Empires: Foundations of the Western World Trimester Study Abroad Program
Why Spend a Trimester Abroad With MEI?
Understanding the world we live in has never been more important than in this day of globalization and cultural dynamism. For over two decades, MEI has led programs that engage students in a manner rarely matched: excellent instructors, excellent students, and excellent locations allow for some of the deepest understanding of our world students will experience in their lives. Through some of the most innovative and dynamic methods of instruction, MEI students embark on a journey that helps prepare them for their post-secondary lives where critical thought, analysis, and interpretation are crucial to success. Certified instructors, program-specific itineraries, and a long-history of safe, tailored travel, make a Trimester with MEI an excellent way to complete three senior level, university preparation courses.
Classical Civilization – Grade 12
This course allows students to explore the beliefs and achievements of the classical world, which have shaped Western thought and civilization. Students will investigate such aspects of classical culture through its mythology, art, literature and philosophy. They will also delve into elements of ancient Greek and Latin through a variety of activities such as dramatizations, audio-visual presentations, and discussions. Students will enhance their communication skills and their ability to think critically and creatively.
English – Grade 12
The core English course focuses on the refinement of literacy, communication and analytical skills. Students build on their understanding of academic language and practice using it confidently in discussion and argumentation, in both oral and written forms.
Students can substitute Studies in Literature – Grade 12
Media—Students choose ONE
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Prep Session 1: Early August, 2017
Flight and hotel details are available on individual program sites, available to registered students and their parents.
Preparation and Course Work
In order to ease into the program, students have access to the course website where reading lists will be posted. Course preparation is spread out over three weeks: our first week of preparation begins in mid-August, focusing on novel studies; the second two-week session begins in late August, focusing on completing small assignments. These online sessions are designed to connect students with their teachers and classmates, to help complete short tasks and to alleviate the workload during the trip. Students are required to complete all foundation work prior to leaving to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running while overseas.
Departure From Toronto (Day 1)
Our North American departure hub is Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Five hours prior to our departure, a short meeting will be held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, Terminal 3, to distribute course packs and maps and to clarify travel procedures. All students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to the Sheraton Gateway Hotel. Students making alternate arrangements must contact MEI before May 31.
Athens (Day 2–7)
We begin our odyssey with a visit to Athena’s favorite city. Home to the birthplace of Western democracy, philosophy, art, architecture, literature and history—Athens genuinely does have it all. We begin our academics with discussions on the rise of Athens after the defeat of the Persians, the Golden Age of Pericles and then the tragic consequences of the Peloponnesian War. Our classrooms take place in the Theater of Dionysus, among the ruins of the Temple of Zeus, within the Agora and high atop the Parthenon, while our evenings are spent exploring the Plaka and enjoying rooftop dinners in this ancient city.
Santorini (Day 7–14)
Cruising under the stars that guided Odysseus, students sail across the Aegean to the volcanic island of Santorini, once believed to be the legendary Atlantis. Here, students delve deeper into our investigation of ancient myth and explore the formation of a collective understanding of self and culture with investigations into Homer’s epic tales of Achilles and Odysseus. Home to one of the most spectacular sunsets in the world, a student inquiry into Plato's question of beauty is most relevant here, discussed over fresh calamari and tzatziki. We finish our stay with an epic hike along the caldera from Oia, ending with a sunset in our cliff-side home of Fira.
Mykonos (Day 14–20)
Along the picturesque Platis Gialos beach on the island of Mykonos, students take a breath and have a chance to focus on academic writing and develop deep analyzes of our core texts for English. Master classes in essay writing and small group BookChats in funky cafés scattered throughout the island enable students to look more critically at the writing of ancient and modern writers, while improving their own ability to write at the university level. Students have fun finding their way back to their favorite gyros stop through the maze of narrow streets walled with whitewashed shops and blue colored doors. At night, Mykonos comes alive as local boutiques, frozen Greek bakeries and smoothie stands stay open until the early hours. This is a perfect time to shop and explore before room check.
The Peloponnese and Olympia (Day 20–28)
Sailing back to Athens, students revisit the Greek capital of Western democracy, philosophy, art, architecture and history before continuing on to the Peloponnese. Heading southwest, we travel to the tiny fishing village of Tolo, home to crystal blue waters and near some of the most important archaeological sites in all of Greece. We consider Homer’s Iliad and Agamemnon’s return home after ten years of war to face the tragic consequences of his choices as we venture through the fortressed city of ancient Mycenae. Traveling even further west, we reach our final destination in Greece —Olympia —where students have the unique opportunity to lace up and run the original Olympic stadium’s track.
Overnight ferry, Paestum and Rome (Day 28–40)
As we sail across the Adriatic Sea to Italy, we follow the journey of Aeneas, one of the few survivors of the tragic sack of Troy. Making our way to Rome, first we reside by the sea to rest in Paestum where we take day trips to archaeological sites including Pompeii. After three restful nights, students find themselves in the 'Eternal City' where they witness the physical and literal layers of Rome's history. Studying the art and architecture of the Roman Empire, students consider the complexity and interconnectedness of history, culture, and philosophical thought. Whether writing morning notes on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica, performing Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in the Roman Forum or sampling the world's best gelato at the Trevi Fountain, in Rome, students witness the ghosts of history come alive.
Florence (Day 40–44)
Home of the Renaissance, the Medici, banking and some of the world’s most beautiful architecture, Florence is the perfect penultimate stop for our studies overseas. While interspersing our days with visits to the Uffizi, il Duomo, and the Accademia—home to Michelangelo’s David—students begin to prepare for final exams and their independent study unit presentations. Enjoyable evenings at quaint restaurants allow students to reflect on their journey and begin to piece together an evolving personal narrative of their place in the world.
Tuscany (Day 44–50)
Nestled between Florence and Rome, students find themselves in the rolling hills of Tuscany, home to Leonardo da Vinci and some of the best food on the planet. Here, we conclude our exploration of the Roman world and the impact of the expansion of the Empire. A visit to ancient Etruscan tombs provides a sense of just how long and influential the Roman world has been on modern society. Day trips to the famous towns of Pitigliano, Montepulciano and a home base in Borgo San Luigi make for a serene and picturesque location for Independent Study Unit interviews. After exams and a final celebration together, we board our return flight home as renewed and empowered citizens of the world.
Travel dates subject to change.
All prices include international student fees.
- Ministry-approved credit(s) upon successful completion of the course(s)
- Custom course pack
- Student Login
- MEI journal
- Digital yearbook
- Hotels and accommodations
- Breakfast and dinner daily
- Entrance fees to all course-specific sites
- Return airfare from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport
- Transportation between hotel locations via private coach or ferry
- Transportation for all listed program excursions
- Travel Visas
- All airline taxes, charges and fees
- Registration fee
- Course texts
- Medical Insurance and Cancellation Protection*
*All students travelling with MEI Academy are required to purchase Medical Insurance.
You can now use your points to partially or fully pay for your MEI invoice.
Students can now fund school fees with loyalty points! Aeroplan® Miles or TD Points, to be specific!
MEI International Academy is pleased to announce it has joined the HigherEdPoints.com Program as a Participating Institution. With this new partnership, students are able to convert Aeroplan® Miles and/or TD Points into funds to help cover their fees at MEI International Academy.
You can also convert the Aeroplan® Miles and/or TD Points of family members and friends to help pay for school. Anyone can donate either of these loyalty points to an individual student.
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