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6 Creative Ways To Be A Global Citizen At Home

A lot of us may still be adapting to the current situation we’re living in. Plans may be postponed until a later date and we may have to change the ways we keep in touch with friends and family. 

Despite these trying times though, there are still a lot of reasons to have hope for the future. Life will return to normal, and when it does, we will have a renewed sense of passion and inspiration to share with the world around us.

But why wait until this passes to make the world a better place? 

Even though you may be stuck at home right now, you can still be a global citizen and improve the lives of those around you without leaving your living room. Here are 6 creative ways to be a global citizen at home.

Learn a new language

When you learn a new language, you open yourself up to experiencing new cultures and meeting new people from around the world. It’s an exciting challenge to learn another language, and you’ll reap the benefits of doing it for the rest of your life. There are a lot of great language learning apps you can use at home to start learning a language today!

Get inspired by the world around you

You may have a lot of free time right now, and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn more about other countries and cultures! Do you dream of walking along the canals in Brugge, Belgium or exploring the beautiful beaches of Mexico? Now’s the perfect time to read more about these dream destinations! 

Celebrate a holiday from another country

Whether it’s dressing up and learning a new dance, singing a traditional song in a foreign language, or cooking a new type of food, there are a lot of different ways to celebrate different holidays from around the world. Now is a great opportunity to bring these celebrations into your own home! 

Find a cause you’re passionate about

Part of the Up With People experience is volunteering alongside the local communities we visit. Partnering with local schools, communities, agencies, and NGOs, we support a wide variety of causes throughout the year. While you’re at home, you can find a cause you’re passionate about and discover ways to make a difference in the world.

Hone your skills and talents

There are a lot of benefits to the performing arts. Without most of the distractions of daily life, now is the perfect time to be productive by practicing your talents. The world is waiting to see you perform, so make sure you’re ready for the spotlight!

Stay in contact through social media

With social media, it’s easier now than ever to stay in contact with the ones we love. And now it’s especially important that we help each other stay positive by growing our community and inspiring hope in others! Get involved with Up With People’s social media activities!

There are a lot of ways to connect with the world from your very own home. Discovering and pursuing your passions, exploring the world around you, and connecting with your community in new ways are just a few ideas.

Spreading hope and positivity will help us get through this difficult time. When life returns to normal, we’ll get back to traveling and making the world a better place through volunteering and the arts! 

zoom call thank you


Guest Post by Chad Emery

Why Volunteering Makes You Happy According to Science

It’s no secret that being around other people is more fun than being alone. Social relationships are described as one of the greatest single causes of a person’s overall state of happiness. Thanks to research done by the University of Minnesota, we now know that volunteering in fact creates social gain which “leads to more interaction, engagement, and trust” which all significantly impact a person’s mental health.

Up with People’s travel program advocates towards the awareness and empowerment towards social change on mental health. Over the last ten years, mental health issues have risen among young adults, with social media being one of the main causes. 

Between 2008 and 2017, the amount of adults that experienced serious psychological distress in the last month increased among most age groups, with the largest increases seen among younger adults aged 18-25 (71%). Notably, rates of serious psychological distress increased by 78% among adults aged 20-21 during the time period.” 

– National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Why does volunteering improve mental health? 

Gap year students volunteer abroad

While many factors contribute to happiness, a study completed by BMC Public Health shows that volunteering had positive effects depression, life satisfaction and well-being. There are many ways in which giving back can not only help the lives of others, but can greatly improve yourself as well. From reducing stress levels to finding a sense of purpose, there are many benefits that volunteering provides.

  • Increases self-confidence
  • Provides a sense of purpose
  • Allows you to stay physically healthy by decreasing blood pressure and the risk of heart disease (a recent study from the University of Exeter showed that volunteers had a 22% lower mortality rate than non-volunteers)
  • Encourages emotional connection through social interaction
  • Combats depression
  • Extends a sense of empathy where it may be lacking
  • Enables a solid support system
  • Provides valuable job skills and career experience
  • Improves social awareness

Up with People has contributed in communities around the world through their volunteer abroad program This semester-long program sends 100 young adults from more than 15 countries to travel and participate in various community service activities to not only improve the lives of others, but to help create impactful, global citizens. Some of the volunteer opportunities provided to students include, but are not limited to:

  • Leadership Programs in Schools
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Environmental Sustainability Projects
  • Parks and Recreation Assistance
  • Senior Living Centers

The benefits of volunteering far outweigh the consequences of remaining within your own social circle, regardless of how big or small it may be. Whether it is finding time within your local community, or being a part of a larger volunteering program like Up with People, there is always a way to give back and find happiness.

If you are ready to change your life, start by changing the lives of others. Learn how you can apply to travel in Up with People and start making a difference in the world.



“I will show love, I will
I will share hope, I will
I will believe we will…
We will”

I Will © Up with People


Seven Benefits From Volunteering Abroad

It’s hard to imagine a world outside of your backyard until you start to travel. Traveling in general can be an entirely new experience that allows you to learn a lot about yourself with great opportunity for personal growth. Volunteering abroad takes traveling to a completely new level and is, simply put, life changing.

Up with People cast members travel to various places throughout North America and Europe every semester volunteering in local cities to spread the mission of the organization. They collaborate with every community they visit and work together to address local issues, form community connections and make a long-lasting impact.

The benefits of volunteering abroad can seem pretty obvious, but to some it’s more about thinking outside of the box. Are you considering taking the leap?

Here are seven important lessons you can learn and benefits you can gain from your time volunteering overseas.

1. New friends come from all walks of life.

During your time visiting other countries, you’ll find yourself having conversations with people who all have different stories and cultural upbringings. The interpersonal skills you’ll learn from volunteering in another country will help you to relate and communicate with just about anyone. These soft skills are incredibly important in today’s workplace and will be another added bonus to put on your resume.

2. Your culture is not better than anyone else’s.

No matter how in depth your academic background is on global issues or international history, it is an entirely different and more personal education when you have the first-hand experience. It will help you to bridge the cultural gap and gain global perspective that we are all people and created equal.

3. Hot showers, electricity, microwaves, and proper bathrooms are all luxuries.

Many countries that are needing the assistance of volunteers may not necessarily have all the luxuries you may have in your daily life. Things like heating up a quick meal in the microwave or taking a hot shower may not be the norm, but the truth is that you will more than likely never hear anyone complain about these things.

4. You’ll have a greater sense of empathy for others.

Seeing the world through different eyes will allow you to become more of an empathetic person. You’ll be living alongside groups of people as they survive through their day-to-day challenges. You give a face to a global issue that makes it much harder to ignore as you build relationships with the people you impact and those who impact you.

5. You’ll have a greater sense of self value.

Whether it’s from learning a new language, traveling to new and foreign countries or perfecting a new skill, community service can help boost your confidence. You’ll be able to put yourself in just about any situation and mold right in with ease, improving your sense of self-worth.

6. You’ll find yourself being a happier person.

Aside from the obvious benefits of giving back through volunteering and community action projects, there is a true science behind the happiness that generosity brings. Time Magazine shared an article about a research study that was published in Nature Communications by researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland. The study showed that even just by thinking about giving back can help lower your stress levels and blood pressure.

7. The things we fret about on a daily basis will seem petty.

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “first world problems?” After immersing yourself into a completely different lifestyle, it will drastically help shift your overall perception of day-to-day life. Things that seemed annoying or frustrating like sitting in traffic or your printer not working, will start to seem petty and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Finding a little perspective while traveling will lead to a much more positive approach on life.


Woah, what can I do?
I’m just one person … one person.
Woah, what can I do?
I’m just one person same as you.

One Person (What Can I Do?) © Up with People

5 Benefits Of Staying With Host Families While Traveling

While Up with People program participants travel the world they stay not in hotels, dorm rooms, or hostels but with local host families. This can be one of the most rewarding benefits of the travel experience because it instantly gets the traveler that much closer to the local culture. Living with a host family is an adventure within an adventure and an experience that many never forget.

What are the benefits of staying with a host family? We’re so glad you asked.

You Get To Live Like A Local

Learn what locals like to do, where they like to go and what it’s really like inside their families. While living with host families you will have the opportunity to learn how to cook local dishes, try out new games, or discover things to do in the area not mentioned in guide books. At Up with People we have something called “host family days” where participants get to spend an entire day with their host family each week seeing the local sights and doing what locals do.

Enjoy Local Traditional Home Cooked Meals

During each Up with People show we like to take the time on stage to thank our host families for opening up their homes and their refrigerators. Getting to eat a home cooked meal and try new dishes, share new recipes and partake in family meals is an incredible experience hotels simply can’t offer. Breaking bread with those across borders is an incredible way to get to know people and share stories.

Language Learning And Practice

The key to learning a new language is to get over your fear of making mistakes – and your host family is a great place to practice your conversation skills. They talk like ”real people,” so you’ll hear a lot of idioms, phrases, and expression that you might not learn in a textbook. You also must force yourself to practice all day, every day which will accelerate learning.

Real Life Cultural Lessons

Living with a host family gives you the ability to ask a local about traditions you’re curious about. Not only do host families have experience in answering the questions of international travelers, if they have hosted guests previously, they also provide a warm, loving environment for asking important questions you may not feel comfortable asking anyone else.

You Gain A Second Family

In Up with People you stay with a new host family every week while on the road. During this time you may gain a second, third, fourth or who knows how many new families spread out all over the world! Many of these families remain in contact with you for the rest of your life and lead to future trips. Host families can become one of the biggest reasons to visit again and again. Many first time travelers also experience homesickness and having a new family abroad can help combat those symptoms.

When considering taking a semester off of college – perhaps with  a gap year or study abroad program – one should strongly consider options that allow them to live with host families. Learn more about how you can be part of an Up with People cast at


The Importance of National and Global Service: Who Benefits More?

In honor of World Humanitarian Day August 19th, guest post from Up with People President & CEO Dale Penny:

Photo Courtesy of

Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

Ever since President Kennedy issued that call at his inaugural address in 1961 which resulted in the launch of the Peace Corps, Americans and people worldwide have responded by seeking ways to volunteer in service to others. Today thousands of nonprofit organizations (NGO’s) offer opportunities to improve conditions in every corner of the world.

In the U.S. the national service movement was renewed after President Clinton launched AmeriCorps in the early 1990’s. Since then over 800,000 citizens, mostly young people, have served in AmeriCorps related programs and provided over 1 billion hours of service throughout the nation. And that is in the United States alone. That number is multiplied on a global scale.

Through it all, there has been an ongoing debate about who benefits more through the service – those served or the volunteers who serve. The argument began early in the Peace Corps years as returned volunteers spoke with pride of what they had accomplished but almost always ended by saying “but no one got more out of it than I.”

Studies indicate the major value of service to the communities served are:  being an extra workforce to support professionals providing needed services e.g. teachers, medical personnel, construction projects, human service workers, land managers, etc. Volunteers help strengthen communities by supporting the social needs that tie communities together.   

Those who serve/volunteer report increased civic engagement and commitment to citizenship, development of life skills, understanding and compassion for those in need, increased professional skills that impact their career development and personal fulfillment from giving of oneself to benefit others.

So who benefits more? If we measure the grand sum of all those billions of hours giving to others throughout the world, it is clear that the impact of service programs have provided unquestioned value to lift the quality of life for millions of people in need by preserving the environment, educating children building homes and schools, caring for the sick and strengthening the social fabric.

On an individual scale, however, the life-changing impact on the volunteer is profound. For many, if not most, it ignites a flame of commitment to make a difference in the lives of their fellow citizens that will live with them and help shape their lives forever.

The key to maximizing the benefit for all, however, is to keep the focus on those who are being served. If the volunteers’ motivation is primarily to build their resumes and skills, they will neither give the best to those they are serving nor will they gain the most from the experience.  Service is at its core a gift to others. So long as that is the primary goal, both sides will get the most from the service.


Volunteer Travel: How Volunteering Benefits You And Your Host Country

Up with People takes the concept of service and volunteerism deeper than most travel programs. Each week, participants volunteer with schools and non-profit organizations to meet a community need and spark action in local community members that will continue to make an impact well beyond UWP’s visit. In fact, on average each participant completes 200 hours of service in a semester! By working directly with local citizens, together we create communities of action who understand their ability and responsibility to tend to the issues facing their cities and towns for the long term.

Examples of Community Action projects include:

  • School projects at elementary schools, secondary schools, and universities
  • Community clean-ups
  • Visiting patients in hospitals or other care facilities
  • Working with special needs groups, such as those who are terminally ill, disabled, underprivileged or homeless.
  • Painting, building, improving, etc. buildings or other structures
  • Outdoor projects impacting parks and trails

How does volunteering benefit you and your host country while traveling? Let’s take a closer look.

