Maximizing health and safety. The Experiment recognizes risk as inherent in all travel, and we continually work to identify, mitigate, and manage risks within our program contexts. We understand and deeply respect that socioeconomic, political, environmental, and medical conditions vary in the countries in which we run programs. Our team of professionals and trusted partners develop contingency and risk-management plans for each site, and tailor our health, safety, and security measures to each location and circumstance. Our vast network of in-country partners each maintain relationships with local and regional authorities to help us assess health, safety, and risk for each program. Over our 90-year history, we have developed health and safety protocols built on experience, best practices, and the highest industry standards.
History and experience. The Experiment has been running high-quality summer programs since 1932, when it was founded on the principle of creating intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and peace. Within a year of our founding, we launched the homestay, a new concept at the time, which allows participants to immerse themselves in another culture. After nine decades and 70,000 participants, The Experiment still stands as a path-breaking leader in the field of international education for high school students.
Immersive programs. Experiment programs abroad are educational, thought-provoking—and fun! They are centered around a variety of themes and topics, but each follows the same four-part structure: an in-depth, intercultural orientation in the capital or another major city; a homestay with a local family that often leads to lifelong friendships; a thematic focus that can help students prepare for college; and a thoughtful reflection and evaluation. This program structure is designed to ensure our students’ well-being as they meet new cultures and communities and grow into engaged global citizens.
College credit and internships. The Experiment began offering programs for college credit in 2019. We have expanded this portfolio with programs and internships that span multiple countries and disciplines, all designed to enhance technical and interpersonal skills for college and career success. Students earn three college credits through the School for International Training when you successfully complete a credit-bearing program or internship.
Need-based scholarships. Since 1940, The Experiment has offered a variety of need-based scholarships to ensure that students from all backgrounds have access to immersive cross-cultural programs. Typically, more than half of Experimenters receive scholarship support every summer. Students have access to partial or full scholarship funding thanks to our longstanding partnerships with mentoring organizations, after-school programs, home-school organizations, community groups, public and private schools, and foundations across the country.
Small and diverse student groups. Experiment groups are typically 10–15 students who come from a range of backgrounds: small towns and large cities; urban and rural areas; public, private, and home-school educational experiences. Experimenters are of different races, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, physical abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We value diversity and are committed to creating equitable and inclusive access to our programs.
Deep in-country partnerships. The Experiment has deep, sometimes decades-old, relationships with our international partners. These include the global learning centers of our accredited sister institution, School for International Training, and other educational nonprofit organizations. These local partners are key to creating dynamic, educational, and immersive programs, and play an essential role in maximizing the health, safety, and security of our students.
The Experiment helps participants prepare for their program throughout the pre-departure process. We provide sample itineraries, a student handbook, packing lists, and assistance with travel logistics. Students participating in programs in Africa, Latin America, and Asia receive specific health guidelines. These guidelines include recommendations about immunizations and medications that each family should consider before departure. The Experiment’s admissions counselors are available to students and their families throughout the entire application process and prior to their departure.
The program fee includes a homestay and/or other lodgings; all meals; orientation; in-country transportation and program activities; group-leader supervision throughout the program; health, accident, and medical evacuation insurance; and a 24-hour, on-call response line, administered by our professional operations team, during the program.
The program fee does not include international airfare, pre-program medical examinations or immunizations, passport or visa fees for non-U.S. citizens, or personal spending money.
The Experiment program tuition covers all scheduled program activities published on your program itinerary, lodging, and three meals per day. You will also be billed for the cost of the round trip international group flight. The international airfare includes round-trip international flights from a U.S. departure city to your host country. You will need to plan and pay for your domestic travel to the U.S. departure city for your group flight. You should anticipate personal spending money of between $200-800 depending on your program destination and program length. Additionally, you will need to secure a passport that is valid through the end of February after your program ends. Non-U.S. citizens may be required to purchase a tourist visa before travel, as well. You may also need to pay for one or more of the following which may be required for travel: immunizations, pre-travel covid tests, and visas, if necessary.
U.S. passport holders will need visas if joining the programs in Ghana and Jordan. (The Ghana visa must be secured before the program. The Jordan visa is about $60 upon arrival in Jordan.)
Please note: if you are a U.S. citizen and you do not yet have a U.S. passport, please submit your passport application as soon as possible. After submitting your passport application, you should receive your passport in the mail in about 8 to 11 weeks. You must submit your passport copy to The Experiment by May 1.
