Academics in the Backcountry

Alzar School | 15.09.15

Studying is a crucial aspect of any traditional school system. Students participate in class, take notes, and learn the material well enough to ace following exams. The locations of where one might study will vary. One student may find the boundaries of a room be most fitting. Another student may listen to music to aid in their studying procedures regardless of location. Others however, may enjoy a small area of land where they can call their own. Their personal studying space.

Here at Alzar School, students embark on expeditions pushing them through miles of vast landscapes. Some students may be wiping the water from their helmets as they paddle through the Salmon River. While other students apply sunscreen to dirt covered skin while backpacking through the Owyhee Desert. However, throughout our expeditions, students are always connected to their academic worlds. Having iPads with preloaded course material, students take time out of their adventurous weeks to focus on their academic experience at Alzar School


At the Alzar School students have the ability to pick and choose their studying locations on expedition. This sense of freedom allows for a mind to be clear. With physical demand being applied to our student’s bodies throughout these trips, relaxing on a mountain ridge or beach allow for minds to be opened academically in an inventive way. This is mentally relieving and academically brilliant.

Students also experience the same sense of individualism back on Alzar School’s campus. Included in our student’s English courses, they are given the opportunity to find a personal area on campus where they can reflect and think. A spot like this is called a student’s, “Querencia”.This area is used for writing personal essays of which capture the beauty a student is surrounded by and/or any naturally flowing thoughts. During a student’s Querencia time, they become aware of what truly matters in their time away from home.

This characteristic of Alzar School has always stood out to me the most. The students here are held accountable for their own actions when referring to their academic experience. With opportunities to read an environmental science essay between two sandstone canyons, students are presented the opportunity to observe nature’s beauty first hand. It is experiences such as these that will leave Alzar students with unforgettable memories in and outside the classroom.

“When we need a classroom, the world awaits”