University YMCA
University YMCAthe Y | service, reflection and action since 1873
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Global Engagement

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The University Y is an interconnected global network with the resources and innovative solutions to help people reach their potential and make our communities stronger.

Sierra Leone YMCA Partnership-An international partnership program between the University YMCA and the Sierra Lone YMCA that seeks to:

  • Foster the growth of the next generation of cause-driven leaders through learning opportunities both abroad and at Illinois.
  • Demonstrate the impact of a partnership-based strategy in addressing grand challenges in sustainable community development and to communicate best practices to peer institutions using a social justice lens.

New American Welcome Center- The YMCA’s New American Welcome Centers (NAWC) are designed to help immigrants—also referred to as newcomers—fully integrate into American society and prepare receiving communities to be welcoming and inclusive. NAWCs accomplish this through a combination of integration services, collaborations with community leaders and businesses, and strategies to connect and build cross-cultural understanding between immigrants and U.S.-born residents. For more information, visit our NAWC page at:

Intercultural Horizons – This project recruits a cohort of domestic and international students who participate in a semester -long curriculum designed to encourage a richer and more meaningful interaction and dialogue:

  • The cohort would participate in local service projects with the goal of an international service trip.
  • Students participating in the project would be encouraged to become advocates on campus seeking to instigate new efforts in their dorms, departments, etc.

International Service Learning Initiative - With a growing number of students pursuing international service learning experiences as part of their education, this project aims to give students the tools to develop into culturally competent leaders in global service. In service of this vision, the University YMCA hosts the annual Leaders For Global Change conference each spring semester, which is free and open to all students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Also, consider participating in the following Y programs that have an international or cultural focus:



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