The health and well-being of students is our top priority.

We’re committed to providing a healthy travel and study experience for students. It’s grounded in our approach to managing risk, which is built into each program, not added on. And it’s guided by a structured risk management program that spells out expectations for students, is tailored to each program and adapts to changes in the natural and political environment.

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We take risk management seriously.

We’re serious about managing and mitigating risk. Risk management is one of the most important factors in the planning and preparation of a Wildlands Studies program. We have a tailored emergency management plan for each program with a planned response for all levels of emergency and medical care.


It can be wild in the wilderness.

Although we work hard to prevent incidents, wilderness travel does come with inherent risks. Injuries and accidents can happen. Participants should be aware of the potential for dangerous situations to arise. 

Wildlands Studies provides exciting and unique backcountry field study experiences and we strive to achieve our program and educational goals while preventing injury and illness.


A team approach to managing risk.

We view risk management as a team effort. We believe learning to identify and avoid potential risks is one of the most valuable skills that participants can learn in the field. We begin our programs with a comprehensive orientation of the potential risks for the region, and continue this practice at each specific location. We expect students to acquire and use risk management skills on our programs, and as adults, accept responsibility for following our risk management protocols. This approach has helped us provide great experiences for students while minimizing the chances of injury and sickness. 

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Emergency communication.

Our leadership team is well equipped with various communications equipment including mobile phones, internet access, GPS devices and satellite phones. The location determines the equipment needs. Wildlands Studies maintains a 24-hour emergency contact system and stays in close contact with instructors throughout each program. There will be times when communication access is limited due to remote locations, and we work with local providers to ensure communication and medical care are accessible during these times. 


Emergency contact.

We’re always available to help or to get a message to your student. Contact us at 831 684 9999 or email us at

Please note that issues or emergencies that arise in the field are reported directly to our Wildlands Studies main office.  Wildlands Studies will then contact the appropriate parties as necessary.


Staying healthy abroad.

In addition to our risk management planning, we work hard to prepare students for differences in food, water, hygiene and cultural norms in the countries we visit.

However, for most programs, and especially international ones, there is no ready access to Western-style medical care. Instructors carry comprehensive, backcountry-oriented medical kits, and we ask students to bring their own basic first-aid supplies and prescription medicines.  Prescription medicines should be accomplished by complete pharmacological information, available on request when you fill your prescription—this information could be indispensable in the event of an emergency.

We include more information about healthy traveling in our logistics packet, emailed to students twelve weeks in advance of the program start date, and the Student Program Manual, available online on each program’s webpage. We utilize The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the authoritative source of information on travel medicine. Visit their website ( and then navigate to the pages that discuss the country or area where your program is located. The World Health Organization (WHO) also maintains a comprehensive base of
information about disease risk.


Come prepared; we hike—a lot!

It’s true. We spend the entire program outdoors conducting field activities, hiking, backpacking, snorkeling, camping, canoeing, experiencing the wonders of nature first-hand. Students often tell Wildlands Studies that the physical challenge of our programs is one of their greatest sources of personal empowerment and accomplishment.

Many students may find aspects of this program to be physically demanding, especially when we are at altitude, in the rain, under the hot tropical sun, or trekking through a recent snowfall. We spend long days in the field conducting observations or group research and may have to walk long distances to do so. We also walk short and long distances with our large backpacks to access a field site. 

Physical conditioning is a critical part of planning and participation in our programs. As a measure of physical fitness, we expect students to be able to hike five to eight miles easily while carrying a thirty pound backpack, and enjoy living and working in the outdoors. It is essential you are well-prepared both physically and mentally.

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Emotional well-being.

Studying in a wilderness setting, and internationally, can be a wonderful, eye-opening, empowering experience. It can also present a number of challenges, including adjustment to a new culture and routine, different cultural norms, new relationships, and an absence of familiar support systems. In addition, our programs typically take place in remote environments with delayed access to medical care and limited or absent mental health resources. 

We ask students with emotional health concerns to discuss these with your physician, mental health provider and the Wildlands Studies office prior to participating in a program. Further, it is important you identify a support system while traveling with us. It is essential that you are emotionally—as well as physically—prepared to participate on our program.


Dietary needs and preferences.

We are able to accommodate most dietary requests. Of course with international travel, food choices will be different, and potentially limited due to availability, cultural practice and cost. Dietary needs and restrictions should be noted on your application. We will do all we can to meet your requests.


We try to accommodate but we go remote.

If you are eager to hike, camp, backpack, snorkel, canoe, and be physically active in the remote wilderness, we are the perfect program for you. And while we strive to accommodate all students, these physical elements are essential components of our program, and may make it too challenging to accommodate specific disabilities. Our remote setting also means that medical care is not always easily accessible, and it can take twenty-four to forty-eight hours to access a doctor. If you have a disability or chronic illness, please contact us to see if we can accommodate you.