MEI International Academy

Program Reviews

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Amyah
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A Life Changing Year

At the beginning of grade 11, I decided my grade 12 year needed to be different. I’ve always loved learning but continuing this repetitive 9-4 pattern of classroom learning was going to crush my desire to discover more. This and the fact my current school was not at all preparing me for university is what drove me to apply for the MEI fall semester in Europe. I of course was a little nervous to be spending 70 days with complete strangers, but those feelings quickly dissipated and second I met my class, and my new family for the following weeks. Everyone on my trip came from various different lives but we all shared the common goal to learn and seek out everything this world has to offer. Your classmates start to feel like siblings as you learn to live with each other as well as work together on various different projects and presentations. I grew tremendously not only as a student but also as a person during my MEI semester. From being educated in the places where historical events occurred, conquering fears of public speaking and learning invaluable people skills, being able to go abroad with MEI is something I will always be grateful for. Not even halfway through the fall semester I signed up to continue with MEI for their spring semester, influenced by the above points, but overall by the connections and friends formed to last a lifetime.

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ellie
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Big Year experience

I just concluded my final semester with MEI Academy and after spending 120 days on the program I can confidently recommend this to any high schooler in grade 11 or 12 who is looking for something new. I participated in the “Big Year” meaning I spent my fall semester traveling through Europe and my spring traveling through Asia and it was truly life changing! Not only were the places that I traveled to absolutely magical but the people that I spent my time with were incredible. I love MEI because the size of my program (10-15) allowed me to become friends with people I never expected to. We were all like-minded in the sense that we wanted to learn about the world, but we also were all so unique and I learned so much from my fellow students. The teachers on the trip were also incredible! They were all so supportive and passionate about what they do, which was incredibly refreshing. The majority of the teachers on my trip were young making them approachable and easy to relate to. Some of my teachers changed between semesters but Riley stayed through the entire year and I became very close with her. I of course respected her on a teacher level but when we weren’t in lessons she became a great friend. It might sound very corny but the people I spent time with truly felt like family by the end. I was forced to learn to coexist with people because of proximity which taught me a lot about myself and how differently we all live. Regarding the academics, it was quite difficult to get used to the MEI approach as it is very independent. Most projects that we did had very little guidelines regarding content which allowed us to explore topics that actually interested us and tie it back to the course, teaching us how to think critically. The teachers gave a lot of creative liberty to the students, supporting and even encouraging us to follow through with our “crazy” ideas. I got back from Asia about a month ago and I’m still mourning the experiences that I had and the connections that I made. I truly cannot recommend MEI enough!

Pros
  • The people!
  • Riley Miller
Cons
  • Workload can seem intimidating depending on your teachers.
  • No weekends (but worth it)
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Claire
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

During grade 11, I decided to go to Asia for my spring semester with MEI and transitioned to Europe in the fall of grade 12. This ‘reverse’ big year approach set me apart from my peers, yet I found myself enjoying it just as much. I chose to apply for MEI because I was looking for deeper knowledge than what was available at my local public schools. I went into it pretty blindly, not knowing anyone, as most of the students do.

My high school experience has been anything but ordinary, as I have attended four different high schools, including MEI Academy. It was during the two MEI programs, where I discovered an incomparable educational experience. The teacher’s high expectations fueled my growth as a student, thinker, and peer. Coming from an online school, I initially lacked certain public speaking skills and certain social abilities. However, the immersive and supportive environment at MEI sparked my personal transformation. I came out of my programs, not only as a more articulate individual but also as someone who can easily speak for myself and confidently form friendships with people who I might not have connected with otherwise.

One aspect of the program that particularly resonates with me to this day was the structured routine of our days, which was nothing like my life at home. Waking up each day surrounded by individuals who were equally as eager to embrace the new experiences was a breath of fresh air. From daily morning workouts in constantly changing locations to reflective writing and collaborative projects, I truly would not have found this anywhere else. Unlike a conventional school setting where teacher interaction is limited to the class period, with MEI I had constant engagement with both educators and students, creating meaningful relationships that extended far beyond the classroom.

Not only did my relationships extend beyond the classroom, but so did my education. MEI stands out as a transformative educational experience. Something I had never experienced in a traditional classroom, but had the opportunity to learn on my MEI program was the blend of courses with real-world application. The academic skills –from public speaking to essay writing– that were taught during my time with MEI, I continue to actively apply to all of my courses at home. These are valuable skills that will continue to allow me to prosper as I begin post-secondary education. For those who want to broaden their horizons and grow as an individual and as a student, MEI Academy is the perfect place to do that. I wholeheartedly recommend these programs for anyone who is considering it. I would not be the same without this experience.

Pros
  • Rigorous Academics
  • Wonderful teachers and students
  • Always keeping busy
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Elise
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Just do it

Mei is an unforgettable and life-changing experience. I was a student in the European fall semester of 2022, as a junior in high school. We traveled to Rome, Roccamare, Borgo, Florence, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, the Swiss Alps, Paris, Heidelberg, Berlin, and Munich.
Travel:
To travel between cities you will take a coach, train, or airplane. We stayed in various hotels and they were always clean, with a handful even being luxury.
Community:
I am from the US, and this is a Canadian-based program. I appreciated learning from my classmates and teachers from a different country than me. All of the students are interviewed prior to the trip and go through an application process before attending. Therefore, all of my classmates wholeheartedly wanted to be there and had an eager passion for their learning. The Mei dynamic is very much a family one. You will become closer to this group of strangers than most of your friends at home. Each and every teacher and teacher assistant is very warm and truly cares about you. I have made lifelong connections with Mei whom I hold very close to my heart.
Education:
Mei creates a well-rounded, flexible, and education-hungry student. Every morning we were required to watch videos and had readings corresponding to a daily theme. One of the themes was power and there was a Machiavelli reading attached along with a series of wonderful videos. This was our morning muse and it connected to all of the coursework we completed that day. A group conversation followed this and each student brought challenging and passionate ideas, leaving me feeling inspired every day. I learned from my classmates constantly and felt like they added to my education almost as much as the material did.
Impact: I often find myself using critical skills that Mei has taught me, a year after the trip has ended. As I am in my last year of highschool, I am complimented by my teachers on my ambition and ability to think outside of the box. After returning home from Mei I felt incredibly inspired to pursue my passions and started a non profit organization at my school. I learned more about myself, my dreams, aspirations, and values more than ever before.

