Multiple Locations +3
  • India
    • Agra
    • Jaipur
    • Delhi
    • Himalaya
    • Dharamsala
  • Nepal
    • Kathmandu
    • Pokhara
  • Thailand
    • Bangkok
4 - 26 weeks

Program Details

Backpacking City Exploring Trekking
Fall Spring
Guesthouse Host Family Hostel Sleeper Train Tent
Primary Language
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
Cost is US$10,950 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 $1900), 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.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Domestic Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Feb 07, 2023
May 01, 2021
38 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Get outside of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in the cultures of Nepal, India, and Thailand. Join a small team of backpackers and travel with two experienced leaders for a 13 week experiential learning semester in Asia.

Youth International programs focus on cross-cultural exchange, and involve a combination of international travel, community service, home stays, and outdoor expeditions. About a third of your time will involve volunteer work, including these service projects planned for the upcoming year: renovating a school in a Nepalese village, and teaching English to children in a village in India.

YI participants are presented with a unique opportunity for personal growth. You will encounter a wide range of new and challenging cultural situations, forcing you to re-evaluate what is right, wrong, or normal, and who you are in relation to these norms.

Dates for the next available program are: September 14 to December 2021. Apply today!

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Youth International.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Challenge yourself with a 9-day trek in the Himalayas in Nepal.
  • Volunteer on sustainable, community-led service projects.
  • Visit Bangkok, Delhi, and cultural wonders including the Taj Mahal.
  • Explore Asian religions and philosophies, including a mediation retreat led by Tibetan Buddhist monks.
  • Learn about new cultures, foods, and languages by living in home stays.

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Program Reviews

4.95 Rating
based on 22 reviews
  • 5 rating 95.45%
  • 4 rating 4.55%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.7
  • Support 4.9
  • Fun 4.8
  • Value 4.6
  • Safety 4.95
  • Housing 4.75
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Value 5
  • Safety 5
Showing 17 - 22 of 22 reviews
Yes, I recommend this program

Taught me how to travel

Youth international was the absolute best way for me to start my Gap Year between high school and college. Before I left America I had very little confidence in myself, I had terrible social anxiety, I was afraid of confrontation, and I could never envision myself ever traveling alone. Youth International changed all of that! I went on to travel solo for another 5 months after the end of the program. Youth international was one of the most influential experiences in my entire life. I’ve come away with new knowledge of the social, economic and political situations of the cultures I experienced and I have believe I have matured as a person in the process. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a chance to grow up and learn about the real world at the same time.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment was definitely meeting my first host family in Kapan, Nepal. I’d never done a homestay or stayed at a strangers house, I had no idea how to exist in the situation I was in. I didn’t want to get out of the bus, I didn’t want to meet anyone, I would have rather crawled into a hole buried myself. But by the end of the week, that family ended up being one of my favorite families I met and I still keep in touch with them to this day. Since then, I’ve lived with over 20 different families and strangers over my travels, and I’ve come away with 20 new groups of friends. This homestay started it all.
505 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best three months

I cannot recommend this program enough! My experience with Youth International was stellar. I had a truly life-changing, eye-opening trip, and I met some of my best friends along the way. I felt comfortable and well-informed from the very beginning, thanks to the phone calls and email correspondence I had with Youth International before the trip. The trip itself is incredible. You can tell that Brad and his team really know what they’re doing because the itinerary is meticulously planned out and every day is an adventure. I was constantly being pushed out of my comfort zone, but I always felt safe. Experiential learning is the way to go. You’ll do things you’ve dreamed of—trekking in the Himalayas, seeing the Taj Mahal, a desert camel safari, and so much more. If you’re waiting for a sign to see if this program is the right one, here it is. You won’t regret it!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go into it with an open mind and no expectations, and get ready to learn a ton about yourself and the world around you.
503 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

It is what you make it but it's hard not to make it fun

My time with youth international felt personal. The org leader Brad is truly dedicated to the work of helping gap year students along during their journey before college. I felt seen and heard through the program which is a shout to the leaders Luke and Mara. But with most things in life it is what you make it. There were days that weren't great but that was because of the way I treated it. If you have a mindset for growth and learning thats exactly what will happen. YI gives you all the opportunities to succeed you must push yourself in order to make actual progress.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Have an open mind at ALL times and try to interact with as many people as possible. The more you get to know these people that have such different lives from you, the more you'll learn and take home with you.
484 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Youth International

How can I possibly describe in words the past three months? Transformative. Intense. Eye-opening, perspective-growing, life-changing, the best three months of my life? I guess that’s a start. The three-month program is hard to reflect on because there are so many layers to an experience like that and there are so many ways, both subtle and profound, in which I have changed and grown.

