International playlist

Jenn Gifford - Friday, October 24, 2014

Are you tired of the music that you’re listening? Up with People participants recommended songs which are representing different cultures and languages. Find your favorites and update your playlist!

Julien, Belgium
Stromae: Alors on danse

Lotta, Finland
Haloo Helsinki: Maailma on tehty meitä varten

Tanya, France
Edith Piaf: Je ne regrette rien

Viola, Germany
Andreas Bourani: Auf Uns

Momoko, Japan
Ai: Happiness

Monse, Mexico
Pepe Aguilar: Perdono y olvido

Andrea, Mexico
Luis Miguel: Mexico en la piel

Swikriti, Nepal
Kutumba: Pariwartan

Charlie, The Netherlands
Trijntje Oosterhuis- Nu dat jij er bent

Beate, Norway
Ylvis: Truckers Hitch

Adina, Sweden
Avicii: Hey Brother

Manuel, Switzerland
Manu-L ft Remady: Holidays

Maxine, Taiwan
Heartbeat of Taiwan

Carly, Wyoming, USA
Lady Antebellum, Downtown

Ben B, Southwest USA
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top

Miguel, Arizona, USA
Jordan Sparks: No air

A different Regional Learning

Jenn Gifford - Tuesday, October 21, 2014
By Maria Bossius, Sweden

Cast B 2014 had the amazing opportunity to visit the famous candy factory De la Rosa during our week in Guadalajara. We were taken on a guided tour through the factory and got to see all the different rooms were the candy is produced. It was really interesting to see all the machines that make the candy and also how incredibly fast it goes. I think all of us felt like we found a golden ticket and were invited to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory!
My favorite room was definitely the room were all the chocolate was made. When we got there, they were making chocolate covered marshmallows and it smelled amazing!

I was surprised by how big the factory was and by all the candy that’s being produced by De la Rosa. De La Rosa was kind enough to give us some of the candy (it tasted DELICIOUS), but they also donated a lot of candy that we will give to the people of Cuba when we go there!

Internships and Assistantships

Jenn Gifford - Friday, October 10, 2014

By Maria Bossius 

There are so many different opportunities to grow and gain experience in Up with People. One of them is to have an internship or assistantship. Up with People offers every student the chance to apply for either an internship or assistantship. The internships and assistantships which are divided into three different rounds and last for five weeks are there to give you a better insight on the organisation.

The internships and assistantships cover every single aspect of Up with People, which include business, admissions, production, education, operations and promotion. I decided to apply for the Sound internship for the first round, and I got it! The internship started right away and I was literally thrown into it. I had no experience of being a sound technician, so there was a lot to learn.

The first weeks I worked a lot together with Darlene, our sound technician and also one of my favourite people, and we talked about my goals and expectations for the internship. As I started to get more comfortable with my internship, I got the chance to be a leader and teach others what I had learned, and also to be more independent.
I decided to apply for the sound internship because I wanted to grow more as a person. I wanted to learn more about myself, what I am good at and what I need to work on. I was also very excited about working with a staff member, and learning about how it is to work for Up with People in general.

My sound internship helped me to grow in so many different ways. It was challenging but tons of fun and I discovered new skills that I never noticed before. I learned how I react in certain situations and how I work together with other people. My internship also opened my eyes for different career options for the future. 

A day in the Shankha Community (Toluca, Mexico)

Jenn Gifford - Tuesday, October 07, 2014

By Lotta Lundell, Finland

On Wednesday five of us from the cast headed to Shankha Community (Comunidad Shankha) to do a community impact project. The community is run by 11 young adults who met in the community that share the same values. Everything in the community is organic and vegetarian and they are growing a big amount of that food by themselves. They’re renting a building to run activities like yoga classes, wood working as well as a vegetarian restaurant and cafeteria. Even though the building is still under construction, Shankha community is opening its doors for workshops and the organic vegetarian restaurant every Saturday.

The reason we were there was to help them renovate their building. We took existing paint off the walls in the cafeteria in order for them to repaint it and make it look nice.

One of the members of the Shankha community said that they’re really making an impact with their values and way of living.  The public response has been very positive; people who visit the community have shown a lot of interest, asking questions and expressing excitement. 

I was inspired by what one of the community members said, “Nothing is going to change in the world if the people of the world aren’t taking action.” For me this message is very important. I believe that every one of us can be that first person to make a positive difference in the world. 

I was happy to see how the members of the Shankha community worked together and shared the belief that everything is possible. We ended the day by sitting in a circle with more Up with People students and community members while we ate the delicious organic vegetarian meal that they cooked for us.

Viva Mexico!

