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IYS - International Youth Service: A tribute

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

IYS - International Youth Service

PB 125

FIN-20101 Turku



IYS (International Youth Service), founded in 1952 and based in Turku (Finland), was an internacional penfriend organization which arranged foreign penfriends for children and teenagers between 10 and 20 years of age. In exchange of a fee per address, IYS provided addresses of one or more penfriends (matched in age, country, interests, language abilities... through a computer system). Sadly, IYS closed down in 2008 as this Finnish firm couldn't compete with the communication through the Internet. This is the last statement on the IYS website (no longer available):

IYS will be closing down this summer, by 30th June 2008

The International Youth Service (IYS) has been operating since 1952, over 56 years now. We have arranged foreign pen friends for school children and students aged 10 - 20 years in over 100 different countries.

The Internet has lead to a situation where sending ordinary letters is old-fashioned. Letter writing, once very popular, is now a hobby of a few.

We have come to the end of a certain period. As we can not find enough young people interested in penfriendship any more, we have decided to close down this firm by 30th June 2008.

We thank all our customers, both children and teachers, in past years and wish you happy times. Don’t stop learning different languages and cultures and keep up those penfriendships you have managed to build up.


Even though the Internet is useful in many ways, the disappearance of IYS might not be the best news for the penpalling world. I am sure that many people involved in this wonderful world of letters were very sorry about the disappearance of IYS, myself included. Without IYS I would have never met my first penfriends and shared so many wonderful stories, memories, experiences and amazing dreams! Thank you IYS!

[Information about IYS in this entry has been taken from IYS - International Youth Service (1952-2008)]

- A group called "IYS (International Youth Service) Users and Penpals" is online on Facebook. You have to be logged in this network to be able to see it. If you are looking for penpals you met through IYS years ago, perhaps there is a possibility you can find them through this group. Good luck! - Are you looking for a lost penpal? Maybe one you had met through IYS? Follow the instructions stated in the following link: "Lost Penpals" and send your ad to our Contact form. - If you are looking for penpals, swappers, postcard-pals, penpals for your class... just visit the link: "Penpal Ads" and send your ad to our Contact form.

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