Up with People World Tour
98% Rating
(56 Reviews)

Up with People World Tour

During the Up with People program, participants travel in international casts of about 100 people to cities on a multi-continent tour, experiencing the cultural sights, sounds, and tastes of each community. As students of the world, participants discover what makes each region unique, gaining a better understanding of its politics, history, culture, geography, environmental issues, religions and economics.

The Up with People program also provides the opportunity for participants to live with and learn from host families in the communities they visit, gaining a sense of what day today life is like in their corner of the world while sharing lifestyles and experiences.

Locations
North America » United States of America
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Study Abroad
Volunteer Abroad
Length
6-12 Months
Accommodation
Host Family
Primary Language
English
Age Max
17
Starting Price
$15,000.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Cost Includes: international travel, travel while in host country, housing, food, in-country orientation/training, in-country staff support, written materials pre-departure, written materials abroad

Program Fees Include: Housing, transportation, cultural excursions, volunteer projects, most meals, 24/7 staff support. All travel costs once the program begins is included in the fee, however travel from home city/country to begin the program and return home at the end of the semester from the final tour location is NOT included.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Housing
    93%
  • Support
    95%
  • Fun
    99%
  • Value
    97%
  • Safety
    97%

Program Reviews (56)

Default avatar
Nkululeko
Male
Johannesburg South Africa
University of Johannesburg

Great culture Exchange

9/10

My UWP Experience was really great i have discovered a lot of things from traveling i feel before traveling my knowledge of the world and cultures was very little. what i like the most was that we were hosted by local families which a lot to absorb the culture of different people depending where we were. coming from Johannesburg South Africa i was really happy to see the world through UWP and also to be part of the network since I am working in the tourism space.

How can this program be improved?

I think more financial support for students who come from disadvantage backgrounds.

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Luis
Male
36 years old
Mexico City
Other

The perfect combination. TRAVEL the world - HELP communities - PERFORM a Show

10/10

For me the combination of all aspects of this program was what got my attention and then I made the decision to DO IT!

It's simple and great!

TRAVEL - Every week we travelled to a different city in the world.
PERFORM - We were part of a professionally produced concert!*
HELP communities - We did volunteer work to help the communities we visited.

INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPANTS - It's young people (about 100) from around 20 different countries.
HOST FAMILIES - We stood with local host families. This way we got to know the culture better.

I have not seen any other program in the world that combines all this aspects. I am super passionate about this program, Up with People!

* The show is mainly 3 things - international songs and dances from around the world, pop medleys and original songs. It has a live band, video, costumes, great sound and lights.

I was the drummer of the show but you don't need to be a musician, singer or a dancer necessarily.

How can this program be improved?

PROMOTION!

Not a lot of people knows it.

This program it's not for everyone. You have to really want to make a positive change in the world.

If you like travelling, helping others, interested in other cultures and like to perform, this is for you.

Alex
Male
25 years old
Denver, Colorado

Change Your Life by Changing the World

10/10

Up with People changed my life. I was 17, a senior in high school in the US, and unsure of where the world would take me. In my search for a gap semester program that featured travel, music, and community service I discovered Up with People. I knew that college would always be an option for me, but an opportunity like UWP would not. I was able to travel around the world and impact communities along the way via traditional community service projects, youth interaction, and international music. I would recommend this program to anyone looking to make the world a little smaller through their unique lens. Since travelling in Up with People in 2010, I have gone on to receive my undergraduate degree, completed two Disney College Program internships in Orlando, Florida, and have made contacts (and friends) from around the world. Up with People has taught me so much about myself and about the world, but most of all UWP made me who I am. So take your chance and apply, you may work with children in a small town in Taiwan, perform in a senior citizen home in Sweden, or stay with an unforgettable host family in Mexico. I did each of these things, and grew incredibly from these opportunities.

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Brekken
Female
24 years old
Sheridan, Wyoming

Travel, Perform, Impact

10/10

As an 18-year-old girl from a small town in Wyoming, I knew that I wanted to see the world. I also knew that I wanted to perform. But it had to all mean something. To me, that didn't mean college right away. It meant taking the "road less traveled." Thankfully, I had a music teacher in town who traveled with Up with People, and her daughter was also an alumna. They both talked about the experience with such passion and positivity. The more research I did, the more convinced I was that this program had everything I was looking for. After making it through a simple yet meaningful interview process, I was accepted within a few weeks!

I traveled as a student with Up with People for a year. Because of this amazing opportunity, I was able to see places through the eyes of locals thanks to the host family component, sing for audiences that ranged from 100-3000, give back to communities through unique service, and create special bonds with people that can only be made through experience. The cast is made up of about 100 students from 15+ different countries, so even if Nepal isn't on the tour schedule, your roommate from Nepal might be able to make you a homemade dish for dinner.

