Youth International Asia Program: India, Nepal, and Thailand
95% Rating
(11 Reviews)

Youth International Asia Program: India, Nepal, and Thailand

College Credit available

Western State Colorado University and Youth International have partnered to offer college credit to Youth International participants. Courses are designed to enhance the existing experiential learning program through complimentary reading and reflective writing. 529 Savings Plan funds and AmeriCorps Education Awards may be used towards the course fee and the Youth International program fee.

Join Youth International in the fall of 2018 or spring of 2019 for a travel adventure in East Asia! This gap semester program immerses you in the cultures of Nepal, India, and Thailand over 13 weeks. While traveling with a group of 14 peers and 2 team leaders, participants experience diverse aspects of life in these countries. Dates for the fall 2018 program are: September 12 to December 11. A complete daily itinerary is available on the Youth International website.

Youth International offers you the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone by combining volunteering with outdoor adventure, home stays, and cultural immersion. About a third of your time abroad will involve volunteer work. Service projects for 2018 include: renovating a school in a Nepalese village and teaching English to children in a village in India.

  • Challenge yourself with a 9-day trek in the Himalayas in Nepal.
  • Lend a hand and give back by volunteering in needy communities.
  • Visit Bangkok, Delhi, and cultural wonders such as the Taj Mahal.
  • Explore Asian religions and philosophies, including a mediation retreat led by Tibetan Buddhist monks.
  • Learn about new cultures, foods, and languages by living in home stays.
Asia » Thailand » Bangkok
Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu
Asia » India » Agra
Asia » Nepal » Pokhara
Asia » India » Jaipur
Asia » India » Delhi
Asia » India » Himalaya
Age Min.
Age Max
Year Round
Small Group (1-15)
Host Family
Starting Price
Price Details
Cost is US$10,350 per semester. Includes all meals, lodging, overland travel, scheduled program activities including sightseeing and outdoor adventure, team leaders and in-country staff, orientation session in the USA, and educational materials. In addition to the program fee, participants must pay for their flights (on average approximately $1900), personal expenses, and individual free time activities. Personal expenses include health insurance, entry visas, and transportation to orientation in Colorado at the beginning of the program.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

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Show 1 - 11 of 11
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Janey Rose

life changing

I have tried many times, and there is no way to describe how amazing my experience was. I highly recommend this program. Every day we learned so much; culture, religion, society, and so much more. I could not have asked for better leaders. I truly felt like we were in control, not being led around by a tour guide. my confidence grew immensely and I feel highly capable of traveling solo. One of my favorite parts was staying in a village in northern India. I learned how to communicate without language and felt like I was truly making an impact on the lives of the students. The trek taught me so much about myself and I am extremely thankful. Now that I am in my first semester of college I am finding that the time I spent studying traditional Tibetan Buddhism and meditation in silence was extremely worthwhile. This trip is priceless and worth every second of your time.

How can this program be improved?

The communications with the program founder while abroad could be improved upon. I feel as if the interviewing process should be more thorough because this trip is not a vacation. The packing list could be revised.

Yes, I recommend
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Highly Recommended!

When looking at gap year programs post-graduating high school, I wanted to travel and be with a group of people my age to learn and experience new parts of the world together. Youth International was promising due to its constantly moving schedule and even though we were never settled in one place for weeks on end, the variety of cities and villages we visited has left a permanent footprint on myself and the future I want to make for myself.

How can this program be improved?

Personally, I would appreciate a female group leader as well as a male leader. For the Asia 2016 Fall Trip, I had the pleasure of travelling with and getting to know two ambitious, experienced, and extremely thoughtful men who led our group through Nepal, India, and Thailand; I could not have asked for better role models/team leaders. However, there were a number of times where I would have felt more comfortable to discuss certain topics of conversation or safety with a female group leader. That said, I am very grateful I got to know the leaders who traveled with us.

Yes, I recommend
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The Greatest Educational Experience Ever

I am now CEO and Co-Founder of an tourism company. But 10 years ago when I went on Youth International to Asia, I was a very different person. Youth International changed my life for the better, even though I thought I was already on the right path. It opened my eyes, mind, and soul to experiences and a way of life I had never walked in, and I am forever grateful for the positive impact this has had on me since. The program is extremely professionally executed, and while I have traveled to over 60 countries in the past 20 years, Youth International has been by far the best-run program I have been involved in. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to have found, and gone on, the Asia trip with Youth International, and I enjoy sharing details of the experience, even to this day, 10 years later, about this trip of a lifetime, this learning experience I am forever grateful for.

Yes, I recommend
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A program you can trust, with great contacts and years of success

YI was instrumental in shaping my priorities and worldview by giving me the opportunity to challenge myself and my ideas about the world and my place in it.

A few key features drew me to this program over other programs:
- homestays: I lived with a teacher for part of this program and assisted in her classroom
- educational opportunities: I took Indian cooking and music classes
- physical component: I took yoga classes and we did a several day meditation retreat (no talking!)
- community service component: I liked that this program doesn't advertise that you'll 'change the world' because Brad and the program staff know that what you learn is so much more than the otherwise feeble work we can offer (besides lots of awesome cross-cultural understanding and some lifelong friends... made all the easier now in a tech world!)
- small group that is responsible for itself: this program is great if you can't find buddies to travel with, but don't yet want to travel on your own
- program coordinator Brad has longstanding relationships with country organizers and logistics folks which allows for greater impact and learning
- that we traveled to many places, but spend a few days to a week (or more) in each place (at this point in my life I didn't want to stay in one place for a long time but sample lots of new things)
- ecotourism: halfway through we took a week 'holiday' in Thailand and went scuba diving and relaxed... it was a welcomed break before India

The couple that led our semester were wonderful leaders who had worked for the Peace Corps and other organizations, as well as traveled extensively on their own. We had much independence on the program, this being a program for youth who want something more than traveling on their own, but don't expect people to do all the travel work for them (eg. we'd know where we need to get our train tickets, but we'd have to get there and get the tickets as a group... so awesome to have this support and team atmosphere when traveling in Asia for the first time).

