Applications are accepted year round, until a program is full or three weeks prior to program start.

Questions? Email us at info@pacificdiscovery.org or call 1800-655-3415.

To apply

  • Review the Admissions Process.
  • Read (above) and agree (below) to the Essential Eligibility Criteria and the Program Rules and Guidelines.
  • Read (above) and agree (below) to the Terms and Conditions.
  • Complete the online application form and pay your application fee, $500
  • You can save a partially completed application and return to complete it later.

Applications are accepted year round, until a program is full or three weeks prior to program start.

Questions? Email us at info@pacificdiscovery.org or call 1800-655-3415.

Before you apply

  1. Check Availability.
  2. Read and agree to the essential eligibility criteria and the program rules and guidelines.
  3. You will need to have your parents contact details on-hand to complete the application.
  4. You need to have a credit or debit card to pay the $500 application fee.
    Please note:
    • The application fee is deducted from the total program tuition – it is not an additional fee.
    • Application fees are non-refundable, however if you withdraw from a program after you have applied Pacific Discovery will transfer your application fee to an alternative program provided the request is made.

To apply

  • Complete the online application form and pay your $500 application fee, 
  • You can begin your application and then save as partially completed before returning to finish later.

After you apply

  1. Once you are accepted, you and your family will be sent a welcome email with the next steps.
  2. If you are not accepted onto the program, we will notify you and refund your application fee.
  3. To confirm your position, 50% of your program tuition will be within 30 days of acceptance. Late payments will incur a $150 late fee.
  4. $1,500 of this initial payment is non-refundable. 
  5. Up until departure we liaise closely with you and your family, to ensure you have all the information you need and are on-track with your preparations for the program.
  6. Any student who does not send on the required documentation required to book flights/visas/insurance etc 90 day’s prior to departure will incur a $150 administration fee. Any student booking later than 90 days prior to departure will need to get their documentation to their admissions director within 72 hours of admission to their program. 
  7. Ahead of program departure you will participate in a pre-departure call to discuss getting ready and your goals for the program.
  8. Final program payment is due 60 days prior to departure:
    Summer Programs: May 1st
    Fall Programs: Due July 1st
    Spring Programs: Due December 1st

If you apply after the last payment date, full payment is due within 14 days of applying.- 

You may be eligible for a payment plan - ask us about this when you interview.

Application Process

A completed application and $500 application fee is required to apply to a Pacific Discovery program. If you are not accepted onto a program, your application fee will be refunded in full.

After submitting a program application, students have 7 days to complete their application interview. 

After the interview, Pacific Discovery may offer an applicant a position on a program. In order to accept this position, the applicant must pay 50% of their total program balance within 30 days of acceptance provided that date is earlier than 90 days from departure.

$1,500 of this balance amount is non-refundable unless Pacific Discovery cancels the program.

Once an applicant has been accepted, they will receive additional pre-program information, including gear list and further information about the program.

Any student who does not send on the required documentation required to book flights/visas/insurance etc 90 days prior to departure will incur a $150 administration fee. Any student booking later than 90 days prior to departure will need to get their documentation to their admissions director within 72 hours of admission to their program.

The full program balance is due 60 days prior to departure. Applications submitted within 60 days of departure will have the full payment due within 14 days. The deadline for submitting an application is 3 weeks prior to program departure.

Pacific Discovery reserves the right to decline applicants who are deemed not to be a good fit for the program. We do our best to accommodate all students, however we do have to balance our program goals for the majority of the group vs applicants who may require more support from the program instructors. Pacific Discovery believes in making its experiential programs as accessible as possible and does not discriminate by gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexuality, or ability. We refer all applicants to our Essential Eligibility Criteria prior to applying.

Program Tuition Includes

  • All scheduled ground transport and travel (internal flights are not included unless specified)
  • All accommodation
  • All breakfast, lunch and dinner 
  • All activities, excursions, entry fees and adventure travel as described in the itinerary
  • Informal lectures from resident experts on environment, culture, history, and development
  • Two Pacific Discovery Program Instructors and local guides
  • Detailed handbook and an online image library for your program

Not included are personal expenses such as passport fees, visas, medical and vaccination expenses, Covid tests, laundry, email, health and travel insurance, phone calls, etc. The cost of international and regional flights is not included in the tuition price (unless specified).

