I am 15 years old and am an alumni of People to People Student Ambassadors Program.
In 2010, I went to England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales with P2P and it was a good experience. Let me just start off by saying the letter that you receive in the mail seems like your child is being selected for the program. Face it, they're not. 99.99% of the time your child's name is bought off of a mailing list or a National Student Database List, as mine was. However, it does give the illusion that your child is special and was chosen to be a part of this program because they were nominated, or because of their academic success which is simply not true.
Even with the knowledge of all of this, I still decided to go to the informational meeting. Yes, the meeting is a big way to show how much fun the trip is, how amazing it is etc. They also will not tell you the price straight up so you can be wowed by their presentation and your child will beg you to let them go.
So, my parents ended up signing me up for the program and we went to the first meeting with the delegation. As we showed up, let me tell you, these kids are nothing special, and infact they are not academically successful what so ever. They are just a bunch of kids, like me, whose parents can fork up somewhere from 500-9000$ to pay for these trips. And guess what the more kids the teachers/leaders get to go, they get to go free!!
After about 6 months of one meeting each month, it was finally the day of the trip. First of all let me clear something up. The company that was made in 1956 by Eisenhower was PTPI (people to people international). That was a non profit company based and kansas city. This company, PTP is a for profit company based in Spokane Washington who simply bought the formatting of the letter from PTPI. If you dont believe me, look up Ambassadors Group Inc. in the stock market.
As I arrived at the airport however, my parents left me with the leaders and delegation and we got on the plane(you do not sit first class btw). Once we arrived in Scottland, we immediately landed and started our day. The leaders were not very organized however, and at the hotel did not truly enforce any rules what so ever. We went to this disgusting horrible restaurant in which they did not serve any sort of american food, and as our delegation complained to the leaders we were starvinggg, our leaders just ignored us and told us we should have ate. They also did not supervise us much and did not give us any straight forward rules.
One other horrible incident in which has occured was Tyler Hill going on a PTP trip to Japan in 2007. He became very ill and was throwing up blood and was only told to go back to his hotel room and to work through it. He requested medical attention and it was not given to him. They finally took him to the hospital, but it was too late. Within just a day, Tyler Hill had died. His parents however were not phoned until 3 hours after Tyler Hill's heart stopped beating.
Now I am not saying everyone is going to have a horrible experience, however the trips are not very well supervised, are really nothing more than an overpriced tourist trip, and also have deceptive sales tactics to get the parents to fork up around 6000$. If you can pay, it is a great experience for children to have, however do not buy into their "your son/daughter has been nominated or chosen for academic excellence" or their "we are trying to spread world peace and get a greater understanding" crap. It is all a bunch of bs and is just an overpriced vacation. This is coming from a kid who went on the trip.