Connects Community to the World

When you travel across the ocean and cross borders, people you meet might not know much about anything outside the place where they’ve always lived. Therefore, you become the connecting link between them and the world. In person connection with people from another country is the most powerful way to build bridges of understanding between cultures.

Develop Sensitivity to Other Cultures

In turn, you may have never been anywhere outside of your own community. Volunteers learn about body language, gestures and conversational customs that may differ between their home country and the country in which they are volunteering, to avoid the risk of accidentally causing offense. The lessons are fascinating and often humbling, leading volunteers to reflect on how their behaviour comes across to others in daily life and especially while traveling around the world.

Gives Community Members Hope

Volunteer work can many times involve working with people who are otherwise neglected by society in some way. What you have to offer them might appear very negligible to you, but for them, your time and commitment is immensely valuable as it’s a source of hope and happiness

Develop Emotional Intelligence

An immersive volunteering experience can help you in developing personal and professional skills, including cross-cultural communication, interpersonal communication and empathy. These skills are best learned in the real world by putting down our phones and getting involved.

Career Boost

During job interviews after your volunteer experience abroad you will have an incredible set of real world skills that you have learned while abroad. In competitive job markets your experiences may be just the thing to separate you from others vying for the same opportunities.

Develop Leadership Skills

As a volunteer abroad, you will almost always be put in a position of leadership. Whether this is for a small group of people or a whole team, being able to manage effectively will push your career prospects one step further.

Form Lifelong Bonds

We see it happen each year. Up with People participants form lifelong friendships because they are changing the world together. The feeling of accomplishment that comes from helping communities you visit while traveling is incredibly powerful among groups and leads to lifelong bonds.

Develop New Language Skills

Volunteering and working in another country is hands down the best way to learn the language: hearing it spoken around you and using it yourself in real life situations. If your volunteer work abroad involves teaching English, you’ll develop your English written and verbal skills at the same time.


Short-Term Study Abroad

A fast-growing segment in the study-abroad market is the short term (one- to two-week) study abroad option, often falling just after Spring term at many colleges and universities. According to the 2017 Open Doors® Report on Study Abroad short-term study abroad participation has grown over the past 5 years. The reasons for this increase include mounting education costs and more demanding academic requirements leaving many students feeling like a short program is all they can squeeze in. A new and unique offering in this segment is the two-week program offered by Arizona State University, in partnership with one of the original gap-year programs, Up with People.

This experience offers full cultural immersion in two European destinations, and includes a unique blend of performing arts, international travel, and community service. Students opting for this program live with local host families and experience the world with over 100 international cast mates, while also getting a taste of what it’s like to perform in front of thousands of Up with People fans in a professionally produced musical show.

The first cohort in this program occurred May 6-21, 2018, in Næstved, Denmark and Bruges, Belgium. According to Aliyah, an ASU program participant: “As a music education major it’s been really helpful for me to see the different aspects of organizational leadership in Up with People. There are so many things in this program that are applicable to anyone at ASU, such as living in a host family, doing community service, being part of the show and seeing that kind of production. It can really help you in different aspects of your career.”

According to Eric Lentz, UWP’s Senior Vice President, “We already have world-renowned semester- and year-long gap year programs; this new initiative is an opportunity to welcome students to the magic of the Up with People international tour for a few weeks. We hope to partner with the study abroad departments at other colleges and universities to offer short-term program options for their students, and, in doing so, expose more young people to the Up with People touring program.”

In addition to this unique two-week option, you can discover more about ASU’s study abroad programs here:

More information on Up with People’s semester-long touring program, and other short-term options, can be found here:

In addition to short-term study abroad programs young people are increasingly participating in short-term non-credit travel. In fact, Open Doors® reported that 23,125 U.S. students participated in non-credit work, internships, and volunteering abroad in 2016 alone. Up with People offers more ways for people to travel short-term including the eXperience and IMPACT Programs addressing the needs of those who are not seeking academic credit. The week-long IMPACT Program combines volunteer work and regional learning opportunities, all alongside the internationally diverse Up with People cast (100 college-aged students from over fifteen different countries).  All elements in the IMPACT program are developed by Up with People with the collaboration of local partners and communities.

Along with the volunteer work participants take guided tours to some of the area’s top historical and cultural destinations and are special guests at Up with People backstage tours and public performances.

