Click on the YouTube links below to watch video captured from the YMCA Global Teens program "which offers teens the opportunity to engage in the powerful journey of global discovery." Hear from the youth who participated talk about what made their experiences so powerful in their own words.
"In Their Own Words" - YMCA Global Teens:
Kids give back, have eyes opened:
One of the best ways to experience another culture is through it’s food, and no, Taco Bell doesn’t count. Neither does Olive Garden, Panda Express, or any other restaurant experience you have in your own neightborhood. It's better than nothing, but the epitome of food experience is eating the food in the land in which it originated, surrounded by the people of the culture and the culture itself. So, take a chance and get out of your comfort zone!
New York City teens eat a frog in Thailand - YMCA NYC:
"Imagine being 16 years old and arriving in Paris for the first time on a hot June morning. Your host family for the next month is waiting to take you by train to a small village called Oradour-sur-Glane. It is in the heart of France, where there are green hills and shimmering lakes, porcelain is made, and the villagers are some of the friendliest in the world.
This is the new trend for high school students--spending their summers traveling, learning, sightseeing, and experiencing cultures overseas. These students take their once idle summers and turn them into the adventure of a lifetime..." Opportunities Abound for High School Students By Vanessa Relli-Moreau
Sounds pretty glamorous doesn't it? But is it as easy as just hopping on a plane?
There seems to be no shortage of programs available for youth who want to travel (try Googling "Teen Travel" and see how many sites pop up!), and the costs can range from upwards of $10,000 to FREE or doing community service work in exchange. Where would you want to go? For how long? Do you want to focus on sight-seeing or staying with a host family? Go solo or with a group? The questions can get overwhelming pretty quickly so CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article above that might be helpful in narrowing the search for what will fit you best.
Many high schools and religious organizations have travel programs usually based around study and/or service work, so check at your school and any religious groups you have connection with as well.
Additional Exchange Programs and Resources
Online International Education and Travel Databases:
Long-Term Youth Exchange Programs
Generally youth exchange programs are geared for students 13-18 years of age. Program requirements vary, so check to make sure that you meet the application requirements.
The following is a sampling: