Posted on April 22, 2015 · Posted in News

Eye-opening. Thought-provoking. Remarkable. If this isn’t how you would describe your summer, you’re doing it wrong.

Now through May 15, young adults ages 18-23 from Egypt, France, Germany, Lebanon, Tunisia, and the United States are invited to apply for IOU Respect, a life-changing cultural exploration opportunity. Held July 25-August 8, at the Yves Robert HI Hostel in Paris, France, these intensive two weeks are filled with facilitated dialogue sessions, team-building projects, and group outings designed to increase participants’ knowledge of other cultures. At the same time, delegates develop skills for intercultural communication and building lasting relationships on a foundation of appreciation, respect, and understanding.

Throughout the program, participants face 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.”

Four participants from each country will be selected based on an application process, which is open now through May 15. All program costs are covered for participants, including accommodations while 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 brought to you by Hostelling International (HI), a nonprofit organization with a global collection of 4,000 hostels in 90 countries. Interested candidates can apply through Hostelling International USA (HI USA), the US division 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.