Reflection

Participant drawing.Celebrate, reflect, and prepare for reentry.

Experiment programs provide high school students with countless opportunities to learn, interact, and engage in a new culture; importantly, each program is also structured to give students the chance to reflect and process what they’re experiencing. This is particularly true at the end of the program.

Coming full circle

At the end of the program, Experimenters are asked to reflect on what they’ve done, the friendships they’ve made, the confidence they’ve attained, and the new skills and knowledge they’ve learned, under the guidance and encouragement of the group leaders. On most programs, the group comes full circle, literally and figuratively, in returning to the orientation location. This gives students an exciting opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a city that once seemed unfamiliar but now feels comfortable, recognizable, and easier to navigate.

Participant with homestay family.Wrap-up activities

During the last few days of the program, the group might revisit neighborhoods and cultural or historical sites of interest from orientation. Or they might visit a completely new neighborhood or cultural attraction. On the last evening of the program, Experiment groups typically celebrate by having a large, memorable group dinner.

Thinking about reentry: how to bring it home!

Students and others returning from an immersive experience abroad can sometimes experience reverse culture shock in readjusting to their daily lives back home. The reflection period on Experiment programs is designed to help participants talk about this and help prepare them in supportive and meaningful ways.

Group leaders facilitate conversations about going home and how that might feel. Questions for discussion might include:

  • What are the things you’ve experienced this summer that you want to bring home?
  • Do you feel different than when you arrived in the host country?
  • What are some of the challenges you could face when coming home, such as how to describe the breadth and depth of experiences you’ve had to friends and family?
  • What new skills, knowledge, friendships, and perspectives will you carry with you moving forward?

Setting the stage for the future

A participant’s Experiment in International Living isn’t over when the program concludes. We know from thousands of alumni that the impact of an Experiment program can be long-lasting and that students want to know how they can integrate what they’ve learned into their lives moving forward. That is why Experiment programs conclude by helping participants think about and process the “Now what?” related to the new knowledge, enthusiasm, friendships, language skills, and expanded worldview each participant may have attained. 

Final evaluation

At the end of the program, each student fills out a program evaluation, which gives them another opportunity to share their feedback on the program and their overall experience.

Read more about program structure.