There were some difficult times that were cultivated by fatigue, home sickness, and the grind of traveling to a new place each week. However, it was the prevailing through these times that made me a stronger and better human being. Accountability is a huge part of Up with People, and representing yourself as well as the name of the program is very important. This is a great life skill to acquire and improve on while traveling. It was the nights when we had to take down the stage until 12 at night and be at a drop off location at 7 that made us come together and be better for each other and for ourselves. This kind of growth can only happen with some heathy abrasion, and Up with People provides the ideal environment for that.

Even though I'm a performer and it was my main draw to the program, the education component is what made me buy in physically and mentally. Learning through experience is what pumps life through the program. Everything can be a learning opportunity, and for some, it can be as simple as learning to do laundry for the first time ever without Mom or Dad's help. While the program is based around bookless learning, there is a great study abroad opportunity with some transferable credits for parents who are on the fence about their kids not being in school. It's a win-win all around, education wise.

The performing is unique in regards to not everyone in the cast being required to have performing experience upon entrance to the program. At first, I was a little apprehensive about that. However, I learned that it doesn't take awesome vocal chords and exceptional dance moves for the joy of performing to be present or for a message to be delivered through song. It made every performance meaningful knowing that we were reaching people with our message of hope and positivity.

I'm writing this review in a host family's house currently, about four and a half years after my student experience. Tomorrow, I start my job as the Vocal Instructor on the road for Up with People. I'm honored and humble to be entering this position, and I know I wouldn't be up for the challenge if it weren't for my Up with People experience and the confidence I gained as a student. Tomorrow the job starts and I get to be a part of creating this experience for students who are about to become global citizens. I knew it would be difficult to keep this review succinct, but Up with People deserves the thorough explanation of how great it is.

How can this program be improved?

Expanding the map. More places for more people to be for people.

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Charlotte
Male
19 years old
Belgium

A lifechanging experience

10/10

I have lived the best 6 months of my life. I have met so many people that are now more than friends, they are part of my family.
In Up With People, you learn to get out of your comfort zone, you meet so many different people, you travel, you try new things, you grow, change, get more confident.
. You realize that being open-minded is very important nowadays, and you learn how to become like that.
Of course you will have hard times, missing your family, being constantly in your challenged ou panic zone, but the results are worth it.
To me, there are no right words that could describe this adventure because it is so amazing and you have to live it to understand it.
I am so glad that I got the opportunity to be part of CastB16 and I would recommand the program to every single person in this world who is willing to make a change, impact, grow, travel, experience,...
I had the best time of my life and I don't think any other program is as good as UWP.

Forever in my heart!

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Leland
Male
19 years old
Oxbow OR

Worth it!

10/10

When I first heard of Up With People, I was skeptical. I had never seen a show and I was a little unsure of the whole thing. Looking back now im so glad i choose to do it and so glad I get to travel another semester.

Up With People offeres you so many things. For me personally, I have never learned so much in only six months. Just off the top of my head i can say that I learned to be a better leader, boosted my self confedence, made over 100 life long friends, brodened my cultural understanding, inspired myself and others to do better, made inpacts with comunities and people, increased my musical knowlage, and much much more. To some it up, this program will change your life.

There where a couple aspects of UWP (Up with People) that stood out to me the most. One of these aspects was the people. If or when you travel, you will meet tons of amazing people from all around the world from cast members and staff to host families and coumuity members, you will find names and faces that you will remember for the rest of your life. Another big aspect for me was the show. Traveling and preforming in front of people every week, for me, really boosted my self confedence and it gave me the chance to not only preform but to work backstage, learninng how to set up and take down our stage along with learning the "innerworkings" of how our stage works. The final aspect that I really injoyed was the Commuity service. In every place i traveled to, i got the opportunity to meet and work with people who needed our help. To put it bluntly, every week I worked, learning new skills and changed peoples lifes. I got to experiance all kinds of amazing projects, from painting a mural of a "tree of hope" to help give hope to families who have loved ones in the hospital, to acually planting trees to help recover some wilderness land.

These where just some of the aspects I enjoyed most for me in UWP. If you choose or have alreay choosen to do the program, then I promise it will change your life in so many ways. If you are still unsure about UWP, than I will leave you with one last thing.
This program is not for everyone, but if you enjoy helping others, Preforming, Traveling, and/or meeting new people (all or any one of those things), then you should really look into and/or apply because this program for me and maybe for you is defenetly Worth It.

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Joris
Male
30 years old
Ghent, Belgium
Other

Turning a dream into reality

10/10

Everyone has daydreams of what they could be doing. Traveling around the world, knowing people across the globe, creating long-life friends, experiencing adventures that are unique, learning new skills, ... The crazy thing is that Up with People gave me all of this. Time has become relative, I have done more in a semester than otherwise I would do in several years. Give me a category of stories and I bet you that I can give you one. Either doing volunteer work in the slums of Manila and realizing what an impact you can have by reaching out. Or performing for 12.000 people in an arena in Germany and seeing the flashes go off. Or having a deep conversation with a host family that last for hours and helped me reshape our perspectives on the world. Or joking around with friends and suddenly realizing they are all from different countries and it does not matter. Or having a workshop with the whole cast and experience new cultural perspectives that blow my mind. Or performing in front of the Pope in front of the Vatican. Or meeting a president. Or seeing the growth in everyone around me from week to week. And the list goes on. Words such as life-changing are often misplaces, but for this organization I can guarantee you it is correct. It has changed my life for the better. And the great thing is that the effect lasts, because you get to keep the friends.

