It's time to meet your Instructors for the Fall 2022 Programs!

Our Program Instructors are inspiring people, who share a deep respect for the people and cultures, a fascination with local history, and an in-depth understanding of contemporary issues and politics.

They are people in whom you can trust, who remain objective and supportive even in challenging circumstances, and who take a genuine interest in your well-being and safety. Basically they're a bunch of epic humans!

So without further adieu, it's time to meet your instructors for Fall 2022!


New Zealand & Australia Semester Program (Group 1) | Instructors: Justin & Clare

Justin reigns from the rocky shores of Victoria, B.C., and loves all things outdoors. Mountain unicycler, highliner, and acroyogi, Justin has an inclination towards niche outdoor sports. On the water, Justin regularly goes kayaking and surfing off the coast of Vancouver Island. In 2010, his zest for discovery took him 8,607km cycling from the west coast to the east coast of Canada. Over the years, Justin has facilitated engaging outdoor educational programs for youth in Central America, China, France, and Canada. More than anything, Justin loves to share his passion for adventurous self-discovery with young aspiring minds.

Clare grew up in rural New Zealand and spent her childhood roaming around the farm and camping by the lake, as well as competing in gymnastics and sports aerobics. Her interest in sports and love of people led her to study Physiotherapy and her first job after university saw her moving to Australia where she spent two years working and traveling. Once she moved back to New Zealand, she branched out into the world of tourism, working as a flight attendant and then a hiking guide, and she now calls Queenstown home. Clare loves introducing people to her corner of the world and is passionate about inspiring others to embrace new opportunities. She enjoys seeing people discover their own strengths and capabilities, and believes that Pacific Discovery programs are the perfect setting for this!



New Zealand Semester Program (Group 2) | Instructors: Henry & Madeleine

Henry grew up in the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington. Henry would go on to complete a Commerce degree and a diploma in the German Language at Otago University by visiting Germany for a final semester in Heidelberg. Following on from these travels around Europe and then Southeast Asia, Henry worked for an Insurance company in Auckland. After 3 years of climbing the corporate ladder, his life changed course when he bought a one-way ticket to Latin America. In recent times Henry has been working in Tourism as a Team Leader on Stewart Island and at Milford Sound in New Zealand. He brings with him much experience about remote living, learning languages, making remarkable experiences, and having some fun along the way.

Madeleine grew up in San Francisco, CA, and attended university in both Canada and Australia. She holds degrees in Urban Planning and Fine Arts as well as a certificate in Sustainable Agriculture. Dedicated to a life outdoors, she has spent the past three years living in Australia managing small-scale farms and, previous to that, worked as a garden educator and naturalist leader in California. When she is not out on the trail, she enjoys dancing in the sunshine, crafting with friends, and planning her next adventures.



Australia & Bali Semester Program | Instructors: Breanna & Paul

Breanna Grew up in Pittsburgh where she spent her childhood years exploring the rivers and forests of the area. She always had a passion and drive to want to help the people around her which led her to pursue a degree in Nursing, where she would eventually become a travel nurse exploring the beauty of the United States. During this time she pursued many outdoor activities (mountain biking, rock climbing, backpacking) and fell in love with the power connecting with nature had on her mental/emotional health. For the last few years she has been pursuing a career in Wilderness Therapy and began working with adolescents and young adults in the desert landscapes of Utah and the Mountains of Colorado, where she taught how the wilderness could be a powerful tool for personal development. She continues to pursue her passion for helping people find their authentic selves and to teach them to see the power of their own stories; and believes that this can be fostered through developing deeper connections to the natural world, different cultures/communities, and ourselves.

Paul was born and raised in a small town in Suffolk, England. As a child, he always had a keen interest in sports and being outdoors. He began to take outdoor education more seriously when he partook in an expedition to Mexico with a group of school friends. A part of the trip was working in a local orphanage and this is where his desire to help young children first developed. Having spent his early work life working in the tourism and motor industry, Paul made the decision to leave England behind and travel to the U.S.A. where he lived and worked in the Colorado Rocky Mountains mainly taking teenage boys mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking among other pursuits. With this newly acquired experience and still craving adventure, Paul headed out to the United Arab Emirates and the Arctic Circle in Finland to carry on working with young people in the outdoors. It didn’t stop there as he made a permanent move to New Zealand in 2019, where he carries on the same work. He is always looking for a challenge or new activities to try.



