Early July — Mid August, 2023
July 6th — July 31st, 2023
*Program dates include online sessions to prepare students prior to travel and synchronous interviews to complete final assessments after travel. Dates are subject to change.
- Swiss Alps
9:1 Student to Staff Ratio
Why Take this Program?
Explore the making of the Western world and discover how the beliefs and ideas are more important than the dates and names. This epic summer journey traces the past 500 years of modern history as we travel through Rome, Florence, Paris, Switzerland, and Munich. From philosophers to revolutionaries, from soldiers to spies—we follow in the footsteps of the people who shaped our world.
What People Are Saying
My time abroad with MEI academy allowed me to make lasting friendships with other like-minded students as well as helped me visualize my learning more than a classroom setting could ever do.
Student, Footsteps to the Modern World, 2019
Explore this program's detailed itinerary for a sense of the journey ahead!
Online Foundation Work
Reading lists will be posted on your program site in early May. Online pre-departure sessions with your teachers and classmates begin one week prior to departure. These virtual sessions are designed to introduce you to your classmates, teachers, and course work. Our goal is to prepare you to hit the ground running and reduce your workload onsite.
Day 1: On the day of departure, we meet at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. Here, we unite as a group to distribute coursepacks, T-shirts and MEI Journals. After a meet and greet, we board a flight to our first location.
Days 2 — 7: We begin our journey of Western civilization in the ‘Eternal City’. With visits to the Colosseum and the ruins of the Forum, we wander through time and discuss the foundations of the West in the streets of the most excellent open-air museum—Rome. We will witness the physical and literal layers of Rome's history—intermixed with high fashion, luxury cars, and an unparalleled passion for soccer! Whether writing morning notes on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica, debating ideas in the Forum, or sampling the world's best gelato at the Trevi Fountain, in Rome, we witness the ghosts of history come alive at every turn.
Days 7 — 11: Our second stop is the cradle of the Renaissance. Here you'll walk the streets, barter in the marketplaces, and eat from the same food stalls as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Surrounded by some of the world's most innovative architecture, Florence is the perfect place to ignite your interest in the birth of humanism. You'll grapple with the events and ideas of the Reformation, the ravages of the Black Plague, and the glorification of human ingenuity and creativity. As you wander through the world-famous Uffizi, Il Duomo, and the Accademia, we have a chance to revel in the potential of the human spirit. Here our focus will not only examine great works of art and architecture, but trace the rise of the modern banking system. Here, the legacy of political competition that led to murderous plots and intrigues of the Alberti, Pazzi and Medici families still echo in the streets of Florence. It is no wonder this city has been the favourite of artists, writers, and historians for centuries — it is the perfect place to investigate the Renaissance.
Days 11 — 17: In Paris, lessons focus on the Age of Enlightenment and the Age of Revolution as we debate the nature of humanity and the structure of civilization. In the crypt of the Pantheon, we revisit the arguments put forth by Rousseau and Voltaire that laid the foundation for the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon. From bike rides in the Gardens of Versailles to visits to the Musée du Louvre, the D'Orsay and the Pompidou, Paris is a once-in-a-lifetime immersion into French history and culture.
Days 17 — 21: Making our way to the top of Europe, we emerge from the Stechelberg gondola to find our new home in the picture-postcard Swiss village of Gimmelwald. Here, we hike mountains and roast marshmallows by the fireside—with the clamour of giant cowbells, bleating mountain goats, and the sound of rushing waterfalls all around. This is the ideal location to discuss the inter-war years and receive one-on-one mentorship while enjoying morning coffee overlooking the Alps.
Days 21 — 26: In Munich, we delve into one of the darkest episodes in human history by reading Eli Wiesel's Night and Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Through discussions on writings from Marx and Engels to Friedrich Neitzche to Adam Smith, we examine key intellectuals who laid the foundation for our modern-world political battles. You’ll trace the impact of the National Socialist movement on both the European continent and the rest of the world. From Hitler's speeches at Odeonsplatz to the horrific legacy of the Dachau Concentration Camp, lectures and masterclasses place us directly where history happened—making for an educational experience that leaves a profound impact on us all. Our adventurous journey through Europe ends with one last dinner at the legendary Hofbräuhaus, where we reminisce on all that we have experienced.
Departure from Munich Airport on Day 26
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.
- 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.