Each of The Experiment’s groups is accompanied by two expertly trained adult Leaders. Student health and safety are each Group Leader’s top priorities.

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 and diverse group of young people.

The Experiment is looking for individuals who have demonstrated interest and experience 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 2019. Experiment Group Leaders are dynamic, responsible, emotionally mature and inclusive 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.

Ongoing Support — From Program Start to Finish

Experimenters are met by their two Group Leaders at a specific meeting location in the designated port of departure in the US 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, their identities, and the world into their lives.

Applications for 2019 Leader positions have closed. We will begin accepting applications for 2020 Leader positions in fall of 2019.

Questions? Contact groupleaders@worldlearning.org.

Please note: We request that applicants contact us via email and not phone; due to our small staff and the large volume of applications we receive, we cannot field inquiry calls.

Our Leaders

  • Are professional, flexible, resilient, resourceful, pro-active, caring, warm, friendly, and love to laugh
  • Genuinely enjoy spending time with high school students
  • Have strong organizational and logistical skills, and are able to manage a budget
  • Are willing to put their students’ learning and development ahead of their own experience
  • Are ready for an intense, challenging, and rewarding summer
  • Demonstrate skills and experience in cross-cultural sensitivity and communication
  • Bring a wide variety of backgrounds and social identities
  • Are aware of and committed to addressing bias, systemic inequalities, power, privilege, and oppression
  • Are, above all, educators and facilitators

Group Leader Qualifications

Minimum Required Qualifications

  • Experience working with high school students in a leadership capacity
  • Experience studying, working, and living internationally
  • At least 21 years of age (Applicants must be 21 or older by June 1, 2019.)
  • A bachelor’s degree (Current undergraduates may apply if they are on track to obtain their bachelor’s degree by June 15, 2019.)
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check
  • Eligibility to work in the U.S. (The Experiment in International Living does not sponsor work visas for non-U.S. citizens to be hired as Group Leaders. To be considered for a Leader position, non-U.S. citizens are solely responsible for obtaining a valid US work visa on their own. Before their application will be considered, non-U.S. candidates must provide The Experiment with proof of a U.S. work visa valid through October 2019.)
  • A current passport (Leaders must have a passport valid through February 1, 2020. If your passport expires before that date, we ask that you take steps now to renew your passport. Hired Leaders will be asked to submit a copy of their passport along with their signed offer letter. Note: The USA program requires Leaders to hold a valid U.S. driver’s license, but does not require a current passport.)
  • CPR / first aid certification(All 2019 Group Leaders are required to hold current CPR / first aid certification valid through September 1, 2019. Hired Leaders who are not currently certified will be required to obtain their certification and provide proof of certification to The Experiment by June 1, 2019. The Experiment provides all hired Leaders with reimbursement of up to $95 that can be used toward CPR / first aid certification. If a Leader is currently CPR / first aid certified, the certification stipend may be used to pursue higher safety certifications, such as Wilderness First Responder.)
  • Physical ability to participate fully in the planned activities of your assigned program (All programs require Leaders to be able to lift at least 50 pounds and walk for long stretches of time throughout each day. Many of our programs also include outdoor physical activities such as hiking, swimming, and biking.)
  • Complete availability for the duration of your assigned program and Staff Training in Brattleboro, Vermont (June 24–June 29, 2019)
  • Willingness and ability to complete post-program evaluations and reports

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.

Group Leader Responsibilities

Leading an Experiment program is a very rewarding and demanding job. The responsibilities of an Experiment Group Leader can be categorized as follows:

  • Attend Staff Training prior to program departure.
  • Maximize participants’ safety and welfare.
  • Administer program logistics and budget.
  • Facilitate the learning experience and encourage the personal growth of the participants.
  • Negotiate expectations placed on the Leader by The Experiment’s in-country partners, host families, participants, and Vermont-based staff.
  • Complete program evaluation reports within a month of the program’s end.

The responsibilities of a Group 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.

Pre-Program Responsibilities

  • Submit hire paperwork and program placement materials as required by the appropriate deadline. (Program placement materials will be sent to you upon appointment to a program. They include travel forms, a letter to your host family, and other materials as needed. Hire paperwork includes a criminal background check.)
  • Attend and fully participate in Staff Training.

