Study Abroad

Pacific Challenge

Apply early!  Space is limited!

UW-L has a cooperative arrangement with the Pacific Challenge program, through which you can participate in their spring program and remain a UW-L student.  Financial Aid, billing of program fees, registration and credit transfer are coordinated through the UW-L Office of International Education.

UW-L students should apply directly to Pacific Challenge and submit an application fee of $200 along with your application to Pacific Challenge.  To apply, visit the Pacific Challenge website.

In addition, UW-L students are required to submit a completed Study Abroad/International Exchange Application and a $50 application deposit to the Office of International Education.  This program is open to UWL students only.

This specially designed travel-study program takes advantage of the delightful summer conditions existing "down under" during the months of January, February, and March. The program travels through both New Zealand and Australia, sampling the cultural and environmental pleasures, amidst a potpourri of carefully planned adventure activities. Backpacking, rock climbing, skydiving, white water rafting, mountain biking, horse riding, snorkeling, and much more! All this in beautiful mountain, desert, and beach environments.

During the 60-day (8 week) program students will be introduced to a wealth of information regarding the historical, cultural, and environmental aspects of Australia and New Zealand. Seminars and information sessions from University faculty, National Park personnel, and local business people will form much of the learning environment. Numerous geographical excursions, incidental learning experiences, and in-house study sessions will complement the educational structure of the program. Each trips' numbers are kept to a manageable level, (approximately 18 participants and two leaders) to develop sound group dynamics and effective trip planning.

New Zealand and Australia have been selected for this trip because of their wonderfully temperate climate, their amazing scenery and their unique cultural highlights. Tourism in the South Pacific is growing dramatically and plays a major role in each country's economic sustainability. Eco tourism is becoming an enlightening treat. Traveling in a manner, which environmentally, socially and economically sensitive, is of increasing significance. Essentially, the time is right and the local knowledge is available to take part in this once in a lifetime experience.

For those students who would like to incorporate this amazing educational experience with academic credit, up to 15 credits of upper-level college credits are attainable on an arranged basis. Please note that credit is optional and incidental to this amazing adventure travel experience, however UW-L students must complete a minimum of 12 credits to maintain appropriate status (i.e., qualify for financial aid, maintain existing health insurance coverage, student re-entry, etc.).

Typical courses offered are: (Winona State Course Numbers)

240 - Outdoor Pursuits II 3 S.H. Use of the environment for year-round adventure recreation activities and learning of advanced camping/canoeing and/or kayaking and/or rafting skills. Several day- to month-long camping experiences. Additional fee. Grade only.
265 - Leisure in Different Cultures 3 S.H. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to different cultures through travel study. Applies only to travel education programs offered through RTTR and the ADVT minor. Repeatable for credit when students enroll in different travel/study programs. Grade only.
396 - Leadership and Group Dynamics: An Experiential Education Approach 3 S.H. As a member of a travel study group for an extended period of time, participants in this experiential based course will have a rich opportunity to observe, apply, synthesize, and reflect upon readings and personal experiences pertinent to leadership and group dynamics issues. Offered on travel study programs only. Grade only.
390 - Tourism Planning 3 S.H. Tourism planning involves maximizing benefits and minimizing negative impacts for local and regional tourism destinations. Student will be exposed to and understand positive and negative impacts of tourism; the need for resource inventories; the matching of resources with particular visitors, superstructure, and infrastructural needs; and the service quality necessary for visitor satisfaction and repeat visitation. Offered on travel study program only. Grade only.
144 - Contemporary Activities 1 S.H. This course introduces the student to varied contemporary, movements-based activities. A variety of activities will be introduced as a means of encouraging movement and expanding the student’s leisure interest profile.

While these courses may change, the primary focus of the program will be in the areas of Recreation.  Please refer to the WSU undergraduate catalog for specific course information.

Additional Course information is available on the Pacific Challenge website.  UW-L students must enroll for a minimum of 12 credits while on the spring Pacific Challenge program.

Independent Study
Students can arrange for independent study credit with a faculty advisor at UW-L. Independent study must be arranged prior to departure and can earn 1-12 credits depending on the department. Contact the Office of International Education for details.

Internships for UW-L credit provide practical work experience in your major field in variety of areas to meet your interests. Contact the Office of International Education for details.

The course equivalencies spreadsheets have been compiled from past approved Academic Plan forms.  They show when the course was last approved and how it transferred back to La Crosse.  You may notice that some classes satisfied several UWL options.

This list is not comprehensive nor does it take the place of  meeting with your advisor for final approval!  They are meant to be a guide of what courses may be appropriate for your studies abroad.

These meetings are mandatory for all students enrolled in the Pacific Challenge Program.  Additional information regarding these meetings will be sent to you via e-mail closer to the dates. 

Accommodations throughout comprise a range of standards; consisting of native dwellings, youth hostels, mountain huts, tents, and beach side apartments. Food (except lunches) is included.

Group flights are arranged departing from and returning to Los Angeles. A "boomerang pass" is also available through most travel agents, offering students the chance to extend their travels within Australia at a minimal cost. The Airfare portion of the program fee includes the international flight and also includes Australia/New Zealand connections. Students must make their own arrangements to meet the group in Los Angeles.

Before you travel abroad, you will need to obtain a passport, which will serve as proof of your U.S. citizenship. A passport may allow you to gain entry to (and exit from) other countries. Depending on the country to which you're traveling, a visa may be required as well. Entry requirements vary from one country to another. The U.S. State Department issues travel warnings specific to certain countries, and offers tips and publications relevant to travel abroad generally. Well in advance of your departure, you should also familiarize yourself with international travel health issues, and health recommendations specific to your destination.

Spring: January/February/March
For more precise dates refer to the Program Dates.

2.0 GPA minimum, 2.5+ GPA preferred
Sophomore standing (30 credits minimum)
No prior experience necessary
Students in all majors can participate
Open to UW-L students ONLY; students from other universities should contact Pacific Challenge directly or Winona State University at
Apply early - limited space available


UW-L students are required to pay the $50 application and $250 confirmation deposits for the program.  The remaining program fee will be billed to your student account.

The PC program fee includes the following:

  • Roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles with Australia/New Zealand connections
  • Land Costs
  • Pre-departure orientation meetings
  • UW-L Administrative Fee

The UW-L Administrative Fee includes the following:

  • Tuition (12 credits)
  • Pre-payment of Airfare, Land Cost, and Tuition on your behalf
  • Preparation of Financial Aid budgets
  • Registration while abroad in INS 300: Foreign Study to maintain your registration at UW-L
  • Transfer of Credit Processing
  • Study Abroad Health Insurance (required by UW System)
  • International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
  • Study Abroad Graduation Sash

Contact the WSU Pacific Challenge Representative for the most current Airfare and Land Costs.

Pacific Challenge Information Packet
Print a Registration Packet
Click here for the Australian government website on studying in Australia.
Tips and Advice from Program Alumni


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Office of International Education
1209 Centennial Hall
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601 USA

Telephone: 608-785-8016 Fax: 608-785-8923 E-Mail: