Category Archives: Experiment in International Living

In Memoriam: Three Outstanding Former Staff

By Alvino Fantini During the past few weeks, we have learned of the passing of three outstanding former staff, who were well known and held in high regard by many at World Learning: Georg Steinmeyer, Alice Atwood, and Don Batchelder. All three of these colleagues played important roles at various points during our organization’s history. Georg came originally to World Learning to teach German in our intensive pre-departure language courses for Outbound Experimenters, and later joined the staff as assistant director of the Foreign Language Office. He supervised the construction of the Undergraduate Building, SIT’s first classroom building, now the Sandanona Graduate Center. Alice was an indefatigable woman who worked for many years in the institution’s Accounting Department, at the time located on the third floor of the Boyce Building. Alice worked in Accounts Payable until she was well into … Continue reading

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Faith Whittlesey: Presidential Advisor. Ambassador. Experimenter.

Faith Whittlesey served as the highest-ranking woman in President Ronald Reagan’s White House from 1983–85 and has enjoyed successful careers in politics, law, diplomacy, education, and foundation work, despite obstacles facing women at the time. She served twice as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland, a journey she credits, in part, to her year in Europe with the Experiment in International Living. It wasn’t her first time abroad; three years earlier, at the age of 16, she had participated in an American Field Service program to Germany. Keen to work on her German language skills and smitten by the culture, cathedrals, and castles of central Europe, Faith went to Austria with the Experiment in 1958. “It was a very positive experience,” she recalls. “It opened my eyes to different points of view. There were parts of the world that didn’t view things … Continue reading

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Empowering the Next Generation of Global Leaders

When Aaron Morehouse assumed the role of executive director at The Experiment in International Living in late 2013, he saw a great opportunity to revitalize the programs while reaffirming the core values of the 80-year-old organization. Based on the recommendations of a yearlong task force comprised of internal and external stake-holders, Morehouse advocated for a greater emphasis on youth leadership. “We live in a rapidly changing world with major global issues that must be attended to,” he said. “We need a cadre of young adults with a strong sense of civic responsibility, awareness of global issues, strong interpersonal leadership skills, and an ability to foster relationships among people from a diversity of backgrounds.” To fill this need, Morehouse led the development and launch of the Experiment Leadership Institute. This program provides a new track of issues-oriented programs consistent with World … Continue reading

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End of Year Message from Donald Steinberg

By Donald Steinberg, World Learning President and CEO My first year at World Learning has been an exciting journey of discovery. I’ve been inspired by my talented colleagues, driven by a common mission of empowering a new generation of global citizens to build peace, prosperity, social justice, and inclusion worldwide. I’ve been honored to help drive our programs in international education, exchange, and development to achieve greater global impact, more innovative projects, expanded inclusion, new partnerships, and enhanced financial security. This year people from throughout this diverse institution—encompassing the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro and Washington, The Experiment in International Living, SIT Study Abroad, International Honors Program, and the International Development and Exchange Program—have been making a real difference in the lives of others. They are new leaders with fresh ideas, strong values, and tech savvy who are at the … Continue reading

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World Learning Welcomes Back Experimenters

Throughout the fall, World Learning has hosted Welcome Back events around the country for this summer’s returned Experiment in International Living participants. On October 14,  President and CEO Donald Steinberg, Experiment in International Living Executive Director Aaron Morehouse, and board chair emeritus Stephen Lowey met with 15 returned Experiment students and their parents for a Welcome Back event in  Westchester County, New York. The evening’s activities were facilitated by Melanie Brubaker, program officer for The Experiment, and Amy Harris and Julia Gooding, two Experiment group leaders. “The session was truly inspiring and a reminder that we are meeting the incredible trust that parents and students have placed in us,” Steinberg said. “Speaking with the students and hearing about their experiences made it clear just how transformative these programs are.” The event included discussions among all of the attendees and several … Continue reading

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The Experiment: 82 Years and Counting

This week The Experiment in International Living kicks off its 82nd year with 31 different programs in 20 countries worldwide. A total of 480 Experimenters will explore the world under the skilled mentorship of 74 group leaders, who attended a leadership training workshop at our Brattleboro, Vermont campus last week. This year, Experimenters hail from 36 US states and 11 countries outside the US, including South Africa, China, Israel, Uganda, and Thailand. The Experiment continued its dedication to providing financial support by offering 337 Experimenters need-based scholarships ranging from $500 to full scholarships. Many scholarship recipients were nominated by an extensive network of sponsoring organizations, like A Better Chance (ABC), Alliance High School in Kenya, and The Seed School of Washington DC. Two new programs will feature in The Experiment’s offerings this year, Costa Rica: Fair Trade and Sustainability, and … Continue reading

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The Fantinis Celebrate 50 Years with a New SIT Scholarship

In 1954, Alvino Fantini received a scholarship to attend The Experiment in International Living in Mexico. “I was transformed totally,” he said. “All I wanted to do was come back.” Fantini did come back to The Experiment in 1963 to lead Experiment groups of his own. By that time, he had met his future wife, Bea, and the two soon settled in the Brattleboro area. Alvino became a language coordinator for the Peace Corps, which sent all of its volunteers to The Experiment for language training and orientation at the time. Bea, a native of Bolivia, graded Spanish tests for college-aged Experimenters taking six-credit language courses. The Experiment’s work with the Peace Corps led to the founding of SIT (then School for International Training) in 1964. Though SIT sought higher education accreditation, and the language training programs were taking off, … Continue reading

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Emma Carmichael Experiment alumna Botswana 2005 to become editor-in-chief of Jezebel

Buzzfeed reports that Emma Carmichael, a 2005 Experiment alumna of the Botswana: Wildlife, Ecology, and Culture program, will soon become editor-in-chief of Jezebel. She is currently serving as one of the co-editors of The Hairpin. Carmichael will replace outgoing-editor Jessica Coen at Jezebel, which had more than 17 million unique views last month. Carmichael served as co-editor of The Hairpin for a little over a year and in an email to her colleagues at The Awl (parent site of The Hairpin), she wrote, “I’ve learned so much on this job, and the only reason I feel even remotely prepared for this next thing is because of my time working with you all.” Joel Johnson, editorial director for Gawker Media, later announced the hire in a post on his Kinja page, “Today, I made an offer to Emma Carmichael to return to … Continue reading

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Federation EIL: The Experiment’s Global Family

Founded in 1954 as an international network of autonomous national organizations participating in The Experiment in International Living, Federation EIL now has members in 23 countries. Every year, its members meet at the General Assembly (GA) to acknowledge accomplishments, identify challenges, and develop new strategies to ensure The Experiment continues to be a leader in providing unique study abroad experiences that also meet the needs of today. This April, Executive Director of The Experiment US Aaron Morehouse and Executive Director of The Experiment Germany Bettina Wiedmann met at the GA in Cork, Ireland. Weeks later they made time to discuss the Federation’s future and its strong ties to tradition. How has the “youth travel” market changed? Wiedmann: From a German point of view we’ve seen a huge change in study abroad. “Expect the unexpected” was our motto for a while, … Continue reading

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Connecting the Dots to Donald Watt

By Tara Sonenshine, strategic advisor to World Learning Part of a series of alumni profiles. Jaki Ellis’s connection to World Learning goes way back—back to her dad, Russell Ellis—the first Treasurer of The Experiment in International Living.  Russell Ellis, who died a few years ago, worked for Donald Watt (and Gordon Boyce) for over a quarter of a century dating back to the late 1940s when his wife (Jaki’s mom) read an advertisement on a bulletin board at Harvard posted by The Experiment in International Living for trip leaders. They led a group together that summer which led to Russ being offered a job and started a lifetime relationship with The Experiment and World Learning. Jaki Ellis, who today resides in Maine, had the opportunity of a lifetime in 1967 to spend the summer in the Soviet Union, including three … Continue reading

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