MEI International Academy

Program Reviews

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Chloe
10/10

I am completing the big year, I traveled to Asia and Austrialia for my first semester of senior year and I will travel to Europe for the second semester of senior year. This experience and opportunity is truly once in a lifetime. I had the most incredible time on my first semester and I can’t wait for semester two to start. The people who do this program are so open-minded and mature so it makes getting along with people very easy. The places I traveled to were so amazing, destinations such as Angkor Wat and the Great Barrier Reef are dream trips on the top of most travelers lists so I feel very grateful that I was able to experience all of it. The school work is demanding and it challenges you, but in the best way possible. I feel the courses have prepared well for university because we do assignments that have purpose, rather than loads of busy work I use to do at my traditional school. If you have the opportunity to do this program I would not turn it down, it is an incredible experience that I will no doubt remember for the rest of my life.

What was the most nerve-racking moment?
Walking into the pre-departure meeting is the most nerve racking moment by far. The good part is that everyone is in the same boat- no one knows each other so everyone is nervous! Walking in to the room where your group and teachers are, and meeting them for the first time does feel like that first day of school moment. Although the nerves go away right after that moment. You instanley get a feeling of inclusion and welcomeness with the group as a whole.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Zoe
10/10

I can hands down say that studying abroad with MEI was the best decision I have ever made. Coming from a traditional high school, my preconceptions of studying abroad were pretty standard. I expected to experience, fun, community, and knowledge. What I couldn't have planned for was how just three months would drastically expand my views on the world we live in and at the same time grow my confidence and internal reflection of what it means to be a cog in the greater machine of society. With MEI you are given all of the tools and guidance to challenge yourself as far as you wish. What makes this program so unique is the self-led investigation that is encouraged throughout. The teachers would cover the required curriculum while at the same time encouraging and supporting me and my peers when our curiosity sparked by something specifically. For example, when I expressed an interest in learning how to write a proper professional email, an English assignment was adapted so I could have time set aside to explore that writing format. Or when I expressed an extreme desire to trek across Beijing to the Summer Palace, the teachers celebrated my passion and gave me the time and resources to do it. The people I met and places I visited shaped the way I think of the world at present and my views toward the future. Studying with MEI has redefined what learning means and I am so grateful for my experience on the Term 1 and 2 programs.

What would you improve about this program?
If I could improve anything it would be to visit more off the beaten path locations. Some of my favourite memories and best learning experiences took place in the locations that one may have never even heard of, such as Mui Ne, Vietnam, or Yungaburra, Australia.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Payton
10/10

I was a shy kid growing up. I never did anything that would force me out of my comfort zone. I would surround myself with my best friends. So, when I saw the MEI Fall semester online I knew I needed to apply. I needed to do something for myself. I needed to do something that would change my life. The MEI Fall Semester was incredible. There are no words to describe how amazing this experience was but I’m going to try to explain it in a few paragraphs.

First you step into a room with a bunch of people you’ve never met before in your life. Immediately you feel comfortable around them, because these will be the people you spend your next three months with. You switch roommates every location so it’s impossible not to get close with everyone on the trip. As cliché as it sounds these people will become your family. I shared so many secrets that I have never admitted to anyone in my life.

From climbing the Great Wall of China to Hiking in the Blue Mountains every experience pairs with an amazing scenic view. We walked through night markets in Beijing and Hong Kong and explored the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City. There is not one memory that I can say was better than the rest because each day was a rollercoaster of events. In Australia we would wake up early in the morning to do an hour workout. It would drain us all of our energy, but we would rejuvenate in our beautiful three-bedroom apartments treating ourselves to homemade breakfast and showers. Next, we would have a lesson normally at a luscious green park and write in our morning notes about experiences, memories, and writing prompts provided. Afterwards we would have free time to explore the streets of the location we were in. Normally stopping in coffee shops to have our lunchtime latte while getting some work done. Later on, we would reconnect with everyone for a sport tournament or an activity. Everyday ran like this in Australia and Bali, and even though Asia was a bit more chaotic it ran the same way as well.

We developed such a common routine on the trip and got so used to the physical activity we had to partake in each day. Now that I’m back at home I miss the vigorous workouts. Even the academics were a challenge but so rewarding with every assignment we completed. We were required to present in front of the class to develop our public speaking skills, like our climate change debate in Mui Ne. Each of our presentations and book chats allowed everyone to have an equal voice. After every essay I wrote or short story I presented it felt gratifying. I knew all of my assignments broadcasted the best of my abilities and they helped me improve my communication skills.