International Flights

All students are responsible for arranging flights to program start and home from program finish. We provide clear information to assist in booking flights. We refer students to a travel agency who have all program details and who will do their utmost to ensure participants are flying with others in their group. There is no compulsion to use this agency. We only offer this referral to simplify arrangements for families.

Prior to program departure, students and families are sent clear program arrival information and instructions. Program Instructors meet students at the airport upon arrival.

Refund Policy

If you decide to cancel your participation in a 2021/2022 program, the following fees apply at the time (prior to departure) we receive written notice of your cancellation:

  • More than 91 days before departure – Full refund available excluding $1,500 deposit fee and $500 application fee
  • 61 to 90 days before departure – forfeit 50% of program tuition
  • 0 to 60 days before departure – forfeit 100% of program tuition
  • If you fail to join the program, join after its departure or leave prior to its completion, no refund will be given.

Students sent home early, or who choose to leave for any reason, including sickness, personal emergencies or injury, will be responsible for all medical costs, and travel costs related to their early departure.

Travel Insurance, Medical and Evacuation Expenses

Travel insurance is compulsory for all program participants. Your travel insurance must provide cover for emergency medical evacuation, medical care and emergency repatriation. We also recommend it covers trip cancellation, curtailment, loss of luggage and personal effects.

It is the responsibility of the student and the students’ family to understand the limits of any medical and evacuation policy, and to provide up-front payment of emergency services when required.

Itinerary

Our intention is to offer our programs as described. However, we reserve the right to alter these itineraries to make improvements, or because events outside our control necessitate doing so (weather, natural disasters, political unrest etc.). If a significant change is to be made, students and families will be notified of the change and the reason.

Pacific Discovery Rules and Guidelines

Each student is responsible for understanding, acknowledging and following the Program Rules and Behavioral Guidelines. These are in place to protect you, your group mates, your Program Instructors, host communities, and Pacific Discovery. Contravention of a Program Rule is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. Disregard for Behavioral Guidelines can result in dismissal from the program. Typically, instructors will work with a student to clarify misconduct, establish guidelines for appropriate behavior, and implement a contract. Parents will be notified when a contract is established. Repeated misconduct is likely to result in dismissal from the program. Some situations are serious enough to warrant immediate dismissal from the program and families may not receive any pre-warning of the decision to dismiss their student.

Dismissal from the Program

Students may be dismissed for rule-breaking, behavioral, mental health or eligibility reasons. Dismissal of a student from a program is immensely disruptive for the group, can be damaging for Pacific Discovery, and incurs significant administration and logistics costs. Students and families will bear all costs associated with the dismissal, and early departure. No refund of the program tuition or reimbursement of costs to students and families will be made.

In the event  that a student's behavior or mental health results in Pacific Discovery no longer being able to ensure their safety on-program, the student will be dismissed from the program and escorted by a program instructor to an airport to fly home or to an in-country care facility. Families will bear all costs associated with these dismissals, including arranging someone to accompany the student home if necessary. Pacific Discovery will work with families to assist in facilitating logistics (flights, communication with instructors etc).

Program Cancellation

Pacific Discovery reserves the right to cancel or modify the Program before or during its operation for any reason. 

Pacific Discovery reserves the right to cancel any program before it runs, if minimum numbers are not reached and the program is not economically feasible. A full refund will be granted for programs cancelled, due to insufficient applications. Pacific Discovery is not responsible for other costs incurred by students preparing for the program.

Pacific Discovery reserves the right to cancel any program before the start date, due to any event that is beyond our control. Pacific Discovery reserves the right to set the amount of refund, if any. Pacific Discovery will endeavor to refund program tuition, less the $500 application fee, and any non-refundable costs that have been pre-paid to operators for transport, accommodation, activities, service projects, etc. In the event that Pacific Discovery is not able to refund in full, Pacific Discovery will provide supporting documentation for a travel insurance claim.

For programs that are canceled due to any event that is beyond our control during the program, no refund will be given. Pacific Discovery will provide supporting documentation for a travel insurance claim.

