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Amy Conrad's Employee Profile

Personal Travel Advisor

What have your own international travels entailed?

I grew up going on long family road trips every summer, but my first trip abroad was as a high school student going to France with my French class. That experience had a huge impact on my life, because I ended up studying French and education.

When I graduated from college, I worked in France as an English teacher assistant, and that led to visiting lots of new places during school vacations.

In graduate school and as a high school teacher I began working for a language immersion program and spent my summers in France teaching and guiding students.

I also helped establish a sister school partnership between my school and a high school in France; it was exciting to see how families could establish ongoing relationships with each other through a short-term exchange.

Later I got the chance to spend a summer in Nicaragua, and another in Morocco, both times to study languages. My first big travel adventure since 2019 was to Newfoundland in Canada, and now I can’t wait to go back to “the rock.”

Domestically I still love a good road trip, but my hobby has been traveling by Amtrak’s long distance routes; I have gone by train to New York, New Mexico, Montana, and Utah so far. I love the slowed-down pace of overland travel.

How did you get involved with Rustic Pathways?

I first became aware of Rustic Pathways as a high school teacher. Encouraging students to travel has always been a focus of mine as an educator. I was researching programs to recommend and found Rustic Pathways.

The more I learned, the more I was impressed with what I saw, and so now it feels exciting to say that I am working here!

How did you first go about getting a global perspective?

I think that I was always interested in the world around me, but some of my biggest strides toward a global perspective didn’t happen until I participated in a professional development program for teachers called the Global Competence Certificate.

They paired coursework with on-site learning in Nicaragua, and that program did wonders for me in terms of being able to listen and learn from others, as well as understanding how much I didn’t know about the world.

It also taught me how much of a tool language is in hearing someone else’s perspective and set me on a path to learn Spanish.

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

I think that changing our routines can have a powerful impact on our perspectives. When students travel, they get a chance to step back from what they know and are comfortable with and push themselves to try new things.

I’ve noticed that when students travel, they go on to have bigger and more ambitious goals for themselves when it comes to the next steps in their lives. They gain a sense of independence and self-efficacy, and a better understanding of how others live.

Beyond that, there can be such joy in travel – I hope every student gets a chance to feel that sense of connection, excitement, and deep learning!