Rustic Pathways | China

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Rustic’s programs in China expose students to the wonders of this fascinating country. We’ve built partnerships with schools, non-governmental organizations, and conservation groups since opening China operations in 2007. Students venture from the big cities to explore, learn, and conduct service. They interact with members of our partner communities and leave with a better understanding of and appreciation for China and its culture.

From giant pandas to giant cities, everything about China is grand. You’ll be surrounded by the lights and energy of Shanghai and Beijing one day and enveloped in the serene beauty of the rural countryside the next. Visits to iconic attractions and exploration of China’s historic culture will not disappoint.

Questions & Answers


based on 4 reviews
  • Impact 7.8
  • Support 7.3
  • Fun 6.5
  • Value 7.5
  • Safety 8
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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High School Language Immersion in Shanghai

Hello. I'm only reviewing Rustic Pathway's High School Language-Learning program in China because this is the only trip I have been on but I would assume that other programs have similar qualities. I want to start off by saying that this program was so amazing, I didn't have high expectations going into this trip and so the trip was so much more than anything I could have expected. This program is great for first-time travelers, it is very structured and the guides make sure that you have everything that you need. That said, you do need to know how to be flexible and independent.
Usually, each day went like this:
8:30-11:30: Chinese Class
11:30 - 12:15: Free Time
12:15 - 9:00: Scheduled and Guide-Lead Activity (including lunch & dinner)

And after the first couple of days, you need to be able to get yourself to and from the classes and and be able to handle yourselves in the morning and past 9:00pm.

Now for the actual review of the program.
There are three things I loved about this program:
- improving my Chinese
- supportive guides
- making friends
There is honestly very little that I would want to change about this particular program. The Chinese classes in the morning were very small, effective and fast-paced. People don't use Chinese outside of class as much as I would have liked, but you still need to talk to waiters, hotel staff, cashier ect in Chinese. Throughout this trip I got significantly better in actually speaking Chinese and communicating as opposed to just translating sentences on a piece of paper.

The guides were also amazing on my program, they truly seemed as if they cared about the kids on the program and really worked hard so that we could have a fun time. Also, since it is a rather small group there is a lot of individualized attention (kinda). For example, I got bitten by a bug that caused my feet to start blistering (I was the only one who this happened to, no need to worry about it) and they immediately helped me; allowing me to sit out of certain activities, giving us more free-time and they took me to the doctors while the other kids were in Chinese class. This type of support definitely made the trip more enjoyable and made me more relaxed because I felt that I was safe.

Now, I know that people won't believe me when I say this (I never believed other people when they do) but you really do make good friends on this trip. I am usually the loner in a group of people and that's what I expected when I went on this trip. But I ended up making two very close friends who I got along great with. A majority of the people on this trip were open-minded and friendly and wanted to make new friends as well. You get really close with the others on the trip and is a great way to make friends from all over the USA. Don't worry about if you aren't going with a friend, most people aren't either, as long as you are nice and willing to make friends, you are sure to find friends on this trip.

How can this program be improved?
Provide more information about the daily schedule of activities to the kids.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Overall a very fun and interesting experience

I went on the panda conservation trip and then the marvels of china trip. If you are thinking about doing either of these trips I would highly suggest not doing just one. For the panda trip, the focus is the conservation project and they will put you to work. You are allowed to take photos but keep in mind you are supposed to be there to help. One of the things about this trip that made it fun was that while at the panda center we worked but it wasn't hard labor and just being with your friends made the work fly by. You also don't spend the whole two weeks working which is nice. After spending 4 days at the panda center we travelled around chengdu. We saw a glacier, a tea garden, and more! The marvels trip is a little more demanding in the sense that we travelled almost everyday except when we stayed in Beijing. This trip is a little more touristy and you don't get to see much of the real country side of china. I chose this one because we got to see some of the most iconic places in the country. (For example the Great Wall and the forbidden city.) I decided to do both of these trips because the panda trip allowed me to get service hours and explore China's beautiful wilderness while the marvels trip was more about seeing China's biggest cities. I would suggest to do two trips (not nesseccarily both in china) because two weeks in a country really isn't enough time to fully appreciate all that it has to offer. Even in a country as big as china, I didn't get to see everything that I wanted to and hopefully I can go back. So while you are out exploring a little peice of the world, why not see as much of it as you can?

Yes, I recommend this program
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You'll love the pandas!

I went on the Giant Panda Conservation Project and absolutely loved it! I worked up close to pandas, feeding them and cleaning their cages, and also prepared the food. On the first day, we toured the conservation, and the following 4 days we woke up early to get to work! (We were given many breaks though). When we weren't at the center, we explored the city areas and shopped around, or hiked in the mountains. The food is great as well, and the people there were very nice to us.

How can this program be improved?
The only issue was the living conditions. The toilets didn't flush completely, and the tap water isn't drinkable. Considering the trip is only a week long, it isn't a challenge to get through these conditions at all.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Language Program is not worth it

The Chinese Language program is not worth the money. In the two weeks I spent there, I think we did three activities. We spent most of the time watching American movies in English or relaxing in our rooms. Some of the teachers are inexperienced college students

No, I don't recommend this program


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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...