About Us

Experience International's mission is to embrace and create opportunities for international understanding and human resource development through technical and cultural exchange in a wide spectrum of disciplines including but not limited to agriculture and natural resources
TRAINEES & INTERNS(completed programs)

The Experience International Team


  • Anneliese Cousineau
    Anneliese Cousineau Program Specialist

    Anneliese is the Program Specialist at Experience International. She supports inbound students during screening and entry and provides health insurance and tax guidance. She also works with outbound students seeking international work and internship experiences abroad. Anneliese earned a Master of Science in Global Studies and International Relations from Northeastern University, specializing in East Asia. She also holds a graduate certificate in Global Student Mobility. Her enthusiasm for international travel has taken her to 30 countries around the world so far. She is passionate about facilitating international experiences that offer opportunities to collaborate across international borders and lead to new and changing perspectives. In her free time, Anneliese is often hiking with her two dogs, mountain biking, learning a foreign language, or continuing her search for the world’s best donut.

  • Emma Kivlin
    Emma Kivlin Program Manager

    Emma is a Program Manager for International Exchange Programs. She is responsible for training plan development, reporting, and active placement support of J-1 Exchange Visitors and Hosts. Emma holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations from Western Washington University and has over two years of experience working with Western’s Education Abroad department. As an undergraduate, she participated in a study abroad program to Dublin, Ireland and advocates for affordable exchange programs. In her free time, Emma loves reading, hiking with friends, and trying new cafes around Bellingham.

  • Madison Burke
    Madison Burke Study Tour Manager

    As Experience International’s Study Tour Manager, Madi oversees the promotion, planning, quality control, program development, and relationships involved in the Study Tour program. After studying speech communication and sociology at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA, Madi went on to lead professional cycling trips in national parks, and then landed at an environmentally-focused nonprofit devoted to the protection of our North American food system. Passionate about travel, the natural world, and cross-cultural learning, Madi seeks experiences (both at home and abroad) that put her in closer touch with the wisdom of nature and the wonder that comes with exposure to new and unfamiliar environments. In her free time, you can catch Madi on the mountain bike trails, at a local concert, hosting wine parties, and exploring Bellingham’s dreamy network of local trails.

  • Sarah Pearson
    Sarah Pearson Executive Director

    Sarah is the Executive Director and oversees Experience International Programs, Human Resources and Finances. She focuses on strategic planning, program development, and quality control; and is the liaison to the U.S. Department of State for EI’s J-1 Exchange Visitor program. Sarah has been with EI for nine years and possesses a lifelong passion for exploring the cultures, religions, histories and politics of the worlds’ nations. She was an exchange student in Indonesia, did marine research in Belize and Cape Cod, and taught high school science through the Peace Corps in Samoa. Directly before joining EI, Sarah was Associate Director of the Running Start Program at Whatcom Community College and oversaw academic advising and orientation. Sarah has two young adult children and loves to run, hike, travel, study world news, and spend time outdoors in any way she can.

  • Sophie Hingtgen
    Sophie Hingtgen Program Manager

    Sophie is a Program Manager for International Exchange Programs. She is responsible for the day-to-day management of the J1 Exchange Visitor Program, including intake, screening, compliance, and promotion. Sophie is a University of Washington graduate and did a year of study-abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland. She enjoyed all the traveling she got to do while abroad, and is an advocate for international exchange and learning opportunities. In her free time, Sophie can be found hiking with her dogs in the mountains, camping, painting and cooking.

Tour Leaders

  • Connor Froyen Harron
    Connor Froyen Harron Study Tour Trip Leader

    Connor is in the midst of transitioning from Experience International Study Tour Director to Experience International Study Tour Trip Leader and will be based out of Puerto Rico.   Raised on a homestead in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State, he has spent much of his adult life living and working with farmers and rural communities around the world. He holds a PhD and MA in Social Ecology from the University of California-Irvine (UCI) and a BA in Psychology and Environmental Studies from Western Washington University (WWU).  Previously Connor was the Farm to Table Manager and Lead Food Science Instructor for a sustainability education center in Costa Rica, served as the International Liaison at the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation at UCI, and led international research projects in Uganda, Swaziland, Mexico and Costa Rica. In his spare time Connor is an avid cook and home brewer who practices mindfulness for self-care and loves to bike, hike, ski or paddle with his friends.

