How did it all begin?
In 2014 European Manager from Up with People (UWP), Gert Jan Orie, made a suggestion to Estonian UWP alumnus Argo Saul to start a project to enable UWP to return to Estonia. At that time UWP had not been to Estonia for 16 years already. In 1999 the group performed a show in “Tallinna Linnahall” for 4000 people, did community work in SOS Lasteküla and visited several schools in Tallinn. During the following years both UWP and the Estonian community have come a long way.
What is Up with People?
UWP is an international youth organization that offers young people between the ages of 17 and 29 an extraordinary opportunity to succeed through intercultural communication, community service projects and a professional musical show. The organization has over 22 000 alumni worldwide.
Every year a cast of around 100 students from about 20 countries, travels for half a year on a predetermined route (usually the USA, Canada, Europe but also Asia). In every community the cast spends approximately one week – staying in host families, participating in local community projects, getting involved in the community and performing an energetic and contemporary musical family show.
UWP’s student program broadens the horizons of young people, gives them a wider understanding of the world around them, a knowledge of different cultures, lots of new friends all over the world and connections and contacts for their future careers. The exceptional program helps young people to develop their social abilities and leadership qualities.
All of this is worth introducing to young people in Estonia and is a great choice for those looking for ways of fostering international cooperation, whilst giving and developing great career opportunities and intercultural contacts.
UWP returned to Estonia!
In November 2016 the cast of UWP was brought to Tallinn by Hea Tahte Koda (Chamber of Goodwill), that was established by UWP Estonian alumni consisting of only 20 people. The result of Estonian alumni’s 18 months’ work was a memorable and exciting week for the students of the UWP cast, the Estonian alumni as well as the Estonian people.
65 Estonia families brought UWP to their homes
One of the most important roles in the UWP student program is played by the host families. They are families that in every community visited, open their doors to young cast members offering them a home and real local cultural experiences. Since 1965 over 800 000 families from 72 countries of the world have hosted students of UWP!
Now the families of Estonia had an exceptional opportunity to open their homes to an enthusiastic foreign youngsters who shared their culture and experience but most of all learned about life in Estonia. Every UWP alumni can tell tens of stories of families that have become close to them and that they still have strong contact with even after the year with the program. This is how everlasting international friendships are born.
The cast of UWP was in Tallinn from November 28 to December 6, 2016.
During that week those 120 young people from 20 different countries shared their life and experiences with their host families, enjoyed the sites of Tallinn, did community service and voluntary work, and performed at Nordea Concert Hall with a musical show full of energy.
In Estonia the youngsters visited five schools: Viimsi High School, Tallinn Pae Gymnasium, Tallinn Läänemere Gymnasium, Tallinn Laagna Gymnasium and Tallinn Kuristiku Gymnasium, where they executed special program with local students. Program contained discussing and taking a stand on the actual issues of society instigating local students to think along and express their opinions.
The unique professionally produced show “The Journey” brought on stage of Nordea Concert Hall the talents and the energy of UWP students on December 3rd, 2016. The two hour family show contained both original and pop music and the dynamic blend of its pithful beautiful songs, burbly choreography and colorful costumes offered unforgettable experience!
At the same time as the UWP cast visited Estonia an UWP alumni reunion Triangle Alumni Date (TAD) took place as well with participants from 9 different countries..