Up with People, a Multi-Country Gap Year Program

Up with People


In a world filled with constant change, we are often divided by fear and intolerance. Up with People is breaking down these fears by using our unique blend of music and social action to empower people across the globe to think differently about their world, and understand the things that unite us as people and societies – our common humanity.

With a rich legacy that spans more than 50 years, Up with People has been reaching communities and people across the globe through our music, our message and our service since 1965. Our commitment runs deep and our aspirations are bold.

Through music and action, Up with People empowers our youth to become positive agents of change for a more hopeful, trusting and peaceful world.

To learn more about our semester and year long multi-gap year programs, visit our site or our Program Page!


6800 Broadway, Suite 106
Denver, CO 80221-2851
United States



Awesome program! I narrowed down my gap year (between college & graduate school) to either the Peace Corps or UWP. I chose UWP since it was for 1 year rather than 2 (now you can choose 6 months or 1 year with UWP). It was one of the best choices I've ever made.

The reason I joined was primarily for the host family & community service experiences. I knew I wanted to be a family therapist, so thought those experiences would be helpful (& a good resume booster!): it was! I loved living with so many different families & experiencing cultures first hand from around the world. And, by visiting & helping at nursing homes, prisons, schools, ... I got to see just how much I really enjoyed working with people. I ended up taking a little more gap time before graduate school. The job I got (working with teen moms) was purely because I traveled with UWP: my boss loved a "worldly" person and someone with all the experience I had with diverse groups of people.

There are several internships and skills to learn while on the road: sound mixing, lighting, education, dance, singing, logistics, promotions, ... I was not much of a show person, but enjoyed our performance. I could sing, so was put on the microphone group (the sound the audience primarily hears), but never tried out for a solo. Over time, I decided to do more behind-the-scenes work, so learned sound mixing (using a monitor mixer).

The non-profit was founded by a group called MRA (a Christian group). It switched to being UWP just a few years later and became non-sectarian. It's an incredibly open-minded organization and strives for diversity of it's cast members & staff: politically, ethnically, culturally, religious values, sexual orientation, etc.

Today, about 28 years later, I'm still in touch with about 125 cast members/staff. It's like the gift that keeps on giving.

What would you improve about this program?
There are so many alumni now, after 50 years, there could be stronger local alumni chapters to keep the mission going: "...be positive agents of change for a more hopeful, trusting and peaceful world."
Yes, I recommend this program

This program shaped my worldview and dedication to serving others in my local community and around the world. It helped increase my networking and business skills which led to jobs, and many other opportunities. The experience also still provides me with a network of people all over the world. One of my favorite experiences was staying with host families in many different cities, states, and countries. It was great to be apart of a family to learn their customs, traditions, and enjoy their food. I traveled to Europe, China, Canada, Mexico, and all over the USA. The other great part was traveling with other young adults from many different countries. We learned a lot about each other and the friendships still remain. The program still offers students a great global experience.

What would you improve about this program?
The program can be improved by going to more cities and countries. This would require additional funding sources and connections. Also, I would love for the program to represent the real diversity of the world. While there are a lot of different people involved, there are gaps in who is represented.
Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

What would you improve about this program?
I think more financial support for students who come from disadvantage backgrounds.
Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

What would you improve about this program?

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.
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Yes, I recommend this program


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