Youth International is celebrating 20 years as a leader in experiential education. YI's unique combination of cultural exchange, outdoor adventure, volunteer community service...
Youth International - Asia 2015
Submitted by Katherine | December 30, 2015
YI bills itself honestly and delivers 100%. A fabulous, challenging (physically and psychologically -- and all of it furthers one's growth as a human being), extremely well-thought-out program. Sometimes very busy, it nevertheless affords a priceless glimpse of more of the world than most young people have ever thought to imagine, much less experience. Brad (the director) and his employees are skilled, well-traveled, and very wise regarding the places we visited and in preparing the participants for those places.
There is no better way, in my sometimes-humble opinion, to learn how to navigate the streets of Delhi, to appreciate the beauty of the Annapurna mountains during a much-needed afternoon cookie break, or to gain the self-discipline and perseverance it takes to climb thousands of steps -- be they part of a backpacking trek or the path to a temple at the top of a small mountain.
I could write for three months about this trip and the impact it has had on me.
The only thing now, really, is to do it yourself.
Program: Youth International - Asia
Would do it again in a heartbeat
Submitted by Geoff Merz - PSU | January 15, 2015
Wow. What a trip.
If you want to challenge yourself and see the rewards of putting in work then I would STRONGLY recommend this program.
1. Four separate week long home-stays with families that speak no english. Talk about cultural immersion. I still talk to some of the siblings from the home-stays over facebook...they really like the idea of facebook.
2. I had the chance to try some of the craziest foods out there. Guinea pig, piranha, grubs (surprisingly tasty!), and so much more.
3. I connected and became great friends with 9 other people from all over the US, Cananda, and Great Britain (shout-out to Craig).
4. I love a good hike. We had a good hike. Did I mention the peak was 16,000 feet?
5. We lived in the Amazon rain forests for about 3 weeks. The first week was in Bolivia where we lived in small cabins right beside the river. Alligators everywhere. Capybara everywhere (if you don't know what a capybara is look it up right now...might be the coolest animal of all time). The last two weeks were in Ecuador where living was at its simplest. All I can say is that you better be good with a net while fishing if you want to eat! Just kidding, but all of the food is either caught in the river or grown right there.
6. Galapagos. Doesn't even need explaining.
The Best Learning Experience of My Life
Submitted by Evan Saunders - Boston | November 17, 2014
I am CEO and Co-Founder of a travel marketing company. 10 years ago I went on Youth International's Asia program, and was educated in a way of life I never expected. This program is truly world class for what it offers, and I can say this proudly after visiting over 60 countries in the past 20 years. I was exposed to life, culture, and identity, in ways I have never been previously or since, and grew tremendously as an individual as well as a person operating in a group. Youth International is the best way to experience the world, and it is a trip I recommend over and over again.
Program: Youth International - Asia
A program you can trust, with great community contacts and years of success
Submitted by Frances - Old Crow, Yukon | November 08, 2014
YI was instrumental in shaping my priorities and worldview by giving me the opportunity to challenge myself and my ideas about the world and my place in it.
A few key features drew me to this program over other programs:
- homestays: I lived with a teacher for part of this program and assisted in her classroom
- educational opportunities: I took Indian cooking and music classes
- physical component: I took yoga classes and we did a several day meditation retreat (no talking!)
- community service component: I liked that this program doesn't advertise that you'll 'change the world' because Brad and the program staff know that what you learn is so much more than the otherwise feeble work we can offer (besides lots of awesome cross-cultural understanding and some lifelong friends... made all the easier now in a tech world!)
- small group that is responsible for itself: this program is great if you can't find buddies to travel with, but don't yet want to travel on your own
- program coordinator Brad has longstanding relationships with country organizers and logistics folks which allows for greater impact and learning
- that we traveled to many places, but spend a few days to a week (or more) in each place (at this point in my life I didn't want to stay in one place for a long time but sample lots of new things)
- ecotourism: few days hiking the rice terraces in the Philippines and few days hiking the Himalayas in northern India (didn't go to Nepal my year due to instability there)
- some time off: halfway through we took a week 'holiday' in Thailand and went scuba diving and relaxed... it was a welcomed break before India
The couple that led our semester were wonderful leaders who had worked for the Peace Corps and other organizations, as well as traveled extensively on their own. We had much independence on the program, this being a program for youth who want something more than traveling on their own, but don't expect people to do all the travel work for them (eg. we'd know where we need to get our train tickets, but we'd have to get there and get the tickets as a group... so awesome to have this support and team atmosphere when traveling in Asia for the first time).
One strength of this program is that they're small, but have also been around for awhile. I went on the 2002 program (I think it was that year... it was definitely awhile ago)! In the decade-plus since I've completed my undergraduate degree, thesis-based masters program, teachers college and worked for several years around the world, but with focused work in remote fly-in communities in the Arctic.
This program is a great stepping stone to independence, exploration, and adventure...
Program: Youth International - Asia
Submitted by Dash MacLean - Santiago | November 05, 2014
I participated in Youth International's South America Volunteer trip directly after I graduated from high school. My fellow participants were mostly around my age, 18-24, and were from parts of the USA, Canada, and Europe. It is because of Youth International that I fell in love with the world, learned to work with every type of person, and developed a compassion for disadvantaged communities. Although I have studied, worked, and volunteered with many other programs, Youth International was the most profound. I am still best friends with some of the participants and I have visited them and other travelers I met during the program all over the world. I will always recommend people to participate with Youth International. If you have never stepped foot out of your country or are an experienced traveller, it makes no difference. You will love your months with Youth Internationals and leave wishing you could stay.
Program: Youth International - South America