Up with People On Tour Gap Year Experience

Video and Photos

UWP Peaple and host families
UWP Peaple and host families
This was one of our education opportunities: we went around on a boat in Tiberius, Israel in the Sea of Galilee. We learned about its history and the meaning of it to its people. It was a great experience.
Up with People is not religiously or politically affiliated. However, we had the amazing opportunity to sing for him at the basilica and take a picture with him. ON HIS BIRTHDAY.
For our community service, we cleaned up as much as we could around a slum area of the Philippines. We then walked through the slums and got a view from their "beach," which is a heap of trash that they play on by water. Afterwords, we did activities with the kids. It was such an eye-opening experience.

About

Are you ready to turn your dream of travel into a reality? Travel with purpose. Volunteer around the world. Perform for thousands.

Up with People on Tour provides a multi-destination gap semester (5 months) or full gap year experience where the young adults can take their passion of travel, volunteering, performance, education, and leadership and put it into action through the power of their own voice. Our international gap year experience immerses participants into many different cultures through a unique blend of music and social action, travel and host family stays, and so much more. We provide an in-depth experiential learning environment that will prepare you to navigate today’s complex world in both your professional and personal life.

Now accepting applications for our January & July programs!

Highlights
  • International Travel & Host Families
  • Volunteer Abroad
  • Performing Arts
  • Leadership & Professional Development
  • University Academic Credit (Optional)

Questions & Answers

Reviews

99%
based on 75 reviews
  • Housing 9.5
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 31 - 45 of 75
Berbe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

indescribable

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' :)

Default avatar
Annie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Decision!

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
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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

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 :)

Default avatar
Margaret
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible and Impactful!

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.

Default avatar
Chip
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changeing

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
Amy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Confidence Builder

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.

Default avatar
Joana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

UWP changed my life!

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!

Default avatar
Eric
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Me-Enhancing-Experience

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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

College Football Coach who joined UWP.

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Still influencing my life

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

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
Megan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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

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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The world got a whole lot smaller

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!

What would you improve about this program?
More variation in the countries visited.
Default avatar
Lorna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

LLife changing

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!!!!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
Tim
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience at Up with People

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unique

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.