by TeachThought Staff and Hostelling International USA
Experiential learning. Cultural competency. The transformative power of travel.
These are probably concepts you’re familiar with, but for 18-23 year olds from Egypt, France, Germany, Lebanon, Tunisia, and the United States, these ideals will take on a whole new meaning this summer. Through a program called IOU Respect, four individuals from each of the countries listed above will be selected to participate in an intensive two-week program dedicated to exploring one another’s cultures, worldviews, and ways of life.
Held July 25-August 8, at the Yves Robert HI Hostel in Paris, France, the program is comprised of facilitated dialogue sessions, team-building projects, and group outings designed to increase participants’ knowledge of other cultures. At the same time, delegates are developing skills for intercultural communication and building lasting relationships on a foundation of appreciation, respect, and understanding.
Throughout the program, participants will be facing difficult topics head-on, including religion, stereotyping, international conflict, identity, discrimination, and privilege. “IOU Respect provided a safe environment for honest and candid dialogues,” explained Gina Song, a 2014 IOU Respect participant. “We discussed topics that are normally viewed as contentious for everyday conversation. We agreed, we argued, we questioned, we reflected, but throughout it all, we learned to respect.”
Participants are selected based on a competitive application process, in which applications are accepted through May 15. All program costs are covered for participants, including accommodations in Paris. To qualify, candidates must be a citizen from one of the six countries listed above and 18-23 years old.
This program is sponsored by Hostelling International (HI), a nonprofit organization with a global collection of more than 4,000 hostels in more than 80 countries. Interested candidates can apply through Hostelling International USA (HI USA), the US affiliate of HI. HI USA is a national nonprofit with a mission to create a more tolerant world, and programs like IOU Respect bring this mission to life.
Cultural Exchange Program Seeks Young Adults