Meredith has been a teacher for MEI International Academy overseas programs since March 2010. She has taught on summer, trimester, and semester abroad programs including Trek Through Europe, Ancient World Odyssey, Empires: Foundations of the Western World, Spring Semester: The West, and Fall Semester: The East.
What is your favorite travel memory?
One of my favorite travel memories is snorkeling and scuba diving along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia! I can't help but wonder if the reef will survive the next fifty years, and so it was a unique privilege to learn about it on a "live-aboard" vessel with fellow students and teachers on MEI's Fall Semester: The East program. I'll never forget finding Nemo or gliding with an elegant sea turtle (my fave!).
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
I've gained seven years of travel and teaching experience in parts of Europe, North Africa, North and Southeast Asia, and Australia and Fiji with MEI Academy. Perhaps the most growth has occurred as a result of co-teaching for all of these years. I get the opportunity to learn new teaching strategies from fellow program leaders who I live and teach with every day. The collaboration is non-stop and we get to beg, borrow, and steal the best from each other!
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
A lot of MEI students who go on to complete the remainder of high school or post-secondary studies talk about how easy the transition to independent living is for them in comparison to their peers. They've lived and studied abroad, had roommates, and problem-solved life skills like laundry, proper eating, and so on with us already, and so when they live away from their parents for the second time (at college or university), they're not overwhelmed with the transition.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
People always ask this question and it's almost impossible to answer! Here's what I usually suggest: If a student is looking to free up extra space in their grade 12 timetable, then be sure to take an MEI two-credit summer program, like Trek Through Europe or Backpackers: Central America.
If a student is looking for a truly eye-opening cultural adventure, try Expedition to Tanzania or Fall Semester: The East. If a student is interested in Business school, definitely give our International Business summer program serious thought. If a student is on a gap year, or only needs 2-3 more credits to graduate, consider one of MEI's shorter trimester programs.
There is something for everyone — one just needs to decide if purpose or place is the deciding factor.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
What makes MEI Academy unique is that every aspect of our overseas programming is developed and executed by a team of certified teachers.
We are a group of educators who work together to create the best experiential learning opportunities possible!
I am most proud of our cross-curricular (e.g. History + English, Business + World Issues, etc.) connections as this is when our teaching and students' learning is most natural and REAL. Topics and events in the real world do not exist in a vacuum and neither should education!