For more than 90 years, experiential learning has been a hallmark of World Learning’s approach to change. It started with the first group of students who traveled to Europe with The Experiment in International Living in 1932: They went to learn about new cultures by living in them. They returned transformed. Now all of World Learning’s education, development, and exchange programs are grounded in the principles of experiential learning.

Often called learning by doing, experiential learning is an educational approach that engages students in hands-on activities and encourages them to reflect on and interpret their observations from those experiences. This period of reflection enables students to take action, experiment, or problem-solve using their new depth of knowledge.

Whether we’re working with teachers, youth, community leaders, or civil society organizations, World Learning’s emphasis on experiential learning encourages people around the world to listen, learn, reflect, and ultimately make informed plans to create change in their lives and their communities.

Learn more about how experiential learning enriches our work across our six program areas.


People-to-People Exchanges: World Learning offers dozens of exchange programs each year, promoting tolerance, empathy, and respect among people from more than 150 countries at all points in their careers and academic lives through professional development, academic, and youth exchanges. Read more.
Global Education: World Learning believes everyone has the right to a high-quality education. We help make that vision a reality through our cutting-edge global education programming tailored to each country and context—including Basic Education and Higher Education. Read more.
Capacity Strengthening: Institutions work best when they fulfill their missions strategically, connect with key allies, and expand to serve a broader constituency. We work beside our partner organizations to help them shift their organizational culture toward one of continuous improvement. Read more.
Youth Workforce and Entrepreneurship: Societies and economies are stronger when each person contributes to community prosperity. World Learning helps youth and adults find a pathway into the workforce through career center development, STEM education, English for the workplace, civic engagement, and more. Read more.
Civic Engagement: People are their own greatest champions. World Learning believes society is stronger when people can influence the life of their communities, stand up for their rights, and hold their government accountable. Our programs seek to foster strong systems of civic engagement everywhere. Read more.
TESOL | English Teacher Training: English is increasingly vital to success in higher education and the 21st-century workplace. Our TESOL teacher training—which includes customized courses, leadership building, and more—helps position teachers around the world to motivate and empower their students in their language learning. Read more.