What have your own international travels entailed?
I started traveling when I was 11 years old on a Rustic-like program to Honduras. Ever since I was an adolescent, I knew this was the type of work I was meant to do. Traveling is such a major passion of mine, but incorporating the community service and conservation aspect as well has made this work the most rewarding and important work of my life. I have returned to volunteer in Honduras 8 times. I studied abroad in college 3 times: Dominican Republic, Spain and England. I am excited to announce that I was able to visit 25 countries before I turned 25. One of my favorite parts of travel is the new food. I will try everything, just may not want to know what it is until after I’ve tried it.
How long have you been working with Rustic Pathways?
I have been with Rustic Pathways since May of 2018. I started working as a Program Leader in Costa Rica. I led there for two summers and a Spring Break season. I lived in Costa Rica for a year and a half, and I fell in love with the country. The only reason I asked to lead in another part of the world was because I knew I’d never leave CR if I didn’t leave then. I then led programs in Fiji in the fall of 2019, with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. In the winter of 2020, I started on the road for Rustic Pathways, visiting high schools to encourage international travel amongst students. Now in my third position with Rustic, I am happy to help pair students with the program of their dreams as a Global Program Advisor.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?
I love being able to bring a group of students together from all around the world, starting on a program as strangers, and leaving as a family. I love being able to show students the importance of environmental conservation, encourage them to think critically about international development and support them in being exactly who they want to be in this world.
Have you traveled with other Rustic Pathways employees? What was your experience like?
The people I’ve met at Rustic Pathways have become some of the most important people in my life. I have best friends all around the world now. I’ve made relationships I know will last forever and that have already changed my life. With my Rustic friends, I have traveled to Australia, Panama, Fiji, Costa Rica, Chicago, San Francisco, Portland and more to come!
How do you stay focused on Rustic’s mission to positively impact lives and communities around the world?
There is no job I have ever loved more than Program Leading. However, in order to get these amazing trips ready to run every year, there’s a long list of work to be done for that to happen. I truly believe in Rustic’s Mission and live my life with the need to achieve the Student Learning Outcomes for myself. While I am not able to find myself leading and interacting with students year round, I am able to stay focused on the Mission. With each new Rustic role I take on, I am reminded how lucky I am to work for such a globally conscious company that strives to do good everywhere we set foot.
What makes you proud to work at Rustic Pathways?
There are so many reason why I am proud to work for Rustic Pathways. One that always comes to mind is the fact that Rustic never barges into a community and tells them what they need. When it comes to community service, community partners come to us and ask Rustic for support on a specific project. We do our best to work with them on that solution, especially when it comes to materials and hard-working hands for the job. Rustic leaders discuss with community leaders the best way to provide the support they need. Rustic will make suggestions for the project, but if a community wants it a specific way, that’s the way we do it. Rustic never pushes our ideas on another community or forces them to change their ways. We never go in and start a project, then dump the materials when the summer is over. We have 3 year plans that we are constantly updating as progress is made to ensure the support we provide is continual and productive. I am extremely proud to work hand in hand with my company, the communities we work in and with students from all around the world to make this earth a better place for all.