Diversity & Inclusion

Pacific Discovery values diversity, equity, and social justice. We aim to create educational experiences that further these values in their accessibility and inclusivity, educational outcomes, and student support. We seek and encourage the involvement of people from traditionally underrepresented audiences in our programs, activities, and workplace.

To work towards this vision, we have the following policies:

Student Recruitment

Pacific Discovery does not discriminate by race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexuality, or ability and states this clearly on our program application

We are mindful about the marketing content and images on our website and other publications so to represent our diverse population

We have a scholarship program offering financial assistance to students in the following under-represented categories within international education

 

Diversity Scholarship: 

We are offering a diversity scholarship to support individuals who are from a racially or ethnically under-represented population in the USA, to participate in an overseas experiential education program. If you meet the following criteria then you can apply: person of color; your gross family income is below $80,000 per year.

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Needs based Scholarship: 

You can apply for this scholarship if your family earns less than $65,000 per year, or if you are a first-generation college student and your family earns less than $75,000 per year.

Find Out More

 

Student Support

We offer staff training and ongoing professional development around issues of diversity, identity and inclusivity. This includes:

  • Staff identity exploration
  • Social justice education
  • Addressing discrimination and micro-aggressions during the program (within group and from community/hosts)
  • Our program curriculum incorporates social justice education with particular attention to:
    • Student identity exploration
    • Culture and power
    • Ethical travel
    • Learning service

 

Diversity Initiatives & Support

Pacific Discovery is a partner with Diversity Abroad.

We are working to broaden our enrolment beyond the current 90% of students from the USA, to have more diverse representation from other countries on our programs.

 

BIPOC Support

We understand that we have a long way to go in achieving the diversity we strive for among our students, staff, and partners. We are committed to fostering a more diverse and inclusive organization, and we recognize that this requires time, effort, and resources. At Pacific Discovery, we deeply value diversity, equity, and social justice, and we are dedicated to creating educational experiences that reflect and promote these values. Our program curriculum incorporates social justice education and encourages students to explore their own identities.

 

LGBTQIA+ Support

All of our Pacific Discovery programs are LGBTQIA+ friendly, and our operations team have attended CIS Abroad's LGBTQ+ Allyship Training, to ensure we’re doing what we can to support this community. We provide an open and non judgemental space for students to explore who they are at this pivotal time of their life, and in our admissions process we seek information not only on a student's gender, but their pronouns and gender identity. We’re aware of the differing cultural perspectives of LQBTQIA in the countries that we visit, and can direct students to a semester location where they’ll feel the most comfortable. Operationally we ensure that our instructors use inclusive language and can facilitate conversations with students around their identity, and discuss the rooming situations with LGBTQIA+ students.

 

Neurodivergent Support

Our programs are designed to support students with a wide range of neurodiverse conditions while following our essential eligibility criteria. For students needing extra help, we provide personalized wellness plans . These plans include coping strategies, care protocols, and specific requirements to help them engage effectively in the program. Our instructors have access to mental health first aid resources and are well-prepared to offer strong support to students with these needs.

 

Accessibility Support

Our programs offer a variety of physical activities, including hiking, surfing, rafting, and mountain biking. We make sure to accommodate students with diverse needs such as asthma, diabetes, and chronic medical conditions, while working within the infrastructure of the host country and our program schedules. We're mindful of the varying levels of accessibility in the countries we visit and can help students choose a semester location where they feel most at ease.

Pacific Discovery is a small organization and is very personable. Our team takes an active interest in each student’s journey with Pacific Discovery. We deliberately use an overseas adventure travel environment to maximize the educational and life-skills potential for our students. Our programs are made up of six different but interrelated components – experiential education, service projects, cultural immersion, international travel, adventure education, and personal and leadership development. We facilitate these program elements to maximize the educational opportunities making our programs so much more than a travel or traditional study abroad experience.

Our programs are meticulously researched and individually designed by our Program Directors. We continually refine our programs so that they are cutting-edge in the field of experiential education. Every program is a very special and unique experience. We work directly with each individual student and family to ensure programs are a good fit and help students gain as much as they can from their program experience. The Program Directors and a small team of dedicated staff are involved in every aspect of the programs – from answering phone and email inquiries to developing and running our programs. As a small educational travel organization, we are able to offer some of the most affordable Gap Year programs while maintaining integrity and excellence. If you want to travel with a small organization offering 'real' unsantized experiences; if you want to travel with a group of like-minded people who become family;  if you want your sides to hurt from laughing; if you want a program that's like a shot of adrenaline, snapping you into the present moment, engaging you, then holding your interest through a deliberate series of challenging and rewarding experiences, facilitated to enable learning and growth...then cool, join us!

We have undergone and maintain comprehensive accreditations with the  Gap Year Association (USA), Year Out Group (UK), and OutdoorsMark (NZ). We have chosen to go through a rigorous accreditation process with these bodies to ensure that Pacific Discovery has cutting edge ‘best practice’ policies in the gap-year and outdoor education fields and to assure the students and families we work with that we maintain the highest safety and program standards in the industry.

Pacific Discovery has no religious affiliations and has no bias for or against any religion. We embrace diversity and are happy to have students of any faith join our programs and will happily accommodate religious students so long as their observances do not adversely impact their group mates.

Each program varies in physical challenge, wilderness expeditions, and service-learning projects; however, they all are designed to push your comfort zones and facilitate a meaningful experience. If you are unsure of which program you want to participate in, contact us and we will help you to find the right fit. You can also check out our program specific itineraries for a day-to-day schedule of each program, or take our gap semester and summer program quiz.

Our published age range is 17-22. We will also take participants up to 26 years of age if they are still a student or have recently graduated. In either case, we reserve the right to decline applicants outside the 17-22 age range and require those applying to contact us before registering.

Our minimum group size is 8 students and our maximum is either 12 or 14 (varies by program). Research into experiential education programs has found that the size of the group has a great deal of bearing on the success of the program. The ideal size being an interdependent peer group with between 7 - 15 participants.

Our programs are open to anyone, students and non-students, aged 17-22 years old. Anyone within this age range who meets our essential eligibility requirements may apply. 

The majority of students come from North America (USA and Canada). Students regularly join us from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. We have also had students from Bermuda, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Japan, Latvia, Mexico,  Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Africa and South Korea. We enjoy having students from other countries and encourage you to join us.