Below is our recent interview with Kayla Anzalone, Director, Special Projects at Rustic Pathways:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?
A: Founded in the Outback of Australia in 1983, Rustic Pathways is one of the world’s leading student travel brands, with a renowned reputation for creativity, innovation and adventure. Through purposeful design, Rustic Pathways creates culturally-immersive programs for students ages 12 to 22. Rustic Pathways’s programs develop globally-minded, self-aware students to identify their interests and passions, gain confidence, grow as individuals, and create positive impact at a local and global level.
Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?
A: Since 2017, Rustic Pathways and The Rustic Pathways Foundation have committed over $1MM in scholarships and financial aid to students and impact causes.
Our ‘Travel For All’ initiative protects and furthers our mission to empower students through innovative and responsible travel experiences, while also investing in student growth to create more opportunities to travel. In partnership with StudentUniverse, we now award flights in addition to full-tuition travel scholarships and financial aid.
The fourteen 2023 scholarship recipients come from diverse backgrounds and are pursuing exciting paths in their high schools, community colleges, or undergraduate colleges.
Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?
A: The next round of applications for Travel for All will open in September 2023.
We are currently enrolling teens and young adults in summer travel programs in thirteen different countries around the world. There’s still time to sign up to visit amazing destinations like Thailand, Costa Rica, Fiji, France, Morocco or Australia!
Rustic Pathways programs are thoughtfully-designed to encourage students to think critically while challenging them to grow personally. We work hand-in-hand with local partners in each country to develop long-term plans that address high-priority community needs. In these programs, students engage in meaningful community service projects, showing that small efforts add up to create large collective impact.
Q: What can we expect from your company in the next 6 months? What are your plans?
A: Thousands of students will be traveling on student travel programs during the months of May-August! On the programs students are encouraged to apply lessons learned through travel and return home inspired and ready to lead positive change.
With Travel for All in motion, we are adding economic, racial, and geographic diversity to the body of world travelers this summer and in the years to come.
Students participating in the online Climate Leaders Fellowship will be wrapping up their impact projects in May. This is a three-month leadership development program for high school students. They design and implement their own volunteer projects in their local communities, aimed at reducing the impact and harms of climate change. The fellowship is provided by a collaboration between the Stanford University Deliberative Democracy Lab, the Rustic Pathways Foundation and Rustic Pathways, and the next application period opens in August.
Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?
A: Rustic Pathways has been the leader in global teen adventure travel and community service programs since 1983. That means we have been running travel programs for 40 years!
For 40 years, we’ve refined our protocols to ensure the safety of teens as they travel, and we are also always thinking about new places to travel. This year we’ve added Italy, France, South Korea and last year Ecuador became a Rustic destination!
Additionally, we created the Rustic Pathways Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, in 2006 to enhance and sustain the positive impact of Rustic Pathways.