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.
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.
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.

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 46 - 60 of 75
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Marnie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing!

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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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

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.

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

A Year of Growth

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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unexpected, Life-changing, and World-class!

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.

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

Life Changing Experience

I was only 18 when I traveled, I signed up last minute and it was the best decision I ever made. At the time, I wanted to be a musician, singer specifically, and was planning to go to a local college to study music. I had always wanted to go to Europe and when presented with the opportunity, saw I could do both. Some of the scheduling has changed since I traveled, but the experience is still very similar today.

We started our year with an extensive staging workshop in Colorado where we learned the current show, got to know each other, and were taught how to be savvy travelers and global citizens. The people training us were all professionals. Many of us were coached by top Broadway stars.

My cast was scheduled to go to Europe, but could have been Asia as well that year. We were guaranteed a chance to experience 2 continents. The unknown spontaneity of the tour schedule was really thrilling. We spent 6 months in the US and 6 months in Europe on my tour.

When I traveled we changed cities almost every 3-5 days and stayed with a different host family in every city. They were all wonderful and it was a great opportunity to meet people from all different cultures and backgrounds. We also did in depth philanthropic work in each city such as visiting schools and teaching children about diversity and cultural awareness, building and maintaining youth centers, entertaining in nursing homes, building habitat for humanity homes, helping organize food banks and many more activities.

We had opportunities to intern in different business roles too. I was a communications assistant marketing intern and PR intern while on the road and did advance work where I would travel ahead of the cast to a city and help set up all of the host families, service projects, ticket sales and other logistics of their tour there. It was real world work and experience. I fell in love with working with people and marketing and I ended up studying Public Relations and International Business in school and am now a professional Marketing and Event Manager.

We also had many opportunities on the road to meet inspiring and successful leaders. We sang for the Pope on his 80th birthday, met with heads of major corporations on joint service projects, performed with Faith Hill and the Temptations for 60,000+ people in the Georgia Dome, and were guests of Presidents for national celebrations.

Some of us organized or joined in on side trips to countries not on our tour to learn and experience even more. I went to Mexico with a group of cast mates for a week and represented the organization at a meeting of world leaders and young leaders. We had one on one lunches and chats with presidents, kings, prime ministers, world peace leaders and Nobel Prize winners to help them learn to make good decisions that aligned with what our generation wanted for the future of the world.

I received a scholarship and some credits to college as a result of my participation in Up With People and a letter of recommendation from the President of the United States.

Most importantly, I literally have friends to this day in every corner of the globe (23+ countries from my cast alone). Thanks to the rise of social media, we talk with each other daily. I can travel anywhere any time and find someone I know, someone my friend knows, or someone who has traveled in Up With People too who wants to know me. It has opened up numerous doors in my career and even though we only traveled to 7 countries on our tour, I traveled to 24 countries between the ages of 18 and 24 as a result of friendships I made in Up With People. We also have reunions frequently with multiple casts attending and I have made friends with other alumni from all decades.

Music is still a very important part of my life, but I have so much more life now than I did before Up With People. I not only learned what I wanted to learn and do, I also learned who I am and what kind of person I want to be.

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Jennifer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nothing in the world like Up with People. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

There is nothing like the experience of Up with People where you can travel side-by-side with people from all over the world, live with hundreds of host families worldwide, and spread a message of peace while doing quality, important work in the community. The people I met in this group continue to impact my life today, and I can't recommend this program enough. It was life-changing for me and everyone else I know who has shared this unique experience.

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Jennifer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unique!

There aren't many gap-year programs that offer the opportunities that Up with People does! it's the chance to travel extensively with people from many countries. Participants do community service projects and stay with host families. Travel includes at least 2 continents, and students visit cities and towns that tourists don't normally visit. Up with People is full of extraordinary , talented, driven young people. It remains a unique program that is life-changing.

I was in Up with People in 1988 after finishing university, and was privileged to work for the company for a few years after. The experiences and training and friendships I gained are beyond measure. I can't say enough about the program! Do it, you won't regret it, i promise!! =)

What would you improve about this program?
It's not a suggested improvement, it's just a side note -- that although the tuition might sound steep, don't get discouraged by it! There are lots of ways to raise the money and also scholarships are available. Anything is possile! :)
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A
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing program

I traveled in this program when I was 20 years old. It was the hardest year of my life, but also the best year of my life. Between the lifelong friends I've made around the world, the host families I now call family, and the opportunities to serve each community through service projects and performing arts...I had an experience to draw from for a lifetime. I will make sure my kids travel in this program without a doubt.

Irmgard
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Travel, explore and learn more... it's learning by doing and growing.

