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The Experiment in International Living: Vaya con Dios, Summer Camp!

Horses cross the plains in Mongolia. Pixabay/CC

Riding across the Mongolian plains. Trekking horseback through the mountains of Argentina. If you’re a young, horse-smitten girl with a heart for adventure, The Experiment in International Living may be just the thing you’ve been looking for.

Imagine, if you will, something far more than a week-long day camp an hour’s drive from home. Such local camps are, of course, wonderful experiences and very valuable in the life and development of most every young equestrian. But “the Experiment” can be life-changing for young participants, as they travel to a foreign country and become immersed in the local culture for a month.

The Experiment in International Living – a program from World Learning – is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in 1932. They offer dozens of programs in 26 different countries around the world. Each program is a combination of cultural immersion, homestays, service, and adventure, all designed to provide an experiential learning environment to help participants develop their global awareness, communication skills, and leadership skills.

Two of these programs feature an equestrian component as a focal point and highlight of the experience. Students ranging from high school sophomore through senior (and including a gap year) are welcome to apply, and no riding experience is required.

In Mongolia, participants begin with language lessons, exploring the city of Ulaanbaatar and acclimating to the Mongolian culture. Soon enough, they move out to the open land, where they are paired with well-trained Mongolian ponies for a camping trek across the plains. They experience life with their nomadic family, learn how to tend the livestock, and integrate into the culture. Additional adventures might include camelback riding in the Gobi desert, or attending a national cultural festival.  Participants enjoy helping their new community through a service project, such as teaching English to local students.

In Argentina, participants also have language lessons, explore the culture in Buenos Aires and surrounding communities, and enjoy staying with local families. Participants then head to the mountains to ride nimble-footed horses under the tutelage of local gauchos. Whitewater rafting and other outdoor adventures are also offered to participants. To provide service to their homestay families and communities, participants help with a service project, such as refurbishing a church.

With over 70,000 participants since The Experiment began, the program is established and well-respected throughout the world.

For the 2019 year, the adventure dates are as follows:

  • Mongolia:  July 3 – August 2, 2019  (helmet not required; paddock boots or other boots recommended)
  • Argentina:  July 2 – July 29, 2019  (helmet required; paddock boots or other boots recommended)

The Experiment is currently accepting applications through April.

Participants are encouraged to “pack light and bring their sense of adventure!”

Shout out to Jennifer Wood Media, Inc., who provides public relations services to The Experiment for their equestrian-themed programs, for giving Horse Nation a heads-up on these programs!

Go International! Go Riding!

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