On the United for Sustainable Action program, you'll connect with fellow American and German students and young adults for a two-country trip exploring sustainability initiatives, building professional skills, and creating friendships through exciting travel.
Over the course of 14 days, our small group will visit the German cities of Ploen, Hamburg, and Berlin, finishing off with five days in New York City. In both countries, we'll visit local nongovernmental agencies (NGOs) to learn about their efforts to further the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and we'll engage in volunteer activities. We'll also explore local culture and history through travel and outdoor activities.
Friends from two countries
Travel with peers from both Germany and the U.S.
Dynamic international locations
Experience the vibrancy and culture of Berlin, Hamburg, and New York
Serenity of lakes and forest
Spend two days in the beautiful lakeside town of Ploen
Visit Central Park, Times Square, and the United Nations headquarters, and the Brandenburg Gate, Alexanderplatz, and the harbor and canals of the Speicherstad
A global hostelling community
Connect with like-minded travelers from around the world at our Hostelling International homebases
Visit a variety of NGOs to learn directly from sustainability leaders
Travel with experienced educational tour leaders, with support from InterExchange and Hostelling International staff
Why Germany and New York City?
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, or Global Goals) span a wide range of topics and issues: from economics and innovation, to sustainable cities and communities, to poverty and hunger, to climate change and the environment. Throughout our program, we'll dip into many issues that form the heart of the 17 Global Goals.
Germany is at the forefront of SDG action. From implementing Low Emission Zones, to Green City Initiatives, to Solutions for Youth Unemployment, and much more, innovative actions toward sustainability abound in Germany. From the countryside of Ploen to the cities of Hamburg and Berlin, we'll have the chance to experience the variety of ways that German nongovernmental organizations are implementing the SDGs.
New York City is the home of American culture and innovation – and the United Nations headquarters, the birthplace of the Global Goals. The density and diversity of New York's people and NGOs make it an ideal place to examine and understand the innovative ways a packed urban environment is implementing the SDGs, as well as the myriad challenges to doing so.
At the end of your program, you'll be able to:
Identify and articulate some of the major social, environmental, and economic challenges of your generation and critically examine solutions in progress.
- Site visits and networking will provide professional insight.
- Reflective activities allow you to discuss and think critically about subject development issues, and to apply observations to personal experience.
- Discussion will offer a space for output and for applying new terminology.
- Discussion of assessment tools, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, will offer insight into how success is measured.
Demonstrate a growing sense of civic identity and participation.
- Visits to NGOs offer insight on how you can get involved in a vast range of sustainability initiatives
- Volunteer days will engage you with the operational side of local development projects.
- Group reflection and debriefing will allow you to build deeper meaning and personal connections with the content of NGO visits and volunteer activities.
- Pair and group activities among U.S. and German participants will offer opportunities for you to both lead and listen.
Envision a wider range of career possibilities in sustainable fields, and participate more confidently and mindfully in diverse academic and/or working environments.
- The program asks a high degree of involvement from you and your peers, both as members of a social group and as students.
- Activities are designed to help you think critically about intellectually and sometimes emotionally demanding topics.
- You and your peers will build your networks domestically and internationally.
- Accommodations and meals are mostly shared, helping you and your peers to look for commonalities and shared interests.
Inquire more deeply into other cultures and your own, and more thoughtfully discuss differences.
- Multicultural team building and reflective activities will require you to step out of your comfort zones and engage with topics of identity and diversity.
- Where appropriate during site visits and volunteer days, you will have the chance to speak with local residents about their own experiences as they relate to environmental, social, and economic issues.
- Pre and post-program intercultural competence self assessments and debriefing with staff will bring to light your personal strengths and areas for improvement.
United for Sustainable Action is a collaboration between InterExchange, Hostelling International USA, and DJH (Deutches Jugendherberswerk, the official German youth hostel association). You'll benefit from our combined 150+ years of expertise creating international youth travel and cultural exchange experiences.