How can this program be improved?

If you travel every week to a different city with 100 people from around the world, just imagine the logistics that goes behind this. So of course you can always improve the little things along the way. However it is in Up with People that I learned to take it as it comes, adapt when needed. It is actually the imperfections of the program that make it so great. You travel because you want to be challenged, get out of your comfort zone. So if a bus is late, solve it. A volunteer project is not what was in the description, then redefine it for the better. Our show costumes that did not make it on time for the show in a different continent, solve it in 48 hours by redesigning our wardrobe. These are just the great travel stories afterwards. Overall, there are so many people who care in this program, so there is always a solution whether it is plan A, B or Z. It has made me put life in perspective. It always works out.

Darrel
Male
58 years old
Basile, Louisiana

Up with People led me to great opportunities beyond my one year as a cast member

10/10

I knew about Up with People long before I understood it. In 1967, I was in the second grade and heard our local Sing Out in Basile, Louisiana sing the theme song and "What Color is God's Skin?" on a local TV talk show. The messages of the songs moved me (although I was just a kid) and by the time I was in high school, I, too, was singing in our local Sing Out.

When I saw my first Up with People show, it was alongside my fellow Sing Out members as we took a bus trip to a city an hour away to see the show. (Back in 1976, an hour bus trip was a big deal to students in a town of only 2,000).

By the time I became a member of Cast A of UWP in 1983, I was already committed to the ideals of the program because I had been lucky enough to be a part of my local Sing Out for four years of high school.

My hometown helped me raise the money for a big part of my tuition, and I promised I would return to somehow repay the community. I hope I did that when I reorganized our local Sing Out after Up with People visited our little town one year after I returned from my cast year. Over the years, we were lucky enough to get a cast here two others years as well. My little Sing Out was thrilled to perform during those years for four different Up with People casts whenever they were in Basile or the immediate area.

At night in my sleep, I often dream of my year in Up with People. During my 32 years as a full time teacher, I always kept my cast photo above the board in the front of my classroom. I spoke of my year and my castmates often to my students and took many busloads to see the show anytime a cast was within the state of Louisiana.

My year on the road with UWP continues to inspire me and push me to give to my community as our local newspaper editor, our church choir director, and as a member of our local little theatre board. It also has enabled me to take on some interesting jobs opportunities that I would have never had otherwise.

Although I am a certified English and social studies teacher by degree, I became my school's band director in spite my lack of formal music training. When approached for the position, my principal said, "You were in Up with People so I think you can handle the job."

I replied, "I sang in Up with People. I can only play a little guitar. Do you want a guitar band?"

He said, "If you don't take the job then we won't have a band." That was it. With the true spirit of Up with People in mind, I took the position, thinking it would only be for a year. That year became 10 years and included my passing of the Praxis exam in music. I attribute my global music education through UWP for enabling me to pass the test because my only formal music training was a piano class for non-music majors that I took years after traveling.

Now that I am retired from full time teaching, I have taken on the part time position of Talented Music and Theatre teacher. Since I am not certified to teach talented students, the state of Louisiana granted me the position based upon my portfolio of work in music and theatre, primarily including clippings from my year in Up with People year.

I am thrilled to have been able to continue my participation in Up with People over the years through events such as the Branson Alumni Project and the recent Tapestry Cast show in Orlando.

I am currently organizing the 50 Year Reunion for our local Sing Out here in Basile - which will be held in the summer of 2017. Although the group no longer exists, we have had several reunions over the years and even sang for our town's centennial back in 2011.

During my cast's Christmas dinner in December of 1983, we passed out gift boxes to cast members based upon a characteristic that we felt that each cast member exhibited. Each "characteristic" box was wrapped inside another box. The first box was large and the final box very small. When fellow cast member Tag Purvis of Mississippi opened his box and saw the word "loyal," he immediately called out my name and gave the box to me. I was shocked, not because I did not think I was "loyal," but because I felt that so many others were 'loyal."

Now that I am writing this letter, I feel as though it is Up with People that has been loyal to me. Its music began moving me as a second grader. Its spirit guided me as a Sing Outer in high school. Its Cast A83 touched me in ways I am still realizing today.

Darrel LeJeune
Basile, Louisiana
Cast A83

How can this program be improved?

The expansion of the program to more than just one cast every six months.

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Eduardo
Male
58 years old
Mexico City / Denver CO
Other

An experience that made a big impact and difference in my life

10/10

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the experience to travel with Up with People right after college, I feel rich with the amount of friendships I made from around the world some of them that will for sure last a life time!

