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.
Financial aid and 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. In 2019, more than half of all Experimenters received scholarship support. 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 program fee includes a homestay and all other lodgings; all meals; an orientation; in-country transportation and program activities; group-leader supervision throughout the program; health, accident, and medical evacuation insurance; and a twenty-four-hour, on-call response line, administered by our professional Student Health, Safety, and Well-being team, throughout the program.
The program fee does not include pre–program medical examinations or immunizations, passport or visa fees, or personal spending money.
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.
Our Student Health, Safety, and Well-being 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 throughout the program. The Experiment can be reached toll-free within the U.S. at 800-345-2929 or at 802-257-7751.
The Experiment discourages the use of cell phones during the program. International calling plans are expensive, and many phones do not work abroad.
During the first few days in-country, your child will be able to purchase an international calling card. This is the best way for your child to reach you. Please prepare your child for limited contact with home. Set up a communications plan, as your child will not be able to reach you at all times.
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.
The group leaders’ primary responsibility is to maximize the safety and health of all participants; health and safety are every group leader’s top priorities. 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.
The Experiment provides packing guidelines tailored to each program, including 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. These packing guidelines will be communicated to students prior to their departure.
The Experiment recommends having between $400 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 alert them of your child’s destination to ensure the card will work correctly. Make sure your child knows their ATM PIN.
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.
If you’re having trouble accessing your child’s online application or the parent portal, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-345-2929 or at 802-257-7751.