Important Things to Know
At MEI, we believe you can never have too much information. We have created this entertaining and informative video series to help parents and students find out everything they will need to know before embarking on their exciting journey.
Need even more information? Browse through our frequently asked questions for everything you need to know about programs at MEI international Academy.
How many teachers will be on each trip?
Each semester and summer program runs at between 25 and 40 students, typically split between male and female, although that balance can change slightly from year to year. The ratio of students to teachers however is always at most 12 students to 1 teacher, but typically works out to be closer to 10 students to 1 teacher.
What sort of computer or device should students bring?
As our programs are very mobile and virtually paperless, students on all programs are required to bring a personal computer or tablet with them. At the airport on the day of departure, a custom interactive MEI digital course pack, in the form of an iBook, is loaded onto each portable device. MEI iBooks contain all assignments, lecture notes, mark breakdowns, videos, and interactive maps and content. Students are expected to pack their devices with them daily, for taking lecture notes on location, and writing essays and exams. Portable devices must run a standard word processor and for select programs, video editing software.
When and how can students access reading material?
Reading Lists for each program are all posted on the student login months in advance of departure. Typically, each course will have approximately three major texts assigned for pre-departure. As our overseas timelines are condensed and fast paced, students are expected to have read all novels, plays, and/or other assigned texts prior to departure. Additionally, students are expected to bring their reading list texts, whether in hard or digital copies, along with their notes, with them overseas. Course texts are utilized often throughout each program for close readings, book chats, essays, other assignments and exams. Reading lists, as with all MEI curriculum evolve year to year to accommodate for fresh cutting edge ideas and literature, while still ensuring that students have the opportunity to study classic and foundational texts.
How do students access money while overseas?
We encourage students to travel overseas with a small amount of starter cash in the currency of the first country on their program’s itinerary. A bank card from any major bank with a 4-digit pin connected to a checking account will allow students to withdraw cash at most ATMs as they travel. Check with your local branch before departure about specialized accounts that have reduced withdrawal fees. Many students also opt for bringing a credit card as a backup. We do not recommend students ever travel with large amounts of currency, or use traveler’s cheques.
How much money can students expect to spend on a trip?
Program tuition includes airfare, accommodations, transportation between locations, entrance into all sites and museums, and breakfast and dinner daily. What it does not include is departure taxes, reading material and while abroad, money for lunches, spending money and transportation within cities — although our central location stays keep the need for this at a minimum. Students can expect to spend approximately the equivalent of $15 Canadian a day in European locations, Australia, and Hong Kong, and approximately $10 a day, or sometimes less in Central America, Africa, southeast Asia and mainland China.
Will some programs require travel visas?
Students traveling on a Canadian passport are required to secure visas if they are enrolled on the following programs: Big Year, The Fall Semester, Journey to Africa, International Business, Adventure Down Under, and the NEW Asia Summer Program. The MEI office will advise students during the enrolment process how best to secure their required visas. For students traveling on foreign national passports, it is the individual and their family’s responsibility to determine which countries require visas for travel. Students who require visas must ensure they are in possession of those visas well in advance of the departure date.
Do students require vaccinations for some trips?
Regarding vaccinations, we advise all students to consult with both their doctor and the Public Health Agency of Canada online, which lists recommendations by country. Decisions regarding whether to get vaccinations are entirely up the discretion of individual students and their families.
What sort of hotels do students stay in?
While overseas we always stay in centrally located hotels with a rating of 3 stars or higher. Being located in the heart of the action allows us to hit the ground running every morning and eliminates transportation times within cities. Typically students will have one roommate, who will change city to city. However, in the instance of apartment style accommodations, students may have two or three roommates, accordingly. The majority of hotels, villas and apartments we stay in, we have been going to for many many years, which speaks volumes of our students and teachers who have established positive, long-lasting relationships with our overseas partners.
Will students have access to laundry facilities?
Students typically find a laundromat or two as we travel, and opt to use either an afternoon of free time to do their laundry, or else utilize a wash and fold service. Commonly, students also bring a small amount of detergent with them in their luggage, and wash basic items in their hotel sinks as they go.
How do students travel between locations while overseas?
Roundtrip airfare and transportation between cities on each program is included in tuition costs. Between locations, students primarily travel on private hired coach buses that take each group from hotel door to door. In some instances, traveling between locations requires a ferry or plane, which is also coordinated prior to departure. During city stays, our centrally located hotels virtually eliminate the need for students to ever take taxis or public transportation to get around, but if individuals wish to do so anyway, that is up to their discretion but not included in tuition.
Can a student arrive earlier/depart later than scheduled?
