Monroe County Top School District for Studying Abroad


Twenty-one students from Monroe County High Schools (Key West, Key West Collegiate, Marathon and Coral Shores high schools) are preparing to participate in The Experiment in International Living’s cross cultural programs within 14 different countries. The Experiment in International Living offers immersive summer programs for high school students in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific.

“Monroe County, Florida, sends more participants every summer to The Experiment than any other school district in America outside of New York City,” according to Executive Director Dr. Aaron Morehouse.  “Since 2006, 125 Monroe County students have participated in The Experiment’s innovative cross cultural programs.” 

All Monroe students will leave the U.S. in small groups at the end of June, joining approximately 500 other U.S. and a few international high school students in The Experiment’s annual program of cultural immersion, exploration, and global learning. International living experiences involve three to five weeks of language learning, individual home-stays and community involvement in 20 different countries.  Youth engage at a local level with community organizations involved in the arts, environment, peace & politics, and cultural discovery.

“We are very proud of our long term joint venture with The Experiment,” says Superintendent Mark Porter. “Based on my observations from last year, this experiential learning experience is life-changing in so many ways for our students.”

“The Experiment provides an amazingly unique opportunity for youth to not only immerse into other cultures around the world, but to learn so much about their own,” explains Steve Pribamsky, newly-elected president of the Monroe County Education Foundation (MCEF).  MCEF is the local partner sponsoring and helping to finance the Experiment for Monroe County kids.  “The Experiment provides a transformational experience. We are cultivating the next generation of global citizens that are prepared to engage in a rapidly changing world,” said Dr. Morehouse.

“Students are now beginning preparations to study abroad in their assigned country, said Morehouse. “I’ll be in the Keys May 28-30 meeting with all the Experimenters and their parents.”  The destinations of Monroe County students include:  Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, and Thailand.

“I believe strongly in the effectiveness of interactive learning,” Monroe County Educational Foundation president-emeritus John Padget said. “Experiment programs offer one of the best frameworks for responsible development of young minds and hearts. Students see from new perspectives, respond to unfamiliar challenges and solve problems with initiative and good judgment. It’s life-learning that tests their assumptions and broadens the mind.”

This year’s Experiment participants from Monroe County are:

From Key West High School:

Michael Stern, Argentina: Community Service and the Great Outdoors; Leda Morales, Brazil: Culture and Environmental Sustainability; Ryan Cziko, Mexico: Marine Biology on the Baja Peninsula; Ramon Arza, China: Ethnic Minorities and Contemporary Culture; Keristy Carter, Costa Rica: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Sustainability; Catherine Richardson, Ecuador: The Galápagos Islands and the Andes; Kara Berces; France: Culinary Traditions and French Cuisine; Monique Teal, France: French Culture and Regional Identity; Madison Fletcher, France: Painting and Photography in Paris and Provence; Oscar Rojas, Morocco: Multiculturalism in the Arab World; Leslie Rodriguez, Spain: Contemporary and Historic Cultural Diversity; and Cherline Riche, South Africa: Multiculturalism in an Urban and Rural Society;

From Marathon High School: Sharon Rodriguez, Germany: History and Contemporary Youth Culture; Edward Hannah, Spain: Language and Cultural Traditions; Regan Durkin, France: French Culture and Regional Identity; and Sharon Rodriguez, Germany: History and Contemporary Youth Culture.

From Coral Shores High School: Selina Quezada, Spain: Arts and Social Change; and Raven Golie, Spain: Regional Cultures, Michael Corliss, Italy: Cooking and the Slow Food Movement; and Hannah Snoddy, Thailand: Buddhist Traditions and Contemporary Culture.

From Key West Collegiate:  Jordan Guieb, Japan: Japanimation—Anime and Manga.

Padget added that study abroad creates distinct opportunities for leadership development as students participate in the culture, economy, language, traditions and arts of communities around the world. “We want our students in the Keys to understand that their vision and mission in life is not bound by the length of a bridge or the edge of an island. Our kids can connect countries with their actions and their ideas.”

About The Experiment in International Living

The Experiment in International Living provides summer abroad programs for high school students who want to connect deeply and engage meaningfully with the richness and complexities of another country.

Students explore the host country through hands-on experiences in local communities and through the lens of a specific theme. Programs are designed to equip students not only with essential cultural and, in many cases, language skills, but also with a deeper awareness of and sensitivity to global issues shaping the diverse communities and regions we visit.

Each year, hundreds of Experimenters come away from their summer abroad with invaluable new skills, connections, awareness, and knowledge that helps them to thrive—and lead—in diverse, intercultural environments.

The Experiment in International Living has been offering immersive experiential learning programs abroad since 1932. Today, The Experiment offers summer programs for high school students in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific.

For more information about or to apply for The Experiment in International Living visit:

www.experimentinternational.org or call (800)345-2929.

 Student Travelers

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