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The Experiment in International Living

About

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.

Founded
1932
Headquarters

PO Box 676. 1 Kipling Road
Brattleboro, VT 05302
United States

Reviews

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Ahoefa
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had an amazing time while I was in France. My favorite part would 10 out of 10 be the home stay portion of my trip. I can’t thank the experiment enough for matching me with my amazing home stay family. My family took great care of me they made my happiness a priority. If I had any questions they would answer with out hesitation. One of the best things during my homestay was dinner. I loved when we would all sit around the table and talk about it day or compare our cultures and even after everyone was finished eating we still continued talking. I also appreciate The fact that my home stay family never pressured me into doing something I wasn’t comfortable with. With my family I had the opportunity to see France through their eyes and learn what their typical day was. If I could I would do it over and over again.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
For me the most nerve wracking moments were the moments before the homestay because I was terrified something would go wrong but I went in with an open mind and it turned out great.
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Doziel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I will never forget this amazing trip. From wearing traditional clothes to dancing modern K-pop. I loved experiencing a traditional Korean wedding and wearing the fancy gowns. Also making Korean food with chefs was so much fun, and I will continue trying to make different cultural meals. Learning about my host family and their daily life was awesome. The constant opportunity to use Korean with natives was invaluable, and my language skills have improved so much in just one month. I am so glad I was able to participate, and that I was able to better myself through these experiences and the knowledge it brought forth. I recommend this trip for anyone who is brave enough to step out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves and experience another cultural.

What was your funniest moment?
This happened to another participant but I still find it hilarious. We were on the subway and she was waving over another participant. But there was (a rather attractive) Korean guy who thought she was waving him over. He walked up to her and said hello and she immediately apologized and explained what happened. He left on the next stop, which was pretty obviously not his stop. We all laughed about it for the rest of the trip.
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Hilda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I know that the title of my post might seem like a stretch, but it's not. My Experiment experience was more than any thing that I could have imagined. I came back to America as a more confident, independent individual and I highly recommend that anyone and everyone should take part in this program. Not only did I learn about a totally new culture, I met the most incredible people and had the time of my life. Going on this trip showed me that I am capable of doing a lot and now I'm even more interesting in studying abroad in college. No matter which topic you chose, you will come home a different person.

Basically all I am trying to say is: GO ON THE TRIP!!!! I guarantee you that you will have the time of your life and will regret it if you do go.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
As an applicant, something that scared me was the homestay, but I was scared over nothing. In fact, it was the best part of the trip. The families were amazing and they cared greatly about each and everyone of us. It also gave us a new perspective into the culture, one that you can not get if you are only a tourist.
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Kelvin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The trip overall was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I got to meet the most amazing people from all around the U.S and Spain. I feel so lucky to have met them. We all created such a great bond with each other. They have become some of my best friends for life. Same goes with the group leaders. They were so kind and nice to all of us and always made sure that we were having fun and safe. I miss them more and more everyday. We are all planning on meeting up again. I was really surprised of how much I immersed into the culture. This trip has made me feel more confident to meet new people and try new things. I will always cherish the memories I I have about this trip. If I could do this trip all over again. I would. I am so grateful for such an amazing experience.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I would have to say the most nerve-racking part of the trip was the homestay. I am personally very timid when meeting now people. So I was a bit anxious, but as my stay went on I became in love with my family. They were so sweet and kind. They always made sure I was having a good time and safe.
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Jennifer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was my first time traveling to another continent. My first traveling over seas and my experience was great. This trip will be unforgettable because I learned all about a country I did not know anything about, not even where it was on the map. Not only did I learned their culture but I also lived it. My favorite part of the trip would be the homestay. Even if it was hard to communicate and the food was completely different, I loved it. I also made lots of friends from all around the U.S. and from Morocco. I do not regret choosing Morocco and I wish I can go back. For those people studying abroad I really recommend you do. My advice would be to take risks and always walk into everything open-minded and with a positive attitude. Do not choose a country you are comfortable in, choose a country that you have never heard of!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
When we had to go out in the market and buy things. I had to communicate with the sellers in Arabic and I did not know Arabic very good so this was a big game of charades.

Programs

Displaying 10 - 18 of 20

Alumni Interviews

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

Claire Holmes

Claire is an ascending junior in high school. She had never been out of the country before going to Spain.

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.