IOU Respect 2016 Intercultural Exchange

Thank you for your interest in our IOU Respect Intercultural Exchange Program. The application period for this year's program has ended.

To hear what the 2016 participants took away from the program, check out our Testimonials tab. And don't forget to join our mailing list to receive information about next year's IOU Respect program.

Summer 2016: Cairo and Ismailia, Egypt

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 hidden treasures of Egypt to engaging in tough conversations about identity and discrimination, IOU Respect breaks down barriers and helps participants build lasting relationships on a foundation of appreciation, respect and understanding.

July 24th - August 6th

IOU Respect is hosted by one of the participating Hostelling International associations, on an annual rotating basis.

For 2016, the following itinerary was just announced. This is a 2-city program:

  • Sunday, July 24 – Program begins in Cairo
  • Tuesday, July 26 – IOU Respect participants travel from Cairo to Ismailia
  • Friday, August 5 – Participants travel from Ismailia back to Cairo
  • Saturday, August 6 – Program ends

IOU Respect is a two-week, intensive, cultural exchange program designed to increase the 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.

Who is eligible?

  • 18-25 years old
  • Fluent in English
  • Citizens of the US, Egypt, France, Germany, Lebanon or Tunisia with a current passport at the time of the program
  • 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

The application deadline for IOU Respect 2016 is May 15th at 11:59pm.

Each partner country has its own fee structure. 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.

Please read our F.A.Q. on the next tab for more information or contact