Meagan Goodman grew up on Vashon Island, Washington and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Environmental Studies. She is a Program Coordinator for Pacific Discovery. Her focus of work is on admissions and participant well-being. Meagan has travelled around the world and is passionate about supporting young people to have life-changing experiences in a global setting.
What position do you hold at Pacific Discovery? What has been your career path so far?
I currently work as a Program Coordinator for Pacific Discovery. My role at Pacific Discovery is to work closely with all registered participants and their families, to help support them to have a successful and life-changing experience on the program.
Prior to working with Pacific Discovery, I worked in the field of Wilderness Therapy in Asheville, North Carolina. I primarily worked with adolescent boys with substance abuse issues. I found this work to be incredibly rewarding, albeit challenging. I then moved to New Zealand and started working for the New Zealand Government. I helped to holistically support vulnerable New Zealand families to ensure their safety and well-being. I now have a young family, however when the time comes, I look forward to returning to the field!
Did YOU take a gap year abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?
My first study-abroad experience was in France when I was 14. I travelled to Biarritz to do a language immersion course, and instead fell in love with travelling. When I was 21, I had my first official study abroad/gap year experience; I went to Australia to study sustainability and environmental action through an experiential learning semester program. I was inspired by Aboriginal culture and I wanted to delve deeper into examining the relationship between ecological identity and well-being. This experience was life-changing and I never would have ended up in New Zealand if it weren’t for my gap year abroad in Australia.
What country have you always wanted to visit?
I have always wanted to visit Bhutan. The small, isolated Buddhist Kingdom has always fascinated me, and I found it admirable that tourism only began in 1974. Bhutan seems to recognize and value its unique natural environment, and in an effort to reduce environmental degradation, it still places many restrictions on travel to the Kingdom today. I truly believe that Bhutan is a modern day "Shangri –La" and I hope to visit it myself one day.
Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?
As Mark Twain so eloquently put it:
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
I believe that immersing yourself in a foreign culture and language helps to foster empathy, connection, and compassion. I cherish the connections I have made with people, communities, and natural environments across the globe. My cultural immersion experiences have been pivotal to forming the values and ethics I live by.