Early February - Late April, 2023
Mid February - Early April, 2023
*Program dates include online sessions to prepare students prior to travel and synchronous interviews to complete final assessments after travel.
- Siem Reap
- Phnom Penh
- Mui Ne
- Ho Chi Minh City
- Mt. Fuji Region
- Modern Media and Photography | ASM4M
Contact us for course equivalencies in your school board.
9:1 Student to Staff Ratio
Why Take this Program?
This program is for anyone interested in learning how the world works and exploring the global issues impacting our lives. In the spring semester, students will learn the inner workings of communist and capitalist economies and gain insight through case studies and assignments in cities such as Siem Reap, Tokyo, and Seoul. Thought provoking and filled with the energy of debates, business and political development, and environmental discussions, this program will show students the real world of assessing risk-and-reward and serious social trade-offs. As the program progresses, we explore how the world is handling issues like global warming, immigration, terrorism, globalization, and the uses of artificial intelligence while immersed in eastern cultures. Our goal is to look behind the myths and fake-news that have polarized world politics to arrive at a deeper understanding of paradoxes between government policies and actual practices.
What People Are Saying
I experienced so much. I travelled, met new people and learned about the world. It was absolutely surreal to have a lesson at the Forbidden City in Beijing and to ride in a Tuk Tuk to get to class. School is so much more than the four walls of a classroom; you have to go beyond, see the world and experience your learning firsthand. That is what education is. I am so grateful for these moments. I know I have grown so much from this experience and I will carry this knowledge of the world with me for the rest of my life.
Student, Term 1, 2018
Explore this program's detailed itinerary for a sense of the journey ahead!
Online Foundation Work
We start this program with two weeks of Online Live sessions. You will meet virtually with your teachers and classmates daily to read and discuss assigned readings and begin novel study projects. The Foundation Work period gives you a chance to review major assignments and get to know your crew so that you can hit the ground running when you land in your first location.
Day 1: Students will meet at our departure hub: Toronto's Pearson International Airport. Students will make their way to our first accommodation in the heart of Bangkok. Here, we will unite as a group to distribute coursepacks, T-shirts and MEI Journals. After settling into your room, we'll take a short stroll to our first family dinner in Bangkok.
Days 2-7: We begin our semester in Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capital. From food carts, neon-lit streets, and fast-moving tuk-tuks, to Buddhist monks, jasmine sellers, and slow-moving river traffic, we reflect on our experience so far while we enjoy a feast of Thai cuisine. As you jostle through the crowds of Khaosan Road to find the perfect souvenirs, we savour our final farewells to Thailand and look towards the adventures that still await.
Days 7-12: We continue our adventure in Cambodia in the lively city of Siem Reap. There, we spend time exploring Angkor Wat, a magnificent temple complex featuring stone carvings that depict scenes from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. For an afternoon break, you can expect to enjoy a short tuk-tuk ride to the many coffee shops on the always popular Pub Street. Evenings are spent in markets and restaurants along the neon-lit backpackers’ alley filled with travellers and locals alike.
Days 12-17: From Siem Reap, we travel south to Phnom Penh, where we witness the contrast between the beauty and tranquility of the region with the Khmer Rouge’s tragic legacy. There, you focus on visual storytelling through photography and work together on group activities and presentations. The French influence is evident in Phnom Penh, with some fabulous bakeries within a five-minute walk from the hotel, ready to house a lively book chat discussion.
Days 17-23: From the city, we travel to Mui Ne for a welcome respite and a chance to focus on academic writing and learn about various authors in our AP English Literature and Composition course. The warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand allow us to re-energize as we continue our examination of war and its aftermath. We take time to reflect on our weeks away while enjoying the luxuries of a beach side resort and taking study breaks in the pool. The relaxed pace also will enable us to research and develop major assignments while taking time to hike the spectacular sand dunes and surf just off the coast.
Ho Chi Minh City
Days 23-28: Next, we travel to the bustling Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, where we investigate Vietnam’s modern history. Our lessons take place at the War Remnants Museum and the Cu Chi tunnels as we explore the background behind the Viet Cong guerrillas. Here, we consider the effects of war on a generation, the clash of ideologies, and the politics of war. Connecting foundational readings from Yuval Noah Harari, Noam Chomsky, and other contemporary writers provide mental nourishment for your ideas to grow. The large population of young adults flocking to the major universities allows for interview opportunities where we gain first-hand knowledge of the peoples’ push for urbanization.
