First Semester:Fall Semester Study Abroad Program
Why Spend a Semester Abroad With MEI?
Imagine studying Buddhism in the temples of Angkor Wat, exploring the Great Wall of China in Beijing and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. Picture yourself taking a cruise in Ha Long bay, studying the Ming Dynasty in the Forbidden City, or seeing the effects of the Western world on the development of Communist China. The best learning lies in experiencing the world around us where there are no desks, there are no walls, the world is the classroom.
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Travel Dates: September 25 – December 13 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 in early July, where reading lists will be posted. In September, students begin online work three weeks prior to departure. These online sessions are designed to connect students with their teachers and classmates and help complete short tasks to alleviate the workload during the semester. Students are required to complete all pre-departure work prior to departure to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running while overseas.
Departure From Toronto (Day 1–2)
We commence in Toronto where we get to know one another and settle into the structure of our program. Here, we conduct activities and complete foundational course material before setting off for Beijing. All of our preparation allows us to hit the ground running and dive straight into the adventure that awaits us.
Beijing (Day 3–9)
In Beijing, students venture into the heart of the People's Republic of China, tracing the steps of emperors through the Forbidden City and discussing the teachings of Chairman Mao as they cross Tiananmen Square. Beijing is the perfect location to begin the study of two core themes that frame both semesters: the contrast between the East and West and the relationship between communism and capitalism. Students begin their photography and filmmaking component as they survey the complex history and modern contradictions of the People's Republic making their way through the city's bustling markets and hutongs and hike along the legendary Great Wall.
Hong Kong (Day 9–15)
In Hong Kong, students witness how British and Chinese traditions have amalgamated to create an international financial epicenter. Amidst the labyrinth of skyscrapers, we immerse ourselves in a world of contrasts from the lively Tsim Sha Tsui district to the serene Tian Tan Buddha. Exploring the city's fusion, students witness the East meeting the West and the realities of economic globalization. A visit to the World War II cemetery where Canadian, British, and Indian soldiers are buried further frames the context of Hong Kong's current position both politically and economically on the global stage.
South Vietnam (Day 15–24)
We travel to Vietnam and arrive in Ho Chi Minh City to probe into economic development in South East Asia. Students crawl through the Cu Chi tunnels that were home to the Viet Cong guerrillas and consider the effects of war on a generation of people. We also investigate the graphic images presented in the War Remnants Museum and how this museum is strategically curated. Our next stop is Mui Ne, a welcome respite from Vietnam's largest city. The warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand allow us to re-energize as we continue our examination of war and its aftermath. Here, the relaxed pace enables students to prepare for their mid-term evaluations while taking time for rock climbing and surfing.
Cambodia (Day 24–42)
From Vietnam, we fly into Cambodia. Arriving in Siem Reap, students spend time exploring Angkor Wat, a magnificent temple complex featuring stone carvings depicting scenes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Evenings are spent in shops and restaurants along the vibrantly lit backpackers’ alley called ‘Pub Street,' among lively travelers and streams of tuk-tuks. From Siem Reap, we move south to Phnom Penh where students experience the duality between the beauty and tranquility of the region in contrast to the Khmer Rouge’s tragic legacy. The class will explore Cambodia’s capital city for a photography contest, showcasing their knowledge of composition from depth of field to the rule of thirds. Our final stop in Cambodia sees the class taking a step back from cityscapes as they relax into coastal living in Sihanoukville. More than a visit to sun and beach, students work hard preparing for midterm Independent Study Unit interviews and studying for midterm exams.
Bangkok (Day 42–45)
Departing Cambodia, we head to Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capital. From food carts and slow-moving river traffic, to Buddhist monks and neon-lit streets, students investigate the city through the lens of commerce and urban development. Students balance their days between jostling through the crowds of Khaosan Road, enjoying the calm of the city’s Buddhist temples and taking their explorations beyond the beaten path.
