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Founded in 1932 as The Experiment in International Living, the organization that would later become World Learning Inc. was inspired by Dr. Donald Watt’s simple idea to improve understanding across cultures and nations by sending US students abroad to expand their worldviews. Watt, a former pe... read morersonnel director at Syracuse University, believed that instead of seeing themselves and their foreign peers as belonging to separate "categories,” these young Americans could "walk across differences,” build friendships, and lead the way to mutual understanding and respect between cultures and countries.
The first Experiment group departed New York City in June 1932 on a ship bound for Germany. The 23 students on board became trailblazers for the thousands who have followed in their footsteps. These students returned home with a transformed outlook on the world and new lifelong leadership and communication skills to empathize and collaborate with others. The Experiment became the first program to offer "homestays,” in which American students were paired with host families, allowing them unique and authentic insight into the real lives of the people and communities that they would call home for the duration of their Experiments.