Nicole is a teacher from Arizona who led the 2017 Experiment program Brazil: Environment & Culture.
What is your favorite travel memory?
My favorite memory is when we took an all-day hike in the Atlantic Rainforest on the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil, through waterfalls and on the beach with a local guide.
After walking for 5 hours, we arrived at a secluded fishing community with rainforest on one side and beach on the other. We went swimming and looked for sand dollars that were plentiful. Two local children came out from their houses and played soccer with our high school-aged students and me until it was time to make the 6 km hike back to camp.
It was one of the best days I can remember: walking among friends, listening to music, and playing barefoot soccer next to the ocean.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
I now understand the value of learning in a group context. I have seen first-hand how a supportive environment is key to positive experiences for young people who would not be able to do it by themselves.
Watching how our students overcame the fears of being in the home of a new family, in a new country, was inspiring as well.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
For some of the students, it was their first time in nature. All our students had a positive experience with it even though it was out of their comfort zone walking through mud, playing in the ocean, or riding a boat down a river at night. It was the first time many of our students had ever done a hike, let alone and 12 km hike!
Though apprehensive and nervous about their ability to walk that far, all said they truly enjoyed it. They overcame their fear of a new and seemingly difficult task and had fun.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
There are so many amazing programs that it is difficult to choose.
First, I would like to go somewhere I have never been like Morocco or Thailand because I know The Experiment creates quality itineraries that immerse you in a new culture with local families, language, and cultural activities. It is a great way to learn about a place that might be more challenging to travel on my own.
I also would choose a program that incorporates the arts and cooking in order to understand a new place like the trips in France, Italy, and Spain.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
The Experiment in International Living is unique because they create experiential learning and provide scholarships. They are the original international learning program to do a “home-stay” in 1932.
Ever since, they have been building their programs and have been the inspiration for countless more. They have been doing this type of education for a long time and it comes from an authentic place of wanting to create change in the world.
I felt proud of the whole team at our leaders’ orientation because all the leaders were amazing people who I could connect with and even found new friends. Everyone cares about international exchange as a means for world peace and fostering new understandings to make the world a better place.