Traveling with UWP taught me many and diverse life skills that have shaped my personal life and professional formation, from becoming bilingual to developing self confidence to talk and perform in public, from learning how to work as a team with people from many different beliefs and diverse cultures, to build a successful resume and also to have the benefit of so very many international contacts and connections from all across the fields of work and cultures that have helped me through the years to develop my own business through networking with people I met in my travels with the organization.

I developed knowledge and understanding about our world by having traveled with several hundred people my age from all over the planet, we volunteered hundreds of hours in rewarding community projects in the places that we traveled, we performed on stage for hundreds of thousands of people [including a memorable Super Bowl Half Time show!] not too mention having lived with over 350 host families in more than 30 different countries. [I traveled for several years after my student year on their staff], all of these experiences made me the world citizen that I feel I am now.

I recommend Up with People highly as a great opportunity to learn about yourself, about our ever changing world and to truly get the opportunity and the satisfaction to make a difference in this world by being part of one of the very best international programs around!

Travel * Perform * Impact !

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Julie
Female
22 years old
La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Other

Discover the world... and yourself!

9/10

Up with people is one of the best experiences I ever had.
I wanted to take a gap year after high school to travel and volunteer. Up With People was perfect for that, plus it had the performance part, which truly helped me to make my choice, as music has always been a big part of my life.
I grew in so many ways during my semester at Up With People. To live constantly with 100 others young people from 20 different contries is the thing that impacted me the most. Everyone is different, has different backrounds, different cultures, and still, those 100 strangers become your family, your best friends, even without noticing... until you have to leave them.
The hostfamilies you live with become so important that when you talk about your actual family, you have to mention that it's your REAL family.

It's not easy everyday. Sometimes, being away from home is hard. Sometimes, you have to step out of your comfort zone (like staying in a hostfamily that doesn't speek english, with you not speeking spanish, or gardening by 35°C with HUGE spiders around). But this is how you grow, and be sure that your new friends will be there for you !

Finally, Up With People helped me to know who I really am, who I want to be, what is important for me or not, what are my values, what do I believe in, and what I want to do (or not) with my life.

How can this program be improved?

Despite all the good aspects of UWP, there is one thing that disturbs me a bit: I find the program really elitist, in a few ways.
First, because of the countries we visit : we go mostly in Europe and North America. I'm sure there is a lot of other countries that could benefit from the program, and the experience of the participants would be even better.
Second, and mainly, because of the cost of the program fee. It really discourage a lot of people to participate. (The cultural question has probably something to do here too, as what is expensive and what is not). We can see it: the people participating are mostly from USA and Europe, and even more, the upper classes of those coutries (or at least not the poorest, generally speaking).
If these two points could be improved, UWP would be perfect! :)

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Katelyn
Female
22 years old
Sioux Falls
Saint Cloud State University

Getting Ready for Real Life

10/10

I traveled in Up with People straight out of high school. I was a bright eyed 18 year old ready to see more than past my own backyard. What I learned and gained was more than I could ever hope for. I learned so much more about the world and understood that everything is connected. I made friends from around the world that I still talk to every week. I also matured being put into new situations every week.
My favorite part is the people. You become so close to your cast-mates because you experience something that no one else understands. It is such an amazing bond that years can go by and it feels like you just saw your friend last week. Recently I went on a road trip with three of my cast-mates and it was awesome. We got to see who we have become since traveling and create new adventures together.
You can also get close to your host families. I still have my little Italian sister email me for every Holiday and I sometimes help her with her English homework. Who else can say that?
Lastly I want to say that if you have never performed before it is okay. Lots of people who have traveled have not performed but it is all apart of the experience!
If you are even considering traveling please apply. What can it hurt? It might be the first step to a great adventure!

Berbe
Female
22 years old

indescribable

10/10

As graduation from high school came closer, I had the feeling that I wasn't ready for college yet. I had attended the same school since kindergarten and I was tired of seeing the same old places. I also wanted to become a better person and make this world a better place, so volunteering became an idea.
I talked about it with my parents, and so the search began. I found a lot of nice organisations online, but none of them really stood out to me. I didn't want to be doing the same thing for 3 or 4 months, I wanted something more adventurous. Lucky for me, faith helped a little. My godmother came over and said she would be hosting 3 people from an organisation called 'Up with People'. I immediately turned to my mom and asked her why we weren't hosting anyone, but she had just never heard about it.
The 3 guys came over and it was great. Then saturday came and we were all going to watch the organisations show. Right off the bat, seeing all these people from all different cultures dance together, I tears started welling up in my eyes. The guys had already talked to me about the volunteering they did, so immediately after the show I was sold. I interviewed with them and got in!
Today, 3 years ago, I met up with 10 other people from Belgium at the airport and with a tiny heart my adventure began. Since the day I arrived, I felt at "home". Everyone was so open, positive and kind. It's realy unexplainable how meeting the whole cast felt. Time flew by and I met all sorts of awesome people, made amazing friendships, did all kinds of voluntary work, felt loved, important and, most of all, very happy.
Before I traveled with this program, I was so introverted, shy and unsure about myself. After 6 amazing months I just found myself, I really did find myself. Never had the feeling that I belonged until I was there. It's very difficult to explain the program. Well, you can easily tell what the program does, but it's indescribable what the program does for you. It was my best adventure so far and I miss it every single day. I'm so happy that I can now say that I stepped out of my comfort zone, started an adventure with 120 or so people, made friends all over the world and took my first steps in making this world a better place.
If you're thinking about travelling with this program, I'd say 'Just do it' :)

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Annie
Female
28 years old

The Best Decision!

