Frequently Asked Questions and Parent Videos
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What makes The Experiment unique?
History and experience. The Experiment has been running high quality summer abroad programs every summer since 1932. Within a year of our founding, we launched the never-before-tried concept that came to be known as the homestay. After 80 years and more than 70,000 participants, The Experiment remains a leader in the field of international cross-cultural education for high school students.
Our programs. Experiment programs are fun, thought-provoking, and active. Each program follows the same four-part structure: an in-depth, cross-cultural orientation in the capital or another major city of the country, a homestay with a local family, a thematic focus, and a thoughtful reflection and evaluation. Our program structure is designed to maximize the well-being of all participants while they engage with the culture and host communities.
Maximizing health and safety. The Experiment places the highest priority on health, safety, and security. We understand and deeply respect that socioeconomic, political, environmental, and medical conditions vary across the more than 20 countries in which we run programs. We work tirelessly to build and maintain relationships within each host country, and we tailor our health, safety, and security measures to each location and to current circumstances.
Financial aid and scholarships. The Experiment in International Living is committed to helping students from a diversity of backgrounds experience immersive cross-cultural programs through a variety of need-based scholarships. Importantly, The Experiment creates and maintains longstanding partnerships with mentoring organizations, after-school programs, home-school organizations, community groups, public and private schools, and foundations located across the country. Many of these collaborative partnerships enable students to receive partial or full scholarship funding. Learn more.
Our in-country partnerships. The Experiment works closely with an international partner — often an educational nonprofit organization — in each country in which we offer programs. These local partners contribute enormously to the dynamic, educational, and immersive nature of every program, and they play an essential role in maximizing the health, safety, and security of all groups. Many of the Experiment’s in-country partnerships are decades-old.
Our small and diverse student groups. Experiment groups are small, typically 10–15 students who represent a range of backgrounds: small towns and large cities; urban and rural areas; and public, private, and home-school educational experiences. Experimenters are of different races, religions, sexual orientations, physical abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The program fee includes a homestay (if applicable) and other lodging; 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 Affairs team, throughout the program.
The program fee does not include preprogram medical examinations or immunizations, passport or visa fees for non-US citizens, 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.
Our Student Affairs 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 US 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 US. 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 is every group leader’s number one priority. 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, that include 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.
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 his or her ATM PIN number.
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.
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What should my child pack?