In spring 2022, Alexandra (Lexi) Hamm joined seven other College of the Rockies students for our inaugural Mountain Sustainability Field School in the Principality of Andorra. The Field School was led by Tourism, Recreation, and Business instructor Becky Pelkonen and Manager, International Projects and Partnerships, Kerry Brinkert. This is Lexi’s account of her experience.
Does learning about sustainability in one of the most unique countries in the world sound like a life changing educational experience? It was for me! I would highly recommend any other students from any program to participate in the Mountain Sustainability Field School offered through College of the Rockies.
During our time in Andorra, there was a good balance of free time and structured educational meetings. Free time was spent exploring the unique mountainous country that attracts outdoor recreation tourism and duty-free shopping tourism (Weird combination, I know!) Educationally structured meetings included speaking with educators from the University of Andorra, the UNESCO World Heritage Interpretive Centre and Valley, and the Andorra Living Lab and Mountain Sustainability Research Centre, as well as many others.
For me, the highlight of the trip was a multi-day hike beginning from our hotel rooms in the capital city, straight into the Pyrenees mountains. We hiked through the UNESCO World Heritage Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, through Grandvalira ski resort, and into an entirely different region of the country. During our hike, learning about environmental sustainability was transformed from theoretical to practical. Seeing how traditional land management is being practiced and speaking with the people of Andorra about their lives and their country was amazing.
Throughout my time in Andorra, I learned so many practical things from a globally diverse perspective that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I am grateful that the College offered this learning opportunity.
Find out more about College of the Rockies’ Learning Abroad opportunities.