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-  Cory Crouser, a 2012 Barlow grad and Carroll College student, ventured to Nepal this summer

Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CORY CROUSER - During his travels in Nepal, Cory Crouser saw an interesting mix of tourist destinations and extreme poverty. Here he is posed with holy men in Kathmandu.

Fueled by a sense of adventure and humanitarianism, Troutdale native Cory Crouser spent six weeks this summer volunteering in Nepal.

Working through Gap Force, an organization focused on extreme expeditions with a humanitarian twist, Crouser had the opportunity to work in an orphanage and climb a portion of Mount Everest.

Crouser said witnessing extreme poverty and experiencing a dramatically different culture from his own was life changing. He will take back the lessons he learned this summer during his final year at Carroll College in Helena, Mont.

“You get as much as you put in,” Crouser said of his travels. “If you sacrifice comfort, you’ll realize a lot about yourself, the places you’re going and the people you’re seeing.”

Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: CORY CROUSER - Crouser spent six weeks this summer volunteering and traveling in Nepal. He hiked up to base camp at Mt. Everest during the last leg of his journey.

During his travels, Crouser spent one week in language classes, ventured to the Chitwan jungle reserve, volunteered at the orphanage north of Kathmandu and hiked to base camp in the Sagarmatha Wilderness Area (Everest).

Crouser said he came face-to-face with incredible beauty and unsettling experiences, including personal illness.

“I saw exactly what they wanted Westerners to see, and the underbelly of what they don’t want anybody to see,” Crouser said.

Crouser encourages his peers to explore gap years, a concept catching on in the United States in which teens and twenty-somethings forgo traditional college and work experiences to travel, intern or work abroad.

“To really make a change, I think you have to be willing to put yourself out there,” Crouser said. “You gotta jump in and go.”

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