Just wanted to let ya'll know about a fabulous opportunity to get out a study one of the most fascinating regions in the West: the Grand Canyon. I participated in the Grand Canyon Semester Fall of '03 and it 'rocked'(bad geolgoy joke). Basically, there's about 25 students from all over the country who all come to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ and take small seminar type classes about the Grand Canyon and the Southwest in general. You can take geology classes, humanities classes, history, art, archeology, etc. and one of the best parts is all the field trips you go on. Instead of just reading about geology in a book, you go out for a week and actually SEE them for yourself. Also, in past years, GCS students have gotten to participate in National Park Service sponsered river trip down the Colorado River which was by far the best part of the program for me.
So, if you need to get out of Seattle and experience what 360 days of sunshine/year feels like, push yourself physically(there's a lot of hiking) and mentally, make new friends from all over the country, and experience a fascinating landscape, check out this program! As a side note: all my credits transferred back to UW and counted towards my major (PoE) and with advance planning it's possible to participate in the GCS on the National Studente Exchange so you pay in-state Arizona tuition.
Seriously, this program was the best thing I ever did in college. I ended up staying in Arizona for 14 months because I loved it so much and only came back because I had to graduate. :-) Eventhough the website cites a February deadline for applications, one of the faculty members sent out an announcement saying there were still slots available so definitly send one in if it sounds like a good thing for you!
Small classes(our profs became our drinking buddies), a river trip down one of the gnarliest and most scenic rivers in the country, and the GRAND CANYON. What more could you want?