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Pacific Discovery | Southeast Asia Gap Year Semester
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Pacific Discovery | Southeast Asia Gap Year Semester

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Nine weeks of love, adventure, and challenge

They told us during our program orientation that we'd become a family. We simultaneously rolled our eyes at the cliche, looking around the room filled with unfamiliar faces. But it's true, and it didn't take long. My nine weeks in Asia with Pacific Discovery were filled with an exuding sense of love and constant support. Together we marched for animal rights, lived in remote Hmong villages, trekked through rice fields, kayaked through caves, were attacked by leeches, and so much more. All the while we inspired each other to ask more questions, be more curious, and challenge ourselves further to ultimately be the best versions of ourselves. Ultimately, I can gratefully say that these nine weeks made me a more curious, passionate, capable and confident being. I leave my nine weeks inspired to learn more, see more, and challenge myself further.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Satisfaction

    10

I am alive

We were standing on the tip of a boat in our last couple days in Vietnam, watching the silence of the night rush past us, while dancing and singing on the top deck celebrating a birthday...when the girl next to me said the one thing that summed up everything I was feeling, "I have never felt so alive. This is real life, not a dream, this is as real as it gets." We then proceeded to scream at the top of our lungs, "I'M ALIVE". Dramatic, but all too honest. Spending nine weeks in four foreign countries, with 14 strangers, sounds terrifying and unreal. But leaving Bangkok for Pennsylvania, on November 14th was the the hardest day of my life. Southeast Asia became home, and my group had become my family. They had become a part of me. I cried as my taxi pulled away from New Siam II, and a guy friend ran along side waving goodbye. We saw and experienced so much together, we saw hardship, loss, inspiration, happiness, and everything else in between. We met locals that changed our view on our world, we helped each other learn more about ourselves than I ever thought was possible, and we had two leaders that taught us so much about life in general, that I will never stop looking at them as two of my greatest role models. There's a lot to say about the little things you do, yeah you live next to elephants for week, or go to the beach, or live on a boat for a couple nights...but it's all so much more than that. The life I live now is completely different than the life I lived 3 months ago, and I have nothing but Pacific Discovery to thank for that. I would go on this trip 100 times if I could, and I am sure I would learn just as much as on the 100th time as I did the first time.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Amazing 9 week program

Pacific Discovery's Southeast Asia program was the perfect mix of volunteering, adventure travel, independent exploring, and personal development. My program leaders Jess & Devin are some of the coolest people I know and they were always there to support us. It was very clear while traveling how much effort was put into planning the program and if you are at all thinking about traveling with Pacific Discovery I would say you ABSOLUTELY should.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Satisfaction

    10

Once in a lifetime trip

I would recommend this travel abroad experience to anyone and everyone!!! The trips are very very well planned and you get to do so much more than the average traveller! The experiences were incredible. If you are into adventure, I definitely recommend this trip! I got to go on hikes to remote villages, mountain bike the highest pass in Vietnam, rock climing/caving, elephant trekking, and scuba diving! This company is also really cool because a lot (or all) of the guest houses and hostels that we stay at are owned by local families, so you are really helping to support the local communities as well. Your leaders are amazing (love you Hilary!) and you will become close friends with the rest of your group. If you want to explore Southeast Asia and see WAYYYYY more than just touristy stuff, then this trip is for you!!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Satisfaction

    10

An Adventure of a Life Time!

I can't possibly explain what my trip to South East Asia with Pacific Discovery meant to me! It was an adventure of a lifetime. It's itinerary is the perfect mixture of adventure, cultural immersion, and volunteer activity. I was introduced to countless new things that have changed the way I experience the world. I am open to new things, confident in travel, and have made life long friends. The leaders were mentors and became amazing friends as well! I would recommend this program for anyone who wants to experience the world, find growth through new things, and make life long friends!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Satisfaction

    10

The Best Nine Weeks of My Life

The Southeast Asia Semester Program was the greatest decision I have ever made. Our leaders, Josh and Rebecca, were absolutely amazing! Along with being so knowledgeable, Josh and Rebecca were simply great people with great values. The trip was a perfect balance of cultural experiences, volunteer service, outdoor activities, and free time. There is no replacement for actually traveling to a place and immersing yourself in the culture. I learned so much about the history of Southeast Asia as well as the people. Pacific Discovery has such a terrific thing going and I am so happy that I had the privilege of being apart of it. I made lifelong friends and unforgettable memories. I feel like I grew so much as a person. It was the best nine weeks of my life!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Satisfaction

    10

Your search ends here

Pacific discovery is more than a tour company. It's a close family embodied with the true spirit of travel. This adventure is unique in that it doesn't fall under any particular category. One day your relaxing on a cruise ship in Ha Long Bay (google pictures), the next your trekking through the Laotian jungle and spending the night with a native hill tribe, forging relationships with locals I will always remember. The variety of activities offered on this trip is incredible. Each day of the itinerary is thoughtfully planned. You can tell that Rachel and Scott really care about the experience they are providing for their participants. This program offers a great balance between group and independent travel. The perfect ratio of structured activities to free time to explore and make the trip our own. For example, while not offered as an official activity with Pac Disco, I found the time to go waterskiing on a river in Cambodia. Many participants feel comfortable enough after the trip to extend their stay, traveling either with someone they met on the trip or independently. I spent a week learning Thai massage living in Bangkok and went on a ten day silent meditation retreat. PD was more than helpful with preparations such as my visa extension paperwork. I remember before leaving to go on the program I was at REI and had a question about a whether I needed something and they responded to my email while I was still in the store. This only one example of their passion and dedication. I'm bringing home a deep understanding of southeast asian culture, great memories, and friendships that will last a lifetime. You will grow in ways you'd never imagine. You will learn what you never could in a classroom. Come for the adventure, you will get so much more.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Satisfaction

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Itinerary

    9

Happiest I've Ever Been

This trip was truly incredible. It completely exceeded my expectations. The leaders were so much fun. They were caring, knowledgeable, and were more like our peers than our bosses. Every day was filled with several activities that were very organized and well planned out. I was never disappointed with food. This trip was a great mix of cultural immersion, service, exploration, and just having fun. There was also a perfect balance between free time and planned activities. I really have nothing negative to say about this trip, and it was the happiest two months of my life!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Itinerary

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Satisfaction

    10

Life Changing

The best decision I ever made was to come on the fall Southeast Asia semester with Pacific Discovery before starting college. My leaders, Josh and Rebecca, were so fun and caring and knowledgable. I made lifelong friendships and had incredible experiences. The program was so organized and went beyond my expectations. It balanced activities and relaxation perfectly. We were able to trek through the wilderness, stay in remote villages, bond through group activities like rock climbing, work on service projects with local people and also take a break and explore beautiful places. The amenities ranged from clean, comfortable hotels and hostels to more rugged homestays and villages. I always felt safe and never worried about any sort of health problems. At the same time I was pushed beyond my comfort zone and challenged everyday with new adventures, which resulted in tremendous personal growth. I look back on my journal and pictures from my time in Southeast Asia and wish I could be back there. Truly a life changing trip.