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.

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. 

The Experiment is looking for individuals who have demonstrated interest and experience working with young people, intercultural and experiential learning, experience living abroad, and competency in the host culture’s language. Experiment group leaders are dynamic, responsible, emotionally mature and, inclusive adults who support Experimenters in many 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 U.S. Group leaders immediately start engaging students in conversations and icebreaker 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 program, group leaders keep in close contact with homestay families, conduct group excursions, and guide students through discussions 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. Learn more about our Group Leaders.

Our Leaders 

  • Are professional, flexible, resilient, resourceful, proactive, caring, warm, friendly, and love to laugh; 
  • Genuinely enjoy spending time with high school students; 
  • Have strong organizational and logistical skills and can manage a budget; 
  • Are willing to put their participants’ 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; and 
  • 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, 2023.
  • A bachelor’s degree (preferred, but not required). A bachelor’s degree may be substituted by a combination of experience living or traveling outside of the U.S., experience with youth, and/or non-formal educational experiences.
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check.
  • Eligibility to work in the U.S. Unfortunately, given the condensed timeline of our hiring process and the fact that the leader positions are short-term assignments, we are unable to sponsor work authorization for potential candidates.  All candidates who are not currently authorized to work in the U.S. must obtain and provide proof of work authorization valid through October 2023 before we can consider your application for employment.
  • A current passport. Leaders must have a passport valid through February 1, 2024. 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.
  • CPR and First Aid certification. All group leaders are required to hold current certifications valid through September 1, 2023. 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, 2023. The Experiment provides all hired leaders with reimbursement of up to $95 that can be used toward CPR and First Aid certifications. If a leader is currently CPR and 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 include physical activities which require leaders’ full participation to ensure student safety and experience. On program, leaders may be expected to help carry/transport suitcases and bags, participate in activities like a ropes course or zip lining, walk for long stretches of time each day, and lift/carry program materials and large containers of water for participants.  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.
  • Willingness and ability to complete post-program evaluations and reports.

World Learning Youth Exchange values equity, diversity, inclusion and justice, and our programs are committed to recruiting and supporting participants of historically underrepresented communities. Our leaders represent various geographic, racial, ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds, and are skilled in creating inclusive group environments for their participants. 

World Learning is an Equal Opportunity Employer, 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 include, but are not limited to:

  • 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 two weeks 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 intercultural 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 or check in with all group members 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 two weeks of the program’s end. Upon receipt of these reports, your final stipend payment will be sent to you. 

Pay, Benefits, and Opportunities

Experiment Group Leader pay: 

  • New Leader pay is $350 per program week. 
  • Return Leader pay is $400 per program week. 
  • Veteran Leader pay is $425 per program week. 

In addition, Group Leaders also receive: 

  • Eligible return leaders may qualify for an early signing bonus. Please contact [email protected] 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 contiguous U.S. The Experiment will reimburse leaders based outside of the contiguous U.S. up to $350 each way for their international travel costs—flight, train, hotel, etc.—to help offset their travel expenses, for a total of up to $700.) 
  • 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 U.S.-based components (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 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 the following sections of the online group leader application: 

  • Personal Information 
  • Background 
  • Education 
  • Short Essay Questions 
  • Biography 
  • References 

Group Leader Timeline

October – Application Available Online 

The application for group leaders will be available online in late October. 

November to January – Accepting Applications 

The Experiment accepts group leader applications on a rolling basis between November and January. The people operations team will begin reviewing applications during this time period.

December – Early Bird Application Deadline 

Group leader applicants are invited to submit their applications by the December 11, 2022 (11:59pm EST) early bird deadline. Both return and first-time group leader applicants are eligible to submit early bird applications; however, the people operations team will only review return leader applications at that time. Applicants who have not led a program with us in the past can expect for their application to be reviewed after the general application deadline.

January – Application Deadline 

2023 group leader applications will be accepted through January 31, 2023 (11:59pm EST).

February to April – Application Review and Interview Period 

During this time, the people operations team will review leader applications and will begin contacting qualified applicants to schedule interviews. The interview process may include two separate interviews: a preliminary self-recorded “one-way” interview and a live second-round interview with a member of the people operations team. A language check may be included for programs where language proficiency is required.

April to May – Hiring and Leader Onboarding 

Selected applicants will receive offer letters for 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. 