  • Charlie Walkinshaw
    Charlie Walkinshaw Tour Leader and Founder

    Charlie is the Founder of Experience International and continues to lead Experience International Study Tours part-time.  He is a world traveler with a lifetime of international experience and service.  After graduating from the University of Maryland, he joined the Peace Corps and spent 3 years helping to develop an agricultural education program in Paraguay. Upon returning to the U.S. he earned a graduate degree from the University of Minnesota and became Director of MAST (a J-1 training program). Wanting to be his own boss, he moved back to Washington State with his family and, lucky for us, started Experience International.   He is also a founding member of the Forest Stewardship Council and has been involved in USAID grants and other global projects throughout his life.

Board Members

  • Geof Morgan
    Geof Morgan Board Secretary

    Geof was raised in Connecticut and spent 15 years in Nashville and Bellingham as a commercial singer, songwriter, and performer. In 1990, he transitioned to working in social services as a grant writer, volunteer services coordinator for an HIV/AIDS foundation, and the director of an early learning center.  From 1993-2015 he was the director of a nonprofit focused on building community capacity to support children and families in Whatcom County.  Geof currently consults part time as a facilitator and trainer for local agencies, schools, and community coalitions. His daughter is a clinical social worker in Brooklyn and his wife is a retired public school teacher. He has been on four study tours with Experience International since 2010, providing musical support and he is committed to EI’s mission of global understanding, social justice and cultural exchange.

  • David Gross
    David Gross Board President

    David is retired from a 50 year career with the U.S. Forest Service, where he worked first as a Forester working directly with trees, then as a Community Engagement Specialist working directly with people. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a B. S. in Agriculture with a major in Watershed Management. He is most proud of his 38 years of managing a summer program for teenagers that gave participants a positive, constructive experience working and learning in the great outdoors, and of his work as an Agency recruiter on university campuses around the Pacific Northwest. He enjoys international travel, classical music, photography, botany, and spending time under the wide skies of rural Eastern Oregon where he has lived for a very long time.

  • Kelly Kester
    Kelly Kester Board Treasurer

    Kelly Kester serves as the Director for International Programs at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington.  He has worked in the field of international education for more than twenty years at a variety of levels from middle school to university – as an international student advisor, ESL instructor, English programs administrator, and executive program director.

    Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota with a double major in Foreign Language (Spanish) and International Studies, and a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics and ESL teaching certification from the University of Montana.

    Through his work in program development, Kelly travels frequently to Asia – specifically Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, and Japan.  As an undergraduate he studied at the Universidad Nacional Autonima (UNA) in Heredia, Costa Rica.  He speaks Spanish, participated in a Fulbright Administrators program in Germany in 2008, and grew-up working as beekeeper in the summers in North Dakota.  In his free time Kelly can be found gardening, biking, cooking, stumbling through house renovation projects, and skiing.

  • Tommy Henderson
    Tommy Henderson Board Vice-President

    Agriculture education is my passion! Being raised on a citrus ranch and an active member of my local FFA program in California, I began to appreciate the impact of the agriculture industry on my life and those around me. I decided to formally pursue agriculture through education. I earned my B.S. degree in Agri-Business and Teaching Credential and M.S. degree in Agriculture Education from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.  My wife and I taught high school agriculture and served as FFA leadership advisors for ten years in California. In fall of 2014, my wife, two young daughters, Moriah and Madeline, and I moved to Oregon to pursue a PhD in agriculture education to help accomplish a dream to become a teacher educator for future agriculture teachers.  I now am a faculty member at California State University, Chico teaching agriculture education and Agriculture Engineering/Technology courses. I am passionate about experiential authentic learning experiences and providing students international learning opportunities.  I am truly fortunate to interact with incredible and creative students who are willing to take risks and learn. Being a board member with Experience International has been exceptionally rewarding and humbling to work with a dynamic group of people.

Where We Are

Our office is located 80 miles north of Seattle, WA and twenty miles south of the U.S.-Canadian border, in Bellingham. Within the United States, the Northwest includes most of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon states, and a portion of northern California. Ecologically speaking, the Northwest extends northward through Canada, and includes much of British Columbia and southeast Alaska. The Region contains the world’s largest temperate rainforest zone, stretching from Alaska to northern California. It also contains the Cascade Mountains (up to 14,000 ft. [4,300 m] in elevation), and the dry deserts of eastern Washington and Oregon. Our address is 1111 W Holly Street, Suite H, Bellingham, WA. 98225.