For starters, I met nine interesting, intelligent, and hilarious people. I have learned so much from them and I am so grateful to have met and befriended them. We all came from diverse and separate walks of life but will forever be connected by this crazy, life-changing, three-month adventure. Back in September, during orientation, I remember reflecting on how long it had been since I had met nine total strangers. I certainly had never met nine total strangers who I knew I would be stuck with 24/7 for the next three months. It is such a unique opportunity to be whoever and all that you want to be. It felt so good to just relax and be my truest self. I made nine best friends on this program who know me at my truest and best self. That is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

There are so many unforgettable moments and experiences I will bring with me. Something I did with my friend when I came home was to share a visual, emotional, and experiential highlight from each country of the trip. Here’s what I came up with:

Visual highlight: the 360-degree panoramic view of the glowing, snow-capped Himalayan Mountains at Annapurna Base Camp.

Emotional highlight: finishing digging a 6-4-5ft deep hole that would become a septic tank for a rural village in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountain.

Experience highlight: Hiking for ten days in the Himalayan Mountains.

Visual highlight: the brilliant sunsets in Dharamsala, India behind the mountains.

Emotional highlight: completing the ten-day Silent Buddhist Meditation Retreat at Tushita Meditation Centre in Dharamsala.

Experience highlight: staking out under a flimsy tarp all night long during a Camel Safari while it (torrentially) rained in Jaisalmer for the first time in seven years.

VIsual highlight: the rainbow sunrise over the coconut trees and ocean.

Emotional highlight: sharing an end-of-the-trip reflection activity with the group.

Experience highlight: snorkeling in the ocean off the shores of the Southern Thai Islands.

Coming home from the trip, I have a very empowered sense of self. I feel so capable and independent. I am excited to continue and deepen my exploration of the world. This is a stark contrast to the excitement, yes, but also the anxiety and nervousness I felt anticipating the Asia program. On the one hand, this is thrilling because I know that adventure awaits me. However, it has been hard coming home too. I am no longer satisfied just being at home. I feel slightly restless and thirsty to keep experiencing new things.

My gap year has pulled me away from a lot of what I previously thought was important to me. I say this in the most positive light. I am beyond grateful for this as I feel a grander sense of clarity on my life path and my values than ever before. I sense in myself the power to craft the kind of life I have always hoped to live. It makes me truly happy. I am so grateful for my experience with Youth International. I have truly grown so far beyond what I thought was possible.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Well! Buffalo milk, chicken heart, squid, fish eyes, cod roe, LOTS of funky snacks!
485 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Experience

The three months I spent in Asia with my YI group were by far the most impactful three months of my life. I learned so much about the world and myself that it's hard to put into words. Not even a week after returning to Canada, I began planning my own independent trip and less than a mont later I was backpacking through Europe with two friends that I met on my YI adventure! So be warned, this experience may cause you to get bit by the travel bug but it will also teach you valuable life/travel skills and self-confidence to help you become an awesome, independent young adult. Plus, you will no doubt make incredible life-long friend/travel buddies!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
What you put into your experience is what you will get out of it, so be sure to keep an open mind and make every moment count!
479 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Truly an Amazing Experience

This is going to sound cliche, but going on this program has truly changed who I am as a person. The organizer, Brad, is someone who is very mindful of how service trips may be perceived by local people. This is an organization that is truly devoted for first-world students to work alongside locals, rather than encouraging us to be "first-world" saviors. The experiences we had in the home-stays really encouraged cultural immersion and the activities we did as groups were nothing but adventure and fun.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Performing campfire songs on my guitar to local kids
487 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers