Sustainable Lifestyles Course
The Sustainable Lifestyles Course is an integral part of your journey here at Pathfinder. This course complements and reinforces the Path-Finding Guidance by having you and your cohort engage with and learn about the 9 Dimensions of Healthy Living. During the course you will:
understand the key elements of young adult well-being and success
process the dimensions you excel in and the ones you lack in with your life coach
create a personalized Healthy Lifestyle Plan to apply these dimensions to your life
*All of our study abroad students will take this class at Veritas University. Our Gap students will engage with the course material in Atenas.
The 21st century has brought with it a steep increase in health concerns. These concerns could include stress, drug addiction and heart-related conditions to loneliness and depression. Young adulthood entails critical life transitions and therefore people in this period of life often experience health concerns more than any other.
How do young adults sustain well-being and create healthy lifestyles they can enjoy throughout their lives? This course combines research on meta-analyses of the elements that lead young adults to well-being and success, as well as "me-search", where course participants can learn how they themselves fine-tune their own healthy lifestyle. The course explores each of the 9 dimensions of healthy living: physical health, psychological and emotional wellbeing, educational attainment, ethical behavior, relationships, constructive engagement, executive functioning and life skills, civic engagement, and spirituality.
To view the full course syllabus, please click here:
How we implement the coaching and course:
Sustainable Lifestyles Course
Students complete a "Healthy Lifestyle Plan" every week after learning about each of the dimensions from the professor and their peers. The final product is a plan that describes their own version of wellbeing for each dimension, as well as strategies to maintain and regain wellbeing in all 9 dimensions.
Students engage in a hands-on process of self-understanding and self-discovery, which involves the creation and revision of weekly goals. The final product is a refinement of their goal-achievement strategies, as well as a clear mapping out of their path based on a hierarchy of values and goals, informed by their newfound understanding of their talents, interests and purpose.
What are the 9 Dimensions of Healthy Living?
How we developed the 9 Dimensions:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded research in 2004 that found 8 dimensions that led to young adult success. Research on the 8 Dimensions of young adult success draws "on the theoretical and empirical literature to name what appear to be core dimensions of successful young adult development. We also describe some possible indicators and measures of those dimensions and sketch the kinds of developmental relationships and opportunities young people need in adolescence to effectively transition to a successful young
adulthood, as well as the developmental relationships and opportunities young adults need for continued well-being"
This 8 dimensions framework has proven applicable both in psychoeducational spaces in the classroom and in real life for our young adult (and even adolescent) students, for the past several years. While we found these 8 dimensions accurate, we thought it lacked a critical piece of the human experience. We decided to expand from 8 to 9 dimensions based on the increased need we perceive from our students to delve into and increase their spirituality. Since the development of the original 8 dimensions (2004), formal research in Spirituality has grown exponentially, which allows for robust literature to support guiding our young adults both in and out of the classroom. The elements of Spirituality that this dimension focuses on are: Purpose and Meaning, Mindfulness, Flow, Faith and Gratitude.
Benson, P.L., Scales, P.C., Hawkins, J.D., Oesterle, S., and Hill, K.G. (2004, Dec 10) Executive Summary: Successful Young Adult Development. A report submitted to: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation by Scales Search Institute, Social Development Research Group, and University of Washington. https://docs.gatesfoundation.org/documents/successfuldevelopment.pdf
Scales, P. C., Benson, P. L., Oesterle, S., Hill, K. G., Hawkins, J. D., & Pashak, T. J. (2016). The dimensions of successful young adult development: A conceptual and measurement framework. Applied developmental science, 20(3), 150-174.
Long Standing Expertise
Pathfinder's development team at the Supportive Immersion Institute has been guiding teens and young adults to find their path for close to two decades. Their research and results through these years have proven that these kinds of learning experiences abroad can be both memorable and transformative.