Air travel on all programs is booked well in advance of departure to secure the most preferred and direct flight routes. Because of this, we ask that students who are considering deviations to inform the MEI office as early in the acceptance process as possible. Students who do opt to deviate flights will be connected directly to our travel partners to make alternative arrangements. While some students and their families choose to extend their exit dates to accommodate for family vacations and other travel, we require all students to depart together with teachers and staff from the program’s designated departure airport, as scheduled. It is important that all students are present for their first in-person lesson just prior to the departure flight. As well, we encourage the journey abroad to be an opportunity for students to really get to know each other before they hit the ground running overseas.
How do students apply for a program?
Applying to an MEI program is easy and automated through our website. Simply go to the Apply Now section of the website, complete the application form, and submit a deposit and registration fee. You do not need a transcript to apply, there will be time to gather reference materials. You will automatically receive an email outlining the next steps as soon as the payment is processed. If you choose to pay the deposit by cheque, you will be notified to proceed once the payment has been received by the MEI office.
The next step is to complete the student reference package: this requires students to fill out three forms and upload a scanned copy of their transcript and most recent report card. These forms help MEI staff get a better idea of the student applicant through information about academic strengths, travel experience, and IEP’s.
Acceptance is based on the achievement of an average of 75% in the subjects associated with the program of interest. In special cases where the academic criteria is not met, MEI staff will contact students and their parents, as well as teacher references, to discuss an exceptional acceptance. If a student is not accepted, the deposit is refunded in full.
What do students do once they’ve been accepted?
Once a student has been accepted to their chosen program, they will receive log-in information for the site designed specifically for their program. Here they’ll find reading lists, packing information, pre departure assignments and information, hotel and flight details, and other important information pertinent to the program.
An acceptance package must be completed before acceptance is finalized. This includes liability forms, health forms, a discipline agreement, and a scanned copy of the students passport.
Prior to departure, students will have the opportunity to meet their peers and teachers online as they complete small assignments, participate in discussion groups, and contribute to the program’s Facebook page. In early June MEI will hold a pre-departure meeting for parents and students. Here, students will meet their teachers and fellow classmates in person and review all of the details of their summer program.
COURSES + EXAMS:
The Upper Grand District School Board accredits all courses offered by MEI International Academy. As such, all our courses are subject to the Ontario Ministry of Education, just like any other school offering Ontario course credits. Students can expect curriculum to involve assignments, tests, essays, Independent Study Units and exams, as they would in any other Ontario school. Upon successful completion of a course, students’ marks will appear on their Ontario student record, and can be used towards graduation and university applications, if applicable. For students who reside outside of the province of Ontario, MEI connects directly with students’ guidance counsellors to complete the equivalency process, in order to ensure that successfully earned courses appear on student transcripts, likewise to be used towards graduation and post-secondary applications.
What should parents know about medical insurance and cancellation protection?
All students travelling with MEI Academy are required to purchase Medical Insurance. Carlson Wagonlit offers an insurance plan through Manulife which covers Medical Insurance & Cancellation Protection. This plan includes:
- Trip cancellation before you leave home. If you need to cancel your trip because of a covered illness or medical emergency, your trip investment is protected.
- Emergency medical coverage, including access to Global Excel, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if you need to be referred to a doctor, to get help in a foreign language, to be brought home for medical attention, or to access other assistance services in an emergency.
- Subsistence allowance for a covered emergency medical condition.
- Bedside companion’s travel if you are hospitalized for more than three days.
Plans are available to residents of Canada only. Non-residents may purchase Cancellation protection only. Canadian residents may purchase Medical Insurance only or Cancellation protection only.
Pre-existing medical conditions that have not been stable for 90 days prior to purchasing Medical Insurance are not covered. Other exclusions may apply.
Please contact Mirella Polliciardi at Carlson Wagonlit Victor Travel for pricing and details. +1 (416) 736-6010.
How do alumni request an MEI transcript?
To order transcripts, students need to contact the Upper Grand District School Board.
Step 1: Complete and sign the request form.
List all of the addresses/email addresses where you want your transcripts mailed.
Step 2: Email the Request Form to Patrisha Darmon at Trish.Darmon@ugdsb.on.ca
Step 3: Pay.
Summer students of the current year will NOT be charged for the first THREE transcripts ordered. There is a small fee for additional transcripts. ($10 for the fourth, and $5 for each additional transcript)
If you have requested more than three transcripts, call Patrisha Darmon at 519-836-7280 ex. 626 in order to pay.
Questions regarding transcripts should be directed to Patricia Darmon at Trish.Darmon@ugdsb.on.ca