Jenn Gifford - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

By: Cameron Rodeck, Wyoming, USA

Mexico.  Wow, it’s good to be back!   This is such a special place, full of wonderful culture, but even more importantly, full of wonderful people.  As a second semester student, I’ve had the privilege of visiting Mexico City on both of my international tours.  

I must confess that prior to my involvement in Up with People, I was apprehensive of traveling to Mexico.  My view of Mexico had been clouded with stereotypes – many of them negative.  However, what I’ve come to know, enjoy, and admire is a country full of adventure, enchanting culture, and rich hospitality.

There are so many adventures to be had in Mexico City.  With over 20 million people in the Mexico City metropolitan area – there is lots of action – everywhere!  Whether you’re riding in a car with a host family, on your way to a volunteer site via bus, or navigating the subway with the whole cast to experience a regional learning activity – there are always adventures to be had in colorful Mexico City.  With shops, street performers, and sidewalk vendors in abundance there is much to see and experience.

Mexico’s historic and cultural heritage is amazing as well.  The Cast visited the Castillo de Chapultepec for regional learning – this incredible museum provides a beautiful glimpse into Mexico’s rich history.  The view from the Castillo is stunning as the panoramic scene from the black and white checkered patio overlooks modern skyscrapers and stone monuments.  The Cast also had the opportunity to visit the Pyramids of Teotihuaćan – much of their story and culture is unknown, but the view from the 63 meter-tall Pyramid of the Sun is breathtaking, both because of its beauty and because the steep incline of stairs is a keen reminder of the high altitude.  After exploring the pyramids Cast B enjoyed some authentic Mexican cuisine at a colorfully adorned restaurant nearby.  The stories and lore of Mexican history along with all the bright colors, ancient and modern architecture, and festive food create a culture of enchantment.

In addition to having an enchanting culture, Mexico knows hospitality!  I was welcomed to Mexico City by a wonderful host family – they truly went above and beyond to make the week a special one.  Most host families plan special activities for host family day; however, my Mexican host family planned special activities throughout the week in addition to planning an amazing host family day.  I enjoyed their favorite ice cream, Beso de Angel, in the historic Coyoaćan Park and visited one of their favorite restaurants, trying a plethora of Mexican cuisine.  I experienced a bird’s-eye view of the most populous city in North America as they took me up 42 floors in the Latin-America Tower.  Somehow, we also managed to visit the Cathedral, had dinner overlooking the historic center of Mexico City, visited the “magic town” of Malinalco, climbed through a sub-tropic forest to some ancient ruins, and visited UNAM - the oldest university on the continent.  It was a fast-paced, fun-filled week of Mexican hospitality at its finest.

Whether it’s exploring the Pyramids, riding in the Mexico City Subway, trying new foods with a wonderful host family, experiencing a Castillo, or learning how to communicate in a foreign language to students during a classroom workshop – Mexico has so much to offer as a reward for those who accept the challenge: Step away from the stereotypes and towards exciting adventures, robust culture, and true hospitality.  Viva México!

Harrisonburg, Virginia

Jenn Gifford - Thursday, September 25, 2014

By Joram, Belgium

After almost two months from the beginning of our tour, we left Plymouth MA for our first long travel day to our last city in the USA, Harrisonburg, VA. We left the beautiful town around 6 AM, all still very sleepy yet exited to meet our new host families. The trip took about 12 hours. It was long, but at the same time it allowed us to get to know each other even better. All of our days are so busy that we don’t always have the time for real in depth conversations, and this long bus ride was the perfect moment to do just that!

Our show took place in the eastern Mennonite school, and the connection with the students was amazing! One of the teachers in the school asked Up with People to give a presentation about the governments of the countries that are represented in our Cast. Together with Emily (Sweden), Manuel (Switzerland), Daniel (Mexico) and Swikriti (Nepal), we talked about our local governments. The students were extremely interactive and asked us many questions. We were so amazed and interested by the governments of our other cast members that we continued talking about the subject even during the break. At that moment I realized one thing: how often do you have the possibility to be in the same room with people from 5 different countries that are teaching you about their government? Yes, indeed in Up with People. Even so, there were only 5 countries in the presentation, which means we still have 10 other countries that we can learn from in our group! I’m so thankful to be part of cast B 2014 and to be able to go back home with so much more knowledge.

We all knew that we had to leave USA one day, but it came faster than we thought. On Sunday we closed our USA chapter with a fantastic campfire, thinking back to the last 2 months, and preparing for our new adventure, MEXICO!

Yet another incredible week for our UWP participants in Laconia!

Jenn Gifford - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

By Tanya Colton, France

Laconia, New Hampshire has not had an Up with People (UWP) show in the last 16 years. This allowed us as a group to both experience amazing audiences that were really excited to see us back in the town and meet wonderful people on CI sites as well as in host families during our week here. 

