The Experiment can tailor a custom study abroad program for any organization or school. We take care of all of the details so that educators can focus on student learning.

The Experiment can tailor a study abroad program to match your goals and specifications. We partner with organizations and schools to make it easier for teachers and administrators to focus on student learning because we’ve taken care of all the details.

We believe that planning a custom study abroad program is much more than a choice of destinations and travel dates. A custom group program is an opportunity to design activities and adventures for your students to engage meaningfully with another culture and stretch themselves in ways they never imagined.

In creating a custom group program, we leverage your existing curriculum and goals to make the most out of bridging classroom activity with real world global experience. Our team collaborates with you to learn your travel preferences and objectives for student learning. We leverage our international network to design a program itinerary that’s right for you. We apply our educational philosophy (see page 4) to create optimal learning opportunities where students use the world as their classroom.

Our comprehensive approach means we make all travel arrangements, provide student and parent support before, during, and after the program, manage health, safety, and risk management, and provide pre- and post-program orientation activities.

CASE STUDY: Custom Group Program Impact

Supported by JPMorgan Chase, The Fellowship Initiative (TFI) mentors 120 young African American and Hispanic men throughout high school to help them get into college and capitalize on their potential. TFI asked The Experiment to design a program in South Africa to teach these high school students from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles leadership skills using its signature experiential, cross-cultural learning model.

For many TFI participants, The Experiment opened the door to international travel for the first time: More than 46% of these young men had never traveled outside the country, and more than 56% did not have a valid passport. As a result of the program, students’ interest in international travel increased dramatically. Moreover, 89% of students say they plan to study abroad in college. This is important because research shows that African American students who study abroad are 13% more likely to graduate in four years, have higher GPAs than their peers, and enjoy better job prospects .

Students reported gains in key areas: 82% said that the trip made them better leaders, 85% said that the trip boosted their confidence, and 98% made new friends or deepened existing friendships.

“I am very fortunate to have had this opportunity … it has changed how I see the world and how I see my own problems.”

AdrianChicago, 2016

“I expected [this trip] to be life changing, but never did I think it would start reflecting such change in my actions. Not many people my age can say they’ve traveled to South Africa … this trip was and still is a privilege and a great honor.”

EdwinNew York City, 2016

Why partner with the Experiment?

Spanning more than eight decades, The Experiment is unrivaled in high school study abroad program experience.  No other company or organization in the industry comes close to providing the same standard of safe, thoughtful, immersive, and socially responsible educational programs in dozens of countries around the world.

We offer full-service support for customized group programs, including: expert program design, administrative, pre-, post- and on-program support. We take your education and travel goals to the next level while providing extensive support and offering peace of mind.

The Experiment difference includes:

History & Experience

We have more than 85 years of experience in international education and experiential learning.

Health, Safety, & Risk Management

The Experiment programs follow a comprehensive structure and monitoring process designed to maximize the mental and physical well-being of participants at all times.

Detailed Personalization

We collaborate with your school or organization to innovate and advance your educational initiatives.

Full-Service Program Implementation

We offer full-service program implementation, logistics, and parent and student support; including extensive pre-departure information to prepare participants for traveling.

Flexibility

We have the flexibility to work with programs of various group size, length, time of year, destination, and themes, and we have deep experience with leading inclusive and diverse groups.

Highly Trained Leaders, Partners, & Staff

We offer outstanding support from experienced in-country partners and Experiment staff in Vermont and Washington, DC.

Student-Centered Experiential Learning Approach

We employ a unique approach to student learning in which knowledge is created not simply from experience (learning by doing), but also by reflecting on experiences and extracting lessons learned (learning by processing). Our method promotes student empowerment and leadership.

Custom Program Options

Thanks to The Experiment’s global footprint, we are able to work with partner organizations and schools to create fully customized group study abroad programs. The Experiment’s program design experts can create custom experiences based on country and time frame of your choice. Custom group program options can be combined and/or adjusted to create the optimal cultural learning experience for your student. The Experiment will ensure that the program design meets the highest industry standards for cultural and language immersion and academic rigor. Partner organizations and schools can also choose from one of The Experiment’s existing programs.

Group Size Options: Group sizes range from a minimum of 10 to 100+ students.

