Alumni Spotlight: Beyah Rasool


Beyah Rasool was a college football coach and a strength/conditioning specialist before traveling with Up with People. He joined the organization when he was 24 years old looking to get something "more" out of his life. Beyah wanted to feel full, to reach his full potential, to build an international network and to positively change the world. Up with People gave him every single one of those opportunities and more than he could possibly imagine. Beyah is forever grateful to Up with People.

Why did you choose this program?

As a 24-year-old in Arizona I've always had aspirations of traveling the world. I didn't want to join a program that goes to one place or focuses on one initiative. I'm a person with many interests, a wide range of hobbies. UWP fulfilled all of my heart and mind. I chose the perfect program.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I fund-raised almost the entire student tuition in a matter of months. I was shocked at how much of my local community wanted to assist me in my travels.

UWP is very well known and respected. People that didn't know about the program instantly became supportive once I showed them what my journeys would include.

As a male with a small ability to dance, UWP provided me with some scholarship funds that were very useful. They also provided me with a great counselor that helped me pack, plan, fund-raise, and prepare for my travels.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Give yourself fully to the program. Say yes a lot. Accept challenges that are not within your comfort zone. Ask the right questions. Seek improvement. Work as hard as you possibly can. Get the most out of your tour and yourself.

You'll be so surprised at how much potential you have inside you. You CAN change the world. You CAN make an impact. UWP is a beautiful platform that will give you so much back if you give it your all.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Every day is different but the weeks have some consistency. Monday is travel day. Always going to a new city/country by tour bus or plane. Every Monday you meet your new host family that you'll be living with for the week.

Tuesday and Wednesdays are typically filled with community service projects that range from female detention centers in Belgium, to painting trees of hope in Florida, cleaning a river in Lichtenstein, or doing a workshop at a school in Mexico City.

Thursday could be regional learning. This could be a city tour, a museum visit, a guest speaker or a fun beach day. There's a huge variety of the regional learning that happens. In the evenings during those days you probably will have some performing arts rehearsals as well. Whether you can sing, dance or none of the above, you'll be involved with the performing arts and the technical theater as well.

Friday and Saturday are usually show days. In the mornings you could be involved with setting up the professional show, lights, sound, stage, costumes, and band. You can be with the business team doing merchandise, recruiting, media, and marketing. If you're more involved with the show you'll be practicing dance, song or with the band and the show team.

Sunday is an off day. A free day with your host family where TONS of the craziest adventures may happen. My favorites were skydiving in Florida, sledding down the Swiss Alps, and boating in Mexico and Wyoming, just to name a few!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

Leaving my job. Leaving my family. Making the wrong choice. Spending a lot of money. What my friends and community thought of it.

I overcame it when I met 100 international students that I'd be traveling with that were scared of the same things as me! And about three days into my tour I realized that this organization has something for EVERYONE.

I was a 24-year-old black male who just finished coaching college football. In the program was a 29-year-old accountant from Wyoming, a 21-year-old Swedish rock star, a 17-year-old Korean girl away from home for the first time, a Chinese businessman, a nurse from Tucson, a UFC fighter from South Dakota, a tour guide from South Africa, a professional dancer from Mexico who identified as gay, a rugby player from Dallas, a jazz singer from Australia etc. etc.

How did this program help to prepare you for the future?

This program will set you up with a network for life. We have cast reunions every 5 years. Your international network will be over 22,000 people. You'll find jobs. You will be changed as a person forever.

You will be stronger, more confident, and your resume will be outstanding! Take the leap of faith. It WILL be the best decision you've ever made.