The Experiment in International Living

Program Reviews

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Estefania
9/10

I never believed Italy, the tiny little boot by the Mediterranean, could teach me so much in a matter of days. This was my first experience--traveling alone--without my family or friends, but with strangers from all over the U.S. On top of that, I experienced and was entirely immersed in a culture, that was seemingly not like my own, but that I connected to by the end of the program.
I adored my homestay family, I even text them on a regular basis now that I am home! Although, I did miss home. I won't deny it. I knew I was in another foreign country, one I hope that others get to visit, and not only to check off a tourist-like list. The culture is so vibrant and nearly everything in Italy is gorgeous. However, Italy wasn't about its aesthetic, but rather what it allowed me to learn. For the first time in my life, I was taught, that even with a language barrier, people are all interconnected.

Italy, at the moment, is facing a lot of immigration issues and corrupt policies, just like back home. In Houston, there are constant protests and rallies held in support of immigrants, the Black Lives Matter movement, Women's Rights Movement, and many more. In Italy, protests were consistently held in Rome, and I appreciated it. Italy was not just another place for a vacation, but rather to engage with. My host family and strangers--that I now call friends--taught me this, and I couldn't be more thankful for it.
If anyone is reading this, I hope that when you travel, you also get to enjoy the unique culture and not simply spend endless hours in gift shops.

Yes, I recommend this program
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MyAun
10/10

I had an amazing time on the study abroad trip in the UK with the Experiment in International Living organization. I have gained skills such as, learning how to navigate a subway, or "the tube" as they call it in London. I have also learned how to spend money wisely when shopping, as well as making sure I had enough room to pack all the souvenirs I brought back. I also learned quite a lot about journalism such as how to set up a camera, how to do street interviews, how to work the individual mics, etc. I also learned a lot about Britain, as well as current events such as Br-exit, the cutbacks in the National Health Service, and so forth. I also learned the language difference and cultural difference between each city. Such as the Scousers of Liverpool and the Londoners of London. On top of that we did lots of site- seeing, things like the London Eye, the London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster. Another thing that made my experience so amazing was my group. There were 15 of us all together plus 3 leaders. The group was so caring and kind of each other, we always looked out for one another, and we still keep in touch till this day. Memories of us singing and dancing in the rainy streets of London still permeate my brain. It was the best summer of my life.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Arden
10/10

My experience was amazing in every way shape and form. The whole thing was so well organized and my leaders could not have been more amazing people. I met the very best people, improved my Spanish and had THE most amazing time. I only wish I could do it over again. I learned so much about myself and about Argentinian culture. I made friends with people who didn't even speak my language. I still speak to them all and saying goodbye to them all was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I will never forget my experience in Argentina with The Experiment. The support in their office is excellent as well. I was helped through my application the entire time and if I ever had a question, it was answered. I could not have had a better experience.

How can this program be improved?
It's perfect.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Kofi
10/10

In Japan I had lots of fun. From the streets of Tokyo to the woods of Nanae in Hokkaido, our group traveled everywhere. The anime classes we attended were great, as it was a type of learning that always introduced an exciting aspect to it. We did voice lessons, worked with professional animation technology and tools, and we learned from experienced instructors. The people I met were amazing, and I'm sure to keep in touch with them.

How can this program be improved?
It is perfect as it is.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Beverly
10/10

Junior year started and I wasn’t ready to think about the summer to follow. I had just become an upperclassmen thinking I’m just that much closer to becoming a senior. While having that in the back of my mind my junior seminar teacher told us about the opportunity to study abroad with the Experiment of International Living, EIL. I went home and talked to my mom about it and she thought it was a great opportunity for me to pursue. Later that month there was a mandatory meeting, so we could get started with the application process. While filling out the forms, I began to worry about many aspects of our trip. This trip took me completely out of my comfort zone. I had never left the country before or even away from my parents for a long amount of time. Additionally, I was afraid that I might not fit in with the other students in our travel group. Meeting new people and not being as social as others I knew it would be a challenge. However, it is apparent to me that this trip showed and made me appreciate the person I am inside and out.
After getting accepted into the program, I was given the invitation to go to Spain. Now for the best part of the travel prep, shopping. I bought my suitcase, passport, and even a case for my passport ,so I wouldn’t lose it! While packing my clothes and making sure I had everything needed for my trip, I noticed I didn’t. I didn’t have my full heart into it. Yes, I was excited about leaving the country and yes I was excited about this being a new experience for me, but I really set my hopes up for the United Kingdom program studying journalism. With this being a bump in the road for me I had to push myself to keep an open mind and to appreciate the opportunity I have been awarded that not many other high school students are able to get.
As my departure time from John F. Kennedy Airport arrived, I started to notice that this trip was going to either make or break me. I initiated casual conversations with the people in my group and got to know just the surface of everybody. When we boarded the plane I was shocked that we all weren’t sitting next to each other. That’s when I thought to myself “not only am I alone on this flight overseas, but I am not close to anybody that I “quote un-quote know”. Honestly, this scared me. At this point I knew it was time to grow up. Beginning with improving my skill of being responsible. I had to keep track of my plane ticket, make sure I had all my things together and not become astray from my group.
Once we landed we began to do projects and come together as one; it was as if we had known each other for years. In Madrid we really got to see ourselves produce something that could possibly be used in everyday life. We designed many things for a park that was really ran down. We started off by brainstorming together to see what the area needed. Most of the conversation was self-lead, but taken in consideration we are all teenagers somebody needed to step up and mediate when things got a little rough. I took it upon myself to make sure our conversations went smoothly, which overall helped my leadership skills. We engaged with the community by going around asking them exactly what they would like to see in the park. Thereafter we gathered all the information, went back to the drawing board, and started to produce the actual objects. In the center where the 3D printer was we sat in front of computers with a partner and started to design. Most of the time in the partnerships each person wanted to do something different so to cause less confusion I decided to make a list of everything that needed to be made and everybody as a couplet choose one. This seemed to work out very more successfully than how we were doing it in the first place. We also designed many bike racks for the vast amount of riders in the community, thinking it would be a good idea to give them what they need. The racks were cut out of wood from a laser cutter that our instructor taught us how to use. During this process I learned that it’s okay to not only be a leader by my actions, but also by the things I may communicate. The city of Madrid was the place that I noticed this trip was going to make me a better person overall.
To end this wonderful experience I learned that I can do things on my own and not rely on anybody. While learning how to be independent I also improved my leadership skills by helping out the group when need be and help lead group discussions. Honestly, I feel like this two to three page limit is not enough for me to explain how much I grew on this trip. Just know that this experience was truly an experiment and I got the result I hoped for.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Theo
10/10

