The Experiment in International Living is the most experienced provider of summer abroad programs for high school students.

For more than 85 years, our immersive programs have allowed participants to explore the world in an authentic and impactful way, while developing enduring friendships through cultural experiences and homestays. Each year, hundreds of students come away from The Experiment with invaluable cultural, leadership, language, and interpersonal skills that help them thrive in diverse environments and prepare them to succeed in college and careers.

The Experiment is the flagship program of World Learning (worldlearning.org), a thriving global nonprofit organization with education, sustainable, development, and exchange programs with impact in more than 150 countries. World Learning is part of the World Learning Inc. family, which also includes the School for International Training (SIT), a global institution offering accredited undergraduate study abroad programs through SIT Study Abroad, and globally focused master’s degrees through SIT Graduate Institute.

The Experiment’s Founding Philosophy:

 

  • Go to learn, not to teach.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Turn a crisis into an adventure.
  • Learn to live together by living together.
  • Be quick to observe, slow to judge.

The Experiment in International Living Difference

History & Experience

In 1932, The Experiment's first group of American students sailed for Europe with a mission of fostering peace through understanding, communication, and cooperation. They returned with a different outlook on the world and new leadership skills. Today, The Experiment continues to build on its 87 years of experience through immersive study abroad programs that allow students to explore the world in an authentic and impactful way.

Authenticity

Experimenters go to learn, not to teach. That means experiencing daily life with a local family through a homestay and learning from teachers and local experts. Experimenters forge real connections by going beyond their comfort zones and occasionally stepping off the beaten path to create sincere bonds with local communities and their people.

Learning By Doing

The Experiment’s educational philosophy is immersive, experiential, and student-centered. By exploring a new country through activities and conversations and then reflecting on those experiences, Experimenters gain critical skills such as leadership, teamwork, cross-cultural competence, language acquisition, and problem-solving.

Health & Safety

Our comprehensive approach focuses on the mental and physical well-being of participants before, during, and after the program with expertly trained adult group leaders, 24-hour on-call assistance from our staff, in-country support, and more.

Diversity & Inclusion

We know that it is essential to include all voices to foster peace and understanding. Thanks to a broad coalition of partners and funders, we are able to recruit the most promising young leaders representing diverse socioeconomic, gender, racial, and ethnic identities.

This year, for the first time in our history, students were not able to travel due to COVID-19. However, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, World Learning is continuing to foster intercultural understanding through our digital programming.

Building on our flagship program, The Experiment Digital was launched in 2016 offering free virtual international exchanges for students who are unable to travel. This invaluable experience allowed World Learning to quickly scale up The Experiment Digital in 2020 and use the program as a model to move three U.S. Department of State-funded youth exchanges online as well.

The Experiment Digital retains The Experiment’s longstanding model of experiential learning and emphasis on forming meaningful relationships and moves it into the virtual space. Using popular digital platforms for teens like Canvas, padlet, flipgrip, and Zoom, our virtual program model gives young people the opportunity to build international friendships online. Peer-to-peer engagement, combined with carefully designed activities, allow students to learn from one another, and together develop knowledge and attitudes that foster cultural understanding.

Virtual exchanges diversify the learning experience through accessible digital means, enabling an increasing number of young people to enjoy a meaningful intercultural experience as part of their education. 

The Experiment Digital Difference

Experiential Learning Online

Learning with The Experiment Digital is challenging and fun. Participants learn how to facilitate digital discussions, lead online dialogues via video chat, and formulate and implement service projects in their local communities. Activities center around bringing students together to navigate scenarios that test their abilities and reflect on lessons learned through collaborative dialogue. Students practice collaborative problem solving, intercultural communication, and digital etiquette—all of which are important in our increasingly globalized world.

Safe and Intimate Small Group Spaces

The participant to expert facilitator ratio is 5:1. This allows for small group conversations with authentic engagement. Students share their hopes, fears, and discuss gender norms and stereotypes.

Learning By Doing

The Experiment’s educational philosophy is immersive, experiential, and student-centered. By exploring a new country through activities and conversations and then reflecting on those experiences, Experimenters gain critical skills such as leadership, teamwork, cross-cultural competence, language acquisition, and problem-solving.

Robust Curriculum to Prepare Future Digital Citizens

Through interactions with international peers, students practice collaborative problem solving, intercultural communication, and digital etiquette—all of which are important in our increasingly globalized world.