Please refer to the State Department’s website for the most up-to-date U.S. Passport Operations in Response to COVID-19.
STANDARD CANCELLATION POLICY
If you do not purchase the Optional Tuition Protection, you will be subject to our standard cancellation/withdrawal policy detailed below and as stated in the Conditions of Participation.
World Learning makes firm commitments to local service providers on behalf of participants well in advance of program starting dates. Therefore, cancellation fees are required in the event of any withdrawal by the applicant for any reason, including health-related reasons or lack of medical clearance.
Withdrawals must be in writing and signed by the Participant and the Participant’s parent/guardian, if the Participant is under 18 years of age. Withdrawal refunds will be made subject to the cancellation fee schedule below. In all cases, the $50 application fee and $400 enrollment deposit are non-refundable:
|WRITTEN WITHDRAWAL NOTICE
(Received in Vermont)
|Before April 20||No Penalty|
|Between April 21 and May 20||40% of program fee, plus cost of group international flight|
|After May 20||100% of the program fee, plus cost of group international flight|
If a participant is dismissed or sent home due to behavior issues or for violation of our program restrictions, no refund will be given. In addition, all costs incurred in relation to a behavior issue or other violation are the responsibility of the parent/guardian and/or the sponsoring organization.
All refund determinations will be made after the conclusion of the program.
No refunds will be given in cases of an involuntary withdrawal or dismissal by World Learning from a program for reasons outlined in these Conditions, for violations of these Conditions or any applicable Experiment policies, or for any behavior or conduct-related reason.
The Experiment reserves the right to modify, relocate, suspend, cancel, terminate, alter, transition to online delivery, or in any way change a program, its itinerary, duration, activities, and excursions, at any time and for any reason in The Experiment’s sole discretion, including but not limited to closure for public health concerns, with or without notice. Normally, unless otherwise stated in special COVID FAQs, in the event of modification, relocation, suspension, alteration, termination, or cancellation, refund procedures shall follow those set forth in the Withdrawal Refund Procedures section herein.
The Experiment has a non-permissive alcohol and drug policy, meaning that, though we respect cultural differences, participants may not consume, buy, or possess alcohol or illegal drugs during the program. An alcohol infraction or suspected infraction while on an Experiment program will be subject to an administrative review process.
The group leaders’ primary responsibility is to maximize the safety and health of all participants; health and safety are every group leader’s top priority. Group leaders receive extensive training prior to the program and are supported by the Student Health, Safety, and Well-being team at our home office. Should your child have any concerns during the program, he or she should reach out to the group leaders as the first point of contact.
Our staff — based at our Vermont headquarters — maintains a 24-hour on-call safety and emergency response system for any health, safety, or security concerns that might arise during the program. The Experiment can be reached toll-free within the U.S. at 800-345-2929 or at 802-257-7751.
In our experience, the best and most reliable way to contact the U.S. while abroad is through web-based communication such as email, Skype, WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook messenger, etc. We highly discourage the use of international cell phones. We have found they are expensive, unreliable, and likely to be lost or stolen. They also prevent Experimenters from disconnecting from home. This takes away from the immersive experience abroad and makes participants more homesick. Some host families have expressed disappointment when their participant use their phones regularly. If you feel it’s necessary to have service, you can contact your long-distance phone provider to see if they offer an international calling plan.
The Experiment recommends having between $200 and $800 accessible for spending money, depending on the destination; however, your child should only have a small amount of cash and a debit card on them at any time. Contact your bank and notify them of your child’s destination to ensure the card will work. Make sure your child knows their ATM PIN number.
The Experiment provides packing guidelines, tailored to each program, that includes recommendations related to clothing, valuables and electronics, and medications. Please remember that participants are responsible for carrying their own luggage. The most important packing advice is to pack lightly.
Where can I find policies related to academic credit and student conduct for Experimenters participating in college credit-bearing programs?
All policies related to academic credit and student conduct for Experimenters participating in college-credit bearing programs will be available to enrolled students in their Experimenter Handbook. As the accredited partner institution of World Learning, School for International Training (SIT) policies and procedures are listed here for reference.
The office of the SIT Registrar is responsible for maintaining records needed for transcripts and course credit transfer. Credits earned through an Experiment program are transferrable only at the discretion of the receiving school.
On most programs, students will meet up with the group and their two adult group leaders at a specific meeting location in the designated port of departure in the U.S. Group leaders will immediately start engaging students in conversations and ice-breaker activities and will typically share important logistical information. Right away, students start getting to know each other and the leaders.