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The Experiment in International Living

About

The Experiment in International Living is the most experienced provider of summer abroad programs and virtual cultural exchanges 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.

Founded
1932

Reviews

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Yacine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Experiment Digital

It was a great experience for me, I got to know people from all over the world and share my ideas with them, that really had a great feeling. I learned a lot of things about being a leader and having a good effect on my community.
The only problem I faced is when using some of the digital tools like Padlet, it was glitching a lot and that prevented me from completing my activities in time.
I recommend this program for everyone who is interested in solving problems in their community or becoming a leader.

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Nadeen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Informative and Fascinating 8 weeks

I learned a lot of stuff in this program about leadership, SWOT analysis, different cultures, issues in different communities. We discussed stereotypes. We brainstormed solutions together via slack and family dialogues. The virtual homestay was one of the most fascinating experiences in the program because I had a conversation with my sibling about our countries, issues in our communities, knew the similarities and differences between our communities. The facilitators were so cooperative. I also learned about the SMART goal and action plan timeline. Coming up with a solution that solves one of my community issues.

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Nour El Imane
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Eye-opening journey

The experiment digital is such a great opportunity and an eye-opening for me because I learned a lot of new things about leadership and I knew myself more. I am being my better version, I have become more confident also I met inspiring people and peers from different countries and backgrounds, with different taught and ideas, I think exactly this point is pretty great because you are going to exchange your culture, your traditions and your language with your peers. I have the chance to learn from your peer mentors and your facilitator who will guide you when you needed help. You will be able to start your own project to make a difference or a change in your community and influent people around you. I fully advise and encourage you guys to submit the required information and participate in this amazing journey.

What was your funniest moment?
The funniest moment for me in this program is our games in the regional chat especially TABOO, we were super excited to get the right words as much as possible, at the same time we learned from each other new words and improve our vocabulary in English. In addition, our family dialogues were just amazing with my facilitator and my peers in the neighborhood.
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Amna
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Experiment Digital

The Experiment Digital allowed me to explore parts of my identity of myself with others from all across the world. I learned how to be a better, more thoughtful, kinder leader not only with others but with myself. TED allowed me to become the best version of myself through discovering other rich and fascinating cultures, customs, and traditions. I got to play a lot of games and have interesting conversations with really interesting people, and I felt like I had a lot of support through all of it. I would definitely recommend this program!

What was your funniest moment?
When we tried finding differences between two pics!
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Aran
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent

I am recommending this program to those young learners and those who wants to become a good leader. Its was a different experience for me i get to know more about other caltures and talking about their issues and trying to help each other. i get to know a lot of great people and becoming friends with them and at the end of the program we are trying to have a project to help people in our community and trying to change those bad thing. So i recommend the experiment digital to those young leaders.

What would you improve about this program?
I personally like to have more family meeting to have better connection between the participants

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.