Mid- to Late-June – Staff Training 

All leaders are required to attend the entirety of Staff Training in mid to late June, which takes place on the World Learning campus in Brattleboro, Vermont. We will share more information about Staff Training dates during the application process. Leaders will travel to Vermont on the first day of Staff Training and when Staff Training concludes, most leaders will travel directly from Vermont to travel to their group’s U.S. departure airport. Some leaders may have several days’ break between the end of training and the start of their assigned program and will either stay on the World Learning campus or travel home.

Staff Training provides leaders with a professional development opportunity in intercultural training which will prepare them to implement successful programs using World Learning’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 – Experiment Programs 

Experiment programs are from three to four weeks in length. The earliest Experiment summer programs depart from the U.S. at the end of June, and most 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 – Post Program Responsibilities 

Leaders work with The Experiment office to provide feedback and evaluations on their program, including submission of finances and written reports due within two weeks 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 in mid to late June prior to leading a program. 

Programs run between two and four weeks in length, and you can find dates for specific programs here. The earliest Experiment summer programs depart from the U.S. at the end of June, and most programs conclude by early August. 

Do leaders get time off?

Leaders do not get official “days off” and are on duty and responsible for their group 24/7 for the entirety of the program. We encourage leaders to work with their co-leaders and the in-country partner (if necessary) to find chunks of time where they can each take breaks from the group for self-care. Often these are naturally built in, for example if a participant is sick or if there is an activity where their co-leader feels comfortable sticking with the group. Additionally, we encourage leaders to schedule periodic downtime with the group to give everyone a change to recharge and take care of themselves. Leaders can schedule time like this throughout program, but it should be occasional, and needs to be balanced with leader planned activities and group discussions/reflections.

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. 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 most of our leaders have extensive experience abroad, we do hire leaders who have lived abroad for a short period of time or have significant intercultural or travel experience—especially if those individuals have other strong qualifications such as extensive experience facilitating youth programs or thematic experience.

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 Ecuador program if they have extensive experience elsewhere in Latin America and expertise in the program theme. 

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

For most of our programs, we highly prefer that our leaders have a basic level of language competency. Our programs in France, Spain and Japan require conversational language competency, in addition to regional experience. Above all we require applicants to be engaged educators and are willing to put their participants’ learning and development ahead of their own experience.

Do you sponsor work visas for non-U.S. citizens? 

Unfortunately, given the condensed timeline of our hiring process and the fact that the leader positions are short-term assignments, we are unable to sponsor work authorization for potential candidates.  All candidates who are not currently authorized to work in the U.S. must obtain and provide proof of work authorization valid through October 2023 before we can consider your application for employment.

I noticed that past leaders have led in countries that are not listed for the 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 people operations team 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 February 1, 2024, 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 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 contiguous U.S. The Experiment will reimburse leaders based outside of the contiguous U.S. 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 U.S. 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. During training, leaders stay in the shared dormitories on the World Learning campus and should expect to share a room with at least one other leader. 

Where do leaders stay during the programs? Do leaders stay with a host family as the students do? 

During their Experiment program, leaders should expect to stay in the same lodging as the group, and this varies based on the program. You could find yourself in a tent, a hostel, a dorm, a hotel, a yurt, etc., and will likely share a room with your co-leader. During the homestay portion of the program, leaders stay with host families (either individually or as a co-leader pair) and should expect to balance leader responsibilities with the host family experience. 

I have x religion/allergy/disability, can I apply?
Yes. We know that this job requires stamina during long, energy-driven days, but it is also collaborative and can be planned to each staff’s needs and skills. We are more than happy to work with you to make sure your needs are met during the program. This may include specific time off planned with the in-country partner and co-leader before program, meals acquired separately, or a shift in how a task can be accomplished. It is the goal of World Learning and its partners to ensure the full and equal participation of everybody regardless of gender, race, sexual preference, disability or otherwise. It is our policy to make necessary, reasonable accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible by both students and staff.

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 re-entry 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. 

Can I bring my own child or teenager with me on the program? 

You cannot your bring your child on program. Our policy is in place due to several factors including the responsibility of our in-country partners to make arrangements for hotels, transportation, etc. Additionally, we need our group leaders to be fully available to care for and support their 12–16 teenage Experimenters for the duration of the program. 

Do you have a question not answered on this webpage? 

Contact [email protected].