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Youth International

About

Youth International offers 3-month semester programs in South America and Asia, with start dates in September and February each year. The South America program allows volunteers to explore Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, including the Galapagos Islands. The Asia program takes participants to Nepal, India, and Thailand.

Youth International programs focus on authentic travel, first-hand educational experiences, cultural immersion, and volunteer service work. College credit options are also available. Take this unique opportunity to experience a new region of the world and push yourself to new limits!

Founded
1997
Headquarters

2319 Woodbury Lane
Evergreen, CO 80439
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Olivia
10/10

This program had a huge impact in my life. Coming from high school, being a frustrated teen dealing with decisions that will depict your future this program gave me a clear mind and transformed my life. I went from thinking rowing D1 was my path since the beginning, to knowing it’s okay to be unsure of the right path to take from this eye opening experience I received when completing this program.
The South America program was harder than I expected. I thought it was going to be just “fun traveling” which it was, although it was much more than that. I learned how to communicate with other cultures even when I didn’t speak their language. I learned that the saying, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.” Is one of the most accurate sayings. I say this because before I shadowed the lifestyles throughout this trip in South America I viewed them as a “hard way to live” but what I quickly noticed was that even though the work was hard everyone was happy and content and that is what matters and that is what changed my mind set. Seeing that people could be happy doing anything and it doesn’t matter what path you take as long as you’re happy.

My favorite memory was seeing how happy and thankful all the kids were at the school when we arrived.
My personal memory I look back on a lot was during the Manchu Picchu trek, when I was pushed to my limits physically. Previous to the trek my clumsy self fell off of a bus and messed up my shoulder resulting with me having to wear a sling and then hurting my knee having to wear a knee brace. Even though I was physically having trouble the amount of support I had from my group members and my leaders was outstanding, they picked me up when I was down (literally haha) and with their support I was able to complete the trip and the trek.
Tips: have a spending cap for yourself for each week or each country, it will help.
-read up on some basic Spanish to help you when you’re in a taxi or restaurants.

Post-program- I got the courage to go to Costa Rica for 8 weeks by myself, using the things I learned from traveling in Sourh America I became street smart and knew how to get around in a foreign place with little to no help.
Overall the program gave me an experience of a life time and even gave me friends for a life time.
Would very much recommend.

How can this program be improved?
Give more information about the $spending the individuals will have to do so they can prepare better with a spending plan.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sophie
10/10

My experience on YI's Asia trip was an unforgettable trip. I was able to meet new people, new places, learn about different cultures by being emerged into it from doing homestays to helping the schools and interacting with students and teachers. There were some challenges, but manageable to get through. You will experience culture shock, being a little home sick, and even being sick. Everyone was really helpful and supportive and when I got really sick, my team leaders were there for me and also the members on the trip.
There was always fun, yet challenging things to do such as the Annapurna Hike, teaching, and homestays. I was able to learn a lot about myself as a person and as a traveler.
I encourage anyone interested in a gap year to go with Youth International, especially this trip.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sydney
10/10

It is difficult for me to put into words the impact that this trip had on me. I have been an avid traveler my entire life but it was nothing like anything I experienced with Youth International. I was pushed out of my comfort zone from the moment I arrived in Estes Park for the pre-trip meetings. Everything about the places we visited and the people we met felt genuine and real. The hikes we went on were some of the most amazing excursions I have ever experienced, and I have never seen stars so beautiful as the ones on the Salkantay Trek to Macchu Picchu and in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador. The trip was humbling, and as cliche as it may sound, a truly life-changing experience. My only complaint about the program was that I wish it was longer. At the end of the trip, we all wrote letters to ourselves, and in mine I wrote "In this moment, you love yourself. Keep loving yourself. Never forget these 3 months, they changed you for the better." I am a different person because of my trip. I became more confident, independent, and happy, and I made some of the most amazing friends. I truly recommend this program to anyone, especially to those who may feel lost, as I did.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Harper
10/10

It has been nearly 10 years since I completed my trip with Youth International, and while I've written reviews in the past I wanted to give a long term review.
I went on the Gap Semester to Asia in the fall of 2009, right after graduating high school. My international travel experience was limited at the time and I had never been to a developing country before. Spending that 3 months backpacking throughout Thailand, India, and (as of then) Vietnam was the perfect way to learn how to travel and backpack. During the whole trip I felt immensely supported by my two team leaders, who by the end of the trip were letting us do most of the day-to-day planning, ticket purchasing, and hostel bookings. I'm still in contact with some of the people I traveled with, although during the time of the trip we all grew immensely close and leaving them at the end of our 3 months was heart wrenching.
Since finishing my experience with Youth International I continued on to college, where I studied abroad for a year in India and eventually graduated with a degree in Asian Studies. Living in India helped to open my eyes about the disparities in Women's Health around the world.
After college I did a quick stint in Mongolia with the Peace Corps, but for the past two and a half years I have been working with Planned Parenthood in both Family Planning and Abortion Services and plan to pursue nursing school in the near future.
I don't know if I would have had the courage to study abroad for an entire year or join the Peace Corps without my experience with Youth International.
I was recently reading through the journal I kept during my travels, which Brad encouraged us to do, and while the trip was at times difficult and brutal there is no doubt in my mind that it was monumental in shaping myself into the person I am today. I am so, so grateful for that.
I would shout it from the rooftops if I could, JOIN YOUTH INTERNATIONAL!!! I promise you won't regret it!

Yes, I recommend
Elena
10/10

I traveled to Bolivia, Peru & Ecuador through Youth International's South America volunteer and exploration program Fall of 2016. My experience abroad has changed my life forever. When arriving at our first destination La, Paz Bolivia, I initially experienced some serious culture shock. With the support of my team leaders and fellow backpackers, I overcame all of the sudden changes and adjusted quickly. I allowed myself to become fully culturally immersed. By the end of the trip, I would have given anything to stay. I have too many "favorite memories" to just pick one. A few off of the top of my head would be hiking to the top of Mount Tunari in Bolivia, watching the sunrise from the Bolivian Amazon Jungle and swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands. I made many life-long friends through Youth International that I still keep in touch with to this day. The euphoric, beautiful, picturesque places we traveled to have never left my mind along with all of the locals I was fortunate enough to work with/meet. I honestly couldn't speak more highly of my time abroad with Youth International. It has changed my perception of the world as I see it and has truly given me a deeper appreciation for the Earth we live on. It has also introduced me to my extreme love for backpacking! To any future participants thinking about traveling through YI, I could not recommend it more! And please don't hesitate to reach out to me for more information/useful tips :) I feel extremely blessed and grateful to have been able to be a part of such an accredited and well developed youth organization that gives you a real experience in another country. Thank you!!!

Yes, I recommend

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