Do you wanna build a snowmaaan? Get ready to be inspired like never before by the mystery of Antarctica’s dynamic personality–where there are more possibilities than delicately detailed snowflake patterns. The ice-crowned wonder of Antarctica is so harshly beautiful that the magical essence of raw wilderness beauty will take your breath away (or maybe that’s just the cold air). If you are bold enough to follow in the footsteps of some of the most adventurous, world-renowned explorers, then it’s time to study abroad in Antarctica!
Are you ready for some island hopping? Studying abroad in Antarctica will keep you floating between islands, icebergs, and glacier-draped mountains so you can log as many expeditions as possible. No matter what locations you trek to on this ice-loated continent, everyone–scientist, tourists, and ice queens alike–must earn it, whether by sea-voyage or flight. Ice and weather, not clocks and calendars, determine the itinerary and the timetable of all travel here.
The Antarctic Peninsula will serve as your “mainland” experience when you study abroad in Antarctica. The expedition ship you will be cruising on will be equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing crafts, which allow daily excursions ashore onto the peninsula for spectacular scenery and close encounters with seals, penguins, and other wildlife. Today, it’s even possible for visitors to climb Antarctic peaks or kayak icy waters. You might even get a chance to camp onshore one night! Other stops include places with historical significance, such as whaling stations and exploration camps.
One island group you can’t miss is the South Shetland Islands. There is warm volcanic soil and even warmer water underground, so if you’re feeling particularly brave you can wade into the warm shore water or just dig up some of the volcanic soil and climb into a steaming hot pool of water! This is your chance to earn yourself a legit polar plunge badge. Think of it like all-natural Icy Hot to sooth your achy muscles after a long day of ‘splorin.
Subjects & Courses
If your major is setting you up to land a dream job with National Geographic, then studying abroad in Antarctica is that shiny gold star your resume needs to get your foot in the door. Even the mention of an expedition to Antarctica incites travel envy among the boldest voyagers in the business.
In a shining example of international cooperation, Antarctica is managed by the signatory countries of the Antarctic Treaty. This unique agreement has ensured that the world’s last indefinable wilderness is to be used only for peaceful means and as a natural scientific laboratory where exploration and observation reign. Based on this, you’ve probably figured out that the most popular studies include sustainability, wildlife, geology, and any other environmental studies.
The majority of study abroad programs in Antarctica make their departure over winter break and run for a couple of weeks or up to a month. This leaves plenty of time to get a toasty little tan, as the sun shines nearly 24 hours a day in Antarctica!
Scholarships & Costs
Relax and enjoy the extraordinary opportunity of traveling somewhere you don’t need money. That’s right, Antarctica has no currency so consider your assets frozen. However, if you’re family hinted that you shouldn’t bother coming home without souvenirs aplenty, Antarctic outposts usually accept U.S. Dollars or the currency of the nation that owns the site. Maybe you can pick out a nice snow globe…
Study abroad programs in Antarctica typically charge students a set amount in program fees. These fees cover tuition, room and board, transportation during the program, and a new lease on life. You’re looking at an all-inclusive deal with the exception of flights to get you to your departure site. In addition, program staff and advisors will be at your beck and call to answer any questions you may have and assist you with the whole process.
Accommodation & Visas
Contrary to popular (or stereotypical) belief, you will not have to rough it in an igloo. So pack your sea legs because your antipodal abode will be on an expedition ship!
The majority of your nights will be spent in simple cabins on your cruise liner consisting of twin bunks. During your time on land, in both Argentina and Antarctica, you will share comfortable hostel-style accommodations with the other students in your program. It’s a chance to make life-long friends while visiting one of the most intriguing places on earth.
You won’t need a visa or even a passport to visit Antarctica, but you will need one for the country from which you sail, which will most likely be Argentina. Also, the Antarctic Treaty’s protocol on environmental protection requires that visitors obtain a permit to make sure you take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints. These permits are usually covered under the permits applied for by the cruise company. It’s best to check with the program ahead of time as to what is required.
Benefits and Challenges
Drink in the tonic of wildness. The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hands of man. To let our minds soar in a place nearly free of humankind’s imprint: this is magic. Antarctica is a subzero cornucopia of invigorating expedition and bone-chilling adventure that is yours for the taking.
Brrr! It’s cold in here! Antarctica is the coldest of the Earth’s continents and is covered by ice that averages 1 mile thick. So it’s time to invest in some thermal underwear and master the art of layering. During winter, temperatures range from -110 to -130 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas in the summer they may reach up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Oh-Ee-Oh-Ee-Oh Ice! Ice! Ice!
Off-the-map. Not only are you studying abroad off-the-grid, you may even be completely off-the-map. Communication to the motherland will be fairly nonexistent and is reserved for emergencies. This is a rare opportunity to push the limits of your comfort zone and practice living in the present.
Career advantage. A resume with international experience gives an unquestionable competitive edge over others. But when an interviewer sees that you chose to endure the freezing tundra instead of taking the road most traveled and lined with croissants and cute little scooters, you will undoubtedly set the bar for all other candidates.
Traveling meaningfully is to understand the misunderstood. In Antarctica, all things are mysterious and seemingly unexplorable and unfathomed. Studying abroad in Antarctica’s surreal remoteness will challenge you to comprehend the indefinable wild. P.S. The cold never bothered you anyway.