10/10

The decisions to travel with Up with People after graduating from college was the best one I have ever made. Not only was I able to visit 30 cities across the globe in just six months, I also had the opportunity to live in host families and truly give back to each of those communities. Up with People is unlike any other gap year program. Not only was I experiencing new cultures every week, but I was doing it with 100 other participates from their own unique countries and cultures. That kind of experience and cross cultural communication is invaluable in a modern workplace and to todays employers. The connections I have made around the world are some of the most meaningful relationships I've ever experienced and I could not be more grateful for them. I loved performing for thousands in a variety of venues one day, learning and developing professional skills with our business team the next day, and engaging in community impact projects the day after that. I learned how to be both a leader and a team player, and made some of my closest friends along the way. The best part about the entire experience, is the places and people I met changed the way I viewed the world. To really see the beauty in diversity, and to grow as a person along the way is an incredible gift. If I could go back and relive my time with Up with People, I would do it in a heart beat! It was the most meaningful, exciting, and adventure filled semester of my life! Up with People truly changed my life.

Paulina
Female
27 years old

There is a before and after Up with People...

9/10

The way I interact with people, my goals and the way I seek them, my love for traveling and my flexibility definitely have been influenced by my time in Up with People.
My mind and possibilities were opened by conversations I had with people I'd never have thought I'd be friends with! And now I have so many friendships and contacts around the world!
If you are willing to step into an adventure with 100 other people...Go ahead and apply :)

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Margaret
Female
37 years old
Ann Arbor, MI
Eastern Michigan University

Incredible and Impactful!

10/10

Participating in Up with People was one of the best decisions of my life. If you are looking for a unique and dynamic cultural adventure, look no further. Up with People brings young people from all over the world together and combines cultural immersion, music, travel and volunteerism into a unique semester or year-long program that will transform you. Before I knew the depths of what Up with People was, I was invited to the musical performance... Five minutes in, I knew that I would participate in this program. Little did I know at the time, how much my experience in UWP would positively impact my life and make me a more understanding person. My experience in UWP was incredible in so many ways: I traveled to new places and countries, I met people from all over the world, I was educated about the world and different cultures first-hand, I was on the radio for the first time, I learned how to be more flexible and understanding with others, I performed in a musical show, I volunteered in every city and made life-long friends. I left the program changed and more open to the world and the cultures within it. I am hugely passionate about traveling, I am open to cultural differences and eager to learn about them, volunteering is very important to me and I have traveled to places I never thought I would go because of the friends I made in this organization. I highly recommend this program as a post-high school adventure, a Gap Year, a break from college or as a post-college adventure because it will prepare you for life in a way no other program can.

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Chip
Male
31 years old
Longmont

Life Changeing

10/10

I have preformed in venues across the world, theaters across Europe, town centers in Mexico, High schools and so on. We preformed for Diplomats, Mayors, families, friends even an actual Princess. It doesn't matter if you are tone deaf or actually deaf, you are a part of this show, and the best part is preforming is less then half of what you get to do in this program. The community service may be hard work at times but it's worth every second, because you get to see the reality of the location you are in, not just the pretty lights, you get to feel like your part of the community and you get to be the hero who helps make it a little better.

I am a gaming geek who loves to sing. I know it sounds hard to believe but this program is worth every second.

How can this program be improved?

We had some students who where without fellow students in housing for weeks, it isn't bad to be alone with a host family but for those people who hadn't had a cast member for a bunk mate for months it became a problem.

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Amy
Female
59 years old
Denver

Confidence Builder

10/10

I joined Up with People for a year, right out of high school. I had never traveled much and was excited to see the world and spread my wings.

Staying with 75+ host families opened my eyes and warmed my heart. Speaking in front of groups, performing for thousands of people, meeting strangers every day, and being "on" for 18 hours a day was certainly not something I expected to enjoy or embrace. Giving of myself day in and out, stretching the limits of what I thought I could do, and being a sponge, soaking up all the experiences helped build my confidence and self-worth a thousand-fold.

The skills and confidence I earned that year helped me decide the education path I wanted to pursue in college, and the career I chose after. I learned more with Up with People than a traditional formal education could ever provide. I learned compassion. I learned joy. I learned commitment. I learned generosity. I learned tolerance. I learned hard work. I learned every day!

If you know someone between the ages of 17-29 who is looking for a unique, life-changing, amazing experience, have them contact Up with People. UWP has more than 50 years of success and credibility of launching young people on to doing wonderful, positive things in their communities and beyond.