This unique international travel program gives participants a chance to experience exciting destinations with a new twist. Expose yourself to culture, service, travel, and even the performing arts.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ― Terry Pratchett


10 Easy Travel Hacks To Make You A Better Traveler

While travel is one of our favorite things we recognize that sometimes trips could go just a little more smoothly. These simple travel hacks can save you time, money, and at times your sense of sanity. So before heading out on your next great adventure be sure to use a few of these pro travel hacks!

Use a Sunglasses Case For Power Cords

The more helpful electronic devices we pack the more of a pain tangled power cords can be. There is a very simple solution! Pack an extra sunglasses case to store those power cords. This offers a lightweight and efficient way to keep your power cords from somehow getting buried and tied together at the bottom of your carry-on.

Browse Flights and Hotels In “Incognito Mode” or “Private Browsing” To Save Money

If you’re like most people when you set out to buy a flight or book a hotel you browse prices, then check a couple other sites, and then possibly go back to the booking sites multiple times. This can cost you big time because those sites plant cookies on your computer and then based on the places you are searching for flights or a room, start to incrementally raise the prices on the very thing you want to book. All while the rest of the world is seeing a cheaper price for the same room or flight! Chances are that if you have already searched a flight once and don’t book, the next time you search that flight you will be shown a more expensive price. Simply browsing in private mode will allow you to save money.

Stop Folding Your Clothes

It’s time to stop the madness. If you are having trouble packing and fitting all of your clothes in that stuffed-to-the-brim suitcase it’s because you are a folder. Rolling your clothes is a much better option and has been proven to more efficiently fill the space in your luggage. Try rolling your clothes next time you pack.

Email A Photo Of Your Passport To Yourself And Family Member

We tell our new program participants that despite your best efforts, you may lose your passport. No one wants the hassle of getting a replacement especially without the proper documentation or proof that can speed up the process of getting a new one. When headed overseas be sure to take a photo of your passport and email that photo to yourself and a family member. You’ll thank yourself later in case it goes missing.

Bring An Empty Water Bottle

Everyone knows that the prices for food and water at airports is higher than almost everywhere else. So why keep paying big money for bottles of water? On a typical international trip you could save a lot of money by simply packing an empty water bottle to fill at airports for free. This also has the added benefit of helping the environment.

Use Shower Caps On Your Shoes

Most people walk a lot while exploring a city and this means the bottom of your shoes have slopped through some very dirty things. Then without a thought most of us place those dirty shoes right back into our luggage. Yuck! Luckily there is a simple solution. Simply wrap the bottom of your shoes in a shower cap to keep the germs on the bottom of your shoes and not all over your clothes. Many hotels provide shower caps for free.

Fight Jet Lag With Exercise

There are many ways to fight jet lag (see post – Tested Traveler Tips On Avoiding Jet Lag) but one of the best is exercise. It is one of the only scientifically proven ways to get over that sluggish feeling that comes from international travel. Hit the hotel gym or go for a jog and you will feel better in no time.

Hide Money In An Empty Lip Balm Tube

If someone wants to lift a little cash from your purse or bag where is the last place they would look? Your lip balm tube! This takes a wider lip balm tube of course but this hack offers a failsafe way to keep your money hidden from a would-be thief.

Pack A Dryer Sheet

We all pack dirty clothes when headed home or between stops on a multi-country trip. Those clothes can get pretty stinky which then make clean clothes smell too. Putting a new dryer sheet in your luggage can keep everything smelling like fresh air!

Download A Google Map Of Your Destination

You won’t always have access to Wi-Fi while traveling so make sure to download a digital version of your destination before you leave. When you download a Google Map to your device it allows you to access that map without Wi-Fi. This can also save you big on international roaming charges.


Tips For Raising A Global Child

It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of information out there about good parenting. At the end of the day we simply want what’s best for our kids. As our children prepare for college, and enter the workforce it’s easy to overlook soft skills that are critical to cross-cultural competence and communication. Developing a global mindset is extremely important in today’s interconnected and globalized economies. But how do we raise a global child? How do we prepare our kids to be ready for the real world we live in? In the spirit of Mother’s Day we asked the parents of Up with People alumni for their own tips on how to raise a well prepared global child.

Kerri Agusto is a Psychology Professor at Becker College. One of the core values of Becker College is the promotion of Global Citizenship. Kerri also happens to be the proud mother of Up with People participant Nate who is traveling the world with Up with People.