Health and Medical Considerations

All Pacific Discovery programs require good health and moderate fitness. If you have concerns or questions about your health or fitness, please contact us. Students will be dismissed from the program if it is found that they or a family member falsely represents the student during the application process. Program Instructors may dismiss any student from the program if it is considered medically necessary. Pacific Discovery is unable to accept any responsibility regarding medical advice, medications or vaccinations that you or your doctor deem necessary for your safe participation. Students are required to carry and be responsible for self-administering any prescription medications they may require. Instructors can carry a backup supply of medication if loss of medication could be problematic. In the event of a medical emergency, Pacific Discovery will attempt to procure medical treatment; however, we assume no liability regarding provision of medical care. Applicants are urged to check their insurance coverage to ensure adequate coverage when outside of their own country, or to purchase travel insurance.

Group Travel

You are aware that travel within a group may involve compromise to accommodate the diverse desires and physical abilities of group members. Your program instructors will do their utmost to ensure that any problems are solved for the benefit of the group as a whole. Applying for a program signifies your acceptance of the instructor's  and Pacific Discovery's authority to make decisions affecting the group or individuals. For instance, we may require an individual to leave the group if we believe that a person's health is at risk, if an illegal act is committed, their behavior becomes detrimental to the safety, enjoyment and well-being of the group, or they don't meet the Essential Eligibility Criteria for the program.

 

 

Supervision

You are aware that our instructors accompany the group from program start to program end but are not with students 24/7.  There is considerable independent exploration time built into the program where students are able to explore independently with other group members. There are also times where instructors are busy food shopping, arranging logistics, or attending to an individual student's needs and are not directly supervising the group. In these instances, it is expected that students exercise sound judgement in the absence of direct supervision.  Additionally, prior to program arrival day and after program departure day our instructors will not provide supervision to students who have arrived early or are traveling independently.

Local Laws

Pacific Discovery will not accept responsibility or liability for any student who contravenes a law or regulation of any country visited.

Contracted Parties

You acknowledge that Pacific Discovery contracts with a network of companies, government agencies and individuals to assist in the running of its programs. To the best of Pacific Discovery’s knowledge, these third parties are qualified to perform the duties they are contracted to perform. However Pacific Discovery will not be held liable for any injury, damage, loss, delay or irregularity that may occur due to the behavior of these third parties.

Risk

You understand that traveling with Pacific Discovery may involve risks (and rewards) above and beyond those encountered on a more conventional holiday, and that you are undertaking an adventure program with inherent dangers. You understand that you are traveling to geographical areas where, among other things, the standard of accommodation, transport, safety, hygiene, cleanliness, medical facilities, telecommunications and infrastructure development may not be of the standard you are used to at home or would find on a conventional holiday. You have read and understood the itinerary and eligibility criteria for this program you are undertaking and have provided details of any pre-existing medical conditions. You accept these risks and obligations and you fully assume the risks of travel. You release Pacific Discovery from any liabilities connected to these risks to the maximum extent permitted by law.

Severability of Terms and Resolution of Legal Disputes

The terms and conditions of all agreements made with Pacific Discovery shall be subject to, and governed by, New Zealand law. You agree New Zealand will be the forum for resolution of any dispute related to your participation in this program.

If a dispute arises, you will try to resolve it directly with Pacific Discovery. If you cannot resolve the dispute you agree to go to mediation first. You will agree the mediator with Pacific Discovery within 10 days of notification of the dispute. If a mediator is not agreed or appointed, you and Pacific Discovery agree to participate in arbitration under the Arbitration Act 1996 (NZ).

No employee, servant or agent of Pacific Discovery has authority to vary these terms and conditions.

The terms and conditions shall be binding on your heirs, executor, administrator and all members of your family. If any term or condition contained herein is deemed unenforceable, all other parts shall remain in full force and effect.

Limitations of Liability

Students and their parents will be required to read and sign an “Acknowledgment and Assumption of Risk and Release and Indemnity Agreement” prior to participating in a program.

Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC) for students

The safety and welfare of our students and program instructors, followed by the effective education of our students are our top priorities.  Program instructors are not present with the students 24/7 and students need to be able to exercise sound judgement in absence of direct supervision.

