What position do you hold at Up With People and why do you like working there?
I am an Admissions Counselor for Up with People so it’s my job to help new participants join our program by helping them raise money, apply for visas, as well as provide emotional encouragement and support.
I enjoy working for Up with People because I have the ability every day to give young people the chance to have an experience that has greatly affected my life in many ways. As an Admissions Counselor for this program I’m able to counsel participants the way that I was counseled and encourage them the way that I was encouraged and it’s a constant reminder of how kindness is often a full circle commodity that can make lasting impacts.
How does your organization differ from other ones in the industry?
I believe that our organization differs from other travel abroad and gap year programs in the way that we seamlessly combine so many different aspects in order to provide a well-rounded and full experience to all of our participants.
When you come to our program you don’t just travel, or just perform, or just stay with host families but rather you do all of the above while traveling with a group of participants from all over the world. Our program wants to do more than simply provide an amazing experience for its participants. We aim to empower those individuals to act in their communities when they’re finished traveling.
I believe that we’re different because we do more than just take participants around the world on an adventure. Instead Up with People aims to produce informed and compassionate global citizens that actively work to make the world a better place.
How does going on a gap year with Up With People prepare young people for college?
Our program is designed to help people not only learn about the world and the people that they’re traveling with, but also to learn about themselves.
In Up with People you’re constantly meeting people in different professions and volunteering at a variety of sites. These aspects provide a great platform for exploring new and different activities that you really enjoy doing. These are the types of experiences that allow a person to go to school with a firm belief in what they KNOW they want to do instead of an idea of what they THINK they may want to do. It gives our participants a sense of security in their decisions because they’ve been able to live it instead of just think about it.
Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the Up with People team.
I feel very blessed to have many moments that have made me proud to be a part of Up with People. If I had to pick one, I would say going to Cuba last year and now seeing how the relationship with the United States and Cuba is starting to neutralize. The timing of Up with People’s visit to Cuba was a beautiful thing. To look back on that six months later and witness their voices being heard, is truly amazing. I’m so proud that Up with People went there to spread the message of hope and unity during a time of unrest and transition.