Logistics packet.

Approximately twelve weeks prior to the start of the program, students receive a “Logistics” email with detailed planning information describing each necessary step for participation.  This email will provide information regarding travel/flight and visa information, meeting plans, equipment/gear requirements, food costs, group expenses payment, medical and vaccination recommendations, and academic preparations.

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Meet us on location.

Our programs meet on location. International programs meet at the arrival airport at a specified time, and domestic programs meet at a youth hostel or similar location. Detailed instructions on meeting the team are part of our logistics email. It is very important that students arrive at the meeting location at the established meeting time.


Packing and equipment.

Each student brings their own equipment and clothing on our programs, detailed in the logistics email. Most programs require a tent with waterproof fly, water filter, backpacking stove, sleeping bag, hiking boots, backpacking backpack, day pack and clothes suited to living outdoors for an extended period of time. Equipment should be in good working order and suitable for the duration and rigor of the program. Pack wisely—you need only the essentials. Plan on one large backpack or duffle, plus a small daypack. Most programs will only have room to store one large bag in travel vehicles or at the field site, and each student may have to carry all of their own equipment at times between sites. 

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For international travel, students need a current passport that does not expire until six months after their departure from the host country. When you apply, we will ask for a student’s passport information, including name on the passport, passport number, date of issue and date of expiration. Many countries require this information for reservations and we use it as well for planning purposes. 

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Many of the countries we travel require entry visas. We do not use student visas as they require a direct association and formal relationship with a university abroad. Wildlands Studies is affiliated with a U.S.-based university, Western Washington University, and is not formally hosted by a university abroad. For this reason, we use tourist visas for our international programs. 

Students are responsible for obtaining the correct visa before departure. Instructions will be sent to students in the logistics email. When applying for their tourist visa, students should be sure to ask for and receive enough time for their entire stay, especially if they plan to travel before or after the program.  


Communication from the field.

We deliberately hold our programs in remote, backcountry wilderness areas. It is common for two weeks to pass with little or no access to communication. Upon arrival, the instructor will ask students to contact their families via either phone or internet to let them know they arrived safely. Instructors will then try to provide access to phone or internet periodically throughout the course, about once every two weeks, and again, encourage students to contact home. As a field-based program, we will frequently be in places where there is no cell phone coverage or manner to charge cell phones and/or have limited internet access for extended periods of time, particularly when we are in the backcountry or at remote research stations. It is very important that family and friends understand that students will have extremely limited communication during the program so that they do not worry about students unnecessarily. The Wildlands Studies office will know how to get in contact with students in the case of an emergency back home.


Medical and travel insurance.

Wildlands Studies requires that all participants be covered by a medical insurance policy, as well as obtain travel insurance for international programs. It is important that students understand that they are financially responsible for all their own personal medical costs while on a Wildlands Studies program. This means that if a student needs to visit a doctor while on the program, or receive emergency care, the student bears the cost and any related costs (such as transport). Thus, it is required to have both medical insurance and travel insurance.

We require the following for Travel Insurance:

  • A medical policy (accident and sickness) in an amount not less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for major medical expense benefit.
  • An accidental death and dismemberment policy in an amount not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).
  • An emergency medical transportation/evacuation and medically necessary repatriation policy in an amount not less than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000).
  • A repatriation of remains policy in an amount not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).
  • An emergency non-medical evacuation due to catastrophe policy in an amount not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).
  • A security of political evacuation policy in an amount not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

International insurance must also cover “adventure sports” and include all activities described in the logistical information and/or syllabus of the participant’s program. Said polices are to commence on the first day of the scheduled trip outside the U.S. and terminate upon return to the U.S.


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Participant agreement.

We count on each student to bring their best to the program. How you conduct yourself is critically important. We expect you participate in all classes and field study activities, and adhere to all rules, regulations and policies. Our logistics email will provide required legal documents including a participant agreement. These forms are required for participation, and set the stage for behavioral expectations. We also ask you to read the Student Program Manual and adhere to our alcohol policy. We ask students to help manage risk and participate fully.


Alcohol policy.

The alcohol policy for Wildlands Studies Programs is as follows:

  1. When group members are engaged in class activities, traveling, or interacting with other people in the role of students, there is to be no consumption of alcohol. If there is any question about whether it is okay to drink in a given situation, the course instructor has the final say. Specific situations where alcohol is expressly forbidden include: 
    • Group travel on motor vehicles, including (but not limited to) buses, trains, cars, trucks and boats
    • Group travel on foot, by bicycle, or other self-propelled conveyance
    • Classroom sessions, meetings with guest experts and course-related interactions with local people
    • Any activity that involves being in or on the water. Students who have consumed alcohol may not enter the water
      until the following day.
  2. Moderate consumption of alcohol is not prohibited when the group is at leisure (i.e., during “time-off” see policy below). However, if course instructors believe that a student’s alcohol consumption is endangering himself, or herself, or threatening other members of the group or the reputation of Wildlands Studies, then instructors will be obligated to seek advice on how to deal with this problem by speaking directly with the Wildlands Studies director.
  3. Students must understand that irresponsible, discourteous, or obnoxious behavior, whether alcohol-induced or not, is embarrassing and threatening to the program and course instructors, and will not be tolerated. If the instructor feels that a student’s use of alcohol is inhibiting the project in any way, they have the right to dismiss the student from the project.
  4. Students must also understand that course instructors stand to lose a great deal if an intoxicated student gets hurt or causes others to get hurt. That is why we are compelled to take a hard line on the issue of alcohol consumption.
  5. Problems derived from alcohol and student conduct will be handled by course instructors in the most expedient and professional manner that serves to protect the best interests of our program. No repeated warnings, no scolding, no drama. If it is not working out, the student will be dismissed and we will go on without them.