Alumni Spotlight: Kyara McLean


Kyara is a student at St. Michael Catholic Secondary school in Bolton, Ontario, and is currently in grade eleven. Last fall during her travels to Asia and Oceania, she attended MEI Academy. Kyara is an adventurous, fun, active student who had the time of her life studying abroad.

Why did you pick this program?

I picked MEI Academy's study abroad program because it gave me the chance to visit many different countries in a short amount of time. Rather than staying in one place for 2-3 months, MEI gives you the chance to explore and see a variety of countries during that time.

I choose to go with MEI Academy because after talking with friends and researching the program, I knew I would be receiving a proper interactive education, learning a lot, and trying new things, while still having fun!

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Whenever a friend asks me how my trip was, if they should go, or what program should they go on, I always mention the MEI Academy.

I tell them they will have the best semester of their life, and they'll never want to come home. I tell them it won't be easy, but if they work hard they will learn more then they ever have in a classroom, and it will be fun!

The people you meet at MEI - your teachers and peers - will become your family and best friends, and you'll make memories that you'll keep with you forever.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

To future MEI Students and others studying abroad, the best advice I can give is to make the most out of your trip and use your time abroad wisely. Become friends and interact with everyone as the 80 days will fly by.

Work hard, and get your work done early. It's terrible to be stuck in a hotel room writing an essay while everyone else is out exploring the cities. Studying abroad taught me a lot about time management - there seems to be so little time when you're having the time of your life!

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

One of my favorite stories to tell from studying abroad is the night market in Beijing, China. What an exotic, crazy adventure! Never did I imagine myself to be snacking on silk worms and snake, or munching on a scorpion or tarantula. But I did. And it was good. At that point in time, I had completely stepped out of my comfort zone, and I tried everything I could.

The crunchy crispy tarantula legs tasted like chips, and the snake was so crispy and salty. On the other hand, a gross warm liquid dripped from the silk worm as I bit into it and shook my head in disgust. Most certainly one of the most exotic and memorable times I had while studying abroad.

Were you scared to leave your family and friends behind?

On the first day I was nervous for about 5 hours, but then I remembered I'm not the only one alone; there are 29 others who are in the exact same position as me. They are all leaving their families for 80 days, and they are all saying goodbye to their friends for 80 days.

After a few introduction games everyone was laughing, and the memories had begun. Before I knew it, I wasn't curious about what was happening at home - the parties I was missing didn't matter, the drama at home stayed at home, and I wasn't homesick. Why? because, I was living in the moment, traveling the world with 30 amazing people. Nothing else mattered because I was creating memories and having the time of my life.