Welcome to The Experiment in International Living’s summer abroad leadership opportunities. Group leadership is a chance for you to share your knowledge of and interest in other cultures with an exceptional group of young people.
The Experiment is looking for individuals who have demonstrated interest in intercultural and experiential learning, in-depth experience living abroad, competency in the language of the host culture, and experience working with young people to lead high school summer programs in 2016. Experiment group leaders are dynamic, responsible, emotionally mature adults who support Experimenters in a number of ways. First and foremost, they maximize the well-being of all participants so that participants can have a meaningful and memorable learning experience. Leaders also represent The Experiment abroad and manage in-country relationships with integrity and professionalism.
Experimenters are met by their two group leaders at a specific meeting location in the designated port of departure in the United States. Group leaders immediately start engaging students in conversations and ice-breaker activities. Right away — and continuing throughout the in-country orientation — leaders work with Experimenters to increase their knowledge of the host country and culture, develop communication skills, and cultivate new attitudes and awareness.
During the course of the program, group leaders keep in close contact with homestay families, conduct group excursions, and guide students through discussions of and reflections on their experiences.
At the end of the program, leaders help students evaluate their experiences and assist them in considering how they can integrate what they learned about themselves and the world into their lives moving forward.
Experiment group leaders are chosen for their leadership skills, particularly in working with young people, and their cross-cultural experience and language competence. The Experiment selects group leaders who have:
Group leaders are responsible adults who support Experimenters in a number of ways.
Leading an Experiment program is a very rewarding and demanding job. The responsibilities of an Experiment group leader can be categorized as follows:
The responsibilities of a leader begin at the time of assignment to a program and extend until program reports are submitted. To understand how these responsibilities translate into day-to-day realities and specific tasks, please read the following chronological outline.
Leaders receive a weekly stipend in addition to the following:
World Learning is an Equal Opportunity Employer and seeks qualified applicants to represent diverse geographical, ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. Our goal is to select the most qualified leaders for each program. The competitive standards are set by each group of applicants.
Applicants who have led before bring that experience as one strong component of their qualifications, but must compete successfully with new applicants.
Applicants must complete all of the following sections of the online group leader application:
Provide your name (as it appears on your passport), contact information, citizenship (if you are a US citizen, please be prepared to share your passport expiration date; if you are a non-US citizen, please be prepared to share your work visa type and expiration date), and criminal background.
Provide details regarding your youth experience, international experience, homestay guest and/or host experience, expertise in our program themes, language expertise, comfort level with outdoor/physical activities, relevant certifications, and past experience with World Learning.
List the colleges/universities you have attended.
Answer the question set that applies to you. Answers should range from 200 to 400 words in length.
Provide a 100- to 200-word statement about yourself (written in the third person) describing your background, interests, education, and work experience. Keep in mind that if you are hired as an international group leader, this biography will be posted on The Experiment website, shared with your in-country colleagues, and sent to your Experiment students and their parents (who are entrusting you with their child!).
For ideas on how to structure your biography, see our program pages for examples of past leader biographies.
Please provide the names and contact information of two references. One must be an individual who has overseen your academic and/or professional work (e.g., manager, boss, dean, professor, etc.). The second reference may be another supervisor, or it may be a former or current colleague or student who knows you well. The Experiment office will contact references via email, usually during the interview phase of the selection process. Please do not ask references to submit a letter of recommendation at this time.
Please provide the name and contact information of one professional reference who has overseen your academic and/or professional work (e.g., manager, boss, dean, professor, etc.).
Upload your current résumé in PDF format.
The application for summer 2016 international group leaders will be available online in early November 2015.
The Experiment will be accepting 2016 group leader applications on a rolling basis between November 2015 and January 26, 2016. The Experiment team will begin reviewing applications during this time period, but will not begin scheduling leader interviews until after the New Year.
Group leader applicants interested in completing the application process on an expedited timeline are invited to submit their applications by the December 1, 2015 early bird deadline. Early bird application review and interviews will be held during the month of December. Selected early bird applicants will receive offers of employment in January, 2016. Early bird applicants, who do not receive an offer of employment in January, may be deferred and processed with the full applicant pool in February. (Both return and first time group leader applicants are eligible to submit early bird applications.)
2016 group leader applications will be accepted through January 26, 2016.
During this time period, The Experiment will review leader applications and will begin contacting qualifying applicants to schedule interviews. The interview process may include two separate interviews (a preliminary interview and an in-depth second-round interview) and a brief language check (for programs where strong language proficiency is required).