Our programs traverse areas that may be remote and may be culturally, climatically, and environmentally unfamiliar and challenging. Additionally the standard of accommodation, transport, safety, hygiene, cleanliness, medical facilities, telecommunications and infrastructure development may not be to the standard you are used to at home or would find on a conventional holiday. Due to the geographical factors, the educational activities and the challenges of living and travelling in a small group, we require each student to be fully committed to the goals of the program.

Pacific Discovery believes in making its experiential programs as accessible as possible and does not discriminate by gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexuality, or ability. The following Eligibility Criteria are essential for all program participants.

Our programs are not recommended for students coming out of youth-at-risk or therapeutic programs as we are not ourselves a therapeutic program.

EEC for participation on a Pacific Discovery Program

Suitability

Pacific Discovery reserves the right to decline applicants whom we believe are not a good fit for the program experience.
Pacific Discovery programs are not suitable for

  • Students who are adjudicated (court mandated)
  • Students with mental health conditions that require therapy during the program
  • Students with a physical disability or injury that prevents them from participating in the activities of the program

Mental Health

  • Students who have a mental health condition (e.g. depression or anxiety) must disclose this on their application. They and their families will then be contacted by Pacific Discovery to ensure they meet our essential eligibility criteria for safe participation in the program. Open and forthcoming disclosure is a prerequisite for acceptance.
  • We may require a report or letter from a Doctor/Psychiatrist/Psychologist which states the student is suitable to participate in a Pacific Discovery program and that they meet all of the criteria outlined in the Safety & Judgement and Program Behavior & Leadership sections below.
  • If a mental health condition is not disclosed on the application form, Pacific Discovery reserves the right to withdraw the student from the program.
  • Students must be able to self-manage their own condition.

Medication

  • Students who take prescription medications need to be able to self-manage. This means carrying and caring for the medication and self-administering medication at appropriate dosages/intervals without instructor supervision. If loss of medication could be problematic, program instructors can carry a backup/emergency supply of medication.

Language/communication

  • Students must have a high level of English language fluency and comprehension.
  • Students must communicate openly and honestly with Pacific Discovery staff.

Age

  • Students must be aged 18-24 years. Anyone outside this age range should contact Pacific Discovery to discuss their options.
  • We will accept 17 year olds who’ve graduated high school if we are satisfied they possess the requisite maturity.
  • We will occasionally accept students over 24 who are still studying or who have recently graduated, if we are satisfied that their participation will not adversely effect the rest of the group.
  • Pacific Discovery offers no guarantee to accept applicants outside the 18-24 age range.

Safety and Judgment

Each student must...

  • Be able to exercise sound judgement in the absence of direct supervision.
  • Be able to independently identify and recognize potential hazards. These hazards may include, but are not limited to, loose and unstable surfaces; rugged, steep and uneven terrain; moving water (fast or slow) such as rivers, creeks, surf, or tides; traffic and pedestrian hazards.
  • Recognize and understand the hazards and risks posed by other students, which include, but are not limited to, fatigue, state of mind, and actions that may influence judgment and decision-making.
  • Recall and understand hazards and risks previously explained by program instructors, activity instructors and volunteer project coordinators.
  • Be able to effectively alert and warn others of potential or impending dangers such as falling rocks, swift water or other hazards.
  • Be able to effectively signal or notify program instructors or other course members of personal distress, injury, or need for assistance.
  • Act reliably around above stated hazards to minimize risk even when not directly supervised.
  • Independently perceive, understand, and follow directions and instructions given by others to be able to successfully execute appropriate techniques to avoid hazards and /or manage risks.
  • Be able to stay alert and focus attention for up to several hours at a time while travelling in wilderness terrain, undertaking volunteer project work, or receiving instruction.
  • Be able to respond appropriately to stress or crisis such as when encountering severe weather or a medical emergency.
  • Not continually take a greater share of the instructors focus and energy than other students.
  • Practice good self care: Maintaining adequate hydration, sufficient food intake for energy needs, sufficient sleep/rest, and dressing appropriately to remain generally healthy and be able to avoid environmental injuries such as hypothermia, heat illness, sunburn or frostbite.

