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Youth International - Asia

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    6

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Youth International - Asia 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.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Best Learning Experience of My Life

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.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

inspired wanderlust

This program combined cultural immersion with adventurous activities and truly taught me how to travel. this trip was to kick start a lifetime of travels. since my trip in 2000 i have traveled to over 20 additional countries, studied abroad and worked abroad. the skills i learned on the YI trip, logistics, patience, cultural sensitivity and cultural interaction, were tantamount to my future successes. i cant thank the director brad enough.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    6

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Best Investment Ever!

I can't even begin to express how amazing this program is. It is a perfect combination of seeing a whole lot and also being embedded deep into the culture. Some of the fondest memories of my life are being in a remote village in India with no electricity and no one who spoke English. And yet, somehow, we were able to communicate through lingual and cultural boundaries and bond so much that we all cried when leaving a week later. This program also does an amazing job of stretching your money to see a whole lot. I highly recommend it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Absolutely Life Changing- YI was Perfect

I went on the Asia Trip the fall of 2009 after graduating high school. There were 7 of us on the trip with 2 leaders. Brad was helpful and ridiculous (in a good way) throughout the whole planning process. Our leaders were confident and knew what they were doing, even though it was their first time leading the Asia Trip.
From Bangkok to Dharamsala to Hanoi, everything was fabulous. Our first home stay was a perfect introduction and we moved around about every 3 to 4 days. I know that I got to know the Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese cultures in a completely different and intimate way than if I had just gone there myself. Our time spent in Dharamsala with the Tibetan refugees has continued to impact my everyday life.
I also grew very close to the other 6 people I traveled with. I am so glad that I signed on to Youth International and wouldn't trade my time with them for anything in the world! I wish Brad would spend more money on advertising so everyone would know what an amazing program it is, but he truly does put everything he has into the experience.

Volunteer Experience:
We didn't receive credit, but we did spend some valuable time in a "class room setting" in Jaipur, India

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

LIFE CHANGING!

It would be no stretch to say that YI change my life and had a profound effect on my career and life choices. I loved almost every minute of it - the ups and downs, the cultural immersion - it was only 4 months but I have enough memories to last me forever.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Community Impact

    N/A

  • Program Administration

    N/A

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

A great opportunity for experiential learning and travel

Youth International semesters focus on learning by doing. You will live with local families, help out in communities by doing volunteer work, and also have time for seeing major sites like the Taj Mahal and Bangkok. You travel using local transportation, with a backpack on your back, so it can be pretty rugged at times. You will be traveling in a small group of like-minded people your age (18 to 25), with 2 experienced leaders. Chances are, you will make lifelong friends, and you will never see the world the same way again!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

A program you can trust, with great community contacts and years of success

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...