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Culture, Environment & Sustainability in Moorea

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UC Research Campus in Paradise

Administered by UC Berkeley and located on a 35-acre waterfront property in northwest Moorea owned by the University of California, the Gump Station is one of the world's premier tropical research facilities. Scientists and students from around the world carry out research programs in disciplines from genetics and biology to ecology, anthropology and economics. As a result, the island of Moorea is emerging as a model for understanding how physical, biological, and cultural processes interact to shape social and ecological systems.

An Unprecedented Youth Program

Through weekly events, including expert-led discussions and hands-on learning sessions co-curated by the UC Gump Station, teens will learn how local and international scientists collaborate to understand and mitigate impacts on this fragile ecosystem. The program will also include Polynesian elders to sensitize teens to the relationship between human societies and natural ecosystems from the standpoint of traditional knowledge. Parents with children too young to participate in the Teen program can enroll in a summer camp that is being arranged with the Moorea International School

Unique Cultural Exchange

The program is intended to enable teenagers to discover the islands through the eyes of Polynesians. It has therefore been developed as a cultural exchange between international teens and local teens. Based on their preferences and interests, visitors will be matched with locals. The visiting teens will give the locals an opportunity to practice their English and make friends. The local teens will show their islands in a special, new way, letting their visiting peers see Polynesia from their perspective. 

Abundant Outdoor Activities for Teens

The program will engage teens Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm. Lunch is included each day. Scuba dive training will be provided each Wednesday so participants can earn PADI Open Water certification over the course of the retreat. Field trips will involve coral reef restoration, rainforest trekking, snorkeling with rays and reef sharks, and learning traditional Polynesian life-ways, including sailing and paddling outrigger canoes. Parents are welcome to join teen activities. 

A Deeply Meaningful, Immersive Experience

To provide this program, Working Without Borders is collaborating with Nani Travels, French Polynesia’s first inbound tour operator focused on sustainable tourism. Nani Travels helps protect ecosystems and ancestral Polynesian traditions. Their programs are intended to have a direct positive impact on the environment, the economy, and the local population. This program focuses on giving young travelers a deeply meaningful, immersive experience.

A Gem of an Island

Moorea is widely regarded as one of the world's most beautiful islands. Participants will see firsthand why the Lonely Planet says: "If you've been dreaming of turquoise lagoons, white-sand beaches, vertical peaks and lush landscapes, you'd be hard-pressed to find better than this gem of an island."

Abundant recreational activities are available. Aquatic activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, kitesurfing, fishing, sailing, and surfing. Land-based activities include hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and ziplining. In addition, Tahiti and French Polynesia's capital Papeete are just 30 minutes from Moorea by car-ferry.

A Sense of Camaraderie & Community

Participating families will benefit from being part of a community. Prior to departure, several video calls will be organized and a private Facebook Group will be established so participants can begin to get to know each other. While in Moorea, a sense of camaraderie will be fostered through shared experiences such as weekly field outings, lectures, potluck dinners, and cocktail events, including weekly interactions with researchers and staff at the UC Gump Station.

Your Local Host

Participants will be in good hands with their local host. Born and raised in French Polynesia, Alexandrine Wan is on a mission to help visitors step away from the clichéd postcard images of the islands to experience them, and get to know their residents, in a more authentic way. As CEO of Nani Travels, Alexandrine partners with local not-for-profit organizations to preserve cultural and environmental heritage while enabling visitors to immerse themselves and contribute in impactful ways. As a mother herself, she is excited to welcome other parents and their children to the island she calls home.

Seaside Bungalows with Fast WiFi

Participating families may reside in seaside bungalows equipped with kitchens and WiFi. They are located next to a beautiful beach in the small town of Haapiti on the northwestern side of the island. Families requiring larger accommodations can receive assistance to rent homes identified by the local team.  

Beautiful Coworking Space

Parents who need to work remotely may do so from a dedicated coworking space that has been arranged exclusively for this program. Amidst a lush landscape, guests can tackle projects in an air-conditioned building with fiber optic internet, printers, coffee, and breakfast service.  

What's Included

  • Access to a full-time local host in Moorea to assist with inquiries and help make you feel like a local 
  • Transportation from the airport to the Hilton resort in Tahiti, where participants will stay for one night before taking the 30-min ferry to Moorea
  • One night accommodations at the Hilton resort in Tahiti upon arrival 
  • Rental car large enough for 4 people and 2 pieces of luggage (Economy size) from Sunday June 26 until Saturday July 23 
  • 4 weeks of accommodations in Garden Bungalow with kitchen and fiber optic internet (if you choose to select this package) 
  • Weekly cleaning service for Garden Bungalow (if you select this package 
  • Teen program for one person aged 13 to 18, including lunch, and scuba dive training to obtain PADI Open Water certification
  • Access to an exclusive coworking space from 7:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday
  • Ferry tickets to and from Moorea 
  • Two Happy Hours for parents including drinks, snacks, presentations and discussions with staff at the UC Gump Research Station on Friday evenings 
  • One group dinner for parents with staff at the UC Gump Research Station
  • 4 immersive half- and full-day field outings on weekends (e.g., catamaran trip to Tetiaroa island, lagoon tour, rainforest hike to waterfall)
  • Welcome lunch on a small island within the lagoon 
  • 4 mid-week recreational events for parents on Wednesdays during the late afternoon (e.g., Polynesian cooking class with locals)
  • Farewell dinner consisting of traditional Ahimaa’a feast and ceremony
  • All tips and gratuities
  • All fees and donations to non-profit organizations providing services for the program, including Oceania, Mao Mana Foundation, and the UC Gump Research Station
  • Transportation to the airport at the end of the program 
  • Guidance and support from the WWB Team 
  • Assistance to understand and fulfill French Polynesia’s COVID-19 travel requirements
  • Greenhouse gas mitigation for your roundtrip flight and local transport 

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Groceries
  • Personal, medical or trip cancellation insurance


The base pricing is for a family consisting of 1 parent and 1 teen, with the ability to add extra adults, teens and kids. Each family can choose to stay in a Garden Bungalow or book their own accommodations via AirBNB or VRBO with support from our team.  

Optional Add-Ons

  • Enrollment in the Moorea International School summer camp
  • Portable WiFi router (in addition to included WiFi at the coworking space and accommodations)
  • Parent participation in teen educational program activities  
  • Access to local health & wellness experts and programs 
  • Tutors, nannies, trainers 

When and How to Apply 

Applications are being reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. The process consists of submitting an online form with information about your family and then participating in an interview via Zoom. Thirteen families will be accepted in total, with preference given to alumni of the University of California. Alumni of other schools, even Stanford, are welcome.

Moorea, French Polynesia
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