Days 28-34: The journey through Japan begins surrounded by the modern elements of Japanese culture: neon-lit streets, towering skyscrapers, and anime. Sitting down to meals of Japanese BBQ and bowls of shabu shabu, you learn the importance of manners and protocol and discover the basic etiquette required for social engagements. From meditations surrounded by 1000 Buddhist statues to finding the ethos of the Japanese warrior in the Samurai Museum, you get your first taste of a unique culture. Academically, you work through understanding how Japan came to be an Asian powerhouse over a meal of traditional Japanese sushi.
Mt. Fuji Region
Days 34-36: From beneath the peak of Mount Fuji, you divide your time between outdoor activities and small group masterclasses. Our focus is on international development and analyzing the governmental strategies used by Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. Each night we take a deep breath and savour the beauty of the countryside while capturing spectacular photos and reflecting on classic Japanese poetry. NOTE: Karaoke opportunities may be in session, so be prepared to belt out a tune.
Days 36-39: Known for one of the world’s first climate change treaties, this former capital of Japan can now lay claim to being its cultural heart. We hold our classes in breathtaking areas, such as the Shugakuin Imperial Palace and Maruyama Park. Dotted with Shinto shrines, Zen gardens and Buddhist temples, Kyoto allows us to dive into a deeper understanding of the traditional elements of Japanese culture while affording you time to research the economic complexities of climate change.
Days 39-43: From Kyoto, we ride the Japanese high speed ‘bullet train’ to Hiroshima and experience this convenient and civilized way of travel. Here, we trace how Japan rose from the devastating aftermath of World War II to become the world’s second-largest economy in under 50 years. At the beautiful Hiroshima Peace Memorial, we reflect on the resilience of the Japanese people and engage in conversations about war and the ever-evolving process of international relations. An hour train ride from Hiroshima, you learn about the unique heritage of the Japanese in Miyajima at the Itsukushima Shrine, which transports us back in time to the famous Torii Gates.
Days 43-50: Our journey concludes as we take the fast train to the capital city of South Korea–Seoul. Here, you learn how this country grew from an agrarian economy to a cutting-edge tech hub. Riding on the world-class metro across the headquarters of legendary Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, you feel the inescapable energy that is pushing the Korean wave of pop culture. Boy bands such as BTS and Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or are rising stars on the world stage, and provide us with insight into the growing Asian entertainment market. Exploring the shopping megamalls of Lotte World Tower to the small Hongdae Art Market fill our afternoons. If you have never experienced the tastes of kimchi or bibimbap, prepare yourself to become a culinary adventurer. For a different perspective, we climb Bukhan Mountain and look down at the Han River to contemplate how Korea rapidly developed from a devastated colony to a consumer paradise.
Departure from Seoul Airport on Day 50
Online Final Evaluation Week
Upon your return, you have time to complete additional research and pull your work together before your final one-on-one online assessment. This week allows you to reflect on your travel experiences and integrate them into the course material. MEI staff have found this style of evaluation enjoyable and the most authentic way for students to demonstrate their knowledge and academic skills.
ho chi minh
- Ministry-approved credit(s) upon successful completion of the course(s)
- Custom course pack
- Student Login
- MEI journal
- MEI T-Shirt
- Digital yearbook
- Hotels and accommodations
- Breakfast and dinner daily
- Entrance fees to all course-specific sites
- Return airfare from Toronto's Pearson International Airport
- Approximate airline departure taxes, surcharges and fees
- Airfare between countries
- Transportation between hotel locations via private coach
- Transportation for all listed program excursions
Program Fee Does Not Include
- Local Transportation
- Course texts
- Medical Insurance and Cancellation Protection†
- Non-refundable $95 Registration Fee
† All students travelling with MEI Academy are required to purchase Medical Insurance.
**Program cost does not include non-refundable $95 registration fee or any airline taxes or fees. Please note the possibility of increases in airfares and land costs prior to departure. Any increase must be borne by the individual participant.