One strength of this program is that they're small, but have also been around for awhile. I went on the 2002 program (I think it was that year... it was definitely awhile ago)! In the decade-plus since I've completed my undergraduate degree, thesis-based masters program, teachers college and worked for several years around the world, but with focused work in remote fly-in communities in the Arctic.

This program is a great stepping stone to independence, exploration, and adventure...

Yes, I recommend
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My thoughts!

This program launches you into new situations and cultures-- I got to understand and make bonds with locals. I now feel that I could go anywhere in the world (and have since travelled throughout many countries, including South America and Europe). My favorite part of the program was the silent meditation retreat in Dharamsala. This was over three years ago and I have yet to encounter a more expanding and enlightening experience, as cliche as that may sound.
My leaders were incredible, I still have occasional contact with both of them.
The greatest aspect of this program is that it is truly authentic. It is a small organization, and therefore each of us got the chance to meet the head honcho, Brad Gillings. He is a great guy and an incredible facilitator. He has travelled to each of the locations and has set up healthy and constructive relationships with small communities in each of the countries. I appreciate this more and more as I learn more about the way that other programs are set up.

How can this program be improved?

I'm really not sure what to say here. I had SUCH an incredible experience and continue to draw from things I learned on this journey. I wish I could have been longer, I suppose, and that we had spent more time doing outdoor activities.

Yes, I recommend
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Great Gap year experience - YI Asia Fall 2012

I personally wanted to experience life outside of North America and Europe--see things I'd never seen and do things I'd never done. Most importantly, I wanted to challenge myself and the way I thought about the world. I had the most incredible experience of my life with YI. I'm not going to lie here: there are some really hard times--struggles adjusting. struggles with culture shock, struggles with the physical aspects (the treks, the hiking)--, but it is, without a doubt, all worth it. I learned so much about myself through the hardest times. Also, some of the best food in the world, easily.
YI also is so fairly priced! When I went in fall 2012, the cost of the program included the cost of flights, which was just unheard of, but we realized that there wasn't enough money set aside for all meals all the time--and we had a big screw up with a delayed flight that ended up costing YI a lot of money--, so they stopped covering flights and lowered the price a bit, adjusting for an increased food budget (which they handed out to us on the days when we didn't have group activities). Even considering that, the program is still very well priced. Many programs cost upwards of 12 or 13 thousand without flights and certainly without all of the incredible activities and experiences of YI.

Yes, I recommend
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Best Investment Ever!

I can't even begin to express how amazing this program is. It is a perfect combination of seeing a whole lot and also being embedded deep into the culture. Some of the fondest memories of my life are being in a remote village in India with no electricity and no one who spoke English. And yet, somehow, we were able to communicate through lingual and cultural boundaries and bond so much that we all cried when leaving a week later. This program also does an amazing job of stretching your money to see a whole lot. I highly recommend it.

Yes, I recommend
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YI was Amazing and Absolutely LifeChanging

I went on the Asia Trip in the fall of 2009 just after I graduated from high school. I knew I wasn't quite ready for college but I wanted to do something exciting and worth while. YI was exactly what I wanted. Just hours after getting off the plane in Bangkok we were walking around Thai open-air markets and century old palaces. Our first home stay was the perfect introduction to set the feel of the trip. We stayed and learned a lot about the indigenous people of the South Asian areas, which I'm now able to connect to nearly all of my college classroom topics. The time we spent with the Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala has stayed close to my heart ever since we left.
The entire trip was life changing and definitely shaped my future. I'm currently an International Studies Major with an Asian Studies focus and I'm leaving in about a month to study abroad for an entire year at the University of Hyderabad in India! Had it not been for YI I never would've had the courage and confidence to do this. I am so grateful for my experience and I wouldn't change it for anything.
I wish Brad would spend more money on advertising so everyone would know what a fabulous program he's made, but he truly gives everything he has into the experience.

Yes, I recommend
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One of the Most Formative Experiences of My Life

I did this trip in 2004 when I was 19. I had never left the country before, didn't speak any foreign languages, and was a year into a philosophy degree. My life has never been the same.

Within a week of getting on the plane in LA, I was living alongside Akha hill-tribesman in northern Thailand, eating dinner with the family, learning local words from the children, and participating in a village-wide plumbing project. Over the next three months, I lived with four host families; experienced how remarkably similar people are, regardless of context; and learned enough about development projects to know how much more I needed to know. Most of all, I found a calling.

Today I speak three languages, have traveled to ten countries, lived through a government revolution while in the Peace Corps, and work evaluating human experiences.

This is the path Youth International started me on. Where will it lead you?

Yes, I recommend
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Life changing experience

I went on a Youth International program during a year off before college in 2005 and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has a great balance of volunteer work, homestays, tourism, and treking. I recommend the program to anyone I know who is interested in international volunteering on a year or semester off.

Yes, I recommend
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Changed My Life!

It would be no stretch to say that YI change my life and had a profound effect on my career and life choices - I finished my Masters in International Health a year ago and am working for a global humanitarian organization in New York right now. I've traveled to almost 30 countries and it was YI that originally set me on this wonderful path!

Yes, I recommend

About The Provider

Youth International has been offering unique volunteer and educational programs abroad since 1997. Youth International offers 3-month programs in South America and Asia, with start dates in September and February each year. The South America program...