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Friday, October 22, 2021

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Eva Huber made time for rock climbing during her study abroad visit to Nepal. Eva Huber made time for rock climbing during her study abroad visit to Nepal.
 


Scaling Mountains

Eva Huber is making the most of her study abroad experience in Nepal.
By Aaron Burgin
 

Eva Huber is used to scaling mountains.

So what was the avid rock climber’s reaction when the chance came to spend her spring semester at the doorstep of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain?

“I’m still speechless,” said Huber, a San Diego State University sophomore studying urban studies with an emphasis in planning, design management and sustainability. “It’s a dream come true.”

Huber is spending the spring semester studying developmental, gender and social change in the Himalayas, with the Vermont-based School of International Training, an SDSU study abroad partner institution.

An aspiring affordable and sustainable-housing developer, Huber said she is excited to see how Nepal communities have evolved over time and how women in agriculture–both as laborers and business owners–have shaped them.

During the last month of the program, Huber said she and other students will conduct independent research. “I am super excited for that,” she said. “I’ve never had the opportunity to do such a large-scale academic research project.”

“I have always been really interested in Southeast Asia and the Himalayas from a climbing perspective and also (for) there being some really awesome places I want to visit that are on my bucket list,” said Huber, who said she always wanted to study abroad.

Her desire for an international experience meshes well with SDSU’s growing prowess as a major proponent of international education. SDSU students traveled to six continents for study-abroad opportunities, and 31 majors across six colleges have an international experience requirement, including a requirement for all students in the College of Health and Human Services, Weber Honors College, and Huber’s own major, urban studies.

New experiences

“Growing up, my mom had two requirements of me: I get a degree and I study abroad, not the worst pressures from a mom you could have,” Huber said. “Travel and education are two of the most important things in the world to me. Traveling shows us new cultures and gives us perspective that you’ll never find in a classroom and I think is vital to being a global citizen.

“When I was looking at all of the study abroad programs that were available to SDSU students, I found this Nepal study abroad and it was perfect, I can scratch multiple things off the bucket list,” Huber said.

That includes climbing some of the highest peaks in the world.

A competitive softball player growing up in Duluth, Minnesota, Huber took up rock climbing during her senior year of high school as a way to fill the void created when she stopped playing softball.

“My friend introduced me to climbing, and I instantly fell in love. It takes an incredible amount of physical strength, but it also takes a focus and mental strength, and for someone who had grown up an athlete, I had never really pushed myself in that way mentally,” said Huber.

“It’s almost a meditative sport, but still physically challenging,” Huber said.

Huber, who said she always wanted to go to school in Southern California to escape Minnesota’s frigid winters, found a strong network of friends and purpose in the climbing community. She joined SDSU’s climbing club and Grotto Climbing near campus, where she said she has met many of her closest friends.

And this past summer, Huber relocated to Wyoming, where she worked at Grand Teton National Park and spent her summer scaling some of the tallest peaks in the Rockies.

Raising awareness

“Once I started, I was doing it every day, and found out about the climbing community, which is such an incredible community,” said Huber, who is a member of Rotaract and Green Love, an Associated Student organization that advocates for campus-wide sustainability. “Also, the earth is my No. 1 passion, and having climbing as a passion, it gets me outside every weekend and is a way to raise awareness about our earth and being sustainable and one with nature.”

As for her studying abroad, her academic schedule might not allow her to scale the world’s tallest peak, Mount Everest, but she said she plans on going to the Everest region to study the effects of climbers on local culture.

“I definitely want to do some local climbing on the weekends, but I have a pretty structured schedule while I am in Nepal,” she said. “But even if I can’t do Everest, there are more mountains than you could ever dream of that you can still climb.”

More information on SDSU study abroad programs and available financial aid can be found here.