The Rustic Recap

The Rustic Recap

Hannah Gutenstein

Moroccan Wanderer 2015 | Wonders and Riches of Southeast Asia 2016

Hannah will be a 2021 graduate from High Point University with a major in Strategic Communication with minors in Marketing and Social Media Marketing | Works as a Peer Career Advisor and Internship Marketing Assistant for the Office of Career and Professional Development at High Point University

All photos have been provided by Hannah. Read her story below!

Hello everyone, my name is Hannah and I am a two-time Rustic alumna. I will be graduating this May from High Point University with a major in Strategic Communication and minors in Marketing and Social Media Marketing. After graduation, I am interested in combining my love of communication and culture to pursue a career in International Communication.

In high school, I had found Rustic Pathways on my own after doing research about different ways high schoolers could travel. Before attending my programs with Rustic, I had done other student travel programs visiting Europe that were mainly for educational purposes.

I decided to attend Rustic Pathway’s programs because I really wanted to participate in a more service-based travel experience. It was clear from the website that Rustic’s programs are dedicated to community service and strong relationships with the local communities that they work with.After I discovered Rustic, I was immediately drawn to the Moroccan Wanderer program. There was just something about the country from its unique landscape to its blend of culture that captivated my attention immediately. I had my parents meet with a representative of Rustic’s at our house and they both agreed that it sounded like an amazing experience.

A major highlight of that particular program was being able to live and work in a small village in the Atlas Mountains. My group and I spent almost a week helping to build part of a school for the local villages to use. Other activities included camping in the Sahara Desert and shopping in the souks of Marrakech.

After completing my trip to Morocco, I knew I wanted to go somewhere different again.

So, after careful deliberation, I chose Wonders and Riches of Southeast Asia due to the itinerary having 4 bucket-list countries: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. My group and I visited Angkor Wat, the floating villages of Cambodia and fed monks early in the morning in Laos.

After my trip to Southeast Asia, I was inspired to participate in fundraising for the Rustic Pathways Foundation during the fall of 2016. I raised over $1,700 for BSDA’s (Buddhism for Social Development Action) Education for All Initiative which benefited vulnerable children in Cambodia to attend school by closing the gaps that would otherwise prevent these at-risk youth from receiving the education that they deserve.My entire life I have valued receiving an international perspective in my education, service and work. These experiences throughout my high school years had instilled my core characteristics of independence, confidence and cultural awareness.

These are incredibly useful skills that I brought with me into college, my internships and other independent travel I have done since my time with Rustic. I truly cannot imagine my life without these adventures. These kinds of trips are completely different from any other kind of travel.

Rustic provides a cultural immersion that allows you to connect with people from different cultures making you see yourself as interconnected to the world as a global citizen. The memories, experiences and people I have met because of these trips I will deeply cherish for the rest of my life.

Learn more about Rustic Pathways programs in Morocco and Southeast Asia, or view more Alumni Stories here