Hawaii Semester Program | Instructors: John & Amber

John has traveled through 6 continents and explored the beauty of Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, parts of Europe, South America, Central America, and his home in North America. He finds himself in love with the cultures and experiences each place has to offer but always highlights the importance of his connection with the people he meets on his journey. John has cooked different cuisines in restaurants all around the world, worked on farms and vineyards in Australia, snowboarded to work every day on a mountain resort in New Zealand, worked in multiple National Parks around the world, and most recently completed a year leading a conservation corps in the US, amongst many other diverse jobs. John looks forward to working with his students to help them see the bigger picture in the world and to find a way to bring comfort and excitement to our quest for meaning and purpose throughout our lives.

Amber comes to you from the cornfield-covered state of Wisconsin. In college, Amber studied Psychology, Education, and Studio Art at Lawrence University, and during that time completed two study abroad experiences in London. It was here that the travel bug first bit her. After graduation, she spent two and a half years in Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia where she worked as an au pair, travel booking receptionist, and in hostel accommodation. Upon return to the US, she worked as an Instructor in a therapeutic wilderness environment before entering into Higher Education where she has held positions at two college campuses. Amber believes a gap experience is one of the most powerful approaches to a holistic emergence into adulthood and is looking forward to helping students connect deeper with themselves, others, and the natural world during their Pacific Discovery program.



Southeast Asia Semester Program | Instructors: Ashley & Kate

Ashley is from Jamestown, New York. In 2015, she graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia where she double majored in Social Studies Education and History. It was also during this time that she received her high school teaching certification. Ashley continued to study education at New York University where she received her master's in International Education. She has always loved to challenge herself by stepping out of her comfort zone to meet new people and learn from shared experiences. Over the past several years, she has traveled throughout Latin America, Europe, and Africa. More recently, Ashley served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone where she taught high school English and co-facilitated a program for out-of-school girls. Prior to joining the Peace Corps, she held various positions working in non-formal education as a mentor, tutor, and leader. She has always been passionate about experiential, hands-on learning and looks forward to continuing that work.

Kate grew up in a very small town in Western Massachusetts, but now considers herself a citizen of the world! Upon graduating in 2009, Kate moved to Thailand for what was meant to only be a year of teaching English and backpacking around Asia. Somehow that year turned into 10 and she has since become a qualified teacher with her Masters in the Globalization of Education and has lived and taught at various International Schools in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bahrain, Australia, Bali, Guatemala, and has been fortunate to have traveled to over 51 countries and counting. Having been an exchange student herself as well as an international educator, expat and traveler, Kate has seen firsthand the benefits of experiential learning and understands the profound impact that exploring the world and interacting with other cultures can have, especially in regard to personal growth, breaking stereotypes and understanding the world from a different perspective.



Polynesian Journey Semester Program | Instructors: Kim & Chris

Kim was born and raised outside of the city of Boston, and spent most of her childhood hiking, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and ice skating around New England. She returned to Boston to study music but spending all day in classrooms learning about different musical traditions created a longing to explore these cultures firsthand. Kim has traveled across Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania and has led students in Australia, Germany, Thailand, and Hawai’i. Her favorite part of these programs is guiding the students through new experiences and seeing them - as well as staff - grow as a result. Her passion lies in access to education. Educational travel allows participants to personally develop, step outside of their comfort zones, and challenge their perspectives and she's thrilled to continue to grow with all of you!

Chris hails from Auckland, New Zealand. He has a background in sport science and physical education, and absolutely fizzes over any outdoor pursuits! Chris has spent the last two and a half years working and traveling around North America, currently calling Fernie (a small ski town in British Columbia) his winter home. He cannot wait to swap the snowboard boots & thermals for flip flops & boardshorts and spend some time at the beach.  