Kerri’s Tips On Raising A Global Child:

It is well-known that the 21st Century worker is expected to be a “global citizen”.  However, the definition of “global citizen” is often so varied that it leaves parents at a loss.  On one side is the very narrow definition that focuses on being multilingual. While this is a wonderful goal, in the US, where most schools teach in English and most children have the option of only a few years of French or Spanish education, fluency in more than one language is hard to come by without home immersion. On the other end of the spectrum is the ideal of relocating children to new cultures/countries for extended periods of time.  The idea is that they can become “global citizens” by moving out of their comfort zones to be immersed in different cultures to acquire an appreciation for new ways of viewing and living in the world. But, this ideal is only available to the few very wealthy individuals who can get paid while living in different places around the world.

So how do the rest of us help our children prepare to thrive and lead in a global society? Kerri explains…

Perhaps the easiest way is by providing children with opportunities to serve others.  Numerous churches, schools, and nonprofits around the country provide service opportunities for people in need.  Often these people are in low-income situations, are homeless, are disabled, or are members of other marginalized groups.  Another way to increase global perspectives in youth is to expose them to foods from different cultures, and to various religions, experienced through services at different places of worship.  Young children can be encouraged to read fables from around the world, to listen to music from different parts of the world, and read nonfiction accounts of children and teens from around the world.  As children get older, they can be encouraged to study courses such as “Understanding Diversity” or “Religions of the World.”

But truthfully, no course or short-term experience can substitute for immersion in the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of a different country/culture.  So if finances allow, children should be encouraged to embrace any and all opportunities for travel. Unfortunately, most of the time these experiences are for a week or 10 days on a cruise ship or perhaps with a tour group.  Traveling to a new country on vacation is better than nothing, but when you travel as a tourist, you see the country through rose colored glasses. When possible, children should have opportunities to see the world through the eyes of its local inhabitants.  Traveling with a service organization is one of the safest and surest ways to do this, as service groups typically avoid the pricey hotels and tourist markets and take advantage of lower cost opportunities with locals [host families] who are willing to share their homes or show-off their localities with the pride that comes from living and working in a place you call “home.”  Another opportunity comes from the chance to “study abroad” when in College. These semester long experiences can be challenging, but also rewarding (and often lower in cost than studying domestically!).

Personally, I have a child who was adopted from Cambodia.  Before adopting him we took a class on international adoption and the take-home message was to allow our child to embrace his culture of origin even if we raised him as an American.  As Nate grew, we brought him to Dragon Boat festivals in Lowell, MA, exposed him to wonderful Cambodian restaurants, and read him many fables from Cambodia and Thailand and Laos. He did not have much interest in any of this — or so we thought.  But as he grew into his teens, he began collecting Cambodian flags and art. He was interested in news about his birthplace. And at 16 he expressed a desire to go back and see where he was born. We found a service learning group with a 3 week adventure to Cambodia and we gave this trip to Nate as a graduation gift after high school.  When he returned he glowed with pride. He had experienced building a lavatory for a school in Cambodia, playing with the children in the school and seeing the great wonder of Ankor Wat and other temples. He shopped for foods in local markets and cooked traditional foods with the locals. His pride in the land of his birth was exponentially greater when he returned — as was his appreciation for the luxuries provided in his Massachusetts home.

Up with People is a natural extension of this experience for Nate.  Nate’s vocational goals are undecided. He is not one who enjoys school, and though he did well in the College classes he took  (including Religions of the World!) while waiting to begin UWP, he was not enjoying it or finding a passion. Nate wants to serve others.  He is not materialistic at all and wants for little. Money does not motivate him. What motivates him is helping others and being recognized and appreciated as a “good person.”  UWP gives him this opportunity.  And hopefully he will find a way to turn this experience into some direction for his future.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of helping our children become global children is to see them blossom and thrive.

Kerry says, “I am watching my caterpillar crawl out of his cocoon…. And what I’m seeing is an absolutely amazing butterfly getting ready to take on the world.  That’s what travel has done for my child. That’s how UWP has impacted his life.  Where he flies after this is anyone’s guess.  But I have no doubt he will land in many places and he will always bring with him a sense of curiosity and compassion.”

Jill Wright had three kids travel with Up With People. When asked about raising a global child Jill had this to say…

“Our son, Cameron, traveled for a full year. He probably had the most impactful experience, as he was struggling with life at the time, and after seeing Kara’s experience, we thought UWP could be great for Cameron. It was! He could not sing or dance to save his life, but toured as their drummer and loved it!

