Second Semester:Spring Semester Study Abroad Program
The W est Second Semester
Why Spend a Semester Abroad with MEI?
Picture yourself retracing Louis XIV’s footsteps in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, or trekking through the snow-capped Swiss Alps. Imagine swimming in the Aegean Sea, studying the Caesars in the Roman Forum, or debating the effects of the World Wars from the trenches in Germany. The best learning lies in experiencing the world around us where there are no desks, there are no walls, the world is our classroom.
English—Students Choose ONE
Humanities—Students Choose TWO
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Physical Education—Students Choose ONE
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Travel Dates: March 27 – June 14 2018
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 January, where reading lists will be posted. In March, 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)
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 three months prior to departure.
Paris (Day 2–10)
The epicentre of European luxury and decadence, Paris is an ideal location for students to immerse themselves in the philosophies that have shaped modern Western thought. Students discuss the Enlightenment at the Panthéon, the Napoleonic Wars at Napoleon’s tomb, and examine the legacy of the French Revolution at the Palace of Versailles. We also take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of the ‘City of Light’— picnics of cheese and baguettes, climbing the Eiffel Tower, and igniting our imaginations while wandering the Musée du Louvre.
Strasbourg (Day 11–14)
From Paris, students travel south to the Alsatian town of Strasbourg. Students spend their afternoons exploring the winding streets, home to the seat of the European Union, and their evenings engaged in book chats over candle-lit dinners. Our day trip to Heidelberg enables us to delve further into this dynamic region, taking students along the western bank of the Rhine River and into Germany, where we discuss the events of World War I.
Swiss Alps (Day 15–19)
Next, students arrive in the valley of Lauterbrunnen, situated high in the snow-capped Alps. Here, coursework focuses on the interwar period and the challenges of remaining neutral when surrounded by conflict. Students again test their physical limits by hiking to the quaint village of Mürren. The serenity of the Alps helps clear students’ minds as they begin to refine their song and poetry writing skills around campfires under the stars.
Munich (Day 20–25)
Our exploration of World War II takes us to Munich, where students witness for themselves the scars of modern warfare. Our lectures and activities guide students on an emotional journey as they trace the impact of the economic collapse of the 1920s, to the rise of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Movement. We visit the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau and examine the ruins of the city that lay in ashes by the war’s end. Students also trace how Munich rebuilt and redefined itself into the modern cultural and economic powerhouse it is today.
Venice (Day 26–30)
Amidst its maze of canals and gondolas, this unique city-on-water remains a wealth of Italian art and culture and a fascinating case study of Western leadership. Once the hub for both crusaders and explorers, Venice is a fitting location for students to connect how the Western notion of capitalism and the Eastern idea of collectivism succeeded together. Here, we reside on the quiet island of Lido, while daily trips into the heart of Venice connect students with an examination of the former Venetian Republic.
Tuscany (Day 31–44)
Students conclude their studies of modern Western history from a spectacular villa in the rolling hills of Tuscany. Day trips to Siena and Florence introduce students to one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities and the epicentre of the Italian Renaissance respectively. Returning to our home base in the countryside, students complete their first set of exams and Independent Study Units of the semester. With a few days to recharge before traveling to Rome, students explore ancient Etruscan tombs and hike through the vineyards of Montepulciano before relaxing in the hot springs of Saturnia.
Rome (Day 45–51)
From Tuscany, students cross the Rubicon and enter the ‘Eternal City’ where they witness the 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 Forum, or sampling the world’s best gelato at the Trevi Fountain, in Rome, students witness the ghosts of history come alive.
Peloponnese (Day 52–58)
After leaving Rome, students sail the Adriatic Sea aboard an overnight ferry to Greece. Upon our arrival in the Peloponnese, where Agamemnon and Achilles’ armies gathered before attacking Troy, students explore the archaeological ruins of Olympia, home to the first Olympic games. Continuing east, students visit ancient Mycenae before arriving in the picturesque beach town of Tolo. This relaxed setting offers students a chance to focus their energy on presentations, group activities and creative writing. Students perform workout routines on the beach and test their limits on a day-long hike through the Lousios Gorge.
Athens (Day 59–61)
Crossing the Isthmus, we pass over the Corinth Canal and head into Athena’s favorite city. Home to the birth of Western democracy, philosophy, art, architecture, literature, and history, Athens genuinely does have it all. We focus our academics 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 during our stay are in the amphitheatre of Epidaurus, 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 fascinating city.
Santorini (Day 62–68)
Cruising under the stars that guided Odysseus, students cross the Aegean to the volcanic island of Santorini. Hiking along cliffs overlooking the black sand beaches, students delve into the genius of the Socratic method and grapple with the ideas of Aristotle. Home to one of the most spectacular sunsets in the world, a student inquiry into Plato’s Question of Beauty is most relevant here as we discuss ancient Western and Eastern philosophies over fresh calamari and tzatziki.
Mykonos (Day 69–80)
In Mykonos, a dizzying maze of well-worn streets, boutique hotels and shops, we enjoy our days working at the beach, and our nights relaxing beneath the stars of the Aegean. Independent Study Units, final papers and exams round out our coursework as we finish the last elements of the program. We return for one full day to Athens where we reflect on the impact of students’ accomplishments during the trip. Under a moonlit Acropolis, we recount stories that will last a lifetime.
Departure from Athens Airport (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
- Paris Museums: Musee D’Orsay, Louvre, Pompidou, Pantheon
- The Palace of Versailles
- The Eiffel Tower
- Luxembourg Gardens
- Mouffetard Market and the Tuileries
- Heidelberg and Fussen day trips
- Munich Museums: Deutsches Museum, Dachau Concentration Camp. Neue Pinakokthek
- The English Garden
- The Doge’s Palace, Venice
- Basilica San Marco
- The Rialto Bridge
- Saturnia Hot Springs
- Day trips to Florence and Siena
- Florence Museums: The Accademia and The Uffizi
- The Roman Forum and Colosseum
- The Pantheon
- The Sistine Chapel and The Vatican Museum
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- Palatine and Capitoline Hills
- The ruins of Ostia
- Piazza Navona
- Ruins of Olympia
- The Acropolis
- The Ancient Agora
- The National Garden, Athens
- The National Archeological Museum
- The Plaka
- Caldera hike from Oia to Fira
- Kamari Volcanic Beach
- Paradise Beach, Mykonos
- 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.
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