• Report: #378524
Complaint Review:

People To People Student Ambassador Program

  • Submitted: Sun, October 05, 2008
  • Updated: Sat, December 17, 2011

  • Reported By:Hinesville Georgia
People To People Student Ambassador Program
1956 Ambassador Way Spokane, Washington U.S.A.

People To People Student Ambassador Program People to People scammed others, tried to scam my family as well. Spokane Washington

*Consumer Comment: People to People

*Consumer Comment: I went on a People to People trip in the summer of 2007

*Consumer Comment: SCAM

*General Comment: Alumni of this Program - Not a Scam

*Consumer Comment: Great Opportunity; not a ripoff!

*Consumer Comment: Wow?

*General Comment: Highly Recommend the Program

*Consumer Comment: People to People is not a scam

*Consumer Comment: A Qualified Rebuttal

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: I DISAGREE

*Consumer Comment: Some facts about people to people

*Consumer Suggestion: A Suggestion

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My son received a letter from the "People to People Student Ambassador Program" in the mail. It stated he was selected to participate in an "educational exploration program" in England, France, and Italy in the summer 0f 2009. He was extremely excited. You see, this year he has worked extremely hard in school and has made the honor roll. He thought it was a reward and that motivated him to do well even more.

Before committing to the invitation by entering my pin number, I chose to do research. One good thing about being extremely pessimistic is that I do not trust everything that is thrown my way. I did research on the program and found that it has scammed numerous people across the United States. A student even died by the name of Tyler Hill while on his "trip of a lifetime".

All I can say is, be sure to research these types of offers before you agree to anything. Especially before sending you biggest joy (your children) halfway across the world, where only God knows what could happen to them.

Now, I have to break it to my son. Not an easy task, however, it's a lot easier than being scammed out of $5,000 or more dollars, or worse, not having him come home to me.

Hinesville, Georgia

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/05/2008 02:19 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/people-to-people-student-ambassador-program/spokane-washington-99224-4002/people-to-people-student-ambassador-program-people-to-people-scammed-others-tried-to-scam-378524. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

People to People

AUTHOR: JJ - (United States of America)

I got one of these letters and my forst reaction is how do these people get information on my child?  If this was through our school, and it's a private Catholic School, then they school would be in the loop and they should have knowledge about it.  They do not and that means someone is getting data on my child without my consent.
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#2 Consumer Comment

I went on a People to People trip in the summer of 2007

AUTHOR: BCook - (United States of America)

In the summer of 2007, I went on a People to People trip that went to France, Spain and Portugal. Yes, it was a lot of money, but it was definitely worth every penny. The reason it costs so much is because everything is included! The very nice 4 star hotels, transportation (planes & tour buses), breakfast, lunch, dinner, outings, activities, all of it's included except for souvenirs and extra snacks you might buy. When you add everything up, it's a wonderful opportunity!

Also, if you think it's a scam, read some history about the program. It was started in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. "Eisenhower was acting on his firm belief that direct interaction between ordinary citizens around the world can promote cultural understanding and world peace. That proud legacy of hope lives on in People to People Ambassador Programs on seven continents." And this program is not only about travelling and seeing the world. It's about volunteering and meeting new people and experiencing new things that you wouldn't get to do in your home state. While in Merida, Spain, we volunteered to clean up a park and in Sevilla, Spain, we stayed with a home stay family for 3 days. It was an absolutely amazing trip and if I had the money right now, I'd do it all over again.

This program has changed my world views and the views and purpose of so many other individuals. If you can't see that, then you don't deserve it's wonderful values.
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#3 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: llenni1 - (United States of America)

My son received a letter form people to people yesturday, called me at work to tell me about it, when i got home the letter was addressed to the parent of (My son's name) but it had my last name, not his. wich i found odd after reading the letter I was excited because, it would be a wonderful experiance for my son. But the letter having his name with my last name did not sit well with me. I am from Puerto Rico and there unlike here on our birth certificates it has our father's last name then our mother's. (we use both) but my son was born in th US, he did go to school in Puerto Rico for a while, but that would still not explain why they would have my last name. so i GOOGLED people to people.. god I love google. and came across so many scam's.

There may be a legit people to people program, but people be ware do your reasearch.. before deciding..
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#4 General Comment

Alumni of this Program - Not a Scam

AUTHOR: Vampyrus92 - (USA)

I went on a People to People Student Ambassador trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2005, and I must say, if this was a "scam" in any way, then I'm glad I was "scammed". It was, to be honest, the best experience of my life, and I would gladly do it again. There were equal parts education and fun, and I was actually able to enjoy the trip while, horrors, actually learning about someone else's culture.

The trip was, admittedly, expensive. However, much of the price went toward getting there and back again. Plane tickets across the pacific ocean tend to be rather expensive, on top of the hotel bills, restaurant bills, bus charters, etc., along with what we paid people to people added up to $5,600 total. The experience I gained, however, was well worth the price, and I would gladly do it again.

