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.
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
Each student must...
Each Student must…
Each student must learn and then practice minimum impact and ethical travel techniques which include but are not limited to:
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.
This includes marijuana, herbal highs, and misuse of over-the-counter and/or prescription medications. 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.
Pacific Discovery programs are alcohol free with the exception that, on occasion, students can drink with instructor’s presence and approval (2 standard drink limit). This is to help model safe and responsible attitudes and behaviors towards alcohol and allow for cultural experience/exchange. Outside of these approved times, consumption, purchase and possession of alcohol is not permitted, and will result in immediate dismissal.
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.
This includes but is not limited to: Tattoos, piercings, or body modification; Sexual relationships inside or outside the group; Viewing pornography; Driving a motorized vehicle or vessel, or being a passenger on a motorbike; Possession or purchase of any weapon - students may bring one folding-blade pocket knife with a blade length of max 3in; Leaving the group or group accommodation without notifying anyone of your intentions or whereabouts; Being out at night after a set check-in time; Staying away from the group accommodation overnight is not permitted.
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.
Travel ethically and sustainably and respect the people and places visited during the program. Refer to our code of travel ethics.
The response to rule breaking will depend upon a consideration of the following factors:
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.
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.
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.
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.