Program Responsibilities

  • Be present and with the group throughout the program.
  • Receive and administer the group budget as established by The Experiment, maintaining an accurate record of expenditures.
  • Conduct the cross-cultural orientation portion of the program in conjunction with the in-country host office.
  • Support students’ experiential learning and reflection by facilitating group discussions, one-on-one check-ins, and activities.
  • Visit all group members and host families within the first two days of the homestay(s) to assure that placements are progressing smoothly and that participants and host families are gaining the utmost from the homestay experience.
  • Create a collaborative working relationship with co-leader, in-country partner, staff, and local representatives.
  • Maintain contact with the Vermont office and the in-country office, including initiating chain of communication as issues arise.
  • Maintain contact with and support all group members, requesting assistance from the in-country staff and Vermont-based staff as needed.
  • In coordination with your students, the local representative, and host families, plan get-togethers with your students during the homestay, including group meetings, excursions, activities with host families, and the homestay farewell party.
  • Carry out any planned trips, including the details of arranging travel, such as paying for tickets and entrance fees, if necessary.
  • Conduct a reentry session at the end of the program to help participants reflect upon their learning and prepare for their return home.

Post-Program Responsibilities

  • Coordinate with The Experiment office to provide feedback and evaluations on your program. Submit written reports (including program, student, self, and co-leader evaluations, as well as a financial report) within one month of the program’s end. Upon receipt of these reports, your final stipend payment will be sent to you.

Pay, Benefits & Opportunities

Pay, Benefits, and Opportunities

Experiment Group Leader pay for Summer 2019:

  • New Leader pay is $250 per program week.
  • Return Leader pay is $300 per program week.
  • Veteran Leader pay is $325 per program week.

In addition, Group Leaders also receive:

  • Eligible return Leaders may qualify for an early signing bonus. Please contact groupleaders@worldlearning.org for more information.
  • The Experiment covers leaders’ program-related travel expenses, including domestic travel to Staff Training in Vermont and then home after the program. (*Only applicable for leaders within the continental US. The Experiment will reimburse leaders based outside of the continental US up to $300 each way for their international travel costs – flight, train, hotel, etc. – to help offset their travel expenses, for a total of up to $600.)
  • The Experiment covers meals and lodging during Staff Training; international flights to and from the program country; and transportation, lodging, meals, emergency travel medical insurance, communication, and incidentals while on the program. Leaders placed on inbound exchanges or programs with US based components (The Experiment’s USA program, Leadership Institute, World Learning Youth Programs), are covered under their own personal medical insurance, and are covered through worker’s compensation insurance.
  • Leaders benefit from an intensive weeklong professional development training, the chance to experience a familiar culture from a new perspective, and an opportunity to use their language skills.
  • Leaders gain new colleagues and friends as they become part of World Learning’s network of educators, development professionals, and alumni that spans 85+ years and 60+ countries.
  • Program itineraries are planned in advance by The Experiment in conjunction with the in-country partner office, allowing Leaders to focus their energy and skills on fostering student growth, managing group dynamics, and facilitating experiential learning and reflection.

Application Checklist

Applicants must complete all of the following sections of the online Group Leader application:

Personal Information



Short Essay Questions



Group Leader Timeline

October 2018 Application Available Online

The application for summer 2019 Group Leaders will be available online in late October 2018.

October 2018 to January 20, 2019 – Accepting Applications

The Experiment will be accepting 2019 Group Leader applications on a rolling basis between November 2018 and January 20, 2019. The Experiment team will begin reviewing applications during this time period.

December 1, 2018 – Early Bird Application Deadline

Group Leader applicants interested in completing the application process on an expedited timeline are invited to submit their applications by the December 1, 2018 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 2019. 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.

January 20, 2019 – Application Deadline

2019 Group Leader applications will be accepted through January 20, 2019.

February to April 2019 – Application Review and Interview Period

During this time, The Experiment will review leader applications and will begin contacting qualified applicants to schedule interviews. The interview process may include two separate interviews: a preliminary interview and an in-depth second-round interview. A language check may be included for programs where language proficiency is required.

