By Christine Carr
As Lily Manning enters her Grade 12 year at HHSS, she is beginning the year with a new adventurous spirit and one extra English credit. Having just participated in a summer study abroad program with MEI International Academy, she spent 25 days this summer exploring the world and broadening her knowledge.
MEI International Academy is a program in which students from across the country travel to destinations around the world while obtaining credits for their High School diploma. Through the program, Lily obtained an English credit while visiting Athens, Tolo, and Olympia in Greece, as well as the Amalfi Coast and Rome in Italy.
“I learned various things to do with English; we studied stories and poetry and did assignments such as book analysis and retellings of myths. We also learned a lot about the history of Italy and Greece, and explored the culture there,” said Lily.
Learning about the program from a friend who participated the year prior, Lily recommends it to anyone interested in traveling and broadening their horizons.
“I would for sure recommend this program to others. It was a great experience which gave me a chance to make new friends and explore new countries, with the benefit of getting a high school credit, and the food was delicious,” said Lily about her experience.
Some of her favourite moments included the unforgettable experiences she could have only had in these amazing destinations, such as visiting timeless historical locations and experiencing first hand unique cultures.
“I really enjoyed visiting some of the tourist attractions such as the Trevi fountain in Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens, seeing these things in person was a super cool experience. I also loved getting to swim in Tolo. One day we did a swim out to an island with a private beach and it was super fun, we all enjoyed it. It was super interesting just to learn about the history of the places we visited,” said Lily.
Although the workload kept her on her toes, she experienced unique opportunities to connect the classroom with the greater world around her.
“The workload could be difficult at times but it was always manageable and there was still time to go out and explore.The work that we did was different because it was centered around the places we were visiting. Our course readings were books such as the Iliad and the Odyssey, both epics about Greek history, and Julius Caesar, which is about Roman history, so it was interesting to study these books while being in the countries they were set,” said Lily.
The program’s motto is, “The world is our classroom” and that was certainly true for Lily, who experienced firsthand the magic of learning and living in new cultures and history. She will be bringing these once-in-a-lifetime experiences back with her as she returns to HHSS in the fall, all the richer for the new experiences and friendships she made along the way.