We want you to meet Sasha. Sasha traveled to Cambodia and India with Rustic Pathways in 2010 and 2011, and has gone on to become an epic citizen of the world. Sasha was originally inspired by her Rustic experience in Cambodia, and now we are inspired by her.
In March, Sasha invited us to her presentation at the United Nations. Impressive. Over the years of her not-so-conventional college experience at Long Island University Global, Sasha has developed a culmination of her research and studies on landmines. She rounded out her undergraduate studies with an internship at NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, which works alongside the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs.
So how does a student from New York come to present at the UN on landmine disarmament in Cambodia?
When Sasha traveled to Cambodia on our Floating Villages in 2010, her group visited the Cambodia Landmine Museum in Siem Reap. She described her experience there as a ‘wow’ moment — a feeling that continues to resonate with her. While she could not identify the feeling at the time, she knew it meant something. She returned to high school feeling inspired and driven to begin researching landmines so she could spread knowledge around her school about this global issue.
The following summer, Sasha traveled to India with Rustic. Returning to school the following August, she was “frustrated returning to the traditional school setting after discussing global issues and cross cultural communication” in India that fully stimulated and excited her.
“Traveling to India inspired me academically. It was a wake up call where I realized my ability to learn had more potential and efficiency while traveling and truly experiencing the world and exciting my senses,” says Sasha.
This feeling led her to LIU Global. Through this academic experience, she gained a degree in Global Studies, spending 3.5 years abroad and the last semester hammering down her studies into a final research project in New York City. In the years abroad, Sasha has seen landmines on the Thai-Myanmar border and the Syria-Turkey border. Sasha dug in and focused on how landmines indirectly affect economic development, environmental sustainability, healthcare, and education and ultimately realized how the presence of landmines perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
What’s next for Sasha? While her work with landmines is far from over, she wants to explore the role people play when traveling in a positively impactful way.
Rachel joined Rustic in 2013 and led programs for three summers in Costa Rica, Peru, and Ghana. She’s also led programs in Fiji and Tanzania. A graduate of the University of Vermont with degrees in sociology and Spanish, Rachel focuses her love for travel, writing, and her unquenchable curiosity of our natural world as Rustic’s Brand Engagement Manager. Based in Tahoe, CA, Rachel is a talented ceramicist and lover of the outdoors.