: Gap Year in the Wild

The Student Life: "A startup that seeks to provide an in-person, community-focused academic experience for college students in the wilderness, A Place Beyond (APB) rents out and converts campgrounds into college campuses where students from around the country can apply to learn and live for the semester ... APB participants are enrolled full-time at their respective universities but pay APB for room and board. Participants are tested for COVID-19 weekly and were quarantined upon arrival. Together, they live in cabins, eat meals together and are free to explore around the converted campground when they are not doing work."

"Participants are also paired with mentors, who are paid staff members typically in their 20s, to monitor their academic success and overall program experience. In addition to these check-ins, mentors run optional workshops, activities and expeditions throughout the semester."

Pitzer student Tatiana Wells comments: “Everybody goes to different colleges, which I wasn’t sure about how that would work out, but honestly, it’s not that different from having a different major than your friend at the same school. We all get up, have breakfast and then you have the whole day to do work or go bouldering or go mountain biking. Kids take trips to the lake and go cliff jumping; we can cook, we do movie nights. If you want to play ultimate frisbee, you put it in the Slack and get a team together, because someone is always down to hang out. If you need a quiet place to work, the entire campus has really good WiFi, and it’s really nice to be outside.”

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