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Amanda Nitzken's Employee Profile

International School Partnerships Manager

Amanda Nitzken-fiji

What countries have you traveled to?

All across the US, Belize, Comoros, Thailand, Fiji, South Korea, China, UAE, The Bahamas, and Jamaica.

How did you get involved with Rustic Pathways?

I applied to work for Rustic Pathways in early 2018 after returning from living in Comoros for several months. I was determined to work in the student-travel space because of how much travel impacted my own life. I was lucky to catch Rustic’s eye and have been here for 2 years now! I’m so glad I decided to go for this opportunity, because working at Rustic Pathways has continued to change my life day after day.

How long have you been working with Rustic Pathways?

I’ve been with Rustic since March of 2018.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

Every day at Rustic is incredibly exciting, but my favorite days are those when groups return home from their programs. Planning an international trip can be challenging and even stressful at times, but it is always, always worth it. Reading student surveys and getting to talk with educators about their experience gives me that daily reminder that travel is incredible, and this is important work. Students eyes are opened wide after first trips abroad, and even the most seasoned world travelers in our educator and student communities continue to come home changed from each experience.

Amanda Nitzken

Have you traveled with other Rustic Pathways employees? What was your experience like?

Traveling with the Rustic family is like going to one week of the best summer camp ever… and crying your eyes out when you have to leave all of your new friends. My first summer with Rustic Pathways, I hopped off a plane at LAX and met two fellow Rustic Pathways employees that would soon become family. After meeting up with more colleagues once landing in Nadi, we spent a week together exploring all that Fiji has to offer. From the Highlands to the Islands, we hiked, ate, snorkeled, relaxed, and laughed until we cried. Dinners consisted of long talks about our personal values, stories about our favorite travel experiences, and never-ending jokes and laughs.

The very best part about traveling with Rustic employees in a Rustic Pathways country, is getting to experience Rustic programs together. On this particular trip we joined students in some of their daily activities, and we were able to witness the impact on both our international students and local communities in Fiji. I never wanted to leave my colleagues or Fiji, but we’ve been sure to get together in other parts of the world when we can.

Amanda Nitzken

Why do you view travel as an essential part of every education?

As an adult, I have continuously prioritized travel in my own life. Every time I take a trip, whether for work or vacation, I make sure to journal about my experiences because I’ve found that I am still learning with each new flight I take. I’m learning new things about myself, my role in the world, and others across the globe.

If I could turn back time, the only thing I would do differently is travel sooner! I remember being young and curious about other cultures of the world, but I had no clue how travel would transform me. Sure, travel teaches us useful phrases in new languages, tips for getting the best deal when converting currency, and the best ways to navigate new cities. Beyond that, though, it makes us more compassionate people, expands our world-views, and reminds us of our shared global humanity. The world is getting smaller by the second, and the way that travel transforms us will only continue to grow in importance.

Amanda Nitzken fiji highlands

What makes you proud to work at Rustic Pathways?

I’m proud to work for a company that is filled to the brim with selfless individuals, who truly care about leaving our society and planet better than how we found it. I’m proud to work with innovative educators across the globe that aren’t afraid to push the limits of “traditional” education, and instead pursue the opportunity to introduce their classrooms to the world around them. I’m proud to work at the intersection of travel and education, and couldn’t imagine my life any other way!