Selected applicants will receive offer letters for 2016 international group leader positions. While potential program placements will be discussed with applicants during the interview process, exact program placements are typically confirmed after leaders have signed their contracts.
Leaders will complete the required hiring paperwork, be introduced to their co-leader, and engage in several pre-training preparatory tasks, all of which can be completed remotely.
All leaders are required to attend in full the Leadership Training Workshop (LTW), which takes place on the World Learning campus in Brattleboro, Vermont. Leaders will travel to Vermont on June 21. LTW programming begins the evening of June 21 and concludes the morning of June 27, at which time leaders begin departing Vermont to travel to their group’s US departure airport.
LTW presents leaders with a professional development intercultural training that will prepare them to implement successful programs using The Experiment’s experiential learning pedagogy. Leaders will be trained on effective leadership practices, how to monitor participants’ safety and welfare, and how to administer the program logistics and budget. Leaders will benefit from the insight of past and present leaders and World Learning’s vast professional network.
Experiment programs are from three to five weeks in length. The earliest 2016 Experiment programs depart from the United States on June 27, and the majority of programs conclude by the end of July. You can find more information about Experiment programs, including specific dates for each program, on our website here.
Leaders work with the Experiment office to provide feedback and evaluations on their program, including submission of written reports due within one month of their program’s conclusion. All post-program responsibilities can be completed remotely.
All leaders are required to attend the Leader Training Workshop in Vermont prior to leading a program. The Leader Training Workshop is scheduled to begin on June 21.
Programs run between three and five weeks in length, and you can find dates for specific programs here. Groups begin departing the United States for their program country on June 27, and the majority of groups return to the United States between July 20 and August 6, 2016.
On the application, we ask you to list your language capabilities, experiences living abroad, and expertise in The Experiment’s program themes. These factors give us a very good idea of which program(s) you would be qualified to lead. If there is a particular program/location you would specifically like to be considered for, you may note your preference in the Additional Information section at the end of your application. We also make sure to discuss program preferences with applicants during interviews.
While the majority of our leaders have extensive experience abroad, we do occasionally hire leaders who have only lived abroad for a semester — especially if those individuals have other strong qualifications such as thematic expertise or extensive experience facilitating youth programs.
In addition, we sometimes assign leaders to countries where they don’t have direct in-country experience. For example, we might assign a leader to our Botswana program if they have extensive experience elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa and expertise in the program theme.
Given that each program set-up varies slightly, there are several programs (e.g., Korea and Botswana) for which we don’t require our leaders to be fluent in the country’s language(s). Typically in these countries, our in-country partners provide a native guide 24/7 who can assist leaders with translation. However, for the majority of our programs, leaders do need to have a strong working proficiency of the language. For some of our programs (e.g., Japan and France), it is absolutely critical that leaders are fluent in the language of the host country, and for these programs, we will often ask candidates to do a brief language-check interview as part of the selection process.
Our programs do change slightly from year to year. While many of our programs have run for years and continue to do so, we are constantly evaluating and updating our portfolio to refresh our current programs and to create innovative new programs. In this process, there are sometimes programs we stop running or place on hiatus while we improve them.
Please do not submit letters of recommendation with your application. We ask that you list your references’ contact information on the application, and we will contact them via email during the interview stage of the selection process.
International group leaders are professional employees of World Learning and not participants; therefore, there are no fees to apply for a leader position.
The only program-related expenses leaders are responsible for are their own personal elective expenses, having a current passport valid through January 2016, and obtaining immunizations if you choose to do so.
In addition to providing leaders with a stipend for their work, The Experiment covers leaders’ program-related travel expenses, including:
The Leader Training Workshop is held on the World Learning campus in Brattleboro, Vermont. We provide leaders with lodging in our dorms and meals in our cafeteria.
The leaders stay in all the same places as the students, and this varies based on program. You could find yourself in a tent, a hostel, a dorm, a hotel, a yurt, etc. Each leader is assigned a host family during the homestay portion of the program.
The program officially ends upon the group’s return to the United States. The group is doing lots of reentry processing and program wrap-up and is cherishing those last bonding experiences in the final hours of the program, even continuing through the flight back home — so it’s a very important time! Thus, we require all new leaders to accompany their group back to the United States. Return leaders do have the option of staying in-country after the program, and the Experiment team will share more information with return leaders about this benefit as they are hired.