Program Behavior and Leadership

Each Student must…

  • Abide by the Program Rules and Behavioral Guidelines.
  • Have an open mind and be willing to challenge their ideas and assumptions.
  • Work effectively as a member of a team despite potentially stressful and difficult conditions. This may require problem solving on an interpersonal or group level as well as a willingness to accept differences.
  • Contribute to a safe learning environment – no inappropriate behavior towards others is tolerated for any reason – verbal or otherwise.
  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns on an individual and group level.
  • Have the cognitive ability to learn necessary skills given the normal time limitations of a Pacific Discovery program.
  • Have the maturity and self-awareness to see how their behavior may be perceived by others and ability to act appropriately in differing contexts (i.e. within a group and also in an unfamiliar culture).
  • Be able to take care of and know the location of their possessions at all times during the program.
  • Acknowledge that Pacific Discovery programs can be physically challenging. Although some programs have no minimum physical requirements, our programs are active and a degree of fitness enables students to better withstand the typical rigors of travel, climate and program pace.
  • Be able to participate in all program activities unless ill or injured.

Environmental and Social Sustainability

Each student must learn and then practice minimum impact and ethical travel techniques which include but are not limited to:

  • Buying local – to keep money in local communities and reduce the environmental impact of transporting food and goods large distances.
  • Minimizing waste and resource usage.
  • Abiding by local cultural norms for dress and behavior.
  • Not buying any products made from wild animals, shells, corals or tropical hardwoods.
  • Abiding by culturally appropriate dress codes.

Program Rules and Behavioral Guidelines

Each student is responsible for understanding, acknowledging and following the Program Rules and Behavioral Guidelines. These are in place to protect you, your group mates, your Program Instructors, host communities, and Pacific Discovery.

Breach of a Program Rule is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. Disregard for Behavioral Guidelines can result in dismissal from the program.

Program Rules

  • No drugs, no smoking

    Pacific Discovery does not tolerate the possession/use of illegal drugs, or misuse of over-the-counter and/or prescription medications, or smoking of any kind. Any students found possessing or engaging in these activities will be sent home immediately at their own expense and without refund. At no time is the smoking of marijuana permitted. Marijuana is considered a drug regardless of location and a violation of this rule will get a student sent home. Students are not permitted to purchase, use, possess, or be around others using drugs that are illegal in the host country. In the event that a student is arrested in a foreign country for possession or use of narcotics, the student will be under the jurisdiction of local authorities.

  • No alcohol

    Pacific Discovery programs are alcohol free with the exception that, on occasion when it is deemed culturally appropriate by the instructor’s, students who are of age in their host country may be allowed to drink with instructor’s presence and approval (2 standard drink limit). This is to help model safe and responsible attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol and allow for cultural experience/exchange. Outside of these approved times, consumption, purchase and possession of alcohol is not permitted, and is grounds for immediate dismissal.

  • No bullying or exclusivity

    Bullying, intimidation, harassment, physical abuse, put-downs, exclusion, or discrimination, by gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or wealth/status will not be tolerated. Exclusive relationships within the group are not supported.

  • No risk-taking, disruptive or harmful behavior

    This includes but is not limited to: Tattoos, piercings, or body modification; sexual relationships inside or outside the group; sexual misconduct; viewing pornography; driving or being a passenger on a motorbike; Possession or purchase of any weapon; leaving the group or group accommodation without notifying anyone of your intentions or whereabouts. Staying away from the group accommodation is not permitted. 

Behavioral Guidelines

Nothing is more important to your overall program experience than you. Your attitude and ownership of your own experience is instrumental to your overall enjoyment of the program. If you approach the program with enthusiasm and an open mind, you will gain a lot more from the whole experience.

We expect students to engage in all program activities and experiences, and to be open to learning and challenging their ideas and assumptions. The program will be as much about the inner journey of personal growth and learning about yourself, as it is about what you will experience in the outer physical journey.

Our programs are a shared group experience. We expect you to join the program with an open mind, and a willingness to work together with your group mates, and support each other, to make the program an incredible experience for the whole group. We expect students to be good ethical bystanders, attending to the well-being of all group members (E.g. Taking appropriate action when other group members put themselves at risk – including breaking program rules).

A healthy group dynamic takes some effort on your part and it is natural that you will find you get along better with some members of the group than others, because you share the same interests or outlook on life. We ask that you make a real effort to find common ground with everyone in the group. Throughout the program we will be mixing activity groups and roommates so that everyone spends equal time together.

