Hundreds of students have happily returned from Rustic Pathways programs in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Peru, Morocco and the United States. Hundreds more will travel through the end of the summer.
After a year of international hardship, programs are feeling extra special for both students and program leaders alike. Chaima Ait El Mekki, Rustic Pathways’ Morocco Country Director, called a program in Morocco one of the best trips she has ever attended.
Ait El Mekki, who has led the Rustic Pathways programs for 8 years, said: “The students were thirsty for travel and so grateful for the experience.”
After a night camping in the Sahara desert under the stars, a Morocco group woke up early to watch the sunrise. Rustic student Annalise Bell describes an unforgettable moment:
“I have never seen a sunrise so beautiful or felt so serene. In the silence with the wind blowing the sand gently against my skin, I was able to reflect on a couple aspects of my life. I remember thinking how grateful I am to have this experience and how I would cherish this trip forever.”
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While travel is back, a new way of connecting with others around the world is here to stay. Monday, July 12, officially kicked off the first session of the online Global Youth Climate Summit which is part of Rustic Pathways’ Leadership Lab series.
The online program is a collaboration between Stanford University’s Center for Deliberative Democracy and Rustic Pathways Foundation. The Global Youth Climate Summit challenges students to design innovative solutions to environmental issues.
With students from 25 countries and all over the US, participants are exposed to different ideas from their global peers, and they are also working in a collaborative way to understand other perspectives.
Participant Anica David from Japan commented:
“I’ve gained crucial insight in recognising that even though we all live in different places, there are recurring issues that the youth of today face and are willing to address.”
Many students participating in the summit are looking to the future – not only for their own communities and our shared world, but also for their personal goals. The summit is giving teens the opportunity to consider if they want to pursue a career in environmental science or international relations. Opportunities for personal growth are abundant, no matter what career direction they pursue.
As the first event in Rustic Pathways’ Leadership Lab series, online programming allows students to foster global connections year-round and not just on school vacations. The next workshop will help students find and tell their best stories. Whether for college admission essays, spoken presentations, or interviews, students will learn how to recognise moments in their own lives to craft meaningful stories from their own lives.
Returning to travel and developing new online experiences has made 2021 an exciting step in Rustic Pathways’ journey to empower students through immersive cultural experiences.
To learn more about transformative experiences like these, visit Rustic Pathways’ website.