Cameron blossomed from a rather lost soul who had been fearful of travel to a global citizen, landing both education and stage internships, and returning home to reboot his college education with a fiery passion. His confidence soared, and he even led round table discussions with community leaders! Along with that, he now has some great friends in many different countries. I believe their experiences have shaped them to be more deeply invested towards others, and I am rather proud of them all!”

Happy Mother’s Day and a special thank you to Kerri and Jill for sharing their stories!


Why Travel Is Good For You

Many of us spend our days between trips planning and daydreaming about the next great adventure. We look at pictures of interesting places online and wonder what great fun awaits us in faraway lands. But did you know that like vitamins, travel can actually be good for us? Up with People participants (who at the time of this writing are in the middle of an amazing week in Canún, Mexico) know this to be true. Anybody who has traveled outside his or her comfort zone can attest to the excitement that comes from being in a new environment. As research has shown, travel is not only fun; it also offers the following benefits to our overall health and wellbeing.

Travel Science

Have you heard of the “wanderlust gene” called DRD4-7R? The 7R variation of this DRD4 gene is found in about 20% of humans and is associated with an abnormally increased level of restlessness and curiosity. Many psychologists and scientists have suggested that this gene could lead people to take bigger risks, which includes a nearly unquenchable thirst for travel.

An evolutionary biologist at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute says that the “…DRD4 gene and the consequent extra dopamine may have helped provoke prehistoric man to leave home and explore other territories in hopes of finding food, mates, and shelter … that biological background might have morphed into modern day wanderlust.”

A Kaplan University biologist, Dawn Maslar, goes further: “The wanderlust gene is so powerful. It appears that the DRD4 gene is more predominant in the traveling type person.”

We can’t help it! Travel is in our DNA!

It turns out travel also fights dementia. This is because travel promotes brain health by building resilience in your brain cells. This is supposed to delay degenerative disease. People who travel also live longer. Nice!

Travel Psychology

According to numerous studies travel can lead to significant personality changes. People become more empathetic, generous, report higher levels of emotional stability, and tend to return from their journeys entirely different than when they first set out.

Travel has also been proven to enhance creativity, sparking synapses in the brain and affecting our neural pathways. Because of this, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that the more you immerse yourself in foreign cultures, the more creative and professionally successful you will be.

Travel Business

Giant empires have been started because some man or woman decided that they needed to get away from it all for a while. Large companies like Toms, Warby Parker, Kayak and Noosa Yogurt were all formed because their founders hit the road to discover their next big idea. Or simply hit the road for the thrill of it and a fortunate side effect was a multi-million dollar company.

Without travel we wouldn’t have Instagram. The lightbulb moment for founder Kevin Systrom came on a beach in Mexico while on vacation with his wife, Nicole. She explained that she probably wouldn’t post pics on any app because her photos don’t look as good as skilled photographers. And boom, the idea hit them. They decided to add filters to an earlier version of the app and Instagram as we know it was born. All because the couple decided to stay at a bed and breakfast in a foreign country to clear out the old cobwebs in the creative centers of the brain. The very first picture posted to Instagram is of a stray dog and a taco stand in Mexico posted by Kevin on that very trip.

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The ride sharing service Lyft can thank its success to many things, not least of which is travel. Founder Logan Green decided to take a trip to Africa, visiting Namibia, Cape Town, Botswana and Zimbabwe. On the trip he started noticing shared-ride vans called kombis.

Compared to his home in L.A. where traffic is at best a nightmare, Zimbabwe had quiet streets. Most people rode bikes, walked or took a kombi. People there simply don’t own private vehicles in the incredible numbers seen in the United States. Shared rides were the norm and because of this Green saw an opportunity. He returned to California to start Zimride, which he named after his experience in Africa. Zimride eventually became what we know now as Lyft.

Travel doesn’t always have to be inspirational. It can tick you off sometimes. And this anger can also be good for your creativity. The billionaire Richard Branson was so incredibly ticked off by a canceled flight that he arranged a chartered flight for himself and the rest of his fellow stranded passengers. This irritating inconvenience sparked what would become Virgin Airlines. It’s no wonder Branson famously said, “I got my education out in the world. In my opinion, real life learning is the only way forward.”

Better plan your next trip. It’s practically doctor prescribed. Learn more about traveling in Up with People’s global education program today.