Steamboat Mountain School Global Immersion Studies Blog

Steamboat Mountain School Ecuador 2017 more pictures

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on May 2, 2017 10:35:44 AM

GIS 2017 Ecuador Trip- Stories through pictures- the adventures continue!

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Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, life beyond college, college prep, Ecuador, student voices, village life, homestay programs, Pululahua crater, community service

Steamboat Mountain School Australia 2017 wrapping up

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on May 2, 2017 10:25:24 AM
Chip '17
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Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, life beyond college, college prep, student voices, Rock Art, Aboriginal studies, Australia

Steamboat Mountain School Australia 2017 final week

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on May 1, 2017 3:28:27 PM
 
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Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, life beyond college, college prep, student voices, Rock Art, Aboriginal studies, Australia, wildlife

Steamboat Mountain School Ecuador 2017 pictures

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 28, 2017 11:51:09 AM
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Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, life beyond college, college prep, Ecuador, student voices, village life, homestay programs, Pululahua crater

Steamboat Mountain School Australia 2017

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 28, 2017 10:57:35 AM

Chip '17

We heard about this hike up a hill called Castle Rock and talked about it the previous night. Since we only had a little bit of time in the morning, we couldn't hike up like we would have preferred. We got to the top just in time to see the sunrise, and it was magnificent with amazing colors of red, orange, and yellow. At one part, the sun was so defined and clear we could watch it  for a few minutes before it got too bright. After a little while, Cole, Yoshi, and I climbed down some rocks to an over look of the town and took some cool pictures. Waking up at 5 am was required to make the hike, but it was totally worth it for the amazing experience of watching the sun rise. 

 

Vidal '18
I've seen many koalas in my life, but mainly in the zoos.  So, when I heard we where going to go see koalas in the wild, I went wild.  We went out to some land to do research on koala population in that area.  The way we checked the population was through the koala poop. We stretched a 50 meter rope and walked along it and picked up koala poop.  There were two jobs: poop picker upper and poop sniffer.  Of course, everyone chose me to be the poop sniffer.  My group consisted of Annalise, Colton, Nicole, and Mr. Morse, a great group of intelligent people with no idea what koala poop looked like.  So, we picked up what we thought was koala scat... it wasn't.  We had picked up possum and wallaby poop, and of course thinking that I was doing my job, I smelled it.  Now, by now you are probably wondering why I had to smell poop. Well, it was to determine how fresh it was.  Neither of those poops where fresh smelling like regular animal food.  So, once we figured out what actually koala poop looked like, we found one piece.  Overall, we came to the conclusion that there were not very many koalas in the area. 

 

Ansel '17

Today we spent the day learning about koalas. I definitely learned much more than I had expected. Our tour guide had a lot of knowledge that I wouldn't even expect to learn about any animal. Her knowledge went beyond the simple facts, and that really impressed me. Something I found really interesting was her perspective on preservation and protection of koalas. While she really enjoys her animals, especially Koalas, she brought up a point that opposed the typical standpoint towards preserving endangered animals. While most people believe that animals should be preserved no matter what, our tour guide informed us that preserving specific animals is not always economically smart. Because koalas do not have any direct impact on the environment, their presence is not that important in the wilderness and the Australian government does not always prioritize the preservation of koalas. However, humans preserve the things they physically enjoy, and koalas are something humans visually enjoy. Preservationists claim that the presence of koalas in Australia is super important because it brings revenue to the country. Her presentation shed light on a new perspective towards preserving animals that I never thought of before, and I'm glad I have that new perspective. 

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Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, life beyond college, college prep, student voices, Rock Art, Aboriginal studies, Australia, wildlife

Steamboat Mountain School Australia 2017

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 27, 2017 12:49:44 PM
Yoshi  '17 
Today we walked around the forest and saw wild koalas. The first one we saw was really high in a tree so I couldn't see it very well, but the second one was at head level. It looked so fluffy and cute and I wanted to touch him. Unfortunately it was a wild koala, so I didn't know if it had any diseases. We saw two more that were pretty close to the ground. Thankfully, later on in the day we got to see a koala up close named Hagrid. We got to pet him and he was very soft. He was also funny because he acted like a dog when we hit a spot he liked. He would shake his foot really fast as we scratched the spot. Koalas are really cute and cuddly!!
 
