By Miriam Mezzetti
Expedition Alaska, our 10 day course rafting the Yukon River, began last week! Students prepared academically by learning about the geology, botany, and marine life of the Yukon. They also prepared practically for braving the Alaska wild, through learning wilderness survival and camping skills.
Much of the grade for the course is based upon a scientific journal and log, which the students will be keeping. In true Lewis and Clarke fashion, students will be documenting their journey and drawing sketches of local flora and fauna. This active learning, in addition to braving the Alaska wilds on rafts completely removed from even such vestiges of civilization as rest stops and showers, makes for an unforgettable and uniquely Alaskan experience.
Many of the students going on the expedition expressed excitement about roughing it in the wilderness of the Yukon and connecting closely with the environment; many also mentioned looking forward to studying far away from modern distractions. As Anika Vojir, one of the students on ExpAK noted while prepping for the trip, “I am excited about getting off the grid. I’m a city kid from Seattle, born and raised. I’ve been camping before, but nothing this hardcore.” Other students expressed some nervousness about disconnecting, particularly from modern conveniences such as restrooms and showers. As Alyssa Lindquist, another student on ExpAK, noted, “I am most excited about the rafting, but definitely most nervous about not getting to shower for 10 days. I’m packing a lot of baby wipes.” Students on ExpAK are also enthusiastic about the course material and getting to study the Alaskan environment thoroughly and through first-hand experience. They additionally look forward to getting to know their peers on ExpAK, and in other Alaska Pacific University courses. As Juliana Lukshin puts it, “APU’s low student to teacher ratio creates a close community and enables students to form lifelong friendships. I can imagine that after spending 10 days learning together, maybe getting on each-others’ nerves, we will become much closer than we would have been if not for ExpAK.”
Alaska Pacific University is pleased to offer courses that emphasize experiential learning, such as Expedition Alaska. We look forward to hearing about this year’s journey, and look forward to welcoming our expeditionary team back to campus this week!