Rustic Pathways

Rustic Pathways

About

Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways to one of many exotic locations.

We take students on unique, rewarding, and safe programs to some of the world's friendliest and fascinating countries. Immerse yourself in a new culture, work on purposeful community service projects, and expand your worldview with Rustic Pathways.

Whether you are looking for summer volunteer and travel programs, or gap year programs, Rustic Pathways is a great place to start!

Founded
1983
Headquarters

15345 Chardon-Windsor Rd
Huntsburg, OH 44046
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
ainsley
10/10

I have been on a program similar to the programs that rustic pathways offer prior to my trip to Thailand. I went to Costa Rica, which was basically all fun with very little service. I was not sure if I would enjoy going on such a service-centric trip like the rice fields program. Little did I know that this trip would be the most life-changing experience of my life. I grew to know people on this trip that I will never forget. I have closer bonds with people on this trip than I have ever had with my best friends at school. I must admit, I was very nervous to travel across the world knowing no one. Even on the plane rides there, I thought that I would never make friends with these strangers. My advice to anyone that is considering going on one of these programs, is to not go with anyone, no matter how scary it seems. The friendships that you will form will WAY outlast your rustic trip!! With these friends, I participated in 9 equally impacting service projects. Each project had such a good purpose and I truly felt like I was helping the community with these projects. My favorite service project by far was "Hands in the Dirt", where we started building an organic farm for a local school. Many Thai farmers get severely sick because of the pesticides they spray on the food because they do not wash their food well after it is grown. Organic gardens eliminate the need for pesticides. The garden we are building at the school will also be a source of income for the students of the school. This is the third organic farm that rustic pathways has built in the small community of Udon Thani. Another service project that really impacted me was the hospital meals project. For this project, we cooked food and brought it to a local hospital. In Thai culture, when a member of your family is sick, you drop everything that is going on in your life to go stay with them in your hospital. This includes your job, which means the family is not receiving money while the person is in the hospital. This service project provides a source of food for the family members. The day I went there was at least 430 people in the line, and all of them were so grateful to us. That was one of the most empowering things about Thailand: everyone was just so grateful. Even though some of these people have no running water, not enough clothes, and not enough food for their family, they were still so grateful for everything. This trip to Thailand is by far the best experience of my life, and I will be taking another Rustic Trip next year!!! My favorite memory is when 4 other people and I went on a side trip to Chang Khan. I became such close friends with these 4 people in this short time period and I know that our friendships would not be the same without this trip! I recommend this trip to anyone who wants a unique experience!

How can this program be improved?
I would like more group bonding experiences. Like someone else has said in these reviews, I think that our group could have gotten a lot closer if there had been more group activities.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Margaret
10/10

I traveled to Costa Rica with the turtle expedition & really enjoyed it. Working with the baby turtles was a once in a lifetime experience & the leaders were very cool. The activities planned were thought out & fun; I specifically enjoyed surfing & zip-lining. The physical location was unique as it was remote & located directly on the beach. The community service was also fun & different than expected. I loved taking night walks & learning about preserving the turtles. They took into consideration little things, like getting ice cream after trips & getting cake for kids birthdays. Overall, the program was very fun & I hope to travel with Rustic Pathways again.

How can this program be improved?
Better accommodations
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Eleanor
8/10

The Big Fiji Explorer trip was a lot of fun. It is great for someone who is interested in culture and exploring the island of Fiji. We had lots of activities packed into each day which I really enjoyed. I was never bored. I learned so much from the people of Fiji. They were all so excited to see us whether we were walking through their village or just driving by them, they always greeted us with a loud Bula!! We spent a good amount of time in villages and drinking Kava which is a celebratory drink of Fiji.
However, I will say the itinerary for the trip was completely off. The trip is rustic and the itinerary really tries to jazz it up to make it seem like more of a vacation. We did lots of hiking, swimming/snorkeling, and some zip lining and high ropes courses. Warning in advance: there are no hot showers. I didn't really have a problem with that because it is warm in Fiji and most of the time a cold shower felt refreshing. My biggest disappointment however was on the last day we could not go skydiving because it was too windy outside. I really think the program leaders of this trip should move the optional skydiving activity to another day in the trip that way if weather cancels it can be rescheduled. Everyone in my group was very disappointed that we couldn't skydive and it made everyone leave in a bad mood.
Overall I am still glad I went on the trip. I have always dreamed off traveling to Fiji and I think a rustic program or another student program is the best way to do it because you get the most out of your trip. I really did travel all over the island, spend time in local villages, and I think I did every activity available (besides skydive). I don't think this could have been possible on just a family vacation.

How can this program be improved?
The program could really be improved if the itinerary was updated and skydiving was moved to sometime in the middle of the trip.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Gabriel
10/10

I feel that people seem to like the phrase “life-changing” a lot, and use it to describe just about any experience that they really enjoyed. Sure, I have had many amazing experiences that I will never forget, but none that I would label truly “life-changing”. This mindset of mine completely changed with my first Rustic trip in the beautiful country of Thailand. First off, the people you get to meet are amazing. Whether it be your fellow students, the staff, or the locals, everybody is so open and friendly. I think it’s safe to say that nobody really felt alone on the trip and that everybody was able to form some great relationships. Also, this trip really allows for so many fun activities, all while immersing us in the local culture. One awesome thing that we did was try a bunch of unique local Thai cuisine, and it was really great to be able to try new and different things together with an equally inexperienced bunch of people. We even got to eat crickets, which were surprisingly tasty! Lastly, the service on this trip was great and so meaningful. I’ve volunteered at my local library shelving books before, but that can’t compare at all with what we got to do on this trip (of course, working at the library was/is still a good thing). We got to do inspiring things such as building a house for a struggling mother with epilepsy, teaching Thai schoolchildren English and how to swim, preparing meals for hospital patients, and starting an organic farm at a local school. It was motivating to know the backgrounds of all the service projects and it provided us with some insight on what the situation is like over there, regarding various aspects of life. One of the best things about the service for me was that I got to do a lot of physical exercise and help out the community at the same time. Back to the “life-changing” aspect of this whole experience: After I’ve returned home, I’ve been exercising a lot more, and I actually owe that to all the outside work we did on this trip. Also, I feel like a more open person, more open to new things and to meeting new people. I am honestly looking forward to starting school again and trying to make some new friends. All in all, my first Rustic trip was such an awesome experience, and today I will be signing up for another one for next summer!!! Thank you so much Rustic Pathways!

How can this program be improved?
It would have been nice to have had some more group activities, especially during free time. As individuals, we made a lot of personal friendships, but I felt that our whole group could have been more connected if we had done some more stuff with all of us together.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Gavin
10/10

This was honestly a life changing experience. My group was great, and was not too big. My host mom was an angel on earth, and I will stay in touch with the people I met through my family and group forever. I now have a second family in Costa Rica, and a home to return to whenever I want. My Spanish has also improved a lot. Now, i can communicate with many more people, and language barriers are not as big of a problem anymore. One of the coolest things that happened on a trip was when I was talking to one of the locals, who was learning English. She would talk in English, and I would speak in Spanish, so we could both improve.

How can this program be improved?
This could be improved with different activities after class. Some of them were kind of boring, but overall, the trip was great.
Yes, I recommend

Programs

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