Learn from environmental experts, delve deep into Hawaiian culture and go on adventures during this Internship Program in the Aloha State!

Do you want to make your Summer matter? This High School Internship Program offers you an enriching and inspiring experience in Hawaii, while you get to take your first steps in environmental work! It combines service-learning and conservation volunteer projects with adventure travel and heaps of fun in the sun and sea (think surf lessons and snorkel excursions!) You'll also dive into the importance of Hawaii's traditions, from making beautiful leis to learning the steps of the Hula.

Get excited to spend your Summer learning and doing hands-on work with local Hawaiian organizations, each doing meaningful work in the area of environmental sustainability. You will learn how their work impacts the local environment and contributes to environmental sustainability on a global scale. At the end of the program, you will walk away with a Certificate of Completion, showing the total contact hours of this internship (50 in total), a great asset to your resume!

Who is this Summer Internship Program for?

The program is perfect for high school students and non-students, ideally aged 15 - 17 years, that are interested in sustainability and the environment.

Or maybe you want to go more international? Have a look at our Costa Rica Internship Program


  • Service-learning and Volunteer Projects:
    • • Learn about conservation and sustainable living from a local non-profit
    • • Remove invasive vegetation that threatens water quality and local fish species
    • Live at a permaculture farm and practice local farming techniques
    • Restore a local village fishpond and plant native food plants
    • • Gain real-life work experience at 3 local non-profits and a Certificate of Completion, showing a total of 50 contact hours
  • Personal Development
    • Work confidently and collaboratively with others
    • • Get comfortable with change, uncertainty and the unknown
    • Apply innovative leadership that encourages and empowers others
    • • Become a global citizen with a global perspective on environmental issues
    • • Experience deeper gratitude for the life and opportunities you have at home
  • Fun and Adventures
    • • Practice your surfing skills in the blue waters of the Big Island
    • • Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture by learning about the heritage, history and traditions
    • • Snorkel the reefs of Kona and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and manta rays
    • • Explore the waterfalls, trails and botanical gardens of the Big Island
    • Focus on strength, flexibility and breathing during a yoga session

**This is a guide to what you can expect to do on Program. The order in which the activities occur might vary**

Week 1. Permaculture Farm & Farm-to-Table Meal

Aloha! On arrival in Kona, you will be met by your program instructors. After a comprehensive program briefing, we’ll immerse ourselves in the epic nature surrounding our new home base. We will start with our exploration of local agriculture this week, and head to Honokaa, an area that used to be covered with sugar cane. The region is also known for the most beautiful stretches of scenery on the island, and you will be amazed by the stunning vistas, tranquil green valleys and trickling waterfalls.

This week will be a whirlwind of experiences. We’ll spend four days at a permaculture farm and learn about the local areas farming techniques, composting, and permaculture design. While we're here, we will also get hands-on by making macadamia nut milk and coral reef sunscreen lotion, and even picking our food straight from the garden before cooking an amazing meal with it.

Week 2. Waterfalls & Sustainable Living

This week, we will roll up our sleeves for three days and get involved in the efforts of a non-profit while learning all about the legends and land from Aunty K! This hands-on non-profit was founded for research and educational purposes to discover and understand how Hawaiians sustained rain-fed intensive farming for centuries; and how it may inform our current efforts to live sustainably.

We then head to Hilo on the eastern side of the island, with its rainforests and lush green landscape. We’ll spend our days exploring the Botanical Gardens, Shipman’s Trail, and Akaka Falls. We’ve also been given an incredible opportunity to get out into the water with a locally run community organization that focuses on fishpond restoration and ocean conservation. We’ll be working alongside experts learning about the marine ecosystem and how to protect and encourage sea life in these beautiful pockets of the ocean that surround Hilo. We’ll get to learn about sustainable fishing techniques as well as testing our own skills and trying our hand at throwing fishing nets. Prepare to get stuck in and a little wet over these days!

Week 3. Surfing & Marine Conservation

We continue our stay in Hilo with a marine conservation morning, which has us removing invasive vegetation, restoring a village fishpond, and planting native food plants, before heading off to explore the Kaumana Caves. We’ve also scheduled our yoga session for the next morning to allow for relaxation, and to start our day present and fulfilled.

