Students in the UWP abroad program participate in international volunteer work every week during their semester. Each community we visit (about 20 per semester) benefits from hundreds of UWP volunteer hours. We partner with local organizations for hands-on service learning projects that make a real difference in the areas we are visiting.
Volunteering and a commitment to the value of social responsibility have been core elements of the Up with People program for decades. UWP students have performed an estimated 3 MILLION volunteer hours worldwide. We even incorporate messages about the importance of volunteering in our musical performances.
Our community service work is also part of the cultural exchange experience. Participants develop insight into how different cultures address social and political challenges. Up with People students learn first hand that it is giving, not getting, that leads to personal growth.
“One moment that really sticks out in my mind is a brick throwing line that stretched 50 yards across the ground, up a ladder, across a balcony and into a home. I realized that in that line were 5 Americans, 2 Danish, 1 Ugandan, 4 Filipinos, 1 Swede and 1 German…all working together to rebuild people’s lives. It was difficult labor but I was so honored to be a part of this project.” - Matt from the USA
Our international volunteer projects are diverse and vary based on the needs of the community or country we are in. Below are just a few examples of the types of work we do:
- Community clean-up
- Volunteering in schools and with youth programs
- Working in hospitals or other care facilities
- Working with special needs groups, such as those who are terminally ill, disabled, underprivileged or homeless
- Painting, building or improving buildings and other structures
- Outdoor projects building or improving parks and trails
- Volunteering at a local event or supporting a specific cause.
Check out our UWP Tour Blog to read about the international volunteer projects our students are doing now.