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Joana
Female
33 years old
Lisbon (Portugal)

UWP changed my life!

9/10

It was one of the best experiences of my life. I decided to travel with UWP because I could have an experience connecting my 3 passions (travelling, music and community service), and it was wonderful. I made friends all over the world, I lived in different cultures, outside my comfort zone, I improved my social and professional skills, all this and much more made me appreciate more life.
Something I will never forget, and I will forever be grateful for... the families who hosted me. I truly felt the love from all these people, that welcomed me (a complete stranger) and opened the door to their homes with such hospitality.
I totally recommend this adventure!

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Eric
Male
52 years old
Denver
Colorado State University

Me-Enhancing-Experience

10/10

I went back and forth between 'me-changing-experience' and 'me-enhancing-experience' for the title of my review. I believe that Up With People exposed me to the world, and exposed the world to me, in such a way that the experience truly ENHANCED who I truly was deep inside. Up With People made me realize how far I could stretch myself, how many boxes I could break out of, and how many people I had the capacity to not just meet, but truly know.

I heard a quote once: 'change the world by changing yourself'. This truly is what I believe Up With People did for me: it made me realize the scope of what it means to be from somewhere, and what it means to truly GO somewhere.

My time in Up With People impacted every part of who I am today. I set out to change the world and be a rock-star-on-tour, and I believe I accomplished much more than I set out to do.

I am a better friend, brother, son and father today because of my time in Up With People.

Beyah Rasool
Beyah Rasool
Male
29 years old
Tucson
Other

College Football Coach who joined UWP.

10/10

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Up with People happened. I traveled as a 24 year old fresh off a college football season. I absolutely fell in love with every aspect of the tour. Whether it was traveling with 100 other young people, impacting communities, host family living, education workshops, my five week internship/professional development and of course the amazing show we put on for thousands. I wasn't particularly skilled in any of those areas, but the opportunity given to me by the staff to grow as a person through UWP was unprecedented. UWP is on my professional resume'/CV for any job I apply for. I still visit friends and host family from my semester of travel. To this day I receive random messages of thanks from those communities we impacted. I'm so grateful for my UWP experience. I went back to college football after my tour and was a better football coach. UWP taught me how to connect with all types of people, necessary public speaking/communication skills, I traveled the world, performed for thousands (including the Pope) and made friends for life. This will be the best decision you ever make!

How can this program be improved?

More outside donors so more students can have the opportunity to travel with Up with People! Expand marketing reach to attract more diversity. Expand global reach to travel to places of consequence.

Kimberley
Female
44 years old
Rexdale, Ontario

Still influencing my life

9/10

I traveled with Up With People in cast 82B. I expanded my world view, learned to make the most of each moment, good or bad, and made friends I still consider precious. It was interesting, difficult, fun, crazy, exhausting, uplifting. My tour was 4 months in Mexico, allowing me to learn another language), then to the southern USA. Being immersed in families different from my own, yet with similar goals, allowed me to grow and become more tolerant. My final host mom picked me up in a car held together with masking tape, wearing socks, but no shoes. The children were wild and filthy. We arrived at the mobile home, where several people lived. I had been given my own room, in spite of space restriction, with a lock on the door. A friend of theirs came over, as I was known to give haircuts, and he'd not been able to get one for a while. As we chatted, he said he was out for the weekend. I asked out of where? The county? The town? Nope, the jail. Okay then....Dad was a pastor, the rest of the family and significant others were all ex-cons (or current cons). After my 2 days with them, I left the town, on the bus at the highway, into Atlanta, then flew home. Do you know, that host family, with no funds to spare, called my parents to make sure I was home safely? I expected my time with Up With People to expand my music career, but much more importantly, it expanded my personality and my humanity. I like to think I've never lost the openness to other cultures and situations, over the years. Oh, by the way, a very good friend from that year kept in contact. 11 yrs later, we reconnected and married. This year we celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary.
Kimberley McLean, Aurora, ON, Canada

How can this program be improved?

Improvements have been made, allowing casts more time and more community service in each location. Education credit opportunities have been added. Programme time has been shortened. These are all positives. For us, a psychologist on tour would have been a good addition. Followup debriefings at 1 month, 6 months and 1 yr would also be useful, both for the programme and the student.

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Megan
Female
30 years old
Montevideo, Minnesota
Concordia College- Moorhead

Get out of your comfort zone...and get ready for an amazing experience!

10/10

Wow. Up with People is the best decision I have made yet in my 29 (almost 30!) years of life. Every aspect of my daily life has been impacted by Up with People: my career, my education, my social life, my relationships, and my hobbies. Up with People (UWP) taught me that I am not the center of even my universe. It taught me to appreciate what I have and give of what I can. It taught me to open my mind and say 'yes' more than 'no.' UWP taught me that experiences and relationships are worth so much more than tangible items. It taught me that the feeling of being "uncomfortable" is actually amazing, and taking risks means being alive. I now pay much more attention to national and international news. I want to know what's happening in Mexico, Sweden, Italy, China, Japan, Africa, Switzerland, and Norway. Why? Because I've been there, lived with people there, and have friends there. "What's Happening To You Is Happening To Me." Our world is much smaller than you think.