Bali (Day 45–53)
En route to ‘the land down under’, the class stops for one week in Bali, Indonesia. Flying into Denpasar, the class decompresses from three hectic days in Bangkok along the beach-lined coast in Seminyak. Students turn their attention to the far-reaching effects of travel and tourism as they participate in an economy driven almost completely by its visitors. From here, we travel northeast to the nearby city of Ubud, where our exploration of the commodification of culture continues in the Monkey Forest, the Goa Gajah ‘Elephant Cave’, and along the Tegallalong rice terraces.
Sydney and the Blue Mountains (Day 53–60)
Departing Asia, we board a flight south to Australia. Our first stop in Sydney connects students to Australia's thriving economy, set against the backdrop of the island’s breathtaking mountains and golden, sand beaches. Students reside in the upscale harbourfront district where they trace its humble beginnings as a settlement for convicts to the center of one of the most dynamic cities in the world. Here, students delve into the business course, analyzing Australia as an emerging market and investigating the challenges their economy faces, as well as its potential for growth and development. Before boarding a flight to Queensland, the students enjoy a three day trek among the eucalyptus forests of the Blue Mountains, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Cairns and Great Barrier Reef (Day 60–66)
In Cairns, World Issues becomes the focus, as the class delves into aboriginal issues and the postcolonial lens. A comparative case study with Australia and Canada’s treatment of their native populations reveals some of the damage done, the challenges we face in reconciliation, and hope for the future. Evenings are spent along the esplanade, tossing a frisbee disc or playing beach volleyball, before making dinners for each other in cozy apartments. Our time in Cairns concludes with a three-day excursion on the Great Barrier Reef on a private live-aboard boat. Students discover the hidden alcoves of the coastline and scuba dive and snorkel the days away in search of clownfish, reef sharks and sea turtles.
Tablelands (Day 66–70)
Heading back to land, the students ascend to the tropical heights of the Atherton Tablelands. An adventurer's paradise, we explore the local lakes, waterfalls and rainforest, the perfect environment for an in-depth analysis of the world's water resources. The cozy accommodation at On the Wallaby offers the best of Australian hospitality, and also the chance to study business from the perspective of a unique small business owner.
Sunshine Coast (Day 70–76)
Traveling south along the eastern coast of Queensland, we visit the Sunshine Coast of Australia. Aside from endless and spectacular white sand beaches, the Sunshine Coast is home to conservation and national parks, universities, and international cuisine with a dynamism seldom matched.. Students have an opportunity to explore local and global conservation efforts, as well as the world of finance in their final Dragon's Den project. Teeming with cafes along the water, the Sunshine Coast is the perfect location for students to prepare for complete their final Independent Study Unit interviews, as well as study for their upcoming final exams.
Sydney (Day 76–80)
From the Sunshine Coast, students board a flight back to Sydney for two days of final exams and two additional days of beach hopping and excursions, concluding their adventure through Asia and Oceania. Students edit and present their final film projects and prepare for their long journey home, before bidding farewell to their new ‘MEI family’.
Departure from Sydney (Day 80)
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, train or plane
- The following flights: Beijing–Hong Kong Hong Kong–Vietnam Vietnam–Cambodia Cambodia–Thailand Thailand–Sydney Sydney–Cairns Cairns–Melbourne Melbourne–Fiji Fiji–Toronto
- The Forbidden City
- Tiananmen Square
- The Temple of Heaven
- The Great Wall of China
- Tian Tan Buddha
- Victoria Harbour
- Temple Street Night Market of Hong Kong
- Reunification Palace
- Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica
- Sand dunes of Mui Ne
- Angkor Wat
- The Bayon
- Phnom Penh Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
- Wat Pho
- The Grand Palace of Thailand
- Great Barrier Reef
- Daintree Rainforest
- Snorkeling in the Coral Sea
- Circular Quay
- Sydney Harbour
- Sydney Opera House
- Bondi Beach
- The Coral Coast of Fiji
- Travel Visas
- All airline taxes, charges and fees
- Scuba Diving 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.
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