High School Students – Experience Riding & Cultural Immersion in Mongolia or Argentina
The opportunity to see the world and experience other cultures can be life-changing and transformative. Never more so than for high school students, which is why The Experiment in International Living offers summer abroad programs— including one in Argentina and one in Mongolia.
The programs feature outdoor adventures, equestrian activities, cultural experiences, homestays with local families, community service, and are led by expertly trained group leaders. They are organized by The Experiment, which is the flagship program of World Learning, a global non-profit organization with education, sustainable development, and exchange programs in 150 countries.
The trips are an immersive learning and cultural experience, giving students the chance to get to know their horse while riding through the Chicoana Mountain in Argentina, or riding a Mongolian pony in open grassland. Students travel in small, diverse groups of up to 15 and are led by two adult group leaders, allowing them to maximize their experience abroad.
Both the Argentina and Mongolia programs feature homestays designed to provide meaningful experiences living in another culture, and carefully curated by international partners who work year-round to vet and match participants with the best possible families, many of whom have been involved with The Experiment for decades.
Sophie, who went on the Mongolia program in 2014, said: “My absolute favorite part of the trip was the horse trek from community service to the camp we were staying at for the night. Other awesome parts were painting a school alongside Mongolian students, taking an overnight train into the Gobi Desert to explore the monasteries and holy sites there, cooking with my host mother, and hiking up to places with the best views I’ve ever seen. I absolutely loved Mongolia, and I’d highly recommend the trip to anyone looking for an adventure!”
The Mongolia experience — centered around nomadic culture and outdoor adventure — runs for four weeks, from July 5-August 2. Participants enjoy outdoor activities, rugged travel, camping, and will receive a community service certificate.
Students start their orientation in Ulaanbaatar and take Mongolian language lessons and get a taste of the beautiful urban capital city. They can take in important Buddhist pilgrimage sites and study traditional Mongolian arts. During the community project element, students may teach English to local students, or help paint a school.
From there, they will enjoy two horseback excursions (helmets are provided), journeying from the Gobi Desert to the grasslands, all while participating in the daily life of a nomadic community and staying in a traditional ger — a round, felt-lined tent. Students help their host families tend livestock and learn to cook traditional meals along the way.
A trek on horseback to the ancient, pristine Lake Khövsgöl, the second largest freshwater lake in Asia, is a particular highlight, and students witness horsemanship, wrestling, and archery competitions first-hand at the Naadam festival, Mongolia’s biggest national festival.
The Mongolia trip wraps up at the Gobi Desert with visits to Buddhist temples, meditation caves, and the opportunity to roaming the vast desert on camelback.
Laura, who participated in the 2017 Argentina expedition, said: “Our community service projects such as gardening, painting, and remodeling a run-down police station and the humble school gave me the chance to learn life lessons I will sincerely hold dear to my heart. During the last couple of days, our group and I experienced white-water rafting in the Juramento River and horseback riding up rocky mountains. Over the span of 25 days, I learned and experienced a lifetime of adventures. Community service was like the icing on the cake; I could not be happier to have helped the local communities of Jujuy and Chicoana. Indeed, it was a summer to remember.”
The Argentina offering is also a four-week trip, running from July 4-July 31, with the main elements being community service and outdoor adventure.
Orientation begins in Buenos Aires, with Spanish language classes and the opportunity to explore the capital city’s impressive sights and captivating architecture. A boat trip to the artisan markets on the surrounding islands in the Tigre Delta allows plenty of time for perusing local markets.
The two-week homestay is in Salta or Jujuy, during which time students work on a community service project, such as volunteering at a center for children with developmental disabilities or helping to renovate an orphanage or school. The program offers outdoor activities, water sports, rugged travel and camping under the stars.
As per the Mongolia excursion, participants receive a community service certificate.
Students explore the Chicoana Mountain area on horseback, hike through the stunning countryside, raft river rapids, and camp in the rustic outdoors for three days. They will also taste a traditional asado, a world-famous barbecue prepared by traditional Argentine cowboys known as gauchos. Local families teach participants how to rope cattle and help them explore Salinas Grandes, Argentina’s expansive salt flats, for a taste of fresh air and outdoor adventure.
The network of in-country support creates a safe, student-centered learning approach abroad in both countries. To date, more than 70,000 alumni have taken part in The Experiment programs. In a recent survey, 85% of alumni said the trips increased their understanding of international social issues, while 75% said it increased their ability to work with others in group situations. The programs also prove overwhelmingly useful when it comes to making academic applications.
To learn more about these unique trips that provide carefully curated and meaningful experiences living in another culture by The Experiment, visit www.experiment.org.
The Experiment in International Living has been the leader in international education and experiential learning for high school students for more than 85 years. On our two- to six- week summer abroad programs to 26 countries, students explore the world through hands-on experiences and homestays in local communities through the lens of a specific theme. Each year, hundreds of students come away from The Experiment with invaluable cultural, leadership, language, and college-prep skills that help them thrive in diverse environments.
Today, The Experiment is the flagship program of World Learning Inc. (worldlearning.org). Over the decades, World Learning Inc. has built on The Experiment’s success to become a thriving global organization made up of The Experiment in International Living, School for International Training (SIT), and World Learning, a nonprofit that runs our global development and exchange programs.