South America Semester Program | Instructors: Amelia & Manuel

Amelia grew up in Colorado exploring the many mountains and rocks of the Western United States. While studying Biochemistry and Environmental Design in college, she decided to take a semester off and spent Fall as a student on a Pacific Discovery Southeast Asia program. The experiences she had, the relationships she formed, and the incredible mentorship from the instructors coupled with all of the outdoor adventures were an enormous stepping stone in her personal growth and discovery, and since then she has been dedicated to being a part of facilitating that wonderful growth and experience in others. Throughout college, Amelia began rock climbing and developing skills in alpine mountaineering, allowing her to explore some of the most isolated mountains in the deserts of the West, the Rocky Mountains, and the Cascades. This led to her passion for traveling to explore crags and mountain ranges across the globe and experiencing new and wonderful cultures everywhere. Between traveling and leading programs, she spends her time building out her van/home and working on organic farms, using permaculture and sustainable food production practices to grow veggies and experiment with preserving produce.

Manuel was born and raised in Mexico City, where he graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering. After 10 years of experience and training in Chinese martial arts, he followed his passion and ventured to China to learn more. While in China, he also studied the language and traditional Chinese medicine. For the past eight years, Manuel participated in many cultural exchange and volunteering programs in China, focused on experiential education in multiple leadership roles, which led him to work as a facilitator and senior program manager for The Jump! Foundation, an experiential education provided operating in China and Southeast Asia. He also worked in the adventure tourism industry as a hiking and camping guide to the un-renovated sections of the Great Wall of China, and in the service-learning industry in China and Costa Rica. Some of his passions are permaculture, holistic medicine, martial arts and meditation.



Hawaii Mini Semester Program | Instructors: Liz & Thomas

Hailing from the great state of Colorado, Liz is stoked to be instructing for Pacific Discovery again. Her early years consisted of playing in the dirt on the softball field, taking her playing to Lehigh University and then in Germany. Playing professionally was a great joy and exploring new places continued calling. That bug took her to New Zealand where she lived and worked instructing students through New Zealand and Australia. She can’t wait to meet her Hawaii group and work with these students to push them, support them, grow with them, mentor them and experience new things.

Tom hails from the great state of North Cackalacky (North Carolina), with its gorgeous mountains, beaches, its humidity, and endless forests. He grew up with a love for the outdoors, an endless desire to learn, and a sense of adventure, always wanting to see what was around the next corner. Tom went on to study at George Washington University (GWU), majoring in international affairs with a concentration in international development and a minor in the Arabic language. During that time, Tom studied abroad in Jordan. After exploring architecture as a potential career path, Tom served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cambodia as an English teacher and teacher trainer. He learned the most he ever had about life, language, and intercultural competency during his experience. More recently, Tom has been living in Hawaii on the Big Island since December 2021. He worked in a therapeutic wilderness setting with youth utilizing horticultural therapy. Tom is passionate about education, youth empowerment, and continuous growth. He is very excited to work at Pacific Discovery to help facilitate life-changing experiences and help others find joy through discovery.



Costa Rica Mini Semester Program | Instructors: Verney & Rachel

Verney is originally from beautiful Costa Rica and grew up in a sporty family. His father became the first Costa Rican triathlete at the World Championships, and he spent his childhood practicing all kinds of sports such as triathlon, adventure racing, open water swimming and more. Oceans, lakes and mountains were a big part of his childhood. After high school, Verney started training to become an adventure guide. This included river guiding, white water kayaking, sea kayaking, rappelling, horseback riding, mountain biking, trekking and much more. Being around the water and the mountains his whole life has made him so passionate about the outdoors. He has worked in adventure travel since high school and it has been a great journey. Working in an industry that allows him to share his passion, hobbies, knowledge and skills with others makes him feel very fortunate.

Rachel grew up in the mountains of southern Oregon, and discovered her love for nature by climbing trees around her home and snowboarding on the slopes of Mt. Ashland. For her senior project in high school, Rachel volunteered as a snowboard coach for the Special Olympics and discovered her passion for education, particularly in the outdoors. She followed this love for outdoor and experiential education by pursuing a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies of Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Journalism at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe. Upon graduating from college, Rachel dove into a career in outdoor education, working as an English Instructor for a non-profit leadership and literacy program for underserved youth in California. She continued working in this field, from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the karst mountains of China. Rachel even became a backcountry snowcat guide and worked as a residential advisor and teacher. Drawn to both wild and well-known locations, Rachel has ventured to parts of the world in search of places, people, and cultures different from her own. Through these experiences, she continues to gain a deeper sense of self and appreciation for the vastness of the world. She is excited to share this passion for exploration with students at Pacific Discovery.



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Author Pacific Discovery Outreach Posted

Category Instructors Departure Fall 2022