Lasting friendships, experiential learning, & personal growth

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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: " positive agents of change for a more hopeful, trusting and peaceful world."
Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
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