This week during our Saturday show, I had a great experience meeting a young woman of 14 years that is a very keen potential future UWP participant. She and I had a wonderful conversation on how we, as UWP participants, try to translate our message to our audiences. This young lady told me that she was always hooked to her phone and never really paid attention to the world around her. However, after coming to our show, she understood that she never realized the severity of the many world events that are happening around due to always being on her phone. She then decided to stop and look around more. 

This conversation made me realize how much we impact people while we perform. It's a realization I'm glad I've made. 

We're progressing through the tour and it never fails to amaze me the amount of people who get touched just by what we do. 

Historical Facts and Memorable Experiences!

Jenn Gifford - Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Having the opportunity to travel around the world and seeing all different kinds of cultures and cities has made me value the little things that make each of those places unique.

By: Giselle Kuri, Mexico

My name is Giselle Kuri and I am Promotion Manager for Up with People, so I have had the chance to travel with a purpose while interacting with cultures from all over the earth for the past year and a half. I have been living in Plymouth for the past 3 weeks with a wonderful family, and I have really gotten engaged to the story and culture of this region. 

Coming from Mexico, I have had a fantastic experience discovering the history behind the United States and I have enjoyed hearing how proud people are to belong to America's hometown! I learned that in September of 1620, about 100 pilgrims came to America looking for freedom and with that trip they changed the course of the world. I like to think that we are doing the same now by bringing 100 students from 15 countries to Plymouth during the week of September 8-15.

In Up with People this semester we have 100 students from 15 different countries who are dedicating these six months to volunteer and make an impact around the world. Every week, our group travels to a different city where we work with local organizations. We live with host families and then share the message of global understanding through a professional performance that features songs and dances from all over the world, original music and pop medleys.

I am very proud to have the opportunity to be one of the people organizing this visit to the South Shore that Rogers & Gray is making happen as they did 2 years ago when they first sponsored us to come here. I have seen the power that the cast has when impacting the communities we visit and I believe that we are making history as the pilgrims did almost 400 years ago. I hope to have a lot people joining us for the performances on September 12 and 14 at the Plymouth Memorial Hall to enjoy a dynamic, cultural, life-changing show! 

The proceeds from both performances will benefit Rogers & Gray Charitable Foundation.

Tickets available at:

Cumberland, RI

Jenn Gifford - Thursday, September 04, 2014

By TJ Neilson, Colorado, USA


My name is TJ Neilson and this is my first semester in Up With People.

We are currently in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Although this is only our second stop in our tour, so much has already happened. I am rooming with Kota, the drummer in our cast this semester and we have a wonderful host mother named Claudette. She lives in a house with a wonderful view of a hillside that used to hold milk cows. Her daughter is an UWP alumna.

Monday was a travel day, and after some regional learning in Boston, we arrived in RI. My first real impression in Rhode Island was the building we arrived at; a gorgeous church with scenery to match. After arriving at the church we spent some time with our home-teams where we shared our “Highs” and “Lows” of the week before and played charades! After our home-team time, we were released to find our host families! Upon arrival to our new home, Kota and I were greeted with an amazing view from the living room and pulled chicken sandwiches! Claudette opened up very fast to me and Kota and was friendly from the start. After she told us many stories, we went to bed at 10 PM sharp.

The rest of the week consisted of our community service projects. Throughout the week, I painted part of an elementary school, helped with a radio interview, did an activity called "Take a Stand" in a local school, and assisted the admissions crew. These were just the activities I participated in, though. Other students did many other activities. I even heard about some students doing a fashion show and Zumba at an elderly home!

As you can see, our week was already very busy. However, when Friday came, it got even busier. We still had two shows to perform. The first show was a shortened preview of our show for the students at Cumberland High School. The second was our full show that we performed that evening. Both of those shows were fantastic and the audience seemed to love it! During one of our shows, I noticed that one girl, and only one girl, in the second row stood up and starting dancing to a Britany Spears song in our 90's medley. That made me smile! Saturday's evening show had a very large audience. It was the most powerful performance up until now in my opinion.

During this short week I’ve already learned so much that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I’m so excited for the upcoming months and how much I will learn there as well :)

Response to the Ice Bucket Challenge

Jenn Gifford - Thursday, September 04, 2014
Cast B 2014 challenged multiple organizations to continue spreading the word about ALS Awareness during their Ice Bucket Challenge video. Kiwanis International, Cumberland High School, and Tec de Monterrey Campus Santa Fe have all accepted that challenge and have continued to spread awareness through their videos.  Watch their videos below:

Kiwanis International

Cumberland High School, RI

Tec de Monterrey Campus Santa Fe



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