Experiencing a different culture and learning to adapt to alternative ways of living greatly contributes to personal development and global awareness in students. While traveling abroad, students learn about themselves, their own cultural lens and biases, and the society, history and environment of their host country. Additionally students learn how to overcome challenges, be flexible and consider multiple perspectives. Through this, students return home refreshed and inspired with a deeper sense of purpose.
Pacific Discovery offers customized educational travel programs for high school and university groups. These programs are experiential: learning is hands-on and tangible. For example, students will learn about a country’s history and culture by immersing themselves in it – meeting local people and hearing stories and perspectives first hand – and if you choose, being involved in a community-initiated service learning project.
To encourage learning from experience, our Program Instructors facilitate opportunities for participants to regularly reflect upon their experiences, and provide historical, cultural, geographical and environmental background so that personal experience can be connected with a broader understanding of place.
The educational component of our programs is multi-disciplinary and can incorporate:
Since 2001, we have been developing and running international educational travel and service learning/volunteer programs for high schools, universities (under-graduate and postgraduate), and special interest groups. To date, we have run more than 50 custom programs, on top of our regular semester and summer program departures.
When designing a custom program we work with you to develop an itinerary tailored to your group’s focus, interests, and requirements. Our custom programs can go anywhere, for any length of time, and are always developed with great care.
We have run programs to a myriad of destinations all over the world. These are just a few of our past educational travel programs: Costa Rica, Hawaii, Peru, Ecuador, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Fiji, Nepal, Tibet, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.
We can develop an educational travel program for your students based on one of our existing itineraries, or we can work with you to develop an itinerary specifically tailored to your focus and interests.
Once we have agreed upon the program content (itinerary and focus), dates and cost, we produce an informative registration and pre-travel booklet for you to circulate to your students and their families, or to use to assist with recruitment.
Your school will have a program approval procedure which we are happy to follow. We take care of all program logistics, including international flights (if you choose), and we work closely with you to ensure students and their families are comfortable with all aspects of the program and addressing any questions raised.
Pacific Discovery is a registered New Zealand education organization. In utilizing our services, you are working with an organization that emphasizes social and environmental responsibility and has a proven record of giving participants outstanding and rewarding international experiences.
We maintain a robust risk management system and emergency contingency planning, and we hold comprehensive public liability insurance and require all participants to hold a travel or international medical insurance policy for the duration of the program.
“Over the past five years, Pacific Discovery has taken our students on transformative learning experiences abroad. Rachel and Scott, along with their team, are wonderfully responsive to our school's needs, tailoring each trip to our global curricular goals and curating an itinerary that emphasizes immersion, deep learning, and connections to local communities.”
Pacific Discovery's focus on sustainable and ethical travel aligns closely with our goal to teach students to be responsible global citizens who are committed to changing the world. On the ground, the trip leaders are consummate professionals--skilled experts in risk management and their respective regions of the world. More than any other travel partner that we have used, Pacific Discovery allows our students to gain critical understanding of global and regional issues and provide meaningful opportunities to see in real time what communities are doing to address these challenges. I recommend this company with the greatest enthusiasm.”
Michael Ferrier, 2019
Director of Global Programs
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy
“I have no hesitation in recommending Rachel, Scott and Pacific Discovery. Their organisation of my school program to Cambodia was faultless. I was consulted and kept up to date at all stages of planning. We had no difficulties at all because of the high standard of organisation and leadership. Any small glitches within Cambodia were dealt with swiftly by Scott. Our program this year was so successful that we are planning a second one.”
Mary Greenland, 2019
HOD Social Studies
“I was so impressed with how well planned the whole trip was, with such a good balance of challenging experiences such as the orphanage and hospital visits, of important educational experiences such as the bird sanctuary, and of just chill time and bonding time, like swimming and eating! When I look back on how much you packed into the two weeks, I am just astonished. Thanks so much to you and Rachel for helping make it happen. I had a wonderful time, both as a travel adventure and also as a good way to really understand what you are doing and how deeply it affects the students. Every one of them felt it had been a life-changing experience.”
Kathie Carpenter, 2019
Department Head - International Studies
University of Oregon
“I have known Scott and Rachel for several years, and I can recommend them in the strongest positive terms. In my opinion, they run the most impressive student-oriented programs available anywhere. I have led numerous study abroad programs and worked with many other companies over the years, so I am most confident in this assessment.”
I worked with Pacific Discovery extensively in the planning, development, and implementation of a Texas State School of Social Work study abroad program to Cambodia and Thailand in winter 2007-2008. This was a three-week in-country program involving fifteen students. I was immediately impressed with Pacific Discovery by their excellent, extensive website, and their quick and professional response to my initial inquiries. They were very attentive to the details of the trip as well as responding to my needs. They gained my full confidence very quickly. Our planning time was shorter than desirable, but they were able to make it all happen very efficiently and effectively. They handled every aspect of the program from start to finish without any problems of any kind, and I truly enjoyed their pleasant, friendly attitude.
Scott was our tour leader, and the students really loved him. I appreciated that he not only managed the logistics of the program so well, but also greatly enhanced the academic quality with his extensive knowledge of Southeast Asia, particularly the history and contemporary culture of Cambodia and Thailand. In addition, Pacific Discovery arranged for several very unique learning opportunities, such as staying with a wonderful family in a village, visiting local schools to interact with students and donate books, volunteering at non-governmental social service agencies, and touring an ecologically-based nature preserve.
I can say that Scott and Rachel changed our lives through this amazing adventure.” Read more Catherine Hawkins, 2019
Professor of Social Work
Honorary Professor of International Studies
Texas State University-San Marcos