During the Program

Tips, Advice, and Challenges

Spain General WoodwardDuring the summer, Experiment staff members in Vermont manage all aspects of our programs in the field. We are available to parents, students, and group leaders during business hours for day-to-day questions and concerns, and we’re available 24 hours a day for emergency issues.

Through our years of experience running summer abroad programs, we know that there are issues and challenges that commonly arise during the course of a program. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with these issues as well as with the tips, tools, and advice we provide for proactively addressing them.

Accessing Money

What to do if your child is having trouble taking out money from the bank while abroad.

Please know that while we recognize resolving this issue may feel urgent to your child, all meals, activities, and program excursions are covered by The Experiment. Being unable to temporarily access money from the bank does not create an emergency situation. Additionally, your child’s group leaders are on-hand to assist them in-country.

Before you call the Experiment office regarding this concern, please do the following:

  • Call the bank. Make sure that the card is active (i.e., that it doesn’t have a travel hold placed on it), confirm the pin number and/or have the bank reset it (making sure to write the pin number down), and confirm that there is money in the account. Please also ask the bank if there would be any problem with your child using the card in the country of your child’s program.

  • Consider wiring money. If nothing is wrong with the card and you would like to wire your child money, contact www.westernunion.com to do an online money transfer. Please be sure to consult your child’s itinerary, if you need to enter an exact location at which your child can receive the money.

Following these steps, you could call the Experiment office at 800 345-2929 during business hours, 8:30–5:00 PM (EST) Monday through Friday.

Lost Luggage

If your child reports having lost his or her luggage, please make sure that your child’s group leaders have been informed. Group leaders can manage the challenge of lost luggage from in-country more easily than you will be able to from the US or your home location.

Homesickness

Experiencing homesickness is a very normal part of the cultural adjustment process, and homesickness can take many forms. Almost all students experience homesickness at some point on their programs. If your child calls or emails you and seems sad or emotional, please do not be surprised. Travel and living in another culture can be challenging but ultimately can result in profound learning and discovery. Here are some tips related to homesickness to consider:

  • Limit contact. The more your child talks to you or friends from home, the harder it may be for your child to fully immerse in the host culture; indeed, the homesickness may become worse. Ask friends and relatives to keep contact brief, and try to encourage your child to get together with other group members or talk with his or her host family. Encourage your child to fully engage with the experience and the homesickness will very likely pass.

  • Encourage group leader support. If your child is experiencing prolonged or intense homesickness, direct him or her to talk with a group leader. Group leaders are trained professionals who have tools to help students through homesickness.

Adjusting to Living with a Host Family

If your student calls you early on in the homestay experience, please encourage him or her to take these steps before you call the Experiment office:

  • Engage with the host family. Encourage your child to actively engage with the host family by giving the family the gift that your child brought, showing them pictures from home, offering to cook them a meal, asking to see host-family vacation photos, asking to listen to music they like, and so forth.

  • Reach out to his or her group leaders. Students can contact their group leaders during the homestay and should do so if they need additional advice on how to get the conversation going.

  • Give it time. Students almost always begin to feel more connected within 48 hours of the start of the homestay.

Minor Medical Issues

Occasionally Experimenters will report rashes, bumps, and/or bruises to their US parents before they tell their host family or group leaders. Please direct your child to let his or her leader know of such developments immediately. The Experiment takes health and safety very seriously and needs to know about issues that may seem very minor.