Because of UWP, I have traveled to more countries than I ever dreamed possible. I feel comfortable speaking spontaneously. I have confidence in myself, my thoughts, and my ideas. I know how to listen and not just hear. I know that to achieve social impact, I need to get to the root of the issue. I have cultural competency, a skill that will take me far in any career I choose, no matter the industry. I ask questions more than I give answers. I now listen rather than hear. I show empathy rather than sympathy. I also know how to live out of a carry-on suitcase, regardless of trip length.

Thank you, Up with People. Your have done more - and continue to do more - for me than I could have ever thought possible.

Gary
Male
29 years old
Antwerp, Belgium

The world got a whole lot smaller

10/10

My Up with People experience was amazing and it made the world a whole lot smaller. Travelling for 6 month with the same group of people creates a very special kind of bound, with our own stories and inside jokes. I know for a fact that now my gap year is over, if I travel to the US, Japan or any other country one of my cast member is from, I will have a host family to greet me.

The reason we have such a good bound is because Up with People is not easy. After 6 months you will be physically and emotionally exhausted. This is not the kind of program where you travel around sight seeing. You will be asked to know your limits and go over it. A 17 hour day is not exceptional. And you will have those moment when you think to yourself why am I doing this to myself. And then you realise you've just performed for the president of Taiwan during their national day and he found it so good he asked to take a picture with the cast. That's when you read a post on Facebook from your host family saying that UWP had such an impact on their community that they've all decided to continue what we started and volunteer in their region.

Everybody also has his own reasons to do Up with People. Some are amazing singers, musicians or dancers. Other were really attracted by the volunteering part of the program. For me I just wanted to travel the world and see as many places as possible in a short amount of time. In 6 months I've been to the US, Taiwan, The Philippines and Mexico in 20 different cities. I could say that my wish was accomplished. But like everyone, I got more than that. I got to learn how to perform, stand in front of a crowd and not being scared. I learned the importance of volunteer work in a community. I learned about world issues like, climate change and immigration. And I think most importantly I learned first hand about the local culture.

In short I got to travel the world, make friend, learn stuff and eat local delicacies (as weird as they may be) and perform a show!

How can this program be improved?

More variation in the countries visited.

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Lorna
Female
31 years old
Dublin

LLife changing

10/10

I travelled as a student for only 6 months but I knew this was what I was missing in my life. I was 25 when I travelled and my only regret was that I had not done it sooner! I worked with the organisation as a volunteer for 3 more years and still have friends (and family) all over the world because of this program.

I know without a doubt, I would not be the person I am today, nor would I have had the experiences in my life so far, if it was not for this life changing experience.

I cannot tell you how amazing or wonderful or fun it was.. There is not enough characters in here but all I can say is, DO IT!!!!

How can this program be improved?

A marketing or advertising sponsorship to give this organisation the limelight it needs to get more people to sponsor the city visits & support scholarships for more students to experience it.

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Tim
Male
47 years old
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Western Michigan University

My Experience at Up with People

10/10

I had the honor of spending a month in Poland. Not only did I learn about the history and saw many sites, I learned that the wonderful Polish people also had dreams for a better future and wanted the same things for their children, etc. as I do. The visit to Auschwitz, a World War II Concentration Camp was overwhelming and an emotional experience. It's one of the reasons the Up with People program is so important, to help people see the good in people and not just the differences that can divide us.

How can this program be improved?

More people making financial donations to the scholarship fund to help everyone who has been accepted in to the program be able to experience it.

Gustavo
Male
23 years old
Metepec

Unique

10/10

There's no words for me o describe how amazing this experience was. Definitely the best six months I've ever spent. Not only did I got to know incredible people with whom I traveled with, but I got new families all over the world with who I still talk to. I grew so much personally, got to know myself so much better, while having the time of my life. I went to countries I had never been to and never thought I would go to. It surely is worth a shot to try this experience! No I can say I have family everywhere in the world.

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Marnie
Female
43 years old
Roseau, MN, USA
Bemidji State University

Amazing!

9/10

The experience and personal development achieved during this program have lifelong impact! I made friends from across the world, experienced culture first hand by staying with host families, performed on stage, impacted communities through service and had a blast doing it. I am, even now, nearly 20 years later, in regular contact with many from my cast year and think of the organization almost daily with a smile on my face!

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Annalora
Female
44 years old
Red Bluff
Santa Clara University

A formative life changing year I will always be thankful for!

