ICB Students Learn Canyoneering & Teamwork
Spring Break 2014: Arches National Park, Utah
For International College Beijing (ICB) students on the Denver campus, Spring Break is the perfect time for outdoor adventures in the beautiful American West. Colorado and the nearby states of Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, and New Mexico offer a variety of scenic landscapes with soaring sandstone arches, lush pine forests, 14,000 foot mountain peaks, and colorful sunsets of orange and gold. This year, students enjoyed an exhilarating canyoneering adventure at Arches National Park, near Moab, Utah.
One of the most exciting activities on the trip was rappelling, which in mountaineering terms, is a method of moving down a steep incline secured by a double rope. Though rappelling is one of the best ways to enjoy natural beauty, it is not always easy for first-timers.
“I never thought that I could do things like canyoneering before. It is really a challenge for me to learn and practice canyoneering for the first time,” said ICB student Yujia Qin. Xinying Ye, another ICB student, also added,
“I remembered the last rappel – I was on the blue rope, and my friend Sandy was on the green one. Both our ropes tangled, and I had to wait for her to go first. Waiting halfway up the cliff, I told myself to calm down and be patient. When I finally reached the ground, I felt a relief and a sense of achievement!”
Through the experience, the students gained confidence as they developed their outdoor skills. They also had opportunities to develop new friendships. The six ICB students, eight American students, and four professional staff joined together in the activities organized by Outdoor Adventure with Campus Recreation at Auraria. Teamwork was key to the adventure.
Ye explained, “In our group, every time after (Jay) finished his rappelling, he did not go somewhere to rest. Instead, he held the ends of ropes for the next student. All American students and teachers were helpful and they encouraged me a lot,” Ye said. Through helping each other, American students and Chinese students built solid friendships. “I’m really happy to meet new people and to learn about a new culture,” said Avery Truman, an American student assistant.
As a chance for students to meet new friends, this trip was also an opportunity for them to better understand themselves. One American student, A.J. Drozd, an intern of Outdoor Adventure said, “This is the last part of my college degree as I will graduate in May. My recreation management degree is kind of broad; this is helping me to find my focus.”
For many of the ICB students, this was their first introduction to the charm of the great outdoors and the natural environment. Bryan Ferguson, Outdoor Leadership Specialist at Campus Recreation further pointed out, “This program is ready to go to the next level–to serve many more students with more activities and to involve students in ways that contribute to the missions of the universities, which include, really importantly, diversity. Especially important to me is the idea of connecting people of other cultures and other nations in these activities as a way to connect the world. And to be a part of that, for me it is really an honor.”
On their last day of the trip, everyone agreed to do volunteer clean-up work for Arches National Park as a way to give back. As the students gathered trash from several parking lots throughout the park, they were reminded of the importance of environmental protection.
Based on the success of this trip, Outdoor Adventure hopes to see more international students enjoying future trips. Another Moab trip is being planned for fall 2014 and spring 2015.
What were the last thoughts of the ICB students who participated in this year’s adventure?
By Yu Hua