Alumni Spotlight: William Wu


William is a freshman at Boston College. His hometown is Shanghai, China. He is passionate about traveling all over the world. As he finished his first year of high school in Maryland, he decided to explore Fiji.

Why did you choose this program?

Rustic Pathway is a really good travel agent for high school students to explore the world. I have heard many good things from my friends, and it was highly recommended by our school counselor. Once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to live in Fiji for two weeks and interact with the locals, why not?

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Rustic Pathway makes sure the students are all covered with an insurance plan as well as flight chaperons. They helped me out a lot with flight arrangements. Since I was international and had to fly back to China on my own, they gave me a lot of freedom to pick my arrival and departure flight.

The only thing students have to organize on their own is to pack their suitcases, and Rustic Pathway gives out a packing list for that as well.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Just to simply keep an open mind. While I was in Fiji, I was able to do and see things I had never done before my entire life. The trip opened me up to seek challenges and explore unknowns. Focus on the positive. Be always willing to engage and meet new people. Do something you have never done before or even just not particularly good at. Take every opportunity to enjoy Fiji because it will be over before you know it.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You usually receive specific information on the events tomorrow a day prior or two. The activities involve meeting local people, hanging out and teaching local children, and building shelters. The day is well-organized with free time to bond with your group. For me, it was really great to reflect on the things I had done every day and to think about the impact the trip had on me as well as the people I had helped in Fiji.

On the weekend, there are cool programs such as weekend getaway at a resort or skydiving.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

There are always so many unknowns going abroad. The friends you are going to make, the issues you might have with your luggage or your room, or the fear that you might not like the place and people you are going to visit, these are all the common fears people face while going abroad.

Honestly, at the end of the day, none of these really matters. It is your attitude and experience that matter.

You are going to find people you are in sync with and become friends. Whatever issues you might encounter with luggage or rooms will be solved. And if you decide to travel to a place, chances are, you love the culture there and are excited to meet the people there as well. The fears and obstacles can't stop you because you will get over them eventually, and you will laugh at them :)

You are traveling to see the bigger world, so enjoy it :)

What makes Fiji trip special?

I went to Fiji because I wanted service hours and also to see a part of the world I have never visited before.

In terms of the services, It is not one of those programs that let you do some superficial works and make you feel simply good about yourself. It is more than that in how it teaches the students to reflect on their personal values and do down-to-earth works they can be proud of. These two elements are the key to the experience I had. I am glad that I made the decision to go to Fiji.

In terms of exploring the country, I was able to see and do so many things for the first time. Finding and going through a hollow cave with friends during scuba diving, cooking the local cuisine for the people at the shelter and eating with them, shopping at local towns as well as main cities, drinking kava, the list goes on and on. I would not say that I have absolutely seen everything after the trip because the culture there is very diverse, but the memories and experiences are something that I cherish and remember vividly to this day.