In high school, I made a choice that, at the time, seemed like a BIG one—whether to go on a spring break trip with my friends or with a group from school on a volunteer program abroad. I chose to volunteer and I can say, 10 years later, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

I think many of us can admit that we’ve felt social pressures in our lives for fear of missing out (ya know, FOMO). And honestly, making a decision to not go along with your friends often makes FOMO very very real. I ended up spending that spring break in Romania working in an orphanage with eight classmates that I didn’t know very well. At that time, Romania had one of the highest orphan populations in the world—and many orphanages didn’t have the resources to properly care for these children. We helped care for and played with the children.

That work will forever be imprinted on my heart. Not only did I create connections with the other students in my group, but also with the children and workers at the orphanage who didn’t speak English. Most importantly, the experience fulfilled me in a way that no beach vacation with friends ever could. It also sparked a curiosity and love for volunteer work, new cultures, and travel. That experience eventually led me to Rustic.

As you’re thinking about your plans the next spring break, consider an alternative spring break. Rustic Pathways has five different programs in Latin America, the South Pacific, and even here in the United States. You’ll make new friends, have an incredible adventure, and participate in meaningful service like I did in Romania.

If you’re still not sure, check out this quiz that we created to help students like you figure out which Rustic spring break program was right for them.

What do you want to get out of your time spent away from home and school? Your decision could change your life. It changed mine.


For more information about volunteer opportunities for high school students, visit Rustic Pathways Spring Break to review our programs.

About the Author

Emily Greiff

Website Coordinator

Originally from a small town in Massachusetts, Emily realized her dream of living in the mountains when she moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the fall of 2014. Prior to that, Emily lived and worked in NYC after graduating from Colgate University with a dual degree in Spanish and Environmental Studies. This is Emily’s first experience working with Rustic Pathways but has done a number of service and travel programs in the past including trips to the Dominican Republic, Spain, and Romania. Emily is passionate about playing in the mountains, yoga, cooking, and art.