Destination Options: Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We also offer domestic options

Term Options: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter.

Duration Options: Two to six weeks.

Accommodation Options: Homestays* (highly recommended), dormitories, temples, camps, guest houses, hostels, and hotels. A combination of accommodation options can be integrated into any program itinerary.

Theme-Focused Programs: language and culture, the arts, sustainability and the environment, leadership, and peace, politics and human rights.

Additional Pre-Program Support: The Experiment offers an array of pre- and post- program activities designed to improve students’ overseas experience, facilitate smoother transitions in and out of country, and help students share their experiences.

Additional Post-Program Support: Returning students are encouraged to apply their newly developed leadership skills, intercultural knowledge, and awareness of issues within their home communities.

We offer online training for students to successfully organize social impact projects, in addition to video-based training on social innovation, and “training of trainers” for partner organization and school representatives who plan to oversee projects or mentor students. The Experiment can also administer small-grants programs for returning students if a partner wishes to help fund community service efforts.

Optional Add-Ons:

  • In-person pre-departure orientation seminars or webinars
  • Pre- and post-program student surveys for your evaluation
  • Post-program reflection session for maximizing the student learning experience
  • Intensive group leader training for adult leaders

*Homestay Accommodations & Activities: The homestay experience has been the cornerstone of The Experiment for more than 85 years. Living with a host family offers a meaningful cultural immersion experience and is often remembered as the highlight of the program. Custom programs may include a homestay option that can range from a few days to three weeks. [Our in-country partners work diligently to match participants with the appropriate families and have many returning families we have worked with for years.] Our staff facilitates an extensive recruitment and vetting process that includes interviews, home visits, and where permissible, background checks. Host families attend orientation and pre-arrival sessions prior to meeting their homestay student. Students are placed with families in the same region or town, which allows for group gatherings, meetings, and cultural activities, and ensures participants can easily reach their group leaders.

Program Themes

One option for designing custom group programs is to choose a thematic focus—intended to equip students with specific cultural skills and deeper awareness of the critical global issues shaping the diverse communities and regions they visit. Below are descriptions of theme options The Experiment offers:

Arts & Social ChangeStudents take inspiration from their new surroundings to hone their artistic talents in fields such as fine arts, performing arts, painting, photojournalism, photography, anime and manga, poetry, and music. In some programs, students learn about their host country’s art history and explore the relationship between art, politics, and society in different historical periods. Other students discover how art has been used in social movements and social change. While engaging with different art forms, students learn under the mentorship of local professional artists, musicians, and educators.

Global Health: Focused on modern and traditional medicine and health care practices, students in this thematic area explore the relationship between public healthcare delivery institutions and community—with an emphasis on marginalized communities.

Language & Cultural Discovery: Students immerse themselves in a new language and discover the cultural complexities of a new country as they explore renowned historical sites, contemporary realities, and regional differences. They engage in meaningful community experiences such as homestays and public service projects. Many of these programs offer formal language training inside and outside of the classroom.

Leadership: Student learn how to become effective leaders through programs that develop their teamwork, communication, cross-cultural competence, language acquisition, and problem-solving skills. They grow personally to become confident and accountable leaders.

Global Leadership: In addition to cultivating leadership, this theme fosters discussion on critical global issues such as worldwide health, human rights, and social change. Themed activities promote understanding of global issues, and provide students with an opportunity to see what communities are doing to address these challenges.

Peace, Politics & Human Rights: Students experience the impacts and interplay of history, politics, and civil society on and within a host country. They explore how community groups and individuals have built bridges of peace, tolerance, and understanding to foster more democratic and fair societies.

Sustainability & the Environment: Students acquire entirely new perspectives on critical environmental challenges, diverse ecological systems, and natural resource conservation and sustainability. They explore ecological wonders and the rich biodiversity of a country as they travel through it. Students might learn about earth sciences, marine biology or sustainable food production methods. Activities may include sailing, hiking, horseback riding, camping, zip-lining, snorkeling, safari tours, and visits to ecological sanctuaries.

Why Partner with The Experiment?

Partnering with The Experiment takes education to the next level.

