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2023 Program Update - What’s on the Horizon
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2023 Program Update - What’s on the Horizon

The summer of 2023 is shaping up to be the best one yet. Now that the world is almost completely open for travel, we’re adding new programs and enhancing the ones that are returning.

Below is a summary of the newest additions. Plus, there are details on what options will soon be available and what programs are mostly likely to begin selling out in the coming weeks.

New Programs

Thai Elephant Conservation Project

It’s hard to get a better animal conservation program than this! Students will learn to feed, wash, and monitor the health and behavior of Asian elephants in Thailand.


Seoul Searching: Modern Korea

We’re excited to add South Korea to our list of countries! In this program, students will explore both the historic and modern touches in Seoul. They also head to the beach for snorkeling, rock climbing and more.

The Land of Smiles: Gap in Thailand

This eight-week gap program combines all the best elements of our summer programs into a longer, more immersive adventure. Cultural lessons, elephants, adventure – It has it all.

Coming Soon!

Best of Italy – North to South

The final touches are being put together on this program, which will take students to Italy’s iconic towns. Plus, the program will have many #soRustic moments, including a farm stay in Matera.

We are also planning to add another service program in Thailand, along with new programs in:

  • France
  • Japan
  • United States

All available programs will be online by mid-December.

Hot Programs! - These Sell Out the Fastest (particularly July dates!)

Andes to Amazon – Peru

This program takes students from the Andes mountains to the Amazon rainforest in Peru. Along the way, they visit the Machu Picchu ruins, learn about the local culture and experience off-the-map regions of Peru.

Sacred Valley Service – Peru

This service program includes a homestay experience in the Sacred Valley of Peru, where students learn about the local indigenous people. During the program, teens also visit Machu Picchu and try adventure activities, such as paddleboarding and ziplining.

Boys doing infrastructure service

Wild Galápagos: Eco-Service in Ecuador

This program gives students a chance to learn about Ecuadorian village life in a homestay experience. That’s followed by a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the Galápagos Islands, where they snorkel and learn about animal conservation.

Photo: Taya Puner, Ecuador

Turtle Conservation Project – Costa Rica

This program may sell out faster than all our other programs. Students get the rare opportunity to work directly with Costa Rican park rangers to save threatened and endangered sea turtles. The program includes beach cleanups and lots of night walks.

Surf and Service in Costa Rica

Students who love the ocean have a blast during this program. They learn to surf in one of the world’s surfing hotspots in Costa Rica. Then they also spend plenty of time giving back by working on service projects dedicated to helping the local community.

Marine Life and Coastal Restoration – Dominican Republic

Students interested in marine conservation love this program. Students work on coral reef projects and learn about lionfish and other sea life.

Travel by boat and learn to collect data crucial to marine monitoring

Hawaii Service

Students dive into environmental conservation projects during this program. They also experience the unforgettable Hawaiian beaches and Volcanoes National Park.

Big Fiji Explorer

This program is an on-the-go adventure. Students keep busy exploring the Fiji Islands, immersing themselves in the local culture and getting doses of adrenaline during adventure activities.

Southeast Asian Adventurer – Thailand

This program is also an on-the-go journey that allows students to explore various corners of Thailand. They snorkel, rock climb, learn about the local culture and spend time with Asian elephants.

College Options - Ages 18-21

Turtle Conservation Program (College) – Costa Rica

June 6 – June 14 & July 18 – July 26

This college version echoes the experience of the high school turtle program mentioned above. There are night walks, beach cleanups and plenty of hands-on work to save baby sea turtles!

Moroccan Wanderer (College)

June 27 – July 12

College students explore Morocco from the Sahara Desert to the sea in this cultural immersion program.

Sacred Valley Service – Peru  

College session: May 23 – June 6, 2023

This program also echoes the high school program and immerses students into service projects in the Sacred Valley during their homestays.

Machu Picchu

Wild Galápagos: Eco-Service in Ecuador

College session: July 4 – July 18, 2023

This one-of-a-kind program allows students to explore both the mainland and the islands. It includes a homestay, service, snorkeling and animal conservation lessons you can’t get anywhere else.

Public Health in the Caribbean – Dominican Republic

This program is available for students through age 19, including students who have completed their freshman year of college. It’s a perfect choice for students interested in the medical field.

Surf and Service in Costa Rica

This program is also available for students through age 19. It is geared for students of all surfing ability levels. And it engages students in infrastructure service projects when they aren’t hitting the waves.

Returning Soon

These programs had a great run in 2022 and will be back in 2023!

Himalayan Trekking and Temples – Nepal

It’s harder to get a better program for students who love hiking and mountains. They take in stunning views amid the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal and absorb the culture along the way.

Hanoi to Ha Long – Vietnam

In this program, students visit the Hill Tribe communities and learn about the ancient ways of life in Vietnam.

Off the Map: Alaska

Students head into the remote regions of Alaska to hike, camp, climb glaciers and experience some of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Old Favorites Are Back

These programs have not run in a few years, but we are so glad they are returning!

Floating Village Service Expedition – Cambodia

This unique program gives students a chance to see a lifestyle that is very different from their own. They stay in the floating villages and do service projects on homes and schools that need to stay afloat.

Off the Map: Mongolia

This is one of Rustic’s most remote programs. Students learn how the nomadic herders of Mongolia live and go off the grid into a world with no Western amenities.

Anya Buyanerdene - Mongolia Country Manager

Great Ghana Adventure

Students travel throughout Ghana on this program, experiencing the many ethnic groups in the country, helping students at a local school for the deaf and the blind and learning about the history of the transatlantic slave trade.

Photo: Perrin Duncan

About the Author

Mary Rogelstad

Content Writer