Youth International Asia Program: India, Nepal, and Thailand

By Youth International   Reviews (9)   94% Rating

Join Youth International for a volunteer travel adventure in Asia! This trip lets you experience three countries (Nepal, India, and Thailand) over 13 weeks. While traveling with a group of up to 14 people (ages 18-25) and two team leaders, participants can experience diverse aspects of life in Asia.

Youth International offers you the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone by combining volunteering with adventure and cultural immersion. By visiting developing and rural areas while living with local families, you will have a unique chance to discover a new world as well as learn about yourself. About a third of your time abroad will involve volunteer work. Projects vary but may include construction and renovation, teaching, conservation, and working with children.

View Program Information
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Thailand
Volunteer Types: 
Program Length: 
1-3 months
3-6 months
$5,000 - $10,000 (USD)
See site for details.
Age Group: 
Cost Description: 

Cost is US$9950 per semester. Includes all meals, lodging, overland travel, scheduled program activities including sightseeing and outdoor adventure, team leaders and in-country staff, orientation session in the USA, and educational materials. In addition to the program fee, participants must pay for their flights (on average approximately $1800), personal expenses, and individual free time activities. Personal expenses include health insurance, entry visas, and transportation to orientation in Colorado at the beginning of the program.

Guest House
Some travel is required during the program.
Online Application
Letters of Recommendation
Phone / Skype Interview
Age Requirement
Health Requirement
Visa Requirement

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Program Reviews (9)

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  • Evan
    Age: 25-30
    University of Newcastle
    The Greatest Educational Experience Ever

    I am now CEO and Co-Founder of an tourism company. But 10 years ago when I went on Youth International to Asia, I was a very different person. Youth International changed my life for the better, even though I thought I was already on the right path. It opened my eyes, mind, and soul to experiences and a way of life I had never walked in, and I am forever grateful for the positive impact this has had on me since. The program is extremely professionally executed, and while I have traveled to over 60 countries in the past 20 years, Youth International has been by far the best-run program I have been involved in. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to have found, and gone on, the Asia trip with Youth International, and I enjoy sharing details of the experience, even to this day, 10 years later, about this trip of a lifetime, this learning experience I am forever grateful for.

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  • Frances
    Age: 31-50
    Old Crow, Yukon, Canada
    Queens University
    A program you can trust, with great 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: 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...

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  • Kate
    Age: 19-24
    Durango, Colorado
    Fort Lewis College
    My thoughts!

    This program launches you into new situations and cultures-- I got to understand and make bonds with locals. I now feel that I could go anywhere in the world (and have since travelled throughout many countries, including South America and Europe). My favorite part of the program was the silent meditation retreat in Dharamsala. This was over three years ago and I have yet to encounter a more expanding and enlightening experience, as cliche as that may sound.
    My leaders were incredible, I still have occasional contact with both of them.
    The greatest aspect of this program is that it is truly authentic. It is a small organization, and therefore each of us got the chance to meet the head honcho, Brad Gillings. He is a great guy and an incredible facilitator. He has travelled to each of the locations and has set up healthy and constructive relationships with small communities in each of the countries. I appreciate this more and more as I learn more about the way that other programs are set up.

    How could this program be improved?

    I'm really not sure what to say here. I had SUCH an incredible experience and continue to draw from things I learned on this journey. I wish I could have been longer, I suppose, and that we had spent more time doing outdoor activities.