  • More than 85 years of experience in international education and experiential learning
  • Close collaboration with your organization or school to innovate and advance international education initiatives
  • Deep connections with local partners in all corners of the world
  • Top risk management policies and procedures to maximize health and safety practices
  • Full-service program implementation, logistics, parent and student support
  • Highly trained group leaders
  • Flexibility to work with programs of various group size, length, time of year, and themes
  • Student-centered experiential learning approach that promotes empowerment
  • Leadership development
  • Responsible and reflective travel
  • Experience with leading inclusive and diverse groups

Educational Philosophy

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’s Educational Philosophy is immersive, experiential, and student-centered. The Experiment fosters the natural curiosity and sense of adventure of youth and prepares them to explore, value, and understand different perspectives. On our programs, students develop critical skills that help them advance their studies, accelerate their careers, engage in their communities, and thrive in an ever-changing world. Experimenters gain self-confidence, mindfulness, and connections that will help them address the critical global issues facing their generation. We believe experiential learning and leadership are the keys to making that possible.

Experiential Learning

We believe in experiential leaning, a rich process by which knowledge is created not simply from experience (learning by doing), but also by reflecting on experiences and extracting lessons learned (learning by processing). This process is woven throughout all activities. The Experiment group leaders are trained to guide participants and collaborate with teachers and administrators throughout the program to ensure experiential learning success.

Group dynamics are also essential to experiential learning. Our leaders cultivate vibrant group interaction, helping students relate to others and self-actualize. Participants are held accountable not only to themselves, but to the members of the group. They reflect on the impact they have on others and learn skills for inclusive and effective dialogue.

Leadership Development

The Experiment develops young leaders by setting clear goals, providing opportunities for immersive learning, and guiding participants through reflection that leads to personal growth.

We support students in their ability to:

  • Explore a new country through hands-on experience
  • Connect and engage meaningfully with another culture
  • Deepen consciousness toward critical global issues shaping the country visited as well as communities back home
  • Cultivate empathy and harmony across ethnic, religious, and national communities in the program country, within the student group, and while back home
  • Develop teamwork, communication skills, cross-cultural competence, language acquisition, and problem-solving skills
  • Grow personally to become a confident and accountable leader

Participants come away from The Experiment program with a new way of learning, seeing, and thinking about the world.

Health, Safety & Risk Management

Mitigating risk is our top priority. Our staff and international partners are trained to manage risk, health, and safety throughout the entire program cycle.

Partnering with The Experiment gives your group access to one of the most experienced risk management teams in high school study abroad. We recognize risk as an inherent component of all travel, so we place the highest priority on health, safety, and security. The Experiment has created a comprehensive plan to provide safe learning environments abroad. Our 360-degree approach takes the burden off you to mitigate risk and manage health issues abroad. We make it easier for teachers and administrators to focus on their students.

International Partners

In designing a custom program that works best for your students, The Experiment has cultivated an extensive professional network of in-country resources that includes partner offices, international educators, in-country co-leaders, homestay coordinators, and local guides. We collaborate with our partners to ensure the best program design and support for our groups on the ground throughout the program cycle. These in-country professionals have access to communication, healthcare, transportation, and infrastructure to make sure that each student receives the highest quality attention and support.

Professional Development for Educators

The Experiment is committed to education that develops global leaders. To achieve this goal, we also provide customized global education training in program management and facilitation for educators. Educators can then maximize learning for their students using the best practices from our training. The Experiment can build a Professional Development Training program based on your priorities.

The Experiment’s Professional Development Training program offers educators:

  • A thorough understanding of health and safety standards and policies, and tools to assess and manage situations
  • The ability to facilitate students’ personal and group development through the group experience
  • An understanding of the experiential model of education applied through cross-cultural immersion
  • The skills to effectively achieve thematic learning goals by facilitating orientations, reflective dialogues, and re-entry workshops
  • Guidance on how to manage on-the-ground logistics and support program delivery

Each year, The Experiment trains up to 100 teachers, youth leaders, and facilitators on a range of topics relating to the broad areas of youth, education, logistics, and health and safety. Sessions cover these areas beginning with nuts-and-bolts and best practices, followed by a deeper exploration that includes hands-on activities, usable materials, and practical application of new skills.