Outdoor Adventure Education in East Asia: Interpreting Data From Outward Bound Hong Kong


  • Jim Sibthorp University of Utah
  • Aaron Funnell
  • Mike Riley
  • Bacon Chan
  • Lisa Meerts-Brandsma




cross-cultural differences, Eastern values, experiential learning


Outdoor adventure education (OAE) is philosophically rooted in Western values, yet it has been implemented in non-Western cultures, such as East Asia. This paper examines how OAE functions in East Asia, through data from Hong Kong. Although some cultural differences are clear, there is no compelling evidence that OAE cannot provide benefits in Eastern contexts. The data in our example support the premise that OAE can be a viable and valuable medium for the development of social and intrapersonal skills and may serve as a complementary approach to traditional schooling in East Asia. Implications from this paper include better aligning OAE with schools and teachers, understanding the merits of relationships developed through OAE, and appreciating that some traditional OAE practices should be questioned when exported to different cultures.

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