Are you looking for a truly unconventional, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Study abroad in Antarctica. Yes, it is possible! While Antarctica is cold, isolated, and worlds different from any other destination in the world, it’s also one of the most unique educational experiences available on Earth. If you study in Antarctica, you will probably be the only person you know to have ever visited this mysterious, hauntingly beautiful continent.
Geography & Demograpics
Antarctica is the coldest of the Earth’s continents. During winter, temperatures range from -112 to -130 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas in the summer they may reach from 41 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the location. Believe it or not, sunburn is the most prominent health problem for people in Antarctica, since the omnipresent snow and ice reflect ultraviolet light from the sun. Heavy snowfalls are common, and have been recorded at 48 inches within 48 hours. However, when the weather is clear, and the sun is shining 24 hours a day, what you’re left looking at is a vast untouched white wonderland like nowhere else on this planet.
Almost all of the continent is covered by ice that averages 1 mile thick. As a result, most of Antarctica is a vast and flat tundra, virtually untouched by humans. The Antarctic Treaty, signed by 49 countries to date, prohibits military activity, mineral mining, nuclear explosions and waste disposal, leaving only temporary human populations that are most often dedicated to scientific research.
Things to Do
Antarctica is home to the world’s greatest concentration of wildlife. Expeditions will take you up close to penguin colonies, whales, seals, and more, not to mention huge glaciers and icebergs. Antarctica is the only place on earth where you can see such a wide variety of penguin breeds, including: Emperors, Adelies, Rockhoppers, Chinstraps, Gentoos, and King penguins. Blue whales, orcas, colossal squid, and fur seals are also prominent throughout the region. There are also only three species of birds that breed exclusively on the icy continent. You may also participate in backpacking, hiking, nature tours, overland tours, photography, and trekking, to explore the nation’s wildlife and natural wonders.
Studying in Antarctica
As if watching wildlife and glaciers weren’t enough, Antarctica has many academic pursuits to offer too. But, you’re probably wondering how it’s possible to study in Antarctica: where would you stay and take classes? One program through American Universities International Programs (AUIP) brings its participants on an expedition ship with a fleet of Zodiac landing crafts and lets them take excursions ashore on a daily basis. Students attend weekly lectures, complete assignments in their areas of interest, and participate in field studies throughout Antarctica and Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost tip of South America and the nearest landmass to the White Continent. Believe it or not, credit from a study program in Antarctica is available for a wide variety of majors, from Architecture or Biology to Economics and Zoology. Common course areas also include, Fourth World Studies, Archeology, Ecology and Eco-tours, Environmental Studies, Geology, and Native Culture Studies.
If you’re an adventurer at heart, Antarctica is the perfect place to study abroad. You will undoubtedly have an unmatched experience, with stories you’ll tell for generations. The magnificent landscape and wildlife will remain ingrained in your memory as perhaps the most beautiful things you’ve ever witnessed. Studying abroad in Antarctica will make you appreciate the world that you live in, and sheer magnitude of phenomena that humans have yet to explain.