Donated miles support Participants' journey

“I learned that I can live by myself, that I can meet a lot of people, and also do a good job at my work placement. I learned that I can do anything in the world, including travel everywhere’

Bernard Angootealuk,  from Coral Harbour, Nunavut - Completed the NYA Canadian Program in 2012, and International Program in 2013

Through the generosity of donors Northern Youth Abroad (NYA) has been able to provide unique experience based educational and personal growth opportunities to youth from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories for nearly two decades. Since launching our partnership with Aeroplan’s Beyond Miles Program NYA has received donations totalling more than 300,000 points – a huge and valuable contribution to assist with what is by far the organizations largest cost – travel. While costly, travel remains to be the backbone of NYA programming, and plays a significant role in contributing to the organization's impact on Participants. By leaving one’s comfort zone each Participant builds independence, confidence and resilience; all important factors in future success.  

NYA Participant’s embark on a major journey. Each summer, nearly 50 Participants travel from communities across the north arriving in Ottawa for a week-long Orientation Program, before travelling to host communities across Canada, and for those in the NYA International Program, to a destination abroad. Since 1998 NYA has placed more than 400 Participants in communities across every Canadian Province, as well as to host communities in Guatemala, Botswana, and Swaziland. While on placement each Participant volunteers full time, gaining exposure to career options and hands on work experience. Participants live with a host and have the unique opportunity to share their culture, while living and learning in another.

By spending 7 weeks away from home Participants are supported to overcomes challenges that ultimately foster growth, independence, maturity, and confidence. Participants are able to experience new things, meet new people, and benefit from training opportunities not necessarily available in their home communities. Furthermore, by living with a host family in a new place and volunteering full time, Participants learn to grow and develop while benefitting from the support of volunteers, staff and other Participants going through the same thing. Participants often face culture shock, homesickness, conflict resolution, time management, and more throughout their placements, allowing them to overcome adversity, achieve success, and build resiliency through the most effective medium possible; first-hand experience.

Through the successful completion of all program elements, each Participants can earn 9 high school credits, complete 150 hours of hands on work experience, and take part in a broad range of sessions and activities that focus on skill development, leadership capacity, and personal growth. Evaluation has shown that NYA’s Participants go on to graduate high school, and many continue on to pursue further education. Participants express that taking part in NYA helps build their self-confidence, increases their interest in pursuing education and career opportunities, and expands their capacity as young leaders ready and eager to take on new challenges.

The 2016 Participants have been selected and we are looking forward to another successful year! As always, the continued donation of Aeroplan miles will assist in reducing the cost of travel and ensuring NYA is able to provide this unique and life-directing opportunity to as many youth as possible.

To stay involved with NYA and to receive updates on the organization and Participants, you can “like” Northern Youth Abroad on Facebook and follow @NYANewsFeed on Twitter. Or, for more information and to learn how you can get involved, visit

Posted by: Northern Youth Abroad on January 12, 2016.