Nested in the hills on the banks of the Connecticut River, the small town of Hanover is truly a New England gem. Dartmouth's campus is built into the quaint countryside, truly a sublime mix of civilization and natural splendor, and sometimes I regret ever having to head home for family visits. But still, the Upper Valley's wonderful setting isn't enough to keep students from traveling — and yes, of course, we visit the surrounding area now and then – but Dartmouth makes it incredibly easy to visit entirely new parts of the much wider world, something that students never hesitate to make full use of.
In my own case, I have quite an itinerary ahead of me. At the end of this term, I'll immediately be driving down to Kentucky with the Mountaineering Club, where we'll be camping out and rock climbing at Red River Gorge. Just after that, I'll be jetting off to Toulouse, France, where I'll be spending my Spring term on a language study abroad program and staying with a host family. For me, these aren't my first Dartmouth-led journeys off campus; after all my past experiences traveling with other students, I think the most important feature of these trips — and largely the only reason I'm able to do them – is the accessibility. For instance, while I personally have a lot of experience rock climbing, applications for trips like mine through the Outing Club tend to be open to anyone, and so no actual training is required to sign up. Plus, financial aid is applied to pretty much every trip the College or student groups offer, which even includes my climbing trip. Even my study abroad program is actually built right into my tuition, and so it makes the whole process incredibly smooth for my family to manage.
Another notable feature of this all is that I'm still able to take off a term to study abroad even though I'm double majoring in departments that have absolutely nothing to do with French. This isn't only a feature of the liberal arts, but also one of Dartmouth's quarter system; it's only a 10-week commitment, which makes it incredibly easy to work into a busy schedule. Plus, I'll be right back on campus afterward for my sophomore summer, so I won't even have to worry about missing friends for all too long. As a whole, I've felt as though Dartmouth has made it very clear that they really want their students to explore and expand their horizons. They've simplified the entire process, making sure to open opportunities to everyone, and that makes it really hard for anyone to not get a taste of the world.