As for safety, I've been on school trips that were less safe. The delegation leaders kept a good eye on the student ambassadors, and any trouble was quickly cleared up. When we split up into smaller groups, we were required to travel around in groups of no less than four people per group. Very rarely was there any trouble with students not showing up, and even then, it was usually someone who was three minutes late getting to the check-in area.

As I said, it was, indeed, the "trip of a lifetime", and I would gladly do it again if I could. If this is a "scam" then it was the best "scam" of my life.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Great Opportunity; not a ripoff!

AUTHOR: madimorg - (United States of America)

My daughter was nominated for this program by a teacher at her school.  I have spokent to this teacher and was informed of this before I ever received a letter from People to People.  I am no way rich and this was a sacrifice, however for my daughter I was willing to do whatever I could.  I am lucky enough to have already known a couple other children who have gone with this group and knew first hand what they would gain from it.  I had from August to May to raise the money for the trip and by making payments.  My daughter did win a $1000 scholorship thru People to People by writing and essay and applying for it.  If you can at all find a way to do this for your child I would recomend it. 
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#6 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: R. C. B. - (United States of America)

The informational meetings tell you that you don't need a smart mind to go....you could be very..very stupid (sorry i'm childish).

This Tyler Hill...if he had a sicknessthat could kill him why was he sent o the trip 0.o?(I send my blessing sorry for the family's loss but still...)

Your son will miss this good chance at a great time.

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#7 General Comment

Highly Recommend the Program

AUTHOR: Momofone - (United States of America)

My daughter was invited to a People to People invitational meeting.  I don't know why people had a problem finding out how much the trip would cost.  I called the Spokane Washington office and they gave me the price range of all the trips.  The same information is available by doing a simple internet search.

The meeting is a sales pitch because let's be realistic, they are selling a trip and want people to buy in.  After researching the company my husband and I decided our daughter could go.  The entire program was run professionally.  We attended every meeting and activity scheduled and our trust grew.  We met the parents and children who would be traveling with our only child and felt confident she and we were ready.

By no stretch of the imagination are we rich.  This trip was a sacrifice.  We ask family and friends for donations and they responded with almost $2000.  The rest we saved and sacrificed to pull together.  We did not take our annual family trip to allow our daughter to experience something we would not be able to do for her.  Instead our big trip for the year was a weekend at Hershey Park but to us it was worth it.  She has made friends and shared an experience that will last forever.  She is more appreciative of what she has and sees the world differently. 

The airlines, hotels, food and activities were top notch.  I shared the trip syllabus to two friend who are from China and they said the price was more than fair. 

I recommend the trip to anyone who has a child who is old enough to appreciate it.  You must know your child and determine if they are able to successfully travel alone.  T

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#8 Consumer Comment

People to People is not a scam

AUTHOR: Leigh J. - (United States of America)

I sent my 12 year old daughter this summer to the P2P European excursion; we met several times through out the spring with the delegation and the leaders.  She was nominated by a teacher.  She had a wonderful time and the kids are very close.

The leaders have communicated with us as well as the kids through modern technology of facebook and cell phones.  (One leader spent an evening in the hospital with a child who had an ear infection.  These things happen) 

Don't judge the whole program on a couple of bad incidents. Thousands of kids, from middle school through college, have attended without an issues.

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#9 Consumer Comment

A Qualified Rebuttal

AUTHOR: Just a Dad - (USA)

I have two sons, both of whom have travelled the world with this group.  My (now 17 year-old) has seen England, France, Australia (twice), New Zealand, China and a presidential inauguration.  My younger son (now 16) has been to England, Scotland, Wales, Australia and New Zealand.  As a veteran parent of seven of these trips, I think I've learned a little about this organization.  For the most part, it's positive.

People to People is cryptic (others might say deceptive) about how they market to your child.  Once upon a time, children really were recommended for the program -- some still are -- but as privacy laws have become more restrictive, schools are much less cooperative in giving away student information, and that means marketing lists are probably being used too.  That is not necessarily bad, but it does lead to a perception of deceptiveness.

People to People isn't exactly a single organization.  They have a foundation backing them that controls the mission.  They have partnerships with schools and colleges.  Then there is also what most of us actually see:  a slick, glorified (for profit) travel agency and marketing firm.  The travel consultants allude to the foundation's mission to sell the trips.  To some, that seems deceptive, but in truth, the mission is real.  The trips are expensive, because travel, lodging and services are expensive; the prices aren't abusive.

The delegation leaders are local teachers who have been screened and specially trained.  They have a mentoring structure for these teachers -- the experienced teacher leaders work with the newly trained teachers.  These teachers are at once the program's greatest strength and it's greatest weakness. 

If you have an oustanding teacher who has had many positive travel experiences, relates well to students, and would put his or her own life on the line for the students if needs be, the result is nothing short of miraculous.  If you happen to be saddled with a leader who sees the job as shuttling little heathens through the airport and keeping them from making fools of the program . . . that's different, and it echoes down the line when new teachers are recruited.  It can be especially bad if the leaders don't follow the protocols as they have been trained.  If you or your child don't like a delegation leader, you should opt out of the trip or switch to a different delegation.

