Life Lessons Through Travel

Life Lessons Through Travel

Rachel S.

Summer Camp Leadership in Costa Rica, 2015 | Beyond Capitol Hill: Refugee Youth Tutoring, Baltimore 2016 | Rebuilding New Orleans, 2017

Rachel is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Economics at Connecticut College | Interning at the Foundation for MetroWest

All images have been provided by Rachel. Read her story below!

My Rustic Pathways Story by Rachel

Hi Guys! My name is Rachel and I’m from Massachusetts! I enjoy playing with my dog, hiking, baking, playing tennis, and traveling!

I am currently a rising Junior at Connecticut College! Amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic, I have a remote internship with a Foundation, the Foundation for Metrowest, helping them with anything from data analysis to reviewing applications for a high school program. It’s really exciting for me because I would really like to work in the nonprofit world after I graduate.

Rachel S - Rustic AlumniWhat Rustic programs did you go on? 

In 2015, I did the Summer Camp Leadership program in Costa Rica, in 2016 I did the Refugee Youth Project in Baltimore, Maryland, and in 2017 I did the Rebuilding New Orleans program in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Did your Rustic experience play a role in bringing you to where you are now? 

Rustic has impacted my life in a big way. I took away something unique and important from all three programs I went on. There are so many ways that Rustic has impacted me, but here are some of them.

From my first program in Costa Rica, I learned how to be a leader and how to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the same language as me. In creating a curriculum for children in another country who speak a different language than me, I learned the importance of working with others and the meaning of the word Team.

Rachel S - Rustic AlumniMy Baltimore trip is the reason that I am interested in pursuing a career at a non-profit after college. During my Baltimore trip, we worked with refugee children, learned about the rich history of Baltimore, and the 2016 Black Lives Matter movement, and then later in the trip we took a tour of the International Rescue Committee office.

While walking around with all of the knowledge that I was learning, it just hit me that “this is somewhere that I would love to work.” From then on, I knew that I wanted to have a career helping others.

Finally, from my New Orleans trip, I learned the true meaning of community and impact. It was an incredible experience to directly see our impact whether it be a clean park or a house closer to being completed. This direct impact is one of the most incredible feelings in the world.

From all three of my programs, I learned that there are always going to be challenges and obstacles to reaching a goal when collaborating with others. But I have learned valuable skills from this that have helped me excel in both high school and college.

Has travel changed your perspective on how you view the world?

I have been lucky enough to have completed three Rustic trips and I truly believe that I view the world differently because of travel. Traveling not only allows you to immerse yourself in another culture but to genuinely appreciate it and take a part of it home with you.

Traveling allows you to truly realize that no matter where you go, people have a passion for their communities, traditions, and homeland. Learning about these traditions and different ways of life has made me have a deep appreciation for not only other cultures but those who are different than me.

Rachel S - Rustic AlumniIs there a particular moment or memory from any of your trips that stands out for you?

It was a 95-degree day in New Orleans and we were working on putting up ceiling joists in a house we were rebuilding that was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.

In order to screw the wooden joists in, you had to stand on this shaky platform that was pretty high up. I was petrified and I called down to my trip leader that I couldn’t do it.

She, along with the rest of the students on my trip, as well as the workers at the house all encouraged me, telling me that I could do it and that they all believed in me. After some difficulty, I successfully screwed in the joist and raised my arms in victory, and below me, everybody was cheering for me.

At that moment, although just a ceiling joist, I felt like I could do anything. This is the embodiment of Rustic to me- communities of people from all over the world encouraging each other to be better and create an impact.

What is your advice for incoming participants or anyone considering traveling with Rustic Pathways?

My biggest piece of advice for anyone considering Rustic is to DO IT! Rustic has taught me some of my biggest life lessons.

Every Rustic Pathways’ trip is a perfect balance of fun, community service, and learning, and I would recommend it to anyone.

My advice for incoming participants is to embrace it all. Not only belly laugh when you have an hour to explore a town with your fellow Rustic companions, but also be the first to raise your hand when someone needs your help at a service site and be a sponge at museums learning about anything from the Black Lives Matter movement to the floats at the Mardi Gras parade.

In the end, the fun, learning, and community service all come together to form a life-changing trip.