Each year we publish a summary of our community service initiatives around the globe.
To view our 2015 Impact Report, click here.

Our Mission

We empower students through innovative and responsible travel experiences to positively impact lives and communities around the world.

To ensure we are achieving our mission, we constantly monitor and evaluate our impact across four primary areas:

Our four core areas of impact involve our clients, the communities in which we work, our staff, and the environment.

1) Students

Rustic Pathways strives to ensure that all programs provide safe, engaging, meaningful experiences for students. As a result of Rustic Pathways programs, thousands of people have powerful experiences around the world. Rustic students interact with new countries and new cultures, learning from experienced local leaders, enriching program content, exciting activities, organized reflection, and unique post-trip engagement opportunities.

2) Communities

Rustic Pathways has long-standing relationships with communities around the world, many of them in remote, rural areas. Rustic Pathways engages with community leaders to ensure that the company maximizes its positive impact, while remaining culturally appropriate and environmentally sensitive. Rustic Pathways’ presence impacts these communities in a variety of profound, but often subtle ways. These layers of impact can be illustrated as follows:

Rustic Pathways Areas of Impact


Thousands of students travel around the world with Rustic Pathways every year. In the process of providing accommodations, meals, and activities to these students, Rustic Pathways generates hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for the communities it visits. From a women’s association that cooks meals to a homestay family that provides lodging, the income generated is an important element of Rustic Pathways’ overall community impact.

Service Projects

Rustic Pathways funds community service projects that provide benefits to communities across five important areas: Education, Infrastructure, Environment, Community Health, Economic Development. Rustic Pathways students partner with local community members to realize these projects.

Rustic Pathways Foundation Projects

The Rustic Pathways Foundation supplements the community service work of Rustic Pathways, funding projects in Rustic Pathways’ communities that would otherwise not be possible. In addition, the Foundation provides continuing education scholarships for promising students from the communities where the company operates.

Job Creation

Rustic Pathways employs local country directors, program managers, program leaders, and support staff members in many of the communities in which it operates. The wages of those staff directly and indirectly benefit the communities in which they live.

Capacity Building of Local Staff

In addition to employing local staff, Rustic Pathways endeavors to develop the capacity of those staff, ensuring they become key members of the global team. Through work with Rustic Pathways students, many of these staff develop superb English language skills and other useful skills that open new opportunities for them both inside and outside of Rustic Pathways. Some receive support for further education, others receive additional training such as Wilderness First Responder certifications or computer literacy classes. Most significantly, many grow into managerial roles within the company, earning higher wages and becoming leaders in their communities.

Joint Ventures

Rustic Pathways partners with local business people in countries around the world to create mutually beneficial joint ventures. Examples include joint ownership of key properties, strategic leases and more. As a result of these ventures, Rustic Pathways generates deeper connections with communities while promoting economic development.

Non-financial Impacts

In many of the rural communities where Rustic Pathways operates, the company provides access to important services, markets, and networks. Community members often take advantage of Rustic vehicles to transport goods to market or borrow mobile phones to stay connected with relatives. While not quantifiable, these non-financial impacts are part of the reason Rustic Pathways has strong, long-standing relationships with communities around the globe.

3) Staff

Rustic Pathways employs over 400 full-time and seasonal staff around the world. The company provides fair wages, an engaging work environment, job trainings, and other interesting career development opportunities that make the company a desirable place to work.

4) Environment

Rustic Pathways staff care deeply about the company’s impact on the environment. The company has a team of people dedicated to finding ways to reduce the company’s environmental impact across its global operations. In an increasingly interconnected world, these efforts are critical to a shared, sustainable future. Current initiatives include a company-wide audit of our environmental impact to inform future actions; the establishment of a formal office recycling and energy use reduction program; the reduction of waste generated through program operations; and, the incorporation of environmental themes in the curriculum across our programs.


The Experience was transformational for my daughter. It was her first trip away from her family. I've found that it has lifted her self confidence, her independence, and her appreciation for a culture outside of her own that would otherwise be out of reach.

Scott Joslin, father of Colleen

Fletcher, NC