10/10

I just spent two months catching up with a best friend I met in UWP as she is on tour with another show that was staying in my city. What I can say first hand is that you will make the closest friends from all over the world and you will grow up with each other through the years. There is a very special bond that comes from this program.
See the world-you will see things through the eyes of local host families and really get to know the culture.
Serve the World - you will have a chance to build up a community and serve others, leaving a mark on each place you visit in a real and tangible way.
Meet the world-you will learn so much about people of all cultures and beliefs. You will be challenged at times as you stretch to understand different points of view and explain your own.
Change the world-you will be part of a long time tradition of people that cultivate world peace. You will join voices with others to stand for peace, positive change and build bridges that will last among communities.

You will be tired, inspired, overwhelmed, amazed, challenged, changed and grow in so many ways you never knew possible. You will learn that you can live out of one small suitcase, communicate without language, sleep anywhere, eat anything, and be brave enough to try anything that comes you way.

There is no reason to hesitate-go for this amazing opportunity. And be creative on funding. I put the money together by getting local sponsors, sending little updates and speaking about my experience upon my return to the groups that funded me.

I traveled 20 years ago and still count it as one of tn best things I ever did. And I've done a lot since then so that is saying something.

How can this program be improved?

I think it is good to have the 6 month or 1 year option. Some people were burned out by 6 months or couldn't really leave for a year.
I would have liked more adult support while going through the year-like a check in with a mentor-someone to help me stay focused or talk things through.
My year was very show focuses-as a singer I was always counted on for the whole show so I wasn't able to do some of the other experiences. It was tiring at times. But we did several snows a week and I think the focus has changed. It also sounds like you stay longer in a city which I think is good too-sometimes we were in several places in a weeks span and that was tiring too.
So overall I think the program changes are positive and would address the concerns I had while on the road.
Also commincation is so much better now. No cells or email when I travelled so communication with people back home was rare or in snail mail form which left us homesick and disconnected from friends and family.

Mallory
Female
23 years old
Denver, Colorado
Metropolitan State University of Denver

A Year of Growth

10/10

I was one of the first students to complete a year of the study abroad program that is linked with Florida Southern College. Throughout the year, those 6 classes not only enhanced my year in the program, but also made me a better student in college afterwards than I ever was before. I also created lifelong bonds with all of my castmates that allows us to pick up with our friendship at any time, like no time has passed. I have even been living with 2 of my castmates for the past 3 years since being off the road. UWP has the mission of bringing cultures together and that has continued in my own life today. It's a program that stays with you and makes you want to continue to make an impact no matter how small. I can't say thank you enough to this program.

Nolan
Male
26 years old
Blue Grass, Iowa
University of Iowa

Unexpected, Life-changing, and World-class!

10/10

Up with People is a program that is perfect for a gap year (or a gap six months), whether it is a gap between high school and college, college and the real world, or a break from the real world. I traveled with UWP after college--thanks to the encouragement from my mother who traveled with UWP in the 70s--with people from 20+ countries to over 10 countries in 2014. I learned more about myself in that time than I did in all of college, including how to LOVE giving and receiving feedback, how to speak simple phrases in a handful of languages, how to live outside my comfort zone for weeks at a times (try going to Cuba and living in housing the government chose for you to use with food the government provided--definitely eye-opening!), and how to make friends with strangers with just a hug and a few words in their language.

I saw friends who said "I can't sing" get in front of hundreds of people and smile from ear-to-ear as they found their voice. I saw friends who said "I can't dance" bring an audience to their feet after dancing their way across the stage. I saw friends who weren't sure they were capable of performing find a home backstage, as staff support, and more. There was a place for everyone, of every kind of humor, of every level of introvert/extrovert, and more--the cast was a 'family' for an entire six months, and even now that we are scattered back to our homes across the globe, I still keep in touch with them and look forward to reunions in the future.

I did not have a single bad experience in UWP. I had some hard learning experiences, and I had some situations that could have been handled better--by myself and others--but that is the nature of spending 6 months with people; there is bound to be a little tension at times. I spent a year trying new food, learning new things, meeting new people, doing community service that TRULY was making a difference in places we were living (not just visiting, because we lived with local families for the week), and performing a show that spreads a message of hope to THOUSANDS across the world in multiple languages. It was transformative, and the person I transformed into was more ready to return to the 'adult world', ready to make a difference in my community and ready to continue to search for that hope I felt while traveling the world with a cast of my closest friends for six months.

How can this program be improved?

Participants experiences are heavily dependent on the cast staff, who are often a range of ages and experiences, with their own growth happening during each tour. Sometimes, staff can be wonderful and exactly the right people, and sometimes staff can provide less-than-ideal support for participants. But, another great part of UWP is there are many staff members, so if a participant doesn't sync well with one staffer, they will with another.

Also, host families are a big part of the experience, and that is a wonderful thing. The cautionary tale is to not expect host families to be a hotel and taxi service, and that a host family is hoping the participant is excited to spend time with them and share their culture--so even a 'day off' with a host family is rarely a day off.

About The Provider

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Up with People is a unique semester-long study abroad experience that combines elements of International Education, Service Learning, and Performing Arts. Up with People participants come from 15-20 countries, and travel together around the world, visiting 17-20 cities on at least two continents. Participants stay

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