Empires: Foundations of the Western World Trimester Study Abroad Program
Why Spend a Trimester Abroad With MEI?
Experience REAL education with outstanding educators
Receive Three Ministry-approved High School Credits
Benefit from a 9:1 Student-to-Teacher Ratio
Travel 50 days abroad in the Greek islands, Athens, the Peloponnese, Sorrento, Rome, and Tuscany
Take a deep dive into the literature and history of the ancient world in Greece and Italy
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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.
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.
Santorini (Days 2–8)
After landing in Athens, we immediately set sail under the stars that guided Odysseus to the volcanic island of Santorini, once believed to be legendary Atlantis. Here, students begin our investigation of ancient myth and explore the formation of a collective understanding of self and culture through examinations of Homer’s epic tales of Achilles and Odysseus. Our media program starts quickly with lessons on nature photography and documentary film techniques as we wander the cliffside towns and black stone beaches of this fabled island. We compare the classic tale of Odysseus’ return home through the modern lense of Gareth Hinds’ beautiful graphic adaptation and Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad. All three courses align from the start of our program with literature, myth, philosophy, and media coalescing as 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 (Days 8–14)
Along the picturesque Platis Gialos beach on the island of Mykonos, students focus on academic writing and delve into the analysis of our core texts for English. Master classes in essay writing and small group book chats in funky cafés scattered throughout the island enable students to look critically at the writing of ancient and modern writers while improving their writing skills. Students have fun finding their way back to their favorite gyros stop, as their senses are confused by the maze of narrow streets walled with whitewashed shops and blue colored doors and balconies with vibrant pink bougainvilleas draped above their heads. At night, Mykonos comes alive as local boutiques, frozen Greek yogurt hangouts, and bakeries stay open until the early hours of the morning, making the evening the perfect time to shop and explore before room check.
Athens and The Peloponnese (Days 14–27)
We continue our odyssey with a visit to Athena’s favourite city—Athens. Home to the birthplace of Western democracy, philosophy, art, architecture, literature, and history, Athens genuinely does have it all. Our classrooms during our stay are 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. Heading southwest, we travel to Tolo, where 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. Here, students write midterms and create a movie trailer for their media program. 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 and visit one of the world’s most important archaeological museums.
Rome (Days 27–37)
Once again, we tread the footsteps of the ancients as we follow the journey of Aeneas, one of the few survivors of the tragic sack of Troy, to the glorious city of Rome. After our restful nights in the south, students now find themselves in the 'Eternal City' where they witness the physical and literal layers of Rome's history - all intermixed with high fashion, luxury cars, an unparalleled passion for soccer, and if we are lucky, a selfie with Pope Francis! Studying the art and architecture of the Roman Empire, students consider the complexity and interconnectedness of history, culture, philosophical thought, and modernity. 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.As we travel up the coast of Italy, we stop in Pompeii where students begin their investigation into the Roman world by looking at the explosion of Mount Vesuvius in 79 that buried the town's people of Pompeii in volcanic ash. Arriving in Rome, students experience the physical and literal layers of the Eternal City’s history. A second photo essay and lessons in architectural photography continue our media program, while a close analysis of the award winning Augustus, continues our look at personal development. 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.
Tuscany (Days 37–41)
Nestled between Rome and Florence, 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 in modern society. Day trips to the famous towns of Pitigliano, Montepulciano, and a home base in Borgo San Luigi make for serene and picturesque ISU interview locations before writing final exams.
Florence (Days 41–45)
Home of the Renaissance, the Medici, banking, and some of the world’s most beautiful architecture, Florence is the perfect stop to see what a flowering of thought, art and culture can bring the world. While interspersing our days with visits to the Uffizi, Il Duomo, and the Accademia—home to Michelangelo’s David—students prepare for final exams and ISU interviews while polishing their portfolios and capturing the last film footage needed for the final media assignment. With some of the most vibrant markets in Europe, and some of the most beautiful architecture, it is no wonder this city has been the favourite of artists, writers, and popes for centuries.
Venice (Days 45–50)
Our final stop takes us to the romantic city on water—Venice. More than just canals and beautiful churches, this historical crossroads of the Mediterranean affords us the chance to see how a dedicated group of people, rich and poor, accomplished remarkable things. As the longest lasting republic in the history of the west, there is so much to see and do. We make our home base on Lido, the long, beach island just a short Vaporetto ride away from the hustle and bustle of St. Marco's Square. On this tranquil island, students complete their major film project for media, present their portfolios, and enjoy evenings at quaint restaurants to reflect on their journey and begin to piece together an evolving personal narrative of their place in the world.
Departure from Venice (Day 50)
Travel dates subject to change.
All prices include international student fees. Pay Using Points! (See below for details)
- Ministry-approved credit(s) upon successful completion of the course(s)
- $95 Registration Fee
- 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
- Approximate airline departure taxes, surcharges and fees
- Transportation between hotel locations via private coach or ferry
- Transportation for all listed program excursions
- 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. For more information and to set up an account, please visit higheredpoints.com If you have any questions or concerns about the Higher Ed Points Program, please email info@HigherEdPoints.com