Annalise '18
Within the past few days, the group and I have been fortunate enough to visit Australia's most renowned location. The Great Barrier Reef is a world famous tourist (and local) point of interest with creatures dating back to prehistoric times. At our stay at the Great Barrier Reef HQ Aquarium, we got "behind the scenes" access and tours to learn and engage with many different living things. For example, we  looked at sea sponges and different forms of coral under a microscope to find its mouth, spine, etc. Our day behind the scenes was full, not only of information, but of professionals who are very passionate about their jobs and the creatures that they were working with. After the GBR HQ, we took a short ferry ride to Magnetic island. Magnetic Island gives off the vibes of a small surfer town, but at a closer look, is filled with creatures and life. Our stay at Magnetic Island, or in local terms, "Maggie", we have visited the Billabong wildlife sanctuary where we not only pet, but studied koalas and their living habits. Tomorrow, we are snorkeling the GBR in hopes to remove algae in order to allow new coral to grow, I can not wait to see what I will learn.
 
Cole  '17

Event: 4/12/17 The Road to Wujal

Our first night in Australia was spent in a hot, humid, and slightly cramped room. Several bunk beds lined the walls and a couple of fans were spread sporadically throughout the room. Despite all of the seemingly poor characteristics, after almost two days of non stop travel, we slept soundly and gratefully. We joined together for breakfast at the restaurant downstairs in the hostel. Our guides from Red Earth, Nick, Rael, and Jasmine, met us and we began our introductions. We loaded all of our gear into three 4WD vehicles and hit the road out of Cairns. The road followed the coast and presented us with stunning views of the tropical mountains and forests, cane fields, and the sea. Our first stop was at a grocery store to pick up supplies for the journey ahead. Next, we drove to a crocodile tour on the Daintree River. Our guide, Bill, took us up the river in a covered boat and gave us facts about the ecosystem of the Daintree River and its inhabitants. Such facts included information such as: crocodiles can go up to a year on a single belly full of food, crocs have a resting heartbeat rate of about 40 bpm but can lower it to as far as 2 bpm if necessary, the baby sunbird will excrete outside of the nest and have the mother pick the excrement out of the air and drop it away from the nest to avoid attracting predators. Throughout the tour, we observed two baby crocs and a green frog that was stowing away under one of our seats. After the tour, we drove to the Marrja Botanical walk. There we experienced the inside of the dense, Australian rainforest for the first time. That rainforest is one of the oldest and most diverse tropical rainforests on planet Earth. We observed some of the oldest evolving plant organisms in existence . Some of the tree ferns are considered one of the first plants to ever evolve and help transform Earths atmosphere. We came across many fruit bats and golden orb weaver spiders. After our walk, we drove to a dirt road that led to Wujal Wujal. It wasn't a particularly rough road, but I was glad we were in 4WDs. We drove through several creeks and came across a recently fallen tree that completely obstructed the road. We got out and began breaking, lifting, and sawing the tree. Despite our teamwork, the tree still would not move. Several strangers became entangled in the same predicament and joined us. We eventually towed it with a wench and lifted it to the side. We drove to our campground on the outskirts of Wujal Wujal. The campground was a recently mowed field next to a rugby oval. We set up our tents and found some of the infamously large Australian spiders. We set up a hamburger dinner with the guides and were joined by a group of elders and some children from Wujal. We exchanged yarns and conversed late into the night. We said goodbye to them at headed to bed. Many of those people would become integral characters in the storyline of the adventure ahead of us. We went to bed with curiosity, and maybe some trepidation, for what the future holds for us.

 

Idea: Independence

It takes many things to live in the harsh Australian outback. One theme that I have observed throughout the journey through the outback is the necessity to depend on oneself. This does not mean that one must become a recluse, but one must be able to rely on oneself rather than provided luxuries to survive. Not only are grocery stores and the like, sparse, but the food they provide is manufactured and often poisonous to people that have never relied on it before. I have spent much time recently reflecting on the various insidious poisons that lurk in our American (even all first world) society. I believe that our food system in one of them. I met a man of the land named Mick. He has spent his life living off the land and he told me he has only traveled on a plane once. He once went to a grocery store and was sick for days after due to the preservatives and chemicals in the food. He also used to work on an apple orchard. The owner refused to eat his own apples because "he knew what was in them". People out here use the bush as their grocery store. They walk into their backyard and take only what they need. We participated in this hunter-gatherer lifestyle one day when we went hunting for crabs and mussels in the mangroves by the sea. We took our catch and threw it on the coals of a campfire that the elders made on the beach. The fire did all the work, and we consumed the morsels with our bare hands. It was by far the freshest sea food that any of us had ever had. It had gone straight from the mangroves to the fire within several hours.I knew because I normally hate sea food. I detest its fishy flavor. However, our catch didn't taste anything like that. It was the taste of freedom to me. The people of the outback also use the bush for medicine. Green ants are eaten to cure cold and put on the scalp to create breast milk in women that aren't mothers (but need to take care of children). Wild ginger is also used for colds. Ironwood sap is used for glue to seal spears. Everything the bush people need is already here. I firmly believe that this type of life can be found anywhere and, if one seeks to return to a pure way of living, depending on your self and the land that surrounds you is the way to live that life.

