Pacific Discovery: Summer, Semester & Gap Year Programs Abroad


Pacific Discovery offers extraordinary international learning adventures. Our summer, semester and gap year programs abroad combine cultural immersion, volunteer and service learning projects in conservation and community development, sustainable adventure travel, personal and leadership development, and lots of fun! Join us on a life-changing adventure!

4-week international summer programs, June, July, August, in:
- Australia
- New Zealand & Fiji
- Thailand
- Vietnam & Cambodia
- Peru
- Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands
- All can be combined with another, for an 8-week international summer program

9-week international gap year and semester programs, January, February, March, April and September, October, November in:
- New Zealand & Australia
- Southeast Asia: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia
- The Himalayas: Nepal & Tibet
- South America: Peru, Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands

Our educational travel programs are suitable for high school graduates, gap year students, college students and graduates, ideally 17-24 years.

Pacific Discovery is an educational travel organization accredited with American Gap Association (USA), Year Out Group (UK), and OutdoorsMark (NZ). Since 2001, Pacific Discovery has taken over 1000 students, graduates, faculty, family and special interest groups, on experiential travel and service-learning programs, utilizing a staff of experienced and qualified program leaders. We have an excellent safety record, comprehensive Risk Management Systems and a database of alumni, parents, advisors and faculty, who are happy to be contacted for feedback. The program carries public liability insurance, and participant payments are held in bank trust until disbursement.

Our Mission: Through meaningful and challenging international experiential travel, we assist participants in gaining the skills, confidence and insight to realize their potential in an increasingly global society; develop empathy for other cultures; further understanding of international issues; and heighten appreciation for the earth's wilderness and diversity.

Our programs blend cultural immersion, personal and leadership development, volunteer and community service learning projects, eco-tourism and sustainability focus, and optional transferable academic credit.

Each of our programs has a strong experiential education focus, comprising hands-on volunteer work and service-learning, opportunities for meaningful connections with local people, pushing personal boundaries, and gaining knowledge of a country or region's history, societies and environments, facilitated by our knowledgeable program leaders. If you are looking for an experience that challenges you, broadens your horizons and merges cultural insights and environmental sensitivity with fun and adventure - come and explore with us!

Each program is designed around six program components:
- educational focus
- service learning
- cultural immersion
- sustainable travel
- outdoors and wilderness exploration
- personal and leadership development

By giving participants responsibilities and freedom within the framework and safety of a well-designed and carefully managed program, participants are empowered, helping them become more capable and self-reliant. These programs are pivotal experiences in our participants lives.

The option to combine one of our programs with transferable academic credit gives you an unbeatable study abroad or gap year travel experience.

"Being with this group of people in these amazing countries has opened my eyes to the world. My perspective has broadened, my heart has opened, and my limits have been tested. I will never forget this experience!" Laura Gipson

"I can never thank you enough for the New Zealand Australia and Southeast Asia programs. They are two experiences that have profoundly affected me in so many ways and I will never forget them. So many moments of laughter, beauty, amazement and intense emotion that run straight to the core of one's being." Travis Allen

"The Pacific Discovery expedition was extremely well organized from beginning to end. I never felt like I didn't know what our daughter was doing even though she was half-way around the world. It provided a well-balanced program between community outreach, travel, exploration and the opportunity to try things that she will never forget. From learning to surf to community service, her experiences were both broad and deep which have resulted in her having more confidence in her decision making and greater self-esteem. The program leader was fantastic and was able to galvanize the group into a close-knit bunch which I believe is an accomplishment in itself. Already, Nikki is planning on travelling with some of her friends this spring. I felt it was an excellent investment in my daughter and only wish a program existed for the parents." Terry Holzman, father of Nikki

Listing Details

Organization Name
Pacific Discovery: Summer, Semester & Gap Programs Abroad
Organization Mandate
Pacific Discovery offers inspiring educational travel programs to the most amazing places on earth. Our summer, semester and gap year programs combine cultural immersion, volunteer projects in conservation and community development, sustainable adventure travel, personal and leadership development, and tons of fun. Join us on a life-changing adventure!
30 Iwa Road, Nelson, New Zealand, 7010
Address 2
The Wood
Non-profit organization?
1-3 months
Age (min)
Age (max)
Age notes
If 17, must have graduated from high school.
Price range
$2501-$5000, >$5000
Price incluces
Accommodation, Airfare, Airport pick-up, Entrance Fees, Ground Transport, Insurance, Language classes, Meals, Orientation, Tutoring
Study Abroad: Subjects
Experiential education. Each program features six components, including: educational travel, service learning, cultural immersion, outdoor education and wilderness exploration, personal and leadership development.
Application process and requirements
Rolling admissions process. Please apply via our website:
Some level of Spanish is helpful for programs in Latin America, but not essential.
Participants can elect to take optional university level academic credit through two US colleges - accredited and transferable.
Funding information
Participants are welcome to apply their home school financial aid to their program, if approved by their school.
Student status required?
Type of student status required
High school, Undergraduate/college, Graduate
Qualifications required
High School or Equivalent


Verge believes in travel for change. International experience creates global citizens, who can change our planet for the better. This belief is at the core of everything we do.

For more than a decade, Verge has produced quality resources and events to help people experience the world in a meaningful way, through opportunities to study, work and volunteer abroad.

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(+1) 705 742 6869

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