April to May 2019 – Hiring and Leader Onboarding

Selected applicants will receive offer letters for 2019 Group Leader positions. While potential program placements will be discussed with applicants during the interview process, exact program placements are typically included with the Leader’s offer letters.

Leaders will complete the required hiring paperwork, be introduced to their co-leader, and engage in several pre-training responsibilities, all of which can be completed remotely.

June 24–June 29, 2019 – Staff Training

All Leaders are required to attend Staff Training, which takes place on the World Learning campus in Brattleboro, Vermont. Leaders will travel to Vermont on June 24 and programming begins that evening. Staff Training concludes the morning of June 29, at which time Leaders will travel directly from Vermont to travel to their group’s US departure airport.

Staff Training provides Leaders with a professional development opportunity in intercultural training which 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 as well as World Learning’s professional network.

July–August 2019 – Experiment Programs

Experiment programs are from two to six weeks in length. The earliest 2019 Experiment programs depart from the US at the end of June, and the majority of programs conclude by early August. You can find more information about Experiment programs, including specific dates for each program, on our website.

August to September 2019 – Post Program Responsibility

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What dates do Leaders need to be available?

All Leaders are required to attend Staff Training in Vermont prior to leading a program. Staff Training is scheduled for June 24-June 29, 2019.

Programs run between two and six weeks in length, and you can find dates for specific programs here. The earliest 2019 Experiment programs depart from the US at the end of June, and the majority of programs conclude by early August.

Do Leaders get to choose their program?

On the application, we ask you to list your three program preferences based on experience, language, program themes, and past Experiment program leadership. Your application gives us a very good idea of which program(s) you would be qualified to lead. We discuss program qualifications and preferences with applicants during interviews. Note that applicants may or may not be offered placement on one of their three preferred programs.

The bios of past Leaders highlight people with very extensive international experience. Do I have to have lived abroad for multiple years to be considered for a Leader position?

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 South Africa program if they have extensive experience elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa and expertise in the program theme.

Do I have to speak a foreign language to be considered for a Leader position?

Given that each program set-up varies slightly, there are several programs (e.g., South Korea and Vietnam) 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 critical that Leaders are fluent in the language of the host country, and for these programs, we will often ask candidates to do a language check interview as part of the selection process.

I noticed that past Leaders have led in countries that are not listed for upcoming summer. Do the countries change each year?

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.

Do my references need to provide recommendation letters?

Please do not submit letters of recommendation with your application, The Experiment office will contact references via email upon application submission.

I see that students have to pay an application fee and program tuition. Is there an application fee for Leaders, or other costs I should be aware of?

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 2019, and obtaining immunizations if you choose to do so.

Are Leaders responsible for paying for their travel?

In addition to providing Leaders with a stipend for their work, The Experiment covers leaders’ program-related travel expenses, including:

  • Domestic travel from your local airport to the Staff Training in Vermont, transportation from the Staff Training to the domestic departure city prior to the program, and domestic travel from the return city to your local airport after the program. (*Only applicable for leaders within the continental US. The Experiment will reimburse leaders based outside of the continental US up to $300 each way for their international travel costs – flight, train, hotel, etc. – to help offset their travel expenses, for a total of up to $600);
  • Meals and lodging during Staff Training;
  • International flights to and from the program country;
  • Transportation, lodging, meals, emergency travel medical insurance, and incidentals while on the program. (Leaders placed on inbound exchanges or programs with US based components – The Experiment’s USA program, Leadership Institute, World Learning Youth Programs – are covered under their own personal medical insurance, and are covered through worker’s compensation insurance); and
  • Visa application fees (if a visa is required for entrance to your program country, The Experiment will assist you with the visa application process).

Where do Leaders stay during Staff Training?

Staff Training is held on the World Learning campus in Brattleboro, Vermont. We provide Leaders with lodging and meals.

Where do Leaders stay during the programs? Do Leaders stay with a host family like the students do?

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. Generally, each Leader is assigned a host family during the homestay portion of the program.

Can I stay in-country after 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 may 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.

Do you have a question not answered on this webpage?

Contact groupleaders@worldlearning.org.


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