What have your own international travels entailed?
I have traveled to 27 countries; Australia, British Virgin Islands, Cambodia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Laos, Mongolia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, United States, Vatican City, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
How long have you been working with Rustic Pathways?
I have been working with Rustic Pathways for thirteen years.
How did you get involved with Rustic Pathways?
I started as a flight leader to Thailand in 2007. In my thirteen years with Rustic Pathways, I have been a flight leader, program leader, program manager, Australia country manager, sales coordinator in New York and New England, client recruitment manager, and global program advisor.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?
The most fulfilling aspect of my job is helping clients find the perfect program.
What do you like most about Rustic Pathways?
What I like most about working at Rustic Pathways is that it is not just a job, but a way of life. My experiences with Rustic Pathways have shaped the person I am today, and I am forever grateful.
What makes Rustic Pathways different from other international program providers?
For me, what makes Rustic Pathways different from other international program providers is the authentic cultural immersion and the meaningful service.
On every Rustic Pathways program, students will learn about the culture of each region they visit from one of our incredible local program leaders. We guarantee at least one local program leader on each trip so that all students learn about the lives of the local people from the source.
Our local program leaders are passionate about sharing their country and its people with our students. Students will taste the local food, learn about the religions practiced, pick up some of the languages spoken, and gain a true understanding of how community members live. Rustic Pathways programs take students “off the beaten path” and offers students the unique experience to “live like a local.” Authentic cultural immersion causes students to reflect on their own beliefs, values, and behaviors, to reevaluate what is important to them, and to realize what they have taken for granted in their world at home. It allows them to see and appreciate their own life in a different way after their Rustic Pathways travel experience.
Rustic Pathways offers students the opportunity to participate in meaningful community projects across all of the countries we serve. Our programs are built around our service projects with adventure activities and cultural exploration added into the itinerary, not the other way around. We work with the same communities, year after year. We monitor each community’s needs to make certain that we deliver what services are most needed at all times and to ensure sustainable development within each community.
Students are given the background and history of each project on which they work; why it’s important, how it will help the local people, what has been done previously on the project, how their group will influence and improve the project, and what the students after them will do to advance and/or complete the project. This gives our students “the big picture” of the project, how their contribution fits in, and how it makes a difference in the lives of those receiving the service. Rustic Pathways’ meaningful service deepens our relationships with local community members whose lives we aim to improve.
These loyal and longstanding relationships with communities across the globe enable us to deliver authentic cultural immersion experiences to our students. Authentic cultural immersion and meaningful service are what makes Rustic Pathways different and what makes our students different once they have travelled with us.
How did you first go about getting a global perspective?
I took a class called Global Perspectives in High School. My teacher had been a Harvard Fulbright scholar in China and Japan. Taking his course got me interested in learning about the different cultures of the world.
Why do you view travel as an essential part of every education?
Travel provides life experiences and learning opportunities that cannot be found in a classroom or book.