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Experiment In International Living Blog

February 14, 2017
Program Spotlight: The Netherlands, Dutch Culture and LGBTQ Rights

Orientation: Amsterdam, 5 days
Homestay: Amsterdam,* 15–16 days
Other Accommodations: Hostels

Learn about sex education and social justice movements–specifically around LGBTQ and gender issues–while experiencing Dutch culture and contemporary life during a summer abroad in the Netherlands.

Discover the Netherlands’ longstanding history of upholding and fighting for human rights and social justice and immerse yourself in Dutch culture. Gain new perspectives on Dutch approaches to gender issues, sexuality and sex education, and LGBTQ rights. Together with your group, spend time in The Hague, visiting the Peace Palace and the International Court of Justice, and stop by Rutgers WPF in Utrecht—one of the oldest organizations promoting sex education in the Netherlands and throughout the world. You’ll also visit Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port city and the historic site of Dutch emigration to the US. While there, visit the Maritime Museum and witness the city’s modern architecture, strong working-class roots, and multicultural vibe, and meet with LGBTQ youth. Participate in a spoken-word workshop and experience how poetry and spoken word can serve as powerful tools in the struggle for equality and social justice.

Deepen your immersion in Dutch culture, take a Dutch language course, and share in the daily lives of your homestay family in Amsterdam. Get to know the city by exploring on foot, and visit the dunes and scenic countryside by bicycle. At different stages of the program, attend workshops on gender and transgender issues, marriage rights, and other social justice topics while visiting a fascinating array of organizations engaged in these areas.

There is still room available on this program for summer 2017! Interested in applying? See here for more info!

February 8, 2017
Forging Deep Bonds in Morocco: MULTICULTURALISM IN THE ARAB WORLD

Stay tuned for an exciting announcement on our Morocco program!

Bridging cultural divides is more important than ever. Our programs in the Arabic-speaking world place a high regard on closing those gaps by having our students live directly with a host family. This is an invaluable experience for each participant, helping them to develop a strong connection and sense of belonging to the country. Here’s one Experimenter’s story of the surprising benefits of living with a family abroad.

By Experimenter Aidana

On the last day of our week living with a host family in Ait Ouahi, Morocco, I walked with my homestay mother to the bus that would take us to Fes. During the walk, she took my hand, and in that moment everything was said through our interlaced fingers. I realized this was not a goodbye, but the beginning of a wonderful friendship. 

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As we walked hand-in-hand, I heard some neighborhood children running behind us. The 15 other students and I had given them English lessons and they amazed me every day by picking up the language so quickly. Some of my favorite memories were playing silly games with them as their mothers watched in amusement. My eyes filled with tears as we hugged and said our farewells. 

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I took in the beauty of the village and realized just how much I was going to miss it. I’ll never forget the smell of hay and lavender in the wind, the bees buzzing through the tree branches, and the view of the moon and a million stars shining in the clear night sky.

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January 31, 2017
An 85-year-old peacebuilding mission that is as relevant as ever

The Experiment in International Living began in 1932 as an organization that challenged the status quo and sought to use cultural immersion as a bridge to create peace and understanding, one friendship at a time.  

World Learning, the parent organization of The Experiment, has worked with local organizations on the ground in Jordan for more than a decade. As a result, The Experiment enjoys those close connections. and program staff experience the same cross-cultural understanding that we teach our students. 

The original mission of The Experiment was to demonstrate to students the value of learning more about other cultures. One of the best ways to do that was by living with a family. Cooking meals, going to market, running errands – the little tasks of daily life – provides insights that can’t be learned from a book or in a classroom. This “experiment” that started eight decades ago has given more than 80,000 U.S. students an invaluable opportunity to discover what they have in common with people around the world.

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Program at a glance:

Orientation: Amman, 2–3 days
Homestays: Amman,* 22 days; rural Bedouin community,* 2–3 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels and one night of camping at Wadi Rum

* Homestay locations can vary.

The Experiment program in Jordan focuses on History, Politics, and Arabic Language. Students take courses in Modern Standard Arabic and also learn to speak the local Jordanian dialect. After class each day they return to their homestay families to practice what they learned.

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In previous years, Experiment students have visited Syrian refugees, an experience that has left an indelible impression. “Being so close, it opens your eyes up and makes you more empathetic,” one Experimenter said. “It makes the wars in Syria a lot more real.”

This kind of authentic, experiential learning remains a crucial component of Experiment programs, and gives students the skills and interest in becoming change-makers when they return home and global leaders of the future.

Interested in The Experiment’s program to Jordan? See here for more info or email experiment@worldlearning.org or call 800-345-2929.

Each of our summer 2015 programs has their own blog, where our leaders and experimenters are posting stories and photographs from their travels. Click on a blog link below to join the adventure.