What is MEI Academy All About?
Our guiding principle has always been to encourage students to learn about the world and how to live in it. It isn’t enough to travel abroad, visit historical sites and museums, and expect meaningful connections to happen automatically. Our mission is to offer a global high school experience with each lesson designed to inspire REAL education in the locations we visit.
Joe Mei, Director
Education evolves—and this causes people to feel unnerved because change challenges the status quo. For over twenty years, MEI has challenged the status quo, continually improving the learning experience. This year, we are poised to do it again as we develop new programs around the globe.
Twenty years ago, we set sail for the Greek Islands to begin our first fall semester program with a crew of 24 high school students—this had never been done. To travel throughout Europe for 93 days and earn three “Grade 13” credits while studying history, art, philosophy and literature seemed impossible. I had been planning this journey in my head since I was ten years old when I spent my days reenacting and daydreaming about historical battles, great explorers, and mythological heroes. As we took that first step onto the shores of Crete in 1999, I knew that I had to prove to teachers, parents, and—most importantly—students, that this adventure would be THE learning experience of a lifetime. As we explored the ruins of King Minos’ Palace, reenacted Greek mythology, and then ventured to Santorini to discover the lost island of Atlantis, I knew we were on the right track.
It only took a single journey to confirm my belief that engaging and connecting students to the real world was the right approach to education. I was convinced that if we based our academic programs on developing grit, deep learning, creativity, and mindfulness, our students would thrive. Twenty-two years later, and after thousands of students have been through our programs, I am grateful that we stuck to our convictions and stayed the course. Each year, I hear from our alumni, and as we reminisce over their experiences, they often attribute their time with MEI as something that set them in a direction that has made their lives more meaningful.
It has been a long road since those first journeys that have now developed into over 25 different programs around the globe. We started with no internet, no cell phones, and NO SOCIAL MEDIA! Instead of resisting change, we’ve evolved and incorporated all three tools to make our courses relevant and engaging. However, our values and culture have stayed the same; we infuse each day into the learning adventure of a lifetime and TAKE CARE of each other.
In a world that accepts credit mill courses and rubber-stamped diplomas, we will continue to offer REAL education that challenges the status quo. In the end, people know the real deal.
We hope you can experience REAL education at its best with MEI this year.
Course Accreditation and Curriculum
MEI offers Ministry-accredited courses that are accredited by the Upper Grand District School Board. These course credits will appear on students’ academic records and can be used for university entrance. Our academic advisors work with students’ home schools to ensure that courses meet their curriculum standards and that students are well prepared when applying to universities around the world.
- Ontario students will receive Ontario Ministry of Education course accreditation through the Upper Grand District School Board.
- Students from schools outside of Ontario may have the academic courses accredited by their individual schools or local school boards.
Course Credit Details
All course curriculum is developed by MEI Academy and the Upper Grand District School Board. Specific course curricula and prerequisites are available under each course’s description.
Upper Grand District School Board
The Upper Grand District School Board is located in Guelph, Ontario, and operates high schools in Guelph and surrounding areas. The partnership between MEI and the Upper Grand District School Board provides students and teachers
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The Best Practices for Learning
For over a decade, Upper Grand and MEI have been recognized as leaders in international education. Education outside the four walls of a classroom is not our hobby—it is our profession and our passion. Our full-time craft and trade is designing academic lessons that complement the sites we visit. At MEI, we know that knowledge and experience go hand-in-hand. Creating that balance is what we do best.
Information is everywhere. Students have access to the best textbooks, podcasts, and information at our fingertips. What we provide are expert teachers, guides and mentors to help them navigate through the waters of Big Data and misinformation. MEI chooses teachers from the best schools across Canada to design, curate, and execute a curriculum that will Motivate, Educate, and Inspire students to excel.
Knowledge without experience is limited. Learning begins when knowledge comes alive, and that is why our itinerary infuses the locations we travel to with the academics we study. Each day is a learning adventure that can only be implemented by highly-skilled and trained teachers. Each course unit is driven by lessons to help students perform at their best.
Action needs to be balanced with reflection. We believe that knowledge and experience require analysis and reflection in order to get the optimal benefit of that knowledge and experience. Each course is designed to challenge students to develop their own educational philosophy through opinion and responsive exercises, curated activities, meaningful conversations, independent study units and personal reflections.
At MEI, we give our students the TIME to work. The traditional school year only allows for summer jobs or part time employment. Employers and universities see value in job experience, so MEI designed its Term programs to afford students the time to travel, learn and work. Many students enrol in a Term program, earn three courses, and then work for three months before going back to their home school or another MEI Term.
We believe the best conceived plans need exceptional leaders to execute them. Our unique learning environment requires that our teachers possess extensive knowledge in their subject area and excel in the use of contemporary teaching methods. It has taken over 20 years of travelling and teaching to summon together the finest teachers. Staff are selected based on their academic knowledge, travel experience and, most importantly, their passion for teaching young adults.
As a testament to how the MEI experience impacts students, many alumni return as faculty members after completing their university degrees. They return wanting to give back what they received as students.
Students and parents will have an opportunity to meet the staff and teachers at a pre-departure meeting held before each trip begins.