Simon has been a teacher and program designer with MEI International Academy since 2012. He has been around the world multiple times taking hundreds of students from Cambodia to China, the Swiss Alps to Sydney.
What is your favorite travel memory?
Going to Angkor Wat with students is an incredible experience as I'm always there for a first time because I'm seeing it through their eyes. The sense of wonder and discovery is everywhere and the feelings of awe can be seen on all of their faces.
One such trip, we had an incredibly entertaining Tuk Tuk driver who told us everything we needed to know about each temple and their importance within Cambodian culture.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Leading a group of 30 around the world demands organizational skills and being able to roll with whatever gets thrown your way. I've become a very good listener after so many wonderful conversations with both locals and students.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
I recently returned home from 90 days in Asia and Australia and I heard about a student that was terrified of snorkeling, let alone diving, yet they conquered their fears and dove the Great Barrier Reef.
Overcoming obstacles and self-doubt is incredible to witness and I'm so happy to have been a part of that student's experience.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
I am about to leave for the Africa Trimester and I'm incredibly excited about that as I've never been to that continent yet. I am fascinated by the culture, landscape, environment, and people.
That being said, I have a soft spot for the Fall Program as it pushes students to physically and emotionally step out of their comfort zone... and that's where the real learning begins!
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
MEI Academy is unique because we aren't enclosed by a classroom. We explore, experience, touch and feel our surroundings. Our courses are designed to interact with the local environment as much as possible while still pushing students academically. I'm proud to constantly redefine education and experience.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
I work with my best friends, people who aren't scared to push students to get the best out of them. The teachers at MEI make the company. The foundation of excellence that Joe and Rita Mei set up over twenty years ago lives on in my colleagues and even in myself every now and then!