Term 3


Central America
BioInquiry

3 Course Program

Dates

Mar. 15–May 3
 

Locations

  • Caye Caulker
  • San Ignacio
  • Placencia
  • Flores
  • Antigua
  • La Fortuna
  • Monteverde
  • Montezuma
  • Manuel Antonio
See full itinerary here.

Staffing

9:1 Student to Staff Ratio

Availability

OPEN

Courses Offered

Two Mandatory Courses

 Science

 Biology

 Phys Ed

 Active Living Leadership
 Active Living Leadership
 Human Dimensions

One Elective Course

 English—choice of 3 options
 English
 Modern Media
 

See full course descriptions here.

WHY TAKE THIS PROGRAM?

This program finds you travelling through Belize, Guatemala and Costa Rica to experience first-hand some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. Studying Biology is the ideal way to make beaches, rainforests, and reefs your classroom as you earn your senior English and Biology credits and get into the best shape of your life. Snorkelling Shark Alley, zip-lining through rainforests, trekking through jungles, hiking volcanoes, and swimming the coastlines of Central America make this program an outdoor adventure infused with scientific exploration and learning.

WHY TAKE THIS PROGRAM?

This program finds you travelling through Belize, Guatemala and Costa Rica to experience first-hand some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. Studying Biology is the ideal way to make beaches, rainforests, and reefs your classroom as you earn your senior English and Biology credits and get into the best shape of your life. Snorkelling Shark Alley, zip-lining through rainforests, trekking through jungles, hiking volcanoes, and swimming the coastlines of Central America make this program an outdoor adventure infused with scientific exploration and learning.

What
Students
Are
Saying

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This program absolutely blew me away. It’s truly life-changing to experience a place you’ve never been to with people you’ve never met. Being pushed outside of my comfort zone is what allowed me to realize that I’m capable of more than I thought, and I’m a lot more adventurous. Travelling opens your eyes to what the rest of the world has to offer, and I don’t think there’s a better way to do it than with people who are at the same stage in life as you are. We became a family on this trip, and that’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything!

Sarah Mann
Student, Backpackers: Central America 2017

Program Itinerary

Read about each itinerary location by tapping the icon.

Preparation and Coursework
Days 1–10
Our online session is designed to connect students with their teachers and classmates and to help prepare students for their term abroad. Students have access to the course website, where reading lists will be posted and are required to complete all prep work prior to departure to ensure they are ready for their term in Central America.

Departure from Toronto

Days 11–12
Our academic adventure in Central America commences in Toronto, where teachers and students get to know each other and settle into the rhythm of the program.
Caye Caulker
Days 12–17
A sandy pathway through the centre of town leads students to a harbour flanked with boats, waiting to take them out to one of the most extensive coral reefs in the world. Here students have the chance to immerse themselves in an unmatched aquatic habitat, home to tropical fish, stingrays, and turtles. Our morning workouts introduce students to the benefits of yoga, martial arts, and Frisbee, while the afternoons are ideal for the class to begin examining the art of the short story, as well as delve into our first long-form academic writing assignments.
San Ignacio and Placencia
Days 17–23
While officially an English speaking country, Belize is home to an incredibly diverse population, with a unique blend of Mayan, Mestizo, African, European, Arabic and Asian heritage. In this setting, students investigate a variety of writings, including both ancient Mayan texts, and contemporary regional literature. Over dinners of fried plantain and fresh ceviche, class discussion turns to the clash of scientific method with the romantic interpretation of the cosmos. Additionally, excursions take us to the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves, where students can swim through the ancient chambers and explore the spectacular Xunantunich Mayan ruins.
Flores, Ruins of Tikal
Days 23–27
As we enter the extraordinary Tikal Ruins, students reflect on the rise and fall of the Maya, as we compare and contrast their story with parallels in modern civilization. The descendants of the Maya migrated to our next location, the Petén area, after the collapse of the great Mayan cities in the Yucatán. This isolated area is a perfect location for students to begin to pair their study of English with that of Biology. Students will have time to reflect on the relationship between humanity and the natural world while enjoying all that the lake has to offer, including swimming, boating, fishing and hiking in a small nature preserve.
Antigua
Days 27–31
In Antigua, once Guatemala’s capital city for more than 200 years, our academic focus turns to analyzing the work of the literary giants of Latin America. Students do a close analysis of the sub-genre of magic realism and examine how environments contribute to the evolution of art forms. Known as one of the best-preserved Spanish colonial cities in Central America, students spend afternoons exploring the city’s cobblestone streets and hiking up to catch spectacular views of the volcanoes that overlook the city.
Flores and Monteverde
Days 31–43
From Guatemala, we travel to La Fortuna, Costa Rica. During the day, students have the opportunity to zip line across rainforest canopies, hike through the jungle to find waterfalls, and unwind in the natural hot springs. Located at the base of a volcano, La Fortuna, as the temperature cools in the evenings, students focus turns to critical analysis and essays, as well as their creative writing presentations. From La Fortuna, students  venture to the mountain village of Monteverde where we reside in an Ecolodge perched high in the Cloud Forest. Here the natural world serves as their foundation for their biology studies. Students might very well spot an Emerald Toucanet or a family of playful kuatis from their own back porch.
Montezuma
Days 43–50
From high up in the Cloud Forest, students travel down to the coast, settling in the laid-back town of Montezuma, one of the hidden gems of Costa Rica. This is an ideal location to balance work with play as students complete their major projects, and final biology units while also taking time to swim in the ocean. In the evenings, we complete our final BookChat discussions with our toes in the sand, and students showcase select pieces from their creative portfolio, illuminated by tiki torches on our quiet stretch of private beach.
Manuel Antonio
Days 50–60

The final stop on our journey through Central America is Manuel Antonio. Its National Park is often considered by travellers to be the most beautiful location in all of Central America, and it is easy to see why. Here, we reside high on the clifftop with a spectacular view of the lush forest canopy and the ocean stretching out beyond. From whitewater rafting the rapids on the Naranjo River to strolling along the palm-lined beaches, and decompressing in a relaxed atmosphere, students have time to reflect on their experience and complete their final assignments and Individual Study Units. After our finals, students enjoy a beach celebration before preparing for their journey home.

Departure from Manuel Antonio (Day 60)

Students Return Home

Caye Caulker

Days 12–16

San Ignacio

Days 16–20

Placencia

Days 20–26

Flores

Days 26–30

Tikal

Days 30–35

Antigua

Days 35–38

La Fortuna

Days 39–43

Monteverde

Days 43–48

Montezuma

Days 48–54

Manuel Antonio

Days 54–60

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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