On to Kona we go! We’ll take a deep dive into native Hawaiian traditions, from making beautiful and delicate leis from the local trees to learning the importance of Hawaiian history and how that has shaped the place we are visiting today. We will also be exploring the town and its exotic fruits and veggies, snorkeling through clear waters and colorful coral reefs, keeping our eyes peeled for manta rays and other marine life on a boat charter.

For two days we will have surf lessons from a local legend, who is sure to get even the clumsiest and most unathletic of us at least skillfully wobbling on the waves. We’ll learn to laugh at ourselves as we no doubt tumble into the turquoise waters and we’ll learn to trust ourselves as we slowly develop the skills and strengths needed to master this graceful art. We’ve got some days of sun, sea and sand to finish this Internship Program!


*Each week there will be some designated free time so that you can catch up on email, laundry, rest, and explore.
**Pacific Discovery reserves the right to alter and/or change the order of the itinerary, the focus of the projects or the activities themselves due to dates, availability, and safety precautions.

For full program details, please request the information booklet


Open to high school students and non-students, ideally 15 - 17 years, that are interested in sustainability and the environment. This internship program is suitable for anyone of average fitness with an enthusiasm for the outdoors, conservation and new experiences. You need to be committed to, and prepared for, some physical work whilst on the volunteer components of the program i.e. trail building or the removal of invasive plants and while on the outdoor activities, be prepared to give-it-a-go.

The program is a shared group experience. We expect you to join the internship program with an open mind and a willingness to work together with your group mates to make the program an amazing experience for the whole group. Additionally, the Summer 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. We expect you to be open to learning and challenging your ideas and assumptions.


Our accommodation will be a mix of camping (tents supplied) and comfortable, clean hostels and lodges. Laundry and Wi-Fi facilities will be available most days, except during the weeks in the field on the volunteer projects and on expeditions. Accommodation is diverse, comfortable and carefully chosen to fit our needs.


Meals are fresh, tasty, healthy and varied. Special dietary requirements and vegetarians are catered for. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the program cost. Any snacks are at an additional cost, which we recommend budgeting around $15 per day for.

Food preparation responsibilities are shared by all students. It’s fun, social and often a highlight. An average day on program would consist of the following:

  • Breakfast: cereal, milk, oatmeal, pancake mix, bread, peanut butter, local fruits, cinnamon rolls, granola bars, and eggs.
  • Lunch: sandwiches or wraps (PB&J, turkey, hummus, veggies) salad, leftovers from dinner, fruit, mac and cheese, rice poke bowls
  • Dinner: hot dogs, veggie burgers, salad, chili, corn bread, roasted potatoes, corn and bean salad, rice, curry, poke bowls

Camping meals will be adjusted to the cooking equipment at hand

Program Tuition Includes

  • All in-program travel and transport
  • All accommodation
  • All meals
  • All expeditions, activities, excursions, entry fees and adventure travel as described in the itinerary
  • Certificate of Completion that mentions the volunteer/service-learning hours worked
  • Experienced Program Instructors and local guides
  • Safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environment  
  • Hands-on environmental education and volunteering projects
  • Experiential core curriculum that pushes students to reflect and ask questions of themselves - working towards a deeper understanding of their values, identity, passions and purpose
  • Individual mentorship from program instructors, supporting you in your personal goals for the program
  • Informal lectures from resident experts on conservation and eco-tourism
  • Pre-departure booklet with all information you need in one place to prepare for the program
  • 24/7 emergency contact number for students and parents
  • Global medical rescue and political evacuation insurance
  • Instructors have 24/7 access to a physician and a psychologist for advice and support
  • Pacific Discovery T-shirt

Summer Dates 30 Jun - 20 Jul, 2022
Duration 21 days
Program Tuition $6,599 USD Estimated Flight Cost $500 USD
Availability Open
Group Size 12 Students & 2 Instructors Ages 15 - 17 ideal
Optional College Credit No Start/Finish Kona, Hawai’i (Big Island)