Simply traveling to Costa Rica meant that I was going to be having a great time. The Experiment, however, didn't settle for great. The program was carefully planned as month long journey of learning, both by exploring the world, and by exploring yourself. The group didn't just go and see the sights of Costa Rica, we got immersed in the culture of the country and were offered real insight onto why things function the way that they do. We saw the ripples that globalization causes in big cities and in rural pueblos. We were questioned by group leaders in a way that made us analyze similarities, differences, and important distinctions between everywhere we went. We had to think about how our values corresponded or clashed with the values we witnessed in the host country. I came onto the program expecting to learn an immense amount about Costa Rica and about the Spanish language, and left the program happy I had gained so much more. For two weeks on program, there was a homestay portion with a Costa Rican family. While the concept of living with another family feels intimidating initially, I found the homestay to be the most rewarding part of the journey. My family taught me so much more than anything I could have learned without genuine immersion. They brought me happiness and struggles and understanding and I'm glad that I chose to be a part of the Experiment's 2018 Costa Rica trip. I wouldn't have been able to meet them without it. This review is my way of thanking the Experiment for not settling for great. The group was incredible. The leaders were incredible. The nature was incredible. Most of all, my host family was incredible.

How can this program be improved?
There was a little too much time spent on community service that could have better been spent exploring the country or doing cultural activities.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Kiley
9/10

I had the most amazing experience in Morocco. If you’re questioning if you should go, I would recommend it to the highest degree! Morocco has the most beautiful culture, language and people. Every corner I turned I felt as if I was learning something even more exciting or seeing something more beautiful. The experiment does a good job of providing an orientation into the country, which helps you to see many of the underlying social issues and aspect of the culture you are immersing yourself in. The homestay was by far my best part. If you are worried about staying with a new family- don’t be! The families are all so excited to have you and the connection you will have with them overcomes any possible cultural or language boundaries that may present themselves.

How can this program be improved?
Better organization on an overall level.
Yes, I recommend this program
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jacqueline
10/10

5 weeks in Tanzania. For some people that would have seemed like such a long time, yet for me. I was ready to spend the next 5 years there. From the safaris, to the beaches, the homestay, the Maasai, the mural, the songs, and the streets, to the love and community that I was revived with, I never expected it to be this amazing. I had read the itinerary a thousand times and yet everyday was a new adventure. Because no matter how much I read about it, actually experiencing it was 100x better.
The people that I traveled with and the people that I met while staying there became like family. They accepted me and treated me as their own.
I learned so much! I lived so much! And I am ready to go back, because that turned into my new home.

How can this program be improved?
More free time
Yes, I recommend this program
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Michelle
9/10

I had a wonderful experience in the Experiment's trip in Italy. I was able to learn so much about Italian culture and their language, especially during my homestay. One of my greatest memories from this trip was actually the first night of my homestay. My homestay sister and her cousin brought me to a festival in the center of a town called Cetraro. It was such a beautiful night. The streets were decorated with purple, blue, and white lights from above and crowded with vendors selling snacks and trinkets. In the center of the festival, people were swaying to the music a band was playing and children gaped at amateur acrobats performing tricks from a dangling hoop. I think one of the best parts of the trips was the homestay even though I was so nervous about it from the beginning. One of the best ways to overcome this feeling is to be yourself, keep an open mind, and put some effort into speaking with your homestay family in a different language no matter how embarrassed you might feel. Just don't forget to have fun and do your laundry!

How can this program be improved?
maybe some community service
Yes, I recommend this program
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Terry
10/10

My experience in the Netherlands has to be like none other. It was my first time out of the country and is one of the best times I have ever had in my life. I was able to find my own identity while being surrounded by other straight and LGBTQ community members all working together to create more of a progressive society. I am absolutely in love with the Dutch Culture and obsessed with their fries (delicious). My highlight would have to be my time with my host mother, Vaje, who has to be the most sweetest person I have ever met. We still keep in contact and wish everybody is able to have the experience I was fortunate enough to have. PS. I have made long life programs.

How can this program be improved?
I would just do more of thorough home-stay check because I know some of my friends did not have the best home stay mothers. But other then that, I have nothing to complain about.
Yes, I recommend this program