If I can tell you anything that will convince you to come on the trip, is just know these people you meet: will be your friends for the rest of your life. As I am back to the real world, we are already planning reunions to see each other again. This trip is meant for you if you have a will and wanderlust. Everyone on this trip loved to travel, and we cherished each experience so much. The academics and physical activity may be challenging, but you can get through it and achieve your personal goals. Before I went on this trip I was lazy, I would watch TV when I woke up and watch it when I got back from school. After being on an incredible journey I don’t even think of wasting my time staring at a screen, I now am much more productive and have an even greater will to achieve everything I set my mind to.

What would you improve about this program?
If there is anything that you could improve it would be allowing the trip to be a few extra days at the end after ISU's and exams so that we can spend them relaxing and hanging out with our best friends.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Julia
10/10

After traveling with MEI Academy for 5 weeks throughout the summer of 2018, going back to normal high school will be a challenge. The trip that I signed up for with great enthusiasm ended up being more amazing then I could have ever imagined it to be. Before too soon, our group that was made up of people who all had different interests and all came from different places was a family. I made friendships that I will cherish for a long time coming. I believe it was so easy for everyone to get along and get close was because we are all hungry to travel and eager to learn; an environment in which I directly found my spot. There is a balance between education and social experiences, and almost all the time, the two overlap. One thing to know is that while this trip is amazing, it is definitely not a vacation There is a great sense of responsibility when you have the decision of going to visit the Big Ben or writing a last-minute essay that you haven’t worked on in the days prior. Time management is a skill that definitely is important during this trip, and even if it isn’t a great skill when starting this adventure, it most definitely will be one of your strongest coming out of it. Besides time management I have developed skills that I will use for the rest of my life. Responsibility, proper social skills, even going to the laundromat and doing our own laundry sometimes ended up being a challenge, but are all skills that have been enhanced during those 5 weeks. My favourite aspect of the trip is the fact that we weren’t just in these incredible places, but our amazing teachers were able to incorporate these environments into our lessons, which truly made the world “our classroom”. We would learn about marketing with the Eiffel tower in the background or reading poems about Dover Beach, while driving past Dover Beach. These are experiences you just aren’t able to recreate while sitting in a classroom. Overall this trip is something that I know I will be looking back on for years and years to come. It was an amazing experience that I would not have wanted to miss for the world.

What would you improve about this program?
Improved sightseeing aspect of the program in London in order to see more of the city.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Ben
10/10

For me, the single best aspect of the trip was the connections and friendships that I made over the 35 days. I believe that this trip attracts some of the best people, but I must give credit to the teachers for creating the family aspect and feeling that each and everyone of us felt while on the trip this summer. The teachers encouraged us to get to know, and spend time with every person on the trip. With a group as large as ours (32 students) it would have been easy to get to the end of the trip and realize that there are people that you have never talked to. I am glad to say this didn't happen.
In terms of the school work, it was busy. It was most defiantly not a free ride as some people had predicted it to be. It was busy for an obvious reason. We completed two grade 12 courses in 35 days instead of the normal 5 months. It was challenging, but the teachers were incredibly helpful and approachable, which made the workload manageable. The teachers not only had these qualities when it came to school work, but you could also talk to them about anything and they were always helpful and made you feel comfortable.
I enjoyed the freedom of having free time over lunch and in the evenings, but having structured activities and excursions were also a ton of fun and allowed us to get to know people better. Some of my favourite excursions were the cave diving, the zip-lines, and the Jaguar Park hike!
From the trip one of the biggest take aways that myself, and most people had, was how to be more independent and how to manage time better. Due to how fast pace the course is, time management is crucial in order to get all the work done on time, as well as leaving time to take in the unique surroundings that you are in.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jaden
9/10

Through this program I have been able to meet so many new people and make so many friendships. I have also been able to make my grade 12 school year much less stressful but completing 2 courses over the summer! There are so many great memories I have from this trip ranging from exploring caves to zip lining to relaxing by the pool and beach, however, white water rafting was something that I did not expect to enjoy so much! I will never forget it!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Ben
9/10

