Participation in a Youth International program requires living in and traveling through locations that are foreign, remote, and physically and emotionally challenging.  These environments, along with the activities conducted during the program, require that each participant is capable of taking responsibility for himself/herself, functioning well in a group, and committing to the goals of the program. Youth International is not a therapeutic program and, as such, it is not suitable for adjudicated (court-mandated) youth, or participants requiring regular professional therapy.

Essential Eligibility Criteria:

Each participant must be between the ages of 18 and 25 years, or be 17 years having completed grade 12.  In addition, each participant must be able to:

  1. Understand and follow directions and instructions given by others, in order to successfully participate in activities and avoid hazards.
  2. Work effectively as a team member, even in potentially stressful or difficult situations.
  3. Contribute to a safe learning environment, employing respectful language and appropriate physical behavior.
  4. Willingly participate in all group activities, including work on volunteer projects.
  5. Demonstrate respect and tolerance for foreign cultures, religions, ideas, languages, institutions, and individuals.
  6. Remain adequately fed, hydrated, rested, and properly dressed, so as to remain generally healthy.
  7. Meet the physical demands of the outdoor activities and service learning activities, including:
    • Walking and trekking while carrying a backpack (approx. 30-35 lbs.) and a daypack (approx. 10-15 lbs.)
    • Whitewater rafting
    • Swimming and snorkeling
    • Conducting manual labor on building/construction/renovation projects
  1. Effectively notify team leaders and/or other team members of personal distress, injury, or need of assistance.
  2. If taking prescription medications, be able to maintain proper dosage by self-medicating without the assistance from team leaders or others (except possibly in emergency situations).

Optimal Fit:

While many students can benefit from a gap year, parents are counseled against requiring students to join a program such as Youth International.  A student’s own desire to join the program, their personal “buy-in”, is essential to their success with the program.  Team members bond through their common interests and enthusiasm for the activities and ideals which drew them to the Youth International program.

Youth International is best suited to students who are eager to challenge themselves and to step off their current path.  Participants should enter the program with an open mind, ready to learn about other cultures and ways of life.  They also should be interested in reflecting on their own values and examining their personal relationship to what they are learning about the world.

Youth International welcomes participants of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, including political beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socio-economic status.