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Alumni Spotlight | Kaleigh, Tristan, and Allie
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Alumni Spotlight | Kaleigh, Tristan, and Allie

Now that summer has started and our programs are under way, Rustic alum’s Kaleigh, Tristan, and Allie share how their Rustic programs impacted them. Their reflections showcase how traveling helped them step out of their comfort zones, start a journey with an open mind, and welcome the unfamiliar. They also have some good advice for students who are waiting to depart for their Rustic adventure this summer.

“Rustic Pathways taught me that it is fun to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. I am typically a shy person who does not like change and without the trips I took with, I would have never realized the fun of embracing a new culture and trying things I had never done before. Rustic Pathways helped me discover my love of traveling and learning and discovering new cultures, and has inspired my goal of traveling to all of the continents.”

What would you tell someone going on a Rustic Pathways program for the first time?
“Be adventurous, try new things, embrace the new culture, and most importantly have fun. Each program is special and unique and amazing, so make the most of it. Believe me I have tried them all (Kaleigh did 5 Rustic programs!); service, adventure, and cultural immersion.”

What would you tell someone who is considering traveling alone on a Rustic Pathways program?
“If you’re traveling alone with Rustic, throw away all of your expectations, all of your worries, all of your nationalism, and all of your previous knowledge about foreign countries. Start fresh with a wide open mind and take everything you experience for what it’s worth, even though it truly has no price.”

How did Rustic Pathways change your trajectory?
“Rustic Pathways changed my trajectory in school specifically. I am a political science major at Rollins College here in central Florida but now plan to take an international relations minor to be better prepared to handle global situations. Rustic showed me that there’s more to my life than my country, and much more to my life than the usual day-to-day occurrences.”

“Something surprising that I learned about myself after my trip with rustic was how much I loved learning about different cultures. I definitely want to continue learning about unfamiliar cultures during my future travels. If I were to talk to someone going on a trip with Rustic Pathways for the first time I would tell them to be open and try new things. Take advantage of every activity you can because it’s just another opportunity to learn more about yourself. Lastly, my experience with Rustic Pathways has influenced my goals because it made me realize how much I love being around and helping people. It has inspired me to do the best I can to make the world a better place.”

Are you a Rustic alum with advice for students going on their first Rustic adventure this summer? Comment below with your tips and advice!

About the Author

Lauren Anderson

Program Staffing and Training Director

Lauren joined Rustic Pathways in 2008 after graduating from Emory University. She spent her first six years in Costa Rica overseeing our operations and seasonal staff. Lauren then formed our Alumni Association where she developed programs for continuing student involvement. She now uses her extensive skill set to continue to improve the hiring and training of all program leaders across the globe. Lauren lives in Chicago, travels often, and enjoys maintaining her Spanish fluency.