We were lucky enough to have a wonderful delegation leader who has been with my boys on four of seven trips.  I would trust her (and have done) with my childrens' lives, happines and mental well-being.

Travel of this kind is not without risk.  Ever.  People to People handles thousands of students every year.  It is inevitable that there will be an occassional discipline issue, illnesses and once in a great while, unfortunately, tragedy.  No organization can guarantee 100% safety in all situations.  That is what a parent needs to understand before they buy into People to People.  Here I speak from experience as a parent when something went terribly wrong (though it ended very well due to the adult leadership).

My younger son, on his first trip at age 11, was in London's parliament building on July 7, 2005.  That was the day and time of the subway and bus bombings.  As parents, we were helpless; our 11 year old was with a group of American Students, clearly identified as such by their clothing,  in the very center of a terrorist target.  Phones were out and there was absolutely no way to contact him.  Pandemonium ensued throughout the city.

Except in my son's student delegation.  A quick, well thought out back-up plan had them out of harms way and enjoying themselves elsewhere within 30 minutes.  The news was carefully shared with them later in the day.  The parents all received calls from each other, from the organization, from the U.S. State Department all within a few hours, and eventually from the teacher/leader of the group.  The trip continued.  All came home safely, talking about all the places they had seen and things they had done.  My son still has his unused tube ticket bearing the date we say he escaped a terrorist bombing. 

A little bit depends on luck.  The rest depends 100% on who the adult leaders are.

My advice to other parents:

Don't discount the complaints, but don't think they are the norm either.  Know yourself.  Know and listen to your child.  If experiential learning through travel is an acceptable risk for your child then, above all, GET TO KNOW THE DELEGATION LEADERS WHO WILL BE PROTECTING YOUR CHILDREN BEFORE YOU LET THEM GO.

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#10 REBUTTAL Individual responds


AUTHOR: lashonda - (United States of America)


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#11 Consumer Comment

Some facts about people to people

AUTHOR: Ddhboy - (U.S.A.)

People to People is not a scam. Lets get that out of the way. In fact, it is a great way for your children to see the world, and if you think that posting a report card on the fridge is the equivilant to say going to Europe, then your out of your mind.

Second, People to People more than likely won't kill your kids. Yes, there was the one incident in Japan, however, they've been running programs for years, and their track record is just as good as any other summer camp or job that you would send your kids to anyway. And having traveled with a few Diabetes kids in the past, I can tell you that MOST councilors do in fact care, though when the kids are older (16+) they are given more freetime to wander off in a group, so your kid has to be on top of these things as well. If they have a track record for getting sick, then its probably not the best idea to send them on one of these trips.

Third, People to People is a summer camp/travel agency, not a reward for being smart. This image is pretty much the fault of the company who tells half truths or flat out lies to get the students to join thinking that they are special. Modern day people to people was not founded by Eisenhower, and is really a collaboration between a non-profit and two or three for profit organizations. Your kids weren't selected because they are particularly bright, they were just chosen the same way you get random mail catalogs from Sears or The Sharper Image, they were checked off a registry, and if you go to a meeting, then your probably going to get more invites in the future. This however doesn't make People to People anymore of a scam than Sears however.

Fourth, don't buy the education hype. Yes, people to people will teach you about the cultures that your visiting, this is an educational program afterall, but as a former "ambassador" myself, I can tell you that your kids honestly won't care. They'll just be happy that they're in a far off land away from mommy and daddy.

Fifth, Money. People to People as of now on average will cost about 6,500 bucks, which is worth it depending on what trip. I can tell you right now that there are PLENTY of other programs that offer the same trip for at least 1000 bucks cheaper. I honestly can only say that People to People raises the prices for profit, but like I said, there's like 3 companies in the pot, so if you find out about one of those, I'd recommend you visit one of those and don't worry about the supposed academic credit that the People to People program offers, because the high school credit is pretty much worthless and the college credit is like a hundred bucks per credit, and each trip will probably give you 3, so its not really worth it, especially when it won't actually count for anything important in college. Not to mention that a college study abroad where you stay in a culture for at least a semester is pretty much the same price as the cost to attend college in the home university anyway, so if you can't afford the trip, you could always hold the carrot over you kids head and tell them about study abroad in college.
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#12 Consumer Suggestion

A Suggestion

AUTHOR: Cat - (U.S.A.)

I went through this with my daughter many years ago, but I just explained that she did work really hard and that their are companies that try and scam parents because if it was based truly on their merritt alone, why would it cost so much?

Secondly, I had never , ever tied any type of "reward" other than the excitement she herself recieved with her being on the honor roll. Children need to learn that the reward they recieve is within themselves not some type of "present" or monetary reward. Otherwise what incentive will they have to improve because what happens is that the child will continue to up the anity!

Remind your son that all his work is not in vain, just post his report card on the fridge with a huge "WELL DONE SON, I AM PROUD OF YOU!" That would be the best reward a child could ever have!
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