January 1996- First flight to Denver.. Never been in a plane before.
Meeting my first and best hostfamily.The beginning of a great adventure.
During six weeks.. dancing, singing, like i've never done before. Talking English, meeting people from all over the world. Meeting my best friends since than. After six weeks our first show.. and i even didn't feel like a stage patato.. saying goodbye to my hostfamily and my best friend from Zwitserland.. There was anohter cast leaving the same day.
1 year.. laughing, singing, dancing, learning, feeling frustrated now and than, traveling, talking, meeting people.. staying with 75 hostfamilies, doing community service, performing during the openingsceremonies Olympic games Atlanta. feeling tired but didn't give up on it.
Doing different internships.. Admissions.. getting young people involved with Up With People.
Talking in front of 1200 German students without knowing that many words.. but i did it.
Speaking Enlish.. i did it. learning Swedish.. i did it.
Did the trustfall, travelled one year with one suitcase, slept after 20 minutes in the buss and i still can do that.

Nobody said it would be easy but it was Worth it!!

A whole year felt like a ride on a rollercoaster.. a rollercoaster of mixed feelings.. But it was worth it..

I was working on myself, for myself and by myself.... with 123 persons from 22 different countries..
If you have the opportunity.. Go and explore..It's 21 years ago for me.. but i remember it like yesterday..

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B
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cyclical impact

It's been a while since I travelled, but this program definitely made a difference in my professional path. I learned to be flexible, I learned what I'm actually go at, I learned to solve issues with others in a peaceful manner. I grew up a lot on the road.

To me, the host family experiences are what make UWP memorable. It is something immensely unique and I'm thankful for the opportunities I had in UWP and the many that I have had because of UWP.

Elizabeth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Opportunity!

I traveled in UWP Cast A 2000, and was given the opportunity of a lifetime. The friends I met 17 years ago are life long friends. One cast member is the godmother to my son, and I still regularly see a lot of my cast members both in my own town and when I travel. The show creators are brilliant and they create music that tells stories and helps bring communities together. The Alumni Group provides many networking opportunities once you are done traveling. I highly encourage anyone to travel with Up With People. Open your eyes to the world, it will be life changing!

Melanie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The trip that changed my life!

Up with People is without a doubt the best way to spend 6 months of your life. You'll make lifelong friends from all over the world, gain a greater global perspective, give back in more ways than can be numbered, and your heart will grow about 3 sizes. I would recommend it to absolutely everyone. I traveled at age 29 and grew in ways I thought I'd already passed through in life. My host families gave me invaluable perspectives, my cast mates literally became family, and the organizations we volunteered with have me a greater passion to live my life deliberately when I returned to the states.

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Raymundo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best time of my life so far!

Up with People it's a program were you are always learning. To practically live with 100 people from around 20 different countries it's a one life time experience, always having fun, learning from each other and breaking the walls between countries, building bridges and really becoming a global citizen. Traveling 6 months or a year, volunteering, living with host families, performing a show, getting to know friends from all around the world, everything it's an incredible experience that taught me so much.

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Delphine
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Discover yourself around the world

I would have been a different person if I wouldn't have decided to travel with Up wit People. This experience made me open my eyes in every perspective. I am international, I know what is happening around the wold and why. I know how it feels. This because of the places I traveled to, but more important; the people I met and who I traveled with.

This is a crazy world, go out there. Get out of your comfort zone, and see how your full potential will surprise you.

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Bill
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Thing for Personal & Professional Development

After graduating college in 2010 I was looking for the next thing in life when the chance to UWP came along. To be honest I was reluctant at first, the program had so many components. I wasn't great at singing, dancing etc but I found out that was one of the smallest parts of the program.
What I really loved about UWP was the sense of empowerment I gained from it. After being selected as an Advance Team intern (they go ahead of the cast to help find food, beds, sponsors, etc) I looked at this challenge and said "how can this be done?" But piece by piece it all came together. I remember thinking at the end of it..."holy crap I can't believe I did all that!" That sense of accomplishment and empowerment has helped me out in my professional career so much.
Another skill I gained from UWP was the ability to be flexible and make the best of out of not great situations. In life and work you run into roadblocks and you have to get thru them to accomplish your objective. You will be in a situation at some point on the road where you have to make a choice...either be upset or frustrated by the situation or make the best out of it. After a while you see being upset doesn't do you any good and you learn to make lemonade out of the lemons. After leaving UWP I was quickly promoted to higher positions because of the positive attitude I kept when things went wrong

What would you improve about this program?
Its a very fast paced program and thats one of its strongest points but I think the program can benefit from more downtime for reflection and rest.