IOU Respect | HI USA

IOU Respect 2020 - USA

Eye-opening. Thought-provoking. Remarkable. These are just a few of the words that past IOU Respect participants have used to describe the program. But the phrase that comes up most often is “life-changing.”

IOU Respect is not just a trip. It’s not a tour or a class. IOU Respect is a journey. It’s a diverse group of individuals from six partner countries -- the US, Egypt, France, Germany, Lebanon and Tunisia -- coming together to discover their unique cultural differences and appreciate their undeniable similarities. From sharing meals and exploring the history of the United States, to engaging in tough conversations about identity and discrimination, IOU Respect participants break down barriers and build lasting relationships on a foundation of appreciation, respect, and understanding.


August 4 – August 18


HI Washington D.C. hostel in Washington, D.C., and HI Richmond hostel in Richmond, VA

IOU Respect is a two-week, intensive cultural exchange program designed to increase participants’ knowledge of other cultures, help them develop skills for intercultural communication, and foster attitudes that promote mutual understanding and tolerance. Participants from the six countries will engage in a mix of facilitated dialogue sessions (5+ sessions, 3-4 hours each), team-building project work and group outings and activities.

Eligibility Requirements for Participants:

  • 18-26 years old
  • Fluent in English
  • Citizen of the U.S., Egypt, France, Germany, Lebanon, or Tunisia with a current passport at the time of the program
  • Please Note: Employees of HI USA and people who have previously participated in a Hostelling International exchange program are not eligible


Application Process for American Candidates:

  • Complete a written application
  • Provide a reference
  • Top applicants will participate in a phone or web interview

Applicants from outside the U.S. can find a list of program contacts in other participating countries on our contact page.


Each partner country has its own fee structure. Applicants from outside the U.S. should contact their home country’s program manager for more information.

For American participants, each person must pay for his/her transportation to/from the host city. This includes a round-trip flight and train/bus/taxi fare to the hosting hostel. Once the program begins, all costs are covered by the hosting hostelling association except for snacks, souvenirs, and free-time activities. Upon successful completion of the program, American participants will receive a $500 travel stipend from Hostelling International USA.