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The Experiment in International Living

About

The Experiment is the most respected provider of international exchanges for high school students. For 90 years, we have empowered young people to step off the beaten path, experience the world as a classroom, and develop the skills they need to solve the challenges of tomorrow.

Gain a deeper understanding of the world as you launch your unforgettable educational experiment. Through our abroad and virtual programs, you’ll experience homestays with trusted families, immerse yourself in new cultures, and learn alongside diverse groups of people, all while fueling your purpose-driven passions along the way.

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

Scholarships

The Experiment in International Living Scholarships

The Experiment in International Living offers a variety of need-based and merit-based scholarships to worthy high school students looking to participate in their program. The eligibility requirements vary depending on where you live and other demographics -- and your GPA is taken into account for some scholarships too.

Value
$250 - $5,000

Reviews

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Senai
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Trip!

I’ll never forget the four weeks I spent in Ghana while on this program and the experiences I was able to have! As a group, we traveled to Kumasi, the Volta region, and Cape Coast which gave us the chance to truly explore the country. While on program, I was also able to intern with Untamed Empire, an incubator for young artists in Ghana, where I learned more about artistry and the mechanics of a business. I enjoyed every second of my trip, down to driving through Accra’s heavy traffic and visiting multiple museums. It was a great way to spend my summer!

Default avatar
April
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A Month in Ghana!!

I loved the time I spent in Ghana over the summer! I learned a lot about the art scene in Ghana and the culture. During the month, I interned at Dikan Center, a non-profit organization committed to visual education through the advancement of visual storytelling in Africa. Through the internship and the projects and discussions had there, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of Ghanaian culture and history. It was nice to go on different excursions throughout the month like Kumasi, Cape Coast, and the Volta Region because of the different people we got to interact with and how the lifestyles differed from place to place.

Pros
  • Discussion and Lectures
  • Excursions
  • Program Staff
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Teagan
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

France cultural discovery

This trip was one of the most amazing things I have ever taken part of and I would highly recommend for students who want to get out in the world. It is a good safe environment to be in and to still have fun! With the home stay in the south I was able to truly see what everyday life was like and I felt fully immersed in the culture. We also spent a lot of time with the group and got to create our own itineraries giving us more confidence in leader and planning skills. I hope many more kids get to have this experience and that they enjoy it as much as I did.

Pros
  • Life long friends were made.
  • Knowledge of French culture expanded.
  • Expanded my world view.
Cons
  • Slightly fast paced.
  • Can be scary for first time travelers.
  • I wish it didn’t end.
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Owen
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

An incredible experience!

The Experiment in international Livings South Korea program was an amazing trip and experience. I was born in South Korea but at a very young age, I move to the United States of America. This trip was a great way to learn about the people and culture of the place I was born. During the trip I visited many incredible places for example we visited the Gyeongbokgung Palace, The Korean War Museum, the Han River, the DMZ, and many more incredible places. My personal favorite places we visited was the Gyeongbokgung Palace, Han River, and Seoul. I learned so much about the old and new traditions and culture of South Korea. It was amazing to see how technologically advanced Korea was. There were robot servers at restaurants and robotic guides in the airport. The food was another highlight of the trip. Korean cuisine was very different compared to America. The seasonings as well as the food ingredients themselves were different. I’ve had a good amount of Korean food growing up but there was a difference between having it in the USA vs having it in Korea. At the end of our trip, we met with a group of Korean high school students and did many activities with them. We visited Cheongju and learned about the Korean presidents, we attended a student lead fair and toured through an art museum. It was a lot of fun to learn about their lives as students in Korea and what their plans for the future were. At the very end of the trip, we were allowed to explore the city of Seoul and I was able to meet with a friend from America that was there as an exchange student. They gave me a tour of the surrounding area and we did some shopping. My biggest takeaway from the trip would have to be the culture of South Korea. Korea is so different than the US in so many ways. There are definitely cultural mannerisms I’ve taken back to the US and that I’ve implemented into my daily life. I would love to go back to visit again.

Pros
  • The places we visited
  • The people we met
  • The amazing food
Cons
  • Wish we had more free time to explore
  • Wish we had gone to less touristy locations
  • Wish there was a little more organization during the program
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Kimberly
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

CULTURAL DISCOVERY IN SPAIN

Being in a new country with people you've never met is a duanting idea at first. I was nervous and kinda regreting my decision of even getting on the plane, but as soon as I got there I was greeted by my group leaders, and I started getting excited. From there everything went by quickly, meeting the full group, then security, then landing, motel, exploring spain, etc. Everything was quick and you had something to do everyday! Whether it was going to museums, cathedrals or new cities, you had something to do everyday. Homestays were one of the times thing went slower. Living with a new family was pretty nerve-wracking, especially since at the time I was sick. My biggest fears were getting the rest of the family sick or being disrespectful in any way. Thankfully, my family was so kind and understanding! They'd take us on small trips around Valencia, showing us landmarks, museums, beaches, and let us walk around the city. Truly one of my most memorable moments was anytime the whole family was together. Being able to see and be a part of a family, and experiencing their day to day was truly memorable. Although I know Spanish, I noticed that my family did try to make a slight effort to teach it to those that didn't. Advice I have for homestays is to definitely try to communicate. It might be hard at first but being able to talk to your homestay family is super important and can add to the experience!

Pros
  • Being more independent
  • Out of comfort zone
  • Being social
Cons
  • Heat wave
  • Somewhat tiring

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Claire Holmes

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
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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.