    Indian sun
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  • Giovanni
    Age: 19-24
    Philadelphia, PA
    University of Pennsylvania
    Great Gap year experience - YI Asia Fall 2012

    I personally wanted to experience life outside of North America and Europe--see things I'd never seen and do things I'd never done. Most importantly, I wanted to challenge myself and the way I thought about the world. I had the most incredible experience of my life with YI. I'm not going to lie here: there are some really hard times--struggles adjusting. struggles with culture shock, struggles with the physical aspects (the treks, the hiking)--, but it is, without a doubt, all worth it. I learned so much about myself through the hardest times. Also, some of the best food in the world, easily.
    YI also is so fairly priced! When I went in fall 2012, the cost of the program included the cost of flights, which was just unheard of, but we realized that there wasn't enough money set aside for all meals all the time--and we had a big screw up with a delayed flight that ended up costing YI a lot of money--, so they stopped covering flights and lowered the price a bit, adjusting for an increased food budget (which they handed out to us on the days when we didn't have group activities). Even considering that, the program is still very well priced. Many programs cost upwards of 12 or 13 thousand without flights and certainly without all of the incredible activities and experiences of YI.

    see my team's blog from that fall (pictures are on the blog)

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  • John
    Age: 19-24
    Boston, MA
    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.

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  • Harper
    Age: 19-24
    Nashville, Tn
    Bethune-Cookman University
    YI was Amazing and Absolutely LifeChanging

    I went on the Asia Trip in the fall of 2009 just after I graduated from high school. I knew I wasn't quite ready for college but I wanted to do something exciting and worth while. YI was exactly what I wanted. Just hours after getting off the plane in Bangkok we were walking around Thai open-air markets and century old palaces. Our first home stay was the perfect introduction to set the feel of the trip. We stayed and learned a lot about the indigenous people of the South Asian areas, which I'm now able to connect to nearly all of my college classroom topics. The time we spent with the Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala has stayed close to my heart ever since we left. The entire trip was life changing and definitely shaped my future. I'm currently an International Studies Major with an Asian Studies focus and I'm leaving in about a month to study abroad for an entire year at the University of Hyderabad in India! Had it not been for YI I never would've had the courage and confidence to do this. I am so grateful for my experience and I wouldn't change it for anything. I wish Brad would spend more money on advertising so everyone would know what a fabulous program he's made, but he truly gives everything he has into the experience.

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  • PeruOutlaw
    Age: 25-30
    Chicago, Il
    One of the Most Formative Experiences of My Life

    I did this trip in 2004 when I was 19. I had never left the country before, didn't speak any foreign languages, and was a year into a philosophy degree. My life has never been the same.

    Within a week of getting on the plane in LA, I was living alongside Akha hill-tribesman in northern Thailand, eating dinner with the family, learning local words from the children, and participating in a village-wide plumbing project. Over the next three months, I lived with four host families; experienced how remarkably similar people are, regardless of context; and learned enough about development projects to know how much more I needed to know. Most of all, I found a calling.

    Today I speak three languages, have traveled to ten countries, lived through a government revolution while in the Peace Corps, and work evaluating human experiences.

    This is the path Youth International started me on. Where will it lead you?

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  • sseif
    Age: 25-30
    Philadelphia PA
    Life changing experience

    I went on a Youth International program during a year off before college in 2005 and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has a great balance of volunteer work, homestays, tourism, and treking. I recommend the program to anyone I know who is interested in international volunteering on a year or semester off.

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  • Kate
    Age: 25-30
    Changed My Life!

    It would be no stretch to say that YI change my life and had a profound effect on my career and life choices - I finished my Masters in International Health a year ago and am working for a global humanitarian organization in New York right now. I've traveled to almost 30 countries and it was YI that originally set me on this wonderful path!

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About the provider

Youth International has been offering unique volunteer and educational programs abroad since 1997. Youth International offers each program for 3 months two times per year, once in the fall and once in the spring. The South America program allows volunteers to explore Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador; and the Asia program takes participants to Nepal, India, and Thailand. (The program to Africa is currently suspended due to safety concerns.)

Youth International programs allow volunteers to learn about themselves and a new culture while having the adventure of a lifetime! Programs focus on first-hand educational experiences, cultural immersion, and volunteer service work. Youth International participants are able to become globally-conscious citizens with a new perspective on life. Take this unique opportunity to experience a new region of the world and push yourself to new limits!