The 2018 International Business trip was an unbelievable journey to remember. When presented this opportunity, I knew I had to escape my comfort zone and take part, and I am sure glad I did. As far as development goes, not a single other program will assist in your personal and academic growth as much as IB. From vigorous presentation schedules to plentiful writing opportunities, your preparedness for your final high school year and the commencement of university will never be better. Beyond academics, there is extremely valuable development of interpersonal skills that takes place while experiencing these cities in a tight-nit group. Something to know before embarking on the journey is that while you are visiting all these breathtaking places, it is not a vacation, as you do have two courses to be completed. Time management must be grasped in order to reach academic requirements with time remaining to explore the amazing cities around you, which is very attainable if you are efficient. The skills I gained along with the experiences I gathered on this trip are extremely valuable, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. First hand experiences of the business dynamics in the city superpowers was extremely interesting, and you certainly would not be able to capture these aspects without this program. Our expert teachers were also great contributors to the success of this trip, and it would not have been the same without them. Overall, this trip was truly amazing and I am extremely happy that I chose to embark on this adventure.

What would you improve about this program?
Increased time to explore London either as a full group or in small groups and more time in Hong Kong.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Olivia
10/10

After being apart of MEI Backpackers 2018, I feel that I must recommend it to everyone I meet! It was the most incredible adventure I have ever experienced. I met some fascinating people on this trip that I now consider lifelong friends. The teachers are some of the best I have ever had, truly caring about what they were teaching and doing their best to help each and every student succeed. Approximately three weeks later and I am still in shock that I was fortunate enough to experience this. I look at pictures of the different adventures that we did as a group and it fills me with so much emotion. I can remember every sense from each of the locations we stayed at and the amazing feeling of looking up from your studying to see the vast ocean in front of you. The rainforest’s mists soaking you just enough to cool you off. Dancing to music under the stars after a delicious meal. Work never seemed to get in the way of a good time. The first class I had on this trip was Biology. It was held on a covered dock with ocean surrounding us. Breeze spilled in through empty spaces and cooled us off in very high Belize temperatures. This class was the first moment I was truly in, “awe.” I just couldn't believe that this is where my life had taken me, studying population dynamics, sitting on a dock, on an island in Belize. There would be times when we were stressed out, however those feelings would be evened out by a jaw dropping excursion the next day. The friends I made on this trip also prevented me from becoming stressed because their presence would always lighten the mood and our belief in one another drove us to succeed. Words cannot describe how much meeting these people meant to me and how much they mean to me today. At the beginning, the teachers informed us that this group would soon become family. At the time, we were to anxious and therefore, awkward to believe it. They surly did not lie, as all of us became the closest of friends. This trip has been more rewarding than I could have ever have imagined. I learned so many new things not only about Biology and English, but about myself and this amazing, gigantic world that we live in.

Yes, I recommend this program
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rae
8/10

This experience was truly amazing. Although it did get very stressful at times, that all would just go away when going to the beach. This really helped me narrow down things for university and really showed me a new way of learning. It was amazing to be able to have this experience and learn all the things i did. Being able to study on the beach was probably one of the nicest feelings there was. All those late night crams were always forgotten about the next day when we would go hike to swim in waterfalls or go swim with sharks. I truly do not take away one negative thing from this trip

What would you improve about this program?
I think that monteverde would have been a better place to go than the solstis centre but overall i wouldn’t change anything else
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jerri
10/10

In an attempt to describe how amazing this program was, it is important to recognize that the teachers were such an important aspect in making my experience so exceptional. Everything about my program was beyond remarkable and I have gained so many valuable lessons from my travels. It was such a privilege to create such special bonds with my peers and teachers in places which the view literally takes your breath away. I have always wanted to travel to Australia and Fiji and this was the ideal way to do it; with an incredible group of people and beyond supportive teachers. Not only was I encouraged to excel in my academics, but I was efficiently challenged in so many other aspects which really contributed to my self growth throughout this program. This journey allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of how fun and enjoyable learning can and should be. The trip exceeded the expectations of the MEI motto, "The world is our classroom". I am beyond grateful for my experience, I would not have wanted it any other way and it has truly made me the passionate, and determined person I am today.

What would you improve about this program?
Literally the only downside that I experienced with this program was constantly getting put with the same people in rooms when I was really eager to get to know lots of other people, but it did not take away from my experience at all. This is something that could easily be altered and ensure does not happen again for future trips.
Yes, I recommend this program