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 Change: Students 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.