The YMCA is more than aquatics, day camp, child care, sports, fitness or youth programs. It is a worldwide family of over 120 autonomous national movements committed to building a positive future for youth and families. The YMCA is one of the largest social service organizations in the world, responding to the diverse needs of individuals in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. The World Alliance of YMCAs is the coordinating body of the global YMCA and is now the largest national movement in this global network with more than 19 million members in more than 10,000 communities.
The Valparaiso Family YMCA of Valparaiso, IN has a partnership with the Asociacion Cristiana de Jovenes de Valparaiso (YMCA of Valparaiso, Chile). This partnership was formed over a decade ago with the intention of bridging cultural divides. Currently our partnership includes an internship program of Valparaiso University students, collaborations of professional staff, and financial assistance to the Chilean YMCA.
The Valparaiso Family YMCA assists with sending Valparaiso University students to the YMCA of Valparaiso, Chile every summer for 8-12 weeks. During this time, the students work within the various programs the Chilean YMCA offers. The assistance offered by the Valparaiso Family YMCA of Valparaiso, Indiana includes travel preparation, lodging and food ta the YMCA of Valparaiso, Chile, financial support for airfare and entrance into the country, as well as guidance before and throughout the program.
“The experiences I gained from going to Chile will stay with me for the rest of my life. I will never forget the people that I met or the lessons I learned. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I received to go there and help the community and I will carry Chile in my heart for the rest of my life.”
~ Lauren Svendsen
“I left Chile after two months knowing that I had tried everything I had wanted and seen everything that I had wanted to see. I was utterly enchanted by the people and culture of Chile, as well as the breath-taking ocean views and the bustling cities. It is an experience not to be forgotten, and I am very grateful to both of the YMCAs for allowing me to have this opportunity.”
~ Holly Vanderwal
“It was a humbling experience working with the kids, probably one of my highlights of the trip. I would just like to say one final time how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to go to Chile this summer, and I can’t describe the magnitude in which it has changed my life.”
Student may choose to work with a campus department to receive credit for the internship in Valparaiso, Chile, but receiving credit is not required to participate. If you are interested in receiving credit, it is recommended that you work with the department on campus that would approve the credit as early as possible to ensure you understand the requirements. Please note if you choose to receive credit, you would pay the summer per-credit tuition rate as you normally would for internship credit completed during a summer session.
Students typically depart in late May and stay anywhere between 8 and 12 weeks, though dates and length can be flexible to meet the needs of the participants.
Application Requirements and Deadlines
Those who participate in this program should exemplify the YMCA's mission and core values in their daily lives, preferably have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, have at least 4 semesters of Spanish language (and have strong written and verbal communication), be willing to immerse themselves in experiencing the Chilean culture, take part in the service activities, and grow as an individual.
Expectations of accepted candidates include: assisting in fundraising efforts, meeting with the committee as well as fellow students prior to travels for preparation meetings and activities, being a dedicated full-time volunteer with the YMCA of Valparaiso, Chile, weekly updates via e-mail with the International Coordinator and Committee, presenting to the committee and Board of Directors about your experiences during the internship, and sharing your experience, information and advice for the internship with future candidates.
The deadline to apply for Summer 2018 will be March 1, 2018. Applications will be reviewed by the International Coordinator and Committee alongside the Office of International Programs study abroad staff after the deadline has passed. Once a decision has been made, applicants will be notified via their Valpo e-mail.
Click the "Apply Now" button at the top of the page to begin an application.
Please refer to the budget sheet above.
If the internship is completed for credit, tuition will be charged at the summer per-credit rate. Lodging, and most meals will be covered by the Valparaiso Family YMCA of Valparaiso, Chile. Financial support is available for airfare and entrance into the country but is contingent upon the participant's involvement in fundraising efforts.
Individual, personal travel and spending money will be the responsibility of the participant and amounts needed will vary greatly depending on personal spending habits. This would include personal items, additional personal travel, shopping, or other personal activities or purchases. The estimate found in the budget sheet is based on average spending to use a s a base. Students should determine a more realistic estimate based on their individual spending habits.
Start your scholarships & funding search as early as possible so that you are able to plan and ensure you are able to meet any deadlines. Your study abroad advisor can also help you with brainstorming potential resources as well.
Program Contact Information
Study Abroad Advising:
Erin Kunert - Associate Director of Study Abroad Programs
Office: Gandhi-King Center, Union 2nd floor
Phone: (219) 464-5333
Contact Erin with administrative questions about application, program cost, etc.
Apply for a Passport
Passports need to be valid for at least six months past the program’s end date. As part of the application, students must upload a copy of a valid passport, or a receipt or similar proof that the student has submitted a passport application. Information on how to apply for a passport can be found here.