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The Experiment in International Living


The Experiment in International Living is the most experienced provider of summer abroad programs for high school students. For more than 85 years, our immersive programs have allowed participants to explore the world in an authentic and impactful way, while developing enduring friendships through cultural experiences and homestays.

If you are interested in applying to become a group leader for The Experiment, please visit our site.



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Yes, I recommend this program

TED completely changed me as a person. Not only did I learn valuable information about different cultures, leadership, and many other life lessons, I also got to express my thoughts and ideas through the program, and other participants were supportive, so I gained a confidence that I didn’t know I could have. I also gained some new friends from different backgrounds who are all amazing people with different ideas that will change our communities for better. I’m very glad I was part of this program.

What would you improve about this program?
If there was one thing I could improve about TED, it would be the number of family dialogues. I feel like those four times were not enough for us as participants to get to know each other well enough and be able to discuss our ideas together.
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Yes, I recommend this program

This summer I had one of the best moments in my life with TED ,I got to talk with people around the world who were as motivated I am. I learned many new things and I got to improve my leadership and communication skills.I learned how to plan and make a project real. This programme motivated me and inspired me to take the lead and make a change in my community. And I think what made this programme unique is the way they teach us new concepts without making it boring. So I would definitly recommend this programme to other youth.

What was your funniest moment?
When we were taking the last family picture even though it was sad but the last family dialogue was a happy experience
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Yes, I recommend this program

This summer that I spent along with TED was one of the most productive holidays I ever had, I've learned a lot about leadership, civic engagement, communication skills. All the skills that I wouldn't normally be able to learn without this experiment, and this fact inspired me very much for my future activities in my communities, it made me strive for a change. I won't wait for this change, I will make it, this is what I had in mind after finishing this program. So yes I would definitely recommend this program for every young person out there, dreaming of a better future . Don't wait for it, be the change, and make your first step with TED just like I did.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would give it my all, and be even more motivated.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The program was really helpful, there was a lot of interaction and opportunities to learn about how to view and respond to issues in your community, as well as how to be a good communicator, and how to plan a community initiative. I had a great time talking with students. The teachers and moderators were very helpful. All around there were great people and when we had differences they were peacefully resolved. I also got to learn about other cultures and customs from MENA (Middle East North Africa).

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We had a fun meeting over zoom! It was entertaining and refreshing.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Participating in TED was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was an incredible journey, I learned lots of interesting thing and I also improved my leadership and communication skills. One thing that I loved the most was our family dialogues, we talked about lots of interesting things. I wish that the program could last longer, I enjoyed every second of the program. If u want to meet new people and share your ideas with them TED is the best virtual program for you. Thank you TED for everything!


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Claire Holmes

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I had been taking Spanish classes in school since my elementary years. I was most comfortable with Spanish language and felt more confident about speaking it rather than going to a country where I did not speak any of the languages. I also had been learning a little bit about Spanish culture in class and I found it so interesting and beautiful and I loved their lifestyle and their sense of community, as well as their music.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The Experiment of International Living pretty much helped me with everything. I was helped throughout the whole entire application process, which was thankfully not as complicated as I thought it was going to be.

I also got to do an in person interview with an EIL employee, as well as attend an in person pre-program orientation that really helped me prepare for my trip.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Don’t doubt yourself. Not even for a second. Embrace the new place, the new possibilities, and the new people. Branch out and form bonds with not just your leaders and your group (although that’s very important) but also with any one else you meet on this trip. Don’t be afraid to try out your language skills, but also don’t be afraid to truly be yourself. These people will accept you for you and it’s a really special opportunity.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average day would consist of getting up, having breakfast at the hotel (unless you’re staying with a host family at that time), then getting ready to spend the day out and about doing activities, including visiting museums, churches, temples and gardens.

Meal times included local restaurants with your group and their leaders, or the opportunity to split up and venture out on your own to find food or just visit the local shops. Every day was filled with cultural immersion that opened ones mind and allowed them to learn in a much more personal way.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was how long I felt like I was going be gone and how I would have to stay there, even if I didn’t like it or didn’t get a long with my group. But that fear entirely went away after a couple days because of how incredibly beautiful the country was and especially because of how awesome and kind my group leaders and my group members were. Without each and every one of them, I know the trip wouldn’t have even come close to how amazing it was and how happy it made me.

Is there something you would have done differently?

If there was something I would’ve done differently, I would have practiced much more Spanish before going, and while I was there in Spain, I would have tried even harder to communicate with the locals and broaden my own understanding of the language. That definitely would have helped me become even more closer with the host siblings, who were very fun to be around.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Ron Eisenman

Job Title
Group Leader

Ron has been a high school social studies teacher in Vermont since 2001. Previously, he was a lawyer in Vermont (5 years) and teacher in Aizuwakamatsu, Japan (5 years). He graduated with a J.D. degree from UCLA School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

What is your favorite travel memory?

As a leader, I was most proud when my students conducted a scavenger hunt in Tokyo on their second day in the country. The students had a list of sites to see and required interactions with native Japanese speakers. We agreed to meet up at one of the 10 exits in a crowded Tokyo station at a specific time.

I was so energized by the excitement that the students had sharing their experiences. They made incredible cultural observations and gained the confidence to navigate one of the largest cities in the world in a new language.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have renewed my faith in the goodness and compassion of young people. My group was the most amazing collection of empathetic and talented young people.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

There are so many stories. At the end of our month-long program, almost every student expressed that the trip was life-changing. In one month, they made better friendships than they have with people they have been going to school with for 12 years. They said that the people in the group know them better than anybody else in the world.

One student will be spending half of his senior year of high school in Ecuador as a result of his experiences. Since one of the students was from Puerto Rico, all members of the group have been following the events there following the Hurricanes this fall, because they now have personal connections to the events there.

The students are in constant contact and the Puerto Rican student said that her memories of talking with members of the group this summer now keep her from getting too depressed about her current situation.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

There are so many. I feel like a kid in a candy store choosing which type of candy to eat. I really enjoyed the Japan: Japanese Language & Culture program since I have the language skills and background knowledge to help students get the most out of their experiences.

I would also like to take students to Korea, China, Thailand, or Vietnam because of the opportunity to learn more about this fascinating part of the world. I really love the cultures and the physical beauty of the land. I would be honored to assist students in learning about places like Korea and China, which are vital places in the 21st Century.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

There are so many great people involved in the program. I met many leaders at the leader orientation. I would personally want to be part of a group led by any of them. They were really talented people.

Also, The Experiment allows participants to really learn about a place in an authentic manner and structures many activities which allows them to interact with local people. The homestay is a critical component of this. Students are not primarily tourists.

The participants are extremely diverse, from different racial, geographic, and socio-economic backgrounds. They are united, however, by a common interest in the culture of the country they are visiting and the theme of the program.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

While being on program, I came to appreciate how important it was to have capable staff in the US to communicate with parents and medical staff. The Experiment had a robust, knowledgeable on-call staff that assisted with a variety of issues so that the program could run smoothly for the students.

The staff also ran a very effective orientation which created a common set of expectations, norms, processes, and culture for the programs. This was important for quality control and the creation of a company mission.