Experiment in International Living
|Experiment in International Living|
|Type||High school summer abroad programs|
|Interim Director||Christina Thomas|
|Location||Brattleboro, VT, USA|
The Experiment in International Living, EIL, or the Experiment, is a worldwide program offering homestays, language, arts, community service, ecological adventure, and regional exploration programs of international cross-cultural education for high school students from the United States and people of all ages around the world. It is administered by World Learning, a non-profit, international development and education organization based in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA.
The Experiment in International Living (EIL) began in 1932. It had its origins in preparing outbound Peace Corps volunteers for their assignments and was the first international exchange program to involve a family homestay. “Experimenters” were placed in the homes of host families to enhance the intercultural and/or language study aspects of each program.
EIL was selected by the original architects of the Peace Corps, because the professionals at EIL were known to have a strong system for teaching the nuances of culture shock preparedness. Experiment assisted after WWII when they lead teaching voyages on a series of decommissioned warships with the members of the Student Council on Travel.
The Experiment in International Living's mission remains "to foster peace through understanding, communication, and cooperation" and "to share experiences, languages, and customs with those from different traditions, with the goals of broadening horizons, gaining lifelong friends, and advancing peace."
Current programs 
Homestays are the focus of every Experiment program. Participants from the US spend multiple weeks of the program living with a family in their home, usually separated from an urban environment. All of its programs include at least one homestay, with programs in Turkey and China featuring two homestays - one in an urban setting and a second with a rural family. The principle of the homestay is based on World Learning's philosophy that "the best way to understand another culture is to live as a member of one of its families."
In a single three- to five-week international program, US students spend time with a host family and participate in activities with their group of "Experimenters". Each Experiment program focuses on at least one of the following six themes: community service, ecology, language training, travel, arts, or peace and conflict studies. Programs are strengthened by professionally trained group leaders and in-country guides.
Currently, the Experiment hosts 60 programs in 30 countries including Argentina, Australia, Belize, Botswana, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the Navajo Nation (United States).
Knowledge of a foreign language is expected on certain trips, thus experience in Spanish for at least a year is required for trips to Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Spain. Similarly students are expected to study French for at least a year prior to the program in Switzerland and some programs in France.
As part of the application process, students must submit a letter (in either English, Spanish, or French, depending on the location of the program) to a prospective host family. The letter and a profile filled out by the applicant are used by the local homestay representative to match students with a family. Students may apply either online or through the mail.
Financial aid 
The Experiment is administered as part of a 501(c)3 charity and provides financial aid to applicants based on family need. In 2011, 53.7 per cent (450) of its 838 participants received scholarships.
Notable alumni 
- Stephen Breyer, former Justice, Supreme Court of the United States
- Ariana Huffington, Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post
- Sargent Shriver, Founder, US Peace Corps
- Julie Taymor, Director of theater, opera, and film
See also 
- World Learning Facts and Figures, November 2011. Accessed: May 17, 2012.
- "2002 A History of The Council on International Educational Exchange: 1947-1994". http://www.ciee.org/. 2002.
- "1955 Student Council on Travel". http://www.ciee.org/. 1955.
- EIL Program Overview - The Experiment in International Living
- The Experiment in International Living
- Stebbins, Susal. 2009. "The Rev. Chloe Breyer Bridges Cultures Through Interfaith Work", World Learning Blog, April 8. Accessed: May 17, 2012.
- Huffington, Ariana (August 28, 2011). "Third World America: Why I Wrote the Book and What We Need to Do to Save America's Middle Class". Huffington Post.
- experimentinternational.org, US Official Website
- experiment.org, Federation EIL
- worldlearning.org, World Learning
- eilireland.org, EIL Intercultural Learning
- rehrig.net/eil Alumni site for EIL/CBIV (Experiment in Living, Congress-Bundestag IV), 1987-1988, administered by alumnus Paul Rehrig
- , Volunteer Abroad