Congratulations to our graduating seniors! As you finish finals and your high school careers come to a close, we hope you take a moment to congratulate yourselves on four years of hard work. With college on the horizon for many of you, we checked in with three of our graduated alums to find out how their Rustic experiences influenced their post-high school plans. Here is what Basil, Rachel, and Sloane had to say:
“I am Basil Khalil, an Egyptian living in the Gulf States. This summer, I was part of the Mountain Air and Village Service program located in the Dominican Republic. It was truly a profound experience that totally changed my life perspective. I learned a lot about the Dominican culture and myself especially. I was impressed with our program leaders’ ability to inspire us and create a very intimate connection with us in such a short period. This was definitely a life changing experience that I am very thankful for.
I lived in Kuwait for most of my life where experiences such as that provided by Rustic Pathways are highly uncommon. Currently, I am residing in both the UAE and Kuwait as I am attending university at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE…I really want to encourage students who come from the same background as me to pursue such an amazing opportunity that will hopefully impact their lives the same way it did to mine.”
“I traveled with Rustic in 2010-2012 and my experiences abroad shaped the person I have become today in more ways than one. A significant impact Rustic had on me was finding my passions and leading me towards an area of study. I am now a student at Miami University creating my own major through an interdisciplinary studies program. My focus is in working with underprivileged children in a global context. Experiential learning has been and continues to play a critical role in my education. I seek as many opportunities as possible to travel abroad and help children in need. This spring I will spend 20 weeks in Cape Town, South Africa and create my own community service project.”
“I am a Learning and Organizational Change major at Northwestern. This means I am studying how organizations and the people within them use the tools, resources, and knowledge provided to them in order to create and respond to new and changing environments. You can take this major in many different directions, but I hope to utilize it in order to bridge the gap between corporations and the community as a Corporate-Community Relations Director. In this position, I would be the one the help a major corporation to give back by creating volunteer programs, creating philanthropic grants, and much more. This relates to my Rustic Pathways experience because it is through this program that I realized my true passion for community service, giving back, and cultural immersion.
To those doing a Rustic program for the first time I would say that I am very jealous! Having the opportunity to visit a foreign place with a group of new friends and experts on the area and culture is truly something that should be treasured. Open your mind to the world and get ready to have the experience of a lifetime!”
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.