Student health, safety, and risk management are our top priorities. The Experiment staff and international partners are expertly trained to manage risk, health, and safety throughout the entire program cycle. We recognize risk as an inherent component of all travel, so we place the highest priorities on health, safety, and security. The Experiment has created a comprehensive 360-degree approach to providing safe learning environments abroad.


Our 360-degree approach includes:

Pre-Departure Preparation

The Experiment helps students prepare for their program by providing in-depth Experimenter and family handbooks, health and wellness resources that include guidance around immunizations and medications, wellness planning support for students traveling with health concerns requiring ongoing management, detailed packing lists, and comprehensive travel logistics.

Physical & Mental Health

All student health forms are reviewed by The Experiment’s physical and mental health team; where indicated, wellness plans are created collaboratively prior to travel to support students with specific needs while on program. The Experiment’s disability services are available to students, and special accommodation arrangements can be provided as needed.

Participant Medical & Risk Assessment Team

The Experiment participant and risk management team works collaboratively with parents, health care professionals, and in-country partners—in consultation with a team of counseling providers and medical staff provided by The Experiment’s risk management company, International SOS—to ensure that students are set up to succeed on the program. Our medical review process is led by our Participant Medical and Risk Assessment Officer and supported by the Experiment’s Director of Operations and Operations Manager.

Medical Review Process

The Experiment is committed to the health and safety of all our program participants. Through our years of experience, we have found that preparation, prevention, and communication are key to keeping students healthy and safe.

Once students have been confirmed to participate in an Experiment program, they are required to be medically cleared by their own healthcare professional as well as by our internal review process. The Experiment works very closely with parents, students, and the families’ healthcare professionals to ensure that each student will be able to participate safely and that students’ medical or mental health needs are considered when choosing an appropriate program. Through the review process, students are set up to fully participate and successfully complete their Experiment program.

We strongly encourage students to fully disclose their health history, so we can prepare them properly for their study abroad experience, make any necessary special arrangements, and in some cases, assess whether there may be any health reasons why a student should consider another program.

This information will be kept confidential; it will be provided to our group leaders and in-country partners as needed to assist them with planning for any serious medical conditions and to facilitate emergency healthcare needs that may arise during the program. A member of The Experiment’s medical review team may contact students and parents to discuss program realities and clarify expectations for The Experiment’s program staff and for the student.

Please note that failure to disclose complete and accurate information on the health form may result in dismissal from the program. The Experiment expects that any updates to medical or mental health, following the medical review process, and prior to program travel, will be communicated in a timely manner.

For additional questions, please email

Medical Insurance

All students are covered by the World Learning medical insurance policy, which provides full coverage for accidents, illness, and emergency evacuation while on program. This policy starts when a participant boards their international flight.

Students traveling on programs outside the U.S. are insured through Cigna and Lloyd’s. For further details about the Cigna and Lloyd’s policy coverage, read the Summary of Benefits. If you or your student incur out of pocket costs for medical expenses on program, you can submit a claim for reimbursement through the Claim Form.

If you are a citizen of the United States and your program (or any program component) takes place in the United States, you will be primarily covered by your personal medical insurance. Students are strongly encouraged to maintain their ongoing coverage in the US.

International students coming to the U.S. to participate in a U.S.-based program are covered by a separate World Learning medical insurance policy.

International SOS

The Experiment wants to ensure the health and safety of all participants. As such, we partner with International SOS, which provides medical insurance and security assistance coverage for all Experiment programs. International SOS has been providing high-quality global medical and security services for more than 25 years. In the unlikely event of a medical emergency, first-rate medical care will be arranged for all participants. If necessary, the coverage facilitates medical and security evacuation of students from the country.

These International SOS services are meant to complement the risk management and health recommendations of The Experiment’s Participant Medical and Risk Assessment team. All participants are automatically enrolled in this coverage.

The Experiment’s International SOS membership includes access to a 24-hour emergency assistance network that works in coordination with The Experiment’s summer on-call team. This multilingual service helps The Experiment’s onsite staff locate appropriate medical treatment; coordinate with doctors and hospitals; arrange direct payment; emergency medical evacuation; and provide other general assistance.

24-Hour On-Call Support

The Experiment provides parents and guardians with a 24-hour hotline during the program, supported by professional staff at our Brattleboro, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., headquarters. Our staff also maintains a 24-hour on-call safety and emergency response system for any concerns that students or group leaders may have while abroad.

U.S. Embassy Registration

Students are registered with the local U.S. Embassy through the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

In-Country Local Support

Each Experiment group is supported by an extensive professional network of in-country resources, such as partner offices, international educators, homestay coordinators, program guides, and translators. Our country partner offices help us design each program and support our groups, following local safety protocols. All third-party program providers have been vetted to meet our safety standards.

Experiment Group Leaders

The Experiment groups are accompanied by two expertly trained adult leaders. Group leaders maintain ongoing contact with all participants throughout the program and work collaboratively with in-country partners and The Experiment offices in the U.S. All Experiment group leaders are certified in CPR and first aid and are trained as on-the-ground risk managers.

Comprehensive In-Country Orientation

Each program begins with an in-country orientation that focuses on local health and safety guidelines, increasing cultural knowledge (such as language basics and in-country norms), and developing participants’ cross-cultural communication skills and self-awareness, specifically within the context of the program country. Beginning with the in-country orientation, and continuing throughout the program, participants are familiarized with location-specific emergency response plans.

Ongoing Monitoring

The Experiment’s risk management protocol includes continuous monitoring of events abroad and access to up-to-the-minute travel advisories.

The Experiment monitors U.S. government advisories issued by in-country embassies and consulates as well as the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. The Experiment also consults with academic and nongovernmental organizations through World Learning’s global network, with World Learning’s institutional global risk management committee, and with International SOS, the world’s largest medical and travel security services firm.

Participant Risk Management Services and Operations Staff

Sara Martin
Participant Medical and Risk Assessment Officer
(802) 258-3474

Kirstin French
Director of Operations, Youth Exchange
(802) 258-3418

Christina Thomas
Divisional Vice President, Youth Exchange
(202) 464-8542