(Adapted from: About Our Institution: Federation EIL – Collective Histories, edited by Alvino Fantini.)
The Language Experience (TLE) was founded in 1962, as the National Office of the Experiment in International Living (EIL) in Argentina. This organization has 52 years experience making a difference in the world through inbound and outbound intercultural exchange programs.
How it all Began: “In July 1959, two Argentine Institute of International Education (IIE) scholarship recipients, Alicia Vernengo and Raquel Carballo, returned to Buenos Aires after a year of study at two US universities. Both were friends and college classmates, and both had enjoyed a similar life-changing experience as students in the US, culminating with a wonderful homestay program before their return home.
Once back in Argentina, they decided they had to do something to express their gratitude for the welcome they enjoyed during their stay abroad and so they decided to launch a similar program back home. As a result, they organized and founded the Asociación Pro Acercamiento Cultural Interamericano (APACI), a non-profit association designed towelcome US students in Argentine homes.
Early in 1961, The Experiment in International Living in Putney, Vermont, learned about APACI and its student exchange efforts. They contacted Alicia and Raquel to explore the possibility of working together, given similar purposes and similar exchange programs. Putney also contacted Jean Wittman, a young Argentinian who had been a participant in an Experiment exchange in the US and was, therefore, the first Experimenter from Argentina.
When George Young, a member of the US Experiment staff, traveled to Buenos Aires in March 1961, he met with Alicia, Raquel, and Jean at ICANA, the Binational Center. Together, they discussed and planned the possibility of merging APACI with The Experiment.
Fast forward many years and Jean Wittman is still at the helm. 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of EIL/TLE Argentina. EIL/TLE Argentina is an important cultural organization that has made important contributions to the field of educational exchange for fully half a century. The staff and volunteers of EIL/TLE look forward to the next 50 years and are planning for the new generation of Experimenters who will continue to make a difference in the world.
To learn more about Argentina: http://federationeil.org/where-to-go/americas/argentina/