Summer


Pillars of the West

1 Course Program

Summer


Pillars of the West

1 Course Program

Locations

  • Rome
  • Sorrento
  • Olympia
  • The Peloponnese
  • Athens
See full itinerary here.

Program Fee

See everything that’s included here.

 

Staffing

9:1 Student to Staff Ratio

Availability

CLOSED

Course Offered—One Mandatory Course

 History

 Classical Civilization
 

See full course descriptions here.

WHY TAKE THIS PROGRAM?

Discover where the foundations of Western civilization were laid as we journey back in time to the glory of mighty Rome and the wondrous beauty of ancient Greece. The legacy left by these two great civilizations—their art, philosophy, mythology, history, and literature—is on display as we explore the Colosseum and Roman Forum, follow the voyages of Odysseus across the seas of the Mediterranean, and climb through the ruins of Mycenae, Olympia, and ancient Athens. Pack your sunscreen, bathing suits and your imagination and join us on an odyssey like no other.

WHY TAKE THIS PROGRAM?

Discover where the foundations of Western civilization were laid as we journey back in time to the glory of mighty Rome and the wondrous beauty of ancient Greece. The legacy left by these two great civilizations—their art, philosophy, mythology, history, and literature—is on display as we explore the Colosseum and Roman Forum, follow the voyages of Odysseus across the seas of the Mediterranean, and climb through the ruins of Mycenae, Olympia, and ancient Athens. Pack your sunscreen, bathing suits and your imagination and join us on an odyssey like no other.

What
Students
Are
Saying

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The decision to partake in an MEI trip was one of the best I have ever made. I pushed myself academically, made life-long friends, and learned how to live away from home — all the while having a great time! The instructors pushed us to exceed our self-perceived limits, while still being extremely welcoming and friendly. No classroom will ever beat learning about history where the events actually occurred. It was an experience that I will absolutely never forget.

Kat Eamon
Student, 2018

Program Itinerary

Read about each itinerary location by tapping the icon.

Preparation and Coursework

Early May
To ease into the program, students have access to the course website where reading lists are posted. Course preparation is spread out over three weeks: our first two-week preparation session begins in early May, focusing on novel studies; the second one-week session starts in late June, focusing on completing research and small assignments. These online sessions are designed to connect students with their teachers and classmates, to help complete short tasks, and to alleviate the workload during the summer. Students are required to complete all foundation work before leaving to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running while overseas.

Departure from Toronto

Day 1
Our departure hub is Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Five hours prior to departure, a short meeting is held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, Terminal 3, to distribute course packs, maps, and to clarify travel procedures. All students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to the Sheraton Gateway Hotel. Students making alternate arrangements must contact MEI before March 31.
Rome
Days 2–10
Students begin their journey into the origins of Western civilization in the Eternal City. With visits to the Colosseum and the ruins of the Forum, we journey through time from the city’s earliest beginnings to its tragic collapse. The ghosts of Romulus, Caesar, and Augustus echo through the streets as we investigate what is perhaps the world’s greatest open-air museum: Rome. Whether writing morning notes on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, performing Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in the Roman Forum, or sampling the world’s best gelato at the Trevi Fountain, in Rome, students witness the ghosts of the ancient past come alive.
Sorrento
Days 10–13
Before venturing to the top of the Amalfi coast, we stop in Pompeii and explore, one of Italy’s most significant archaeological sites. After contemplating the fate of a city that was tragically buried by volcanic ash centuries ago, we continue our ascent to the believed place where Homer’s mythological sirens enticed Odysseus and his crew with their songs. Here, with Sorrento’s stunning views and scent of lemon blossoms, students study the classic story of Homer’s Odyssey, while a day trip to nearby Capri reveals why this region continues to be a favourite destination rich in beauty and history.
Olympia and the Peloponnese
Days 13–22
Voyaging across the Ionian Sea, we arrive on the west coast of Greece and spend a night in Olympia, home to the monumental temple of almighty Zeus and birthplace of the original Olympic games. Here, students have the unique opportunity to lace up and run the original Olympic stadium’s track.

We continue our exploration of Greece with a trip through the Peloponnese, exploring the pre-historic mountaintop citadel of Mycenae—from which Agamemnon launched his fateful assault on Troy—before heading on to the seaside town of Tolo. Crystal-clear waters, the freshest calamari, and genuine small-town Greek hospitality make this a favourite stop on our journey across the Mediterranean world. Leaving the coast behind, we then visit Epidaurus: once the most important centre for healing in the ancient world. The acoustically perfect theatre, here, still hosts Greek plays during the summer months—an unmatched place to consider the works of Aristophanes, Sophocles, and Euripides.

Athens
Days 22–27

Our study of the ancient world continues with a visit to Athena’s favourite city. As the birthplace of Western democracy, philosophy, art, architecture, literature, and history, our academics focus on the rise of Athens after the defeat of the Persians and the Golden Age of Pericles. Margaret Atwood’s enthralling The Penelopiad gives students the chance to revisit the return of Odysseus from a very different perspective. Our days are spent in the Theater of Dionysus, among the ruins of the library of Hadrian, within the Agora, and high atop the Acropolis. Here, students complete their final exam and spend their last days together shopping in the Plaka before enjoying a final rooftop dinner together to celebrate a truly epic summer.

Departure from Athens Airport (Day 27)

Students Return Home

Rome

Days 2–10

Sorrento

Days 10–13

Olympia and the Peloponnese

Days 13–22

Athens

Days 22-27

What’s Included

Program Costs

  • Ministry-approved credit(s) upon successful completion of the course(s)
  • Custom course pack
  • Student Login
  • MEI journal
  • Digital yearbook

Travel Costs

  • 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
*Based on air fares, land tariffs and currency exchange rates as of February, 2018.
Please note the possibility of increases in airfares and land costs prior to departure. Any increase must be borne by the individual participant.

Program Fee Does Not Include

  • Lunches
  • Insurances
  • Gratuities
  • Course texts
  • Medical Insurance and Cancellation Protection*
*All students travelling with MEI Academy are required to purchase Medical Insurance.

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