 

  The dull glow of a street lamp, the doldrum of thought that comes after a smile from a pretty girl, a meaningless interaction, all these things pass before me like so many particles on sea drift. They have no meaning, but then again, does anything really? Sure they do, but in isolated circumstances. They create no pattern. There isn't a predictability to life. I always knew that I suppose, but I still have spent time, too much time, looking for this pattern. A meaning maybe. What does is mean to be an adult? A man? These aren't things that life will reveal to you in due time. They are meanings that we give ourselves. I saw an old homeless man yesterday. He had a beard down to his chest. He sat on the street, reading a big book. I asked him what he was reading. He turned the cover to reveal it was a paperback novel by John Grisham. I felt kinda disappointed. Why? Maybe I expected something else. Should I have been? No. We look for logical answers, expectations. This isn't how life works. Life isn't always a game of logic. Sometimes it just is a frothing mix of random interactions and strange, yet somehow monotonous, events. I'm ok with this I suppose. It adds to the fun of the guessing game. After all, I never liked math equations. I like finding the solutions to calculations, but if there isn't a clear way to calculate an incalculable problem, then maybe it is better to lean back, and breathe, love, live. Live unexpectedly.

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Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, life beyond college, college prep, student voices, Rock Art, Aboriginal studies, Australia, wildlife

Steamboat Mountain School Ecuador 2017

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 24, 2017 8:02:06 PM
Ashley Simon '19
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Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, life beyond college, college prep, Ecuador, biking in Ecuador, student voices, village life, homestay programs

Steamboat Mountain School Australia 2017

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 24, 2017 7:55:02 PM
We've been eagerly waiting to hear from our students in Australia! Here are the first blogs:
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Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, life beyond college, college prep, student voices, Rock Art, Aboriginal studies, Australia

Steamboat Mountain School Ecuador 2017

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 21, 2017 1:42:04 PM
Hello people of the world! It is me, Maya.  Anyways, about today . . .  I learned a lot about how to go with the flow and see where that takes you. 

They have a saying here in Ecuador: "Ya mismo." This is what they say when you ask what time to expect someone or something similar. This means they could be here  in 5 minutes or maybe 5 hours. I hate this! I like my schedule, my plans, my timelines. Yet, I don't know how, but I ended up in Ecuador. 
 
Today, we woke up thinking that we would leave the hotel in Quito at  8:30, drive to a laguna, hike around the laguna, go to a market, and drive to the next hotel. Things change. Estelle's feet were really hurting so we took necessary precautions, and we changed our plans. When I asked the leaders what the plan was, they would just shrug and say something like, "to be determined." What the heck? Not to mention, I'm leader of the day, but how am I supposed to lead with no plan?  Today we woke up thinking that we would leave the hotel in Quito at  8:30, drive to a Laguna, hike around the Laguna, go to a market, and drive to the next hotel. Things change. " Ya mismo." Go with the flow. Rather than the laguna, we decided we'd explore Quito, and it worked out perfectly. 
 
Time is something I never realized I was so dependent on. My whole life is a schedule of places I'm supposed to be. Being the American that I am, I'm not used to not having a plan. It's hard. Ashley loves it here, though. She's one of those people that makes a ton of plans and then realizes she can't do them all. She's a super last-minute planner. She is almost never on time for our Q-doba dates. Don't get me wrong; I love her to death. But I hate having to make plans with her. It gives me such anxiety. I like my schedule, thank you very much. However, being in Ecuador has changed my perspective on time. It's not necessary. It lessens my options. And being without a time schedule is just more fun sometimes. 
 
When you just decide to get out of the house and see where things take you, you realize that life is much better lived this way. Everyday is an adventure. My brain isn't constantly thinking of what I have to do next, but rather what I can do now. And let me tell you, that's the way to live. So, next time Ash asks me to hang out, I'm going yo say "Yamismo." Karma. 
 
-maya
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Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, life beyond college, college prep, Ecuador, biking in Ecuador, student voices

Steamboat Mountain School Ecuador 2017

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 19, 2017 6:09:36 PM
l
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Topics: Colorado high school, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, life beyond college, college prep, Ecuador, hiking in Ecuador