Happy Himalayan Camper :)

One month ago I climbed my first mountain at an altitude of 2,145ft in Yakama, WA. Fast forward and I am thrilled to embark on a 5,000-7,000 ft journey in the Himalayas!

Hey everyone, my name is Elise and I am a junior here at Pitt studying finance and data analytics at the College of Business Administration. I am from Pittsburgh and enjoy traveling, however have never traveled abroad (yet)! Outside of the classroom, I am president of the data analytics club (LEAP), a member of Smart Women’s Securities (SWS), and run for Pitt Club XC. I love the outdoors and going on new adventures whenever the opportunity arises!

From the start of my college career, I always knew that I wanted to have a study abroad experience. Pursuing a summer internship and wanting to fulfill all of my required data analytics classes, this Maymester program fit perfectly into my busy schedule! When I first heard of the Leadership in the Himalayas study abroad, I was immediately intrigued by the outdoor leadership component. As someone who has always been interested in leadership and has taken upon several leadership roles in my lifetime, I was especially drawn to the outside of the classroom ‘nature’ of this study abroad program. I believe learning is best pursued in a creative environment where collaboration and comradery is encouraged. What better way to learn about leadership that to experience a 10 day trek in the Himalayan wilderness? I can’t think of one.

A huge passion of mine outside of the classroom is running. I’m hoping I will be able to transfer my athletic skills from the track to the terrain. As an avid high school runner and captain of my school’s cross country team, I always enjoyed being outside and going on adventures with other people. I have run races all the way from the 400m to the marathon (however my favorite distance is the mile). Hopefully the endurance and mental toughness I learned through track and cross country will carry over and help me during this month long adventure.

Prepping for the month that is to come, I’ve learned about several leadership theories and styles via the Leadership Capstone Course that is required of us for this program. Reading ‘Strengths Based Leadership’ gave me greater insights as to how I can better manage my top five strengths (activator, strategic, competition, command, self-assurance). Additionally learning about the NOLS Outdoor Leadership Theory gave was a great prepper for being in the back country. A couple other things I’ve had to prep for are buying new hiking boots (which I broke in on the trip to Yakama), a head lamp (which I wore around my room for three days), and a sleeping mat.

I am super excited, yet super nervous to embark on this life-changing trip to the Himalayas. My goal is to intentionally make blog posts here, as well as keep a consistent vlog on my Youtube channel.  I’m hoping to look back on this trip with fond memories and am officially ready to be a Happy Himalayan Camper 🙂