Honest, open, and respectful communication and behavior with your program instructors and group mates is essential.

Be with at least one other group member anytime you are away from the group accommodation. Notify a program instructor of your intentions when roaming any distance away from group accommodation. Students must adhere to a curfew specified by program instructors or host community expectations.

Non-group members are not permitted in group rooms/accommodation.

Limited technology use. Phones and devices may can be brought on the program, but may only be used during programmed ‘WiFi time’ on occasional evenings. Use is not permitted during community stays, home stays, during expeditions, travel days, and other intentional group focused time. This is so that students are present and engaged, for healthy group dynamics, and for safety and personal security reasons.

Taking responsibility:

  • Be responsible for all your own possessions at all times.
  • Take responsibility for your own health and well-being. Communicate clearly and promptly with your program instructors regarding any health or medical issues that arise.
  • Take responsibility for the administration and care of any medications you need.
  • Be responsible for communicating your dietary preferences, allergies, health issues, concerns, and emotional well-being.
  • Timeliness – be ready on time when a time has been set.
  • Be proactive in helping out with group tasks and helping others.

Travel ethically and sustainably and respect the people and places visited during the program. Refer to our code of travel ethics.

  • Students should abide by local customs and dress codes.
  • Students should accord local people the same measure of respect and courtesy they would to their fellow students.
  • Students should attempt to minimize their environmental impact:
  • Buy local and eat local foods. Don’t eat wild animal dishes.
  • Conserve resources – turn off lights, minimize use of AC, minimize trash.
  • Protect waterways by using biodegradable soaps and shampoos.
  • Practice leave-no-trace hiking, camping and outdoor toileting.
  • Don’t buy products made from wild animals, tropical hardwoods, shells or coral.

Response to Rule Breaking

The response to rule breaking will depend upon a consideration of the following factors:

  • Seriousness of rule-breaking
  • Degree of risk-taking involved
  • Maturity level of student/s involved
  • Honesty and forthrightness of students involved
  • Attitude of student/s involved
  • Willingness of student/s to adhere to rules/guidelines going forward
  • Impact of rule-breaking upon the group, instructors or host communities

There are three levels of response to rule-breaking.

Verbal warning
For minor infractions. Instructor/s will meet with student/s and point out where their behaviour is outside of the program rules, behaviour guidelines or group agreement.

Behavior contract
A written behaviour contract will be used for situations of rule breaking, or on-going attitudinal problems. When a behaviour contract is issued, family of the student will be notified. A behaviour contract may also serve as a final warning and this will be made clear to a student and their family when issued.

Dismissal
Repeat rule-breaking, ongoing attitudinal problems, law-breaking, or risk-taking at a level of seriousness that place the student, the groups, or the programs safety at risk, will result in dismissal from the program.

These three responses are not a 1, 2, 3 process. Depending upon the severity of rule breaking, students may be given a verbal warning, put on contract or dismissed.

Dismissal process 

We work incredibly hard to help all of our students complete their Pacific Discovery program successfully. This starts with our admissions and screening process, pre-program framing and preparation and carries through with the mentorship and guidance they receive from their program instructors as well as the supportive and healthy group culture we create on our programs.

It is incredibly disappointing for the students, families, program instructors, and Pacific Discovery when we have to dismiss a student. Our aim is to have 100% of our students complete their program, however this is not always the case. On average, we dismiss 1-5 students per season.

Students have been dismissed for the following reasons: Drug-taking, alcohol consumption, mental health reasons, behavioral reasons, law-breaking, risk-taking behaviors, bullying, disrupting the group dynamic, lying to instructors, not meeting our essential eligibility criteria, and non-disclosure of physical or mental health conditions.

In the event of a dismissal, no refund of program tuition is made and all costs associated with the dismissal are borne by the student and family.

Depending upon the nature of the incident, families may not receive any pre-warning that a student is to be removed. Once the decision has been made to dismiss a student, Pacific Discovery will inform the student's family then liaise with the family and STA travel (if applicable) to organize travel arrangements and logistics of the dismissal. Our general requirement is that the student departure occurs within 48 hours of the dismissal. Pacific Discovery will help the student(s) to get to the airport for their departure.