Helping a kid go to Europe

Hi Helpliners. First off I'm NOT asking for donations. Here's the story. My friend's daughter has been chosen to go to France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria next June. He is a single father and has been raising her alone since she was five. He says he can cover all but $3,000 of this trip. Is there a charity that helps people send their kids to Europe? Better yet, ideas on how to raise funds without using a charity would work too. Please keep the ideas safe and legal. Thanks.:-)

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

Well, let me think about a few things. I am leaving for Europe in the morning, but might have a few leads for her. Is she artistic (meaning does she create paintings, sketches, or anything like that?)

Posted by Beth
Boulder, Colorado, USA
74 posts

have the child pursue funding: scholarshops from the sponser - which group choose her to go? ask grandparents, uncles, etc, etc for funding / gifts she can get a job and save
crowd funding on the web

Posted by Kathy
San Carlos, CA, USA
204 posts

Who (or what organization) has chosen her to go to France? Depending on the answer to that she might be able to approach the local service clubs, e.g. the Rotary club, for financial help.

Posted by Mike
Clawson, MI, USA
190 posts

Hi the organization is People To People. I've just did a little online research and it's starting to sound like just another travel company? My friend says the trip will cost $9000 for 3 weeks!!!!!????

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7820 posts

Mike thats ridiculus.. she has not been chosen for anything but to be fleeced. My mate and I spent about that much for a 26 day trip last summer, thats right, two of us.. including airfare from west coast Canada. Tell kid to get a job and save her money, like I did , like my kids do.. And tell the family to definately NOT pay that amount of money for a trip. If dad can cover 6,000 dollars he and his daughter can go to Europe together for two weeks, or he can send her off on her own for three.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7675 posts

I agree with Pat. People to People is open to anyone who can pay. I had two friends go on it when we were in high school. I was "chosen", too, but no way could my parents pay for it (it was outrageously expensive even back in the 1970's). A couple of years later, I actually was invited - based on merit, not wallet - on a semester abroad through my college. The expenses for that were about double a normal college semester, but I got my first student loan to pay the difference (my parents paid for my regular semester). A full semester abroad was a much better value than a three week trip at twice the price. Even with high airfares right now, there is no way that it should cost over $400 a day for such a trip.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17738 posts

Mike, $9000 for a three week trip? That's absurd!!! I could fly business class and stay in five-star hotels for money like that. Could you provide further information on the circumstances of this trip? Who was she "chosen" by, where will she be visiting in the four countries, etc. Is any portion of her travel expenses covered by others? How was a price established? More information would definitely be helpful. There may be a way to work this out without too much fund raising. Cheers!

Posted by Elaine
Columbia, SC
744 posts

My daughter was "chosen" for this People to People thing too. We have no idea how they got her name. The cost we were quoted (about 10 years ago) was about $7000. Abut half of the of the nights they were to be billeted in private homes; they said this helped keep their costs down. Really? I broke down the costs of fare/lodging/trains/meals and realized that both my daughter and I could travel together to Europe for that amount of money. In my mind, this is as close to a scam as you can get. PS - Ditto to what Pat said: "If dad can cover 6,000 dollars he and his daughter can go to Europe together for two weeks, or he can send her off on her own for three."

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17738 posts

Mike, After a bit of surfing around net, it sounds like the People to People program is legitimate, but it has had some controversies over the years. A few thoughts..... The program was apparently started by President Eisenhower with the purpose of exposing students to different cultures. That provides a good educational opportunity for students, allows them to "network" with their peers from a variety of countries and in some cases earn credits towards graduation. I'm not sure how much the participants function as "Ambassadors" rather than just members of a tour? In one sense, it seems that the experience provided is much the same as any other tour, although they seem to use home stays with locals rather than hotels. I suspect the hosts are compensated for their efforts. The organization does appear to be a for-profit entity, which might at least partially explain the high prices compared to independent travel. According to CBS News, People to People has hired a for-profit marketing firm to solicit participants, a firm which has on occasion reportedly sent invitations to deceased student and in one case a deceased family pet. Bottom line..... The People to People program would probably be a unique experience for your friend's daughter if he can afford the cost. However, she can still visit Europe on her own for much less cost (but it wouldn't be the same experience). She could also look at other travel programs for younger travellers, where she'd also be travelling with a group. One possibility you might have a look at is the Andy Steves Student Tours. Good luck!

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2685 posts

Hi, It's a stiff price. A young person under 26 can travel much more cheaply the old fashion way, staying in hostel dorm rooms, using the trains, etc. Lots of ways can be used to keep expenses down. Mainly, it depends on what you're willing to put up with in reducing the expense.

Posted by Mike
Clawson, MI, USA
190 posts

Just wanted to all of you. It sounds like my friend was or is past the non-refundable deposit deadline. He didn't elaborate and I didn't want to pry. He feels that his daughter would have a better trip this way and I have to respect his decision. He said he would sell his classic car to make it happen. He just wants her to have an enriching experience. I can't argue with that. If he needs any advice he can always come to me and this site/forum. Anyway that will not stop me from trying to help raise some funds. Fund raising ideas are welcome.
@Pat, his daughter is not legally old enough to work in Michigan without a work permit. I'm sure she could babysit or do things like that but it's a moot point now. Thanks for the suggestions and keep them coming.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
611 posts

It's October and she departs next June. What's wrong with working?

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4868 posts

She might not be old enough to get a work permit, but she could always do something like babysit. Even if she can't contribute much, at least she will have put forth some effort to help make her trip happen. Even if it's to just earn some spending money.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
961 posts

This seems a bit strange to me. The minimum age for work permit in MI is 14 years old. Is this friend's daughter that he's so anxious to send to Europe under 14? What's the rush? If she's 14 or older, she can probably get a work permit and help with the costs.

Posted by Maryam
Washington, DC
560 posts

Perhaps he could start off with selling some smaller items on eBay (or you can start with a garage sale). Perhaps a donation party can be arranged where folks donate an item for him to sell. His daughter can help by also donating items, taking the picture, maintaining the selling, etc. All the charities I am aware of are for older students, or participation in a program is required. Perhaps they could check with the public library, her school's counseling department, local travel agencies, etc. if they have any knowledge of travel scholarships and charities.
Good luck! I agree with others that this is so expensive, however, I get the feeling that she will be going with friends, etc., so a bit of pressure exists that way.