Pros
  • Strong community
  • Remarkable, well rounded education
  • Variety of European cities
Cons
  • A bit unstructured- at time there was lack of clarity and structure in daily plans + meet ups
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Helena
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

MEI Academy Big Year

I studied in Europe and Southeast Asia for my grade 12 year in 2022-2023. My experience with Mei academy re-defined my perspective on education but more importantly myself. The students and teachers pushed me out of my comfort zone which allowed me to see my core values and who I want to become. Studying subjects where they took place gave me the unique ability to draw conclusions and connections that the standard classroom setting can not provide. There is something so special about being thrown into a new place with random people who are united by a passion for travel and hunger for education. Now that I am in university I have begun to see the manifestation of the education I received. I am currently a social science and arts students and I have been able to apply much of the education I got with Mei to my university education. I have also seen a complete change in the way I conduct and express my opinions when in discussion based courses. Mei teachers stress the importance of being able to verbalize and support opinions. When speaking to large groups I often get complimented on how I engage and explain myself in a clear and straightforward way. I learnt that through Mei. I wholeheartedly believe Mei changed my life for the better and has pushed me to strive for the best version of myself in every aspect of my life. Mei is not just “school overseas” it is a program that first makes you look outward to the world (the education part) and then makes you look inward at yourself and reflect on who you are and how you can improve. If your on the fence about going to school with Mei trust me the three trips (Greece, Europe and Asia) I did with Mei were the most enlightening times in my entire life. If I could continue my education with Mei I would.

Cons
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Riley
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A-MEI-zing!

This experience is unlike anything you'll ever do. You can tell MEI International Academy has worked for over 25 years to find the perfect balance between education and travel. This program is not built for the weak. The dynamic environment keeps you on your toes and teaches you lessons that your peers don't learn in regular high school. MEI taught me to think critically, ask questions, and stand for ideas I feel passionately about. Joseph and Rita have created a beautiful odyssey, and I am grateful to be an alumna!

Pros
  • Staff Involvement: Invested in making the trip great for each individual kid
  • Worldly Experience
  • Independence
Cons
  • Time away from home
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Luke
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Mei Asia

MEI International Academy was my second trip out of the country. I was looking for a different schooling experience and was able to join MEI. Touring Asia was the most insightful thing. From the places I saw and the people I met. Never was a day wasted! We kept busy and kept having fun. The teachers did a great job of changing groups and making sure we were familiar with all of the students. Although I am no longer on the trip, each day I have memories resurface that put a smile on my face. Mei in specific stood out from other programs because of the teachers. Each teacher showed care and interest in our learning abilities and were able to explain each assignment in a way we would understand. They were patient and reasonable. I LOVED IT

Pros
  • Great People
  • Once in a lifetime trip
  • Great trust in students
Cons
  • Vague intructions and planning
  • Some students were shallow
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Iain
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

MEI was pretty fun

I went on this program during Fall 2022. I met a lot of interesting individuals, some of which I am still friends with. It was really fun and something I definitely won't forget, my only gripe is the lack of freedom for certain activities. The education I received was top notch and I became well-versed in European history. The teachers were also well-versed in their fields and truly pushed me and my fellow students further than we could have gone. The assistant teachers were nice as well. The entire group functions like a family away from home for the duration of the trip. Would reccomend.

Pros
  • New People
  • Different cultures
  • Amazing sights
Cons
  • Lack of Freedom
  • Group dynamics
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Brian
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

MEI Spring Semester 2022

Nothing compares to the experiences and the friends I have made on the trip. This experience has made truly life-changing remarks and allowed me to explore aspects of our world that I did not think possible. From scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef to visiting the archeological sites of Angkor Wat, MEI is the perfect mix of travel and high-quality education. Throughout my travels, I have developed a far greater sense of work ethic, teamwork and leadership abilities. My teachers were willing to go above and beyond their jobs to ensure that every student fully utilized their full potential. Furthermore, the friends that I have made on the trip will leave a permanent imprint on my heart, never would I have thought that such talented individuals existed. I could not have asked for a better final semester.

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sally
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Semester and Term Programs in Asia and Australia

I did the MEI big year, and it was an experience I will never forget. Although it was not what I expected, I would not trade it for any other travel program. In the span of seventy days, I was able to - ski in Whistler, dive in the Great Barrier Reef, hold a monkey in Bali,take a surfing lesson, swim in a waterfall, sing karaoke in Seoul, and many more. While doing these unforgettable experiences, I was able to learn about the world around me in a truly unique way.

MEI has changed me in ways that I cannot begin to explain. The friendships I have made while travelling with MEI will forever be cherished in my heart. The teachers have left such a mark in the way I see and appreciate the world.

I recommend MEI for anyone who can, wake up early, learn on the go, and is eager to learn about the vast world that we live in.