Semester Term 4
Mid September–Late October
Travel and study abroad this spring while earning high school credits in Japan, China, and Hong Kong. Accelerate academic skills and prepare for university in this exhilarating program, immersing students in new cultures, philosophies, and perspectives.
|Two Course Program
- World Issues
- Regional Geography
- IDC: Phys Ed, Health, and Media
- Challenge and Change in Society
- English +
- Studies in Literature
- Writer’s Craft
9:1 Student to Staff Ratio
|World Issues: A Geographic Analysis|
This program provides students with a foundation in the socio-political structure of the region and a more holistic understanding of a rapidly changing Asia within the larger global context. By studying regional literature from a wide variety of sources, students refine their analytical, critical and communication skills, while gaining a broader perspective of the impact of globalization, conflict and developmental sustainability on the continent.
This course explores interrelationships between the land and people in a selected region as well as interconnections between this region and the rest of the world. Students will explore the region’s environmental, socio-economic, and cultural characteristics and will investigate issues related to natural resources, economic development and sustainability, population change, globalization, and quality of life. Students will apply the concepts of geographic thinking and the geographic inquiry process, including spatial technologies, to investigate a range of geographic issues in the region.
|Challenge and Change in Society|
This course focuses on the use of social science theories, perspectives, and methodologies to investigate and explain shifts in knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour and their impact on society. Students will critically analyse how and why cultural, social, and behavioural patterns change over time. They will explore the ideas of social theorists and use those ideas to analyse causes of and responses to challenges such as technological change, deviance, and global inequalities. Students will explore ways in which social science research methods can be used to study social change.
|IDC: Phys Ed, Health and Media|
This course combines the study of the healthy body in motion with the dissemination of ideas. In this interdisciplinary program that examines both body and mind, students participate in a wide range of physical activities, athletics, and theoretical frameworks. They are exposed to a broad range of activity settings, enhancing their movement competence, and personal fitness. The media component focuses on the refinement of communication and analysis skills, allowing student to practice using techniques confidently in a variety of media forms.
|11 + 12||ENG3U + ENG4U|
The core English course focuses on the refinement of literacy, communication and analytical skills. Students build on their understanding of academic language and practice using it confidently in discussion and argumentation both in oral and written forms.
|Studies in Literature|
This course is intended for students who are passionate about literature. Students analyze a range of literary forms including drama, the novel, and poetry, responding personally, critically, and creatively to each.
This course is designed for students who have attained a high level of proficiency in their writing skills and wish to focus on cultivating their creative writing talents by participating in prose, poetry, and drama-writing master classes.
Preparation and Coursework
Our one-week 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 to hit the ground running overseas.
Departure from Toronto
Our academic adventure in Asia commences in Toronto, where teachers and students get to know each other and settle into the rhythm of the program. There, we conduct activities and complete foundational course material before setting off for Beijing. All of our preparation allows us to hit the ground running and dive straight into the adventure that awaits.
In Beijing, students venture into the heart of the People’s Republic of China, tracing the steps of emperors through the Forbidden City, and discussing the teachings of Chairman Mao, as they cross Tiananmen Square. Beijing is the perfect location to begin the study of two core themes that frame our World Issues course: the contrast between the east and the west, and the relationship between communism and capitalism. Students begin their photography and filmmaking component as they survey the complex history and modern contradictions of modern China, making their way through the city’s bustling markets and hutongs, and hiking along the legendary Great Wall.
In Hong Kong, students witness how both British and Chinese traditions have combined to build a global financial epicentre. Amidst the labyrinth of skyscrapers, we immerse ourselves in a world of contrasts from the lively Tsim Sha Tsui district to the serene Tian Tan Buddha. Exploring the city’s fusion, students witness how east meets west and the realities of economic globalization. A visit to the Hong Kong History Museum further frames Hong Kong’s current position both politically and economically on the global stage, as students learn about China’s diplomatic relationships. A day trip to Big Wave Bay outside of the city allows students to hike the lush forest paths to reach a white sand beach—a welcome reprieve from the active days spent in Beijing and Hong Kong.
Hiroshima and Miyajima
From Hong Kong, we travel northeast to Hiroshima, Japan. There, students learn about the tragic events that brought World War II to an end at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Largely destroyed by the atomic bomb, Hiroshima has transformed itself into a city fuelled by art and culture. There, students reflect on themes of memory and legacy. They also have the opportunity to delve deeper into their investigation through the art of photography with a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art, and through their own creative writing exercises. Only an hour away from Hiroshima students also have the chance to visit Miyajima, famous for the Torii Gates, as well as the Itsukushima Shrine.
A bullet train transports us across the island of Japan to Osaka, a city of contrasts. There, students explore the marine-life aquarium juxtaposed against the historical Osaka Castle. Students examine Japan’s diplomatic relationships, as they trace its economic evolution from World War II to the present day. Evenings are spent walking along the Dōtonbori canal—reminding visitors of a curious mix of Venice, Italy, and New York’s Times Square, and trying local ramen and Japanese barbecue. Osaka’s colourful electronic billboards and historical architecture immerse students in a fascinating, modern city like no other.
From Osaka, students travel to the cultural heart of Japan—Kyoto. Known to many North Americans for the infamous failed Kyoto Protocol, it is a perfect location for delving into the complexities of international agreements, climate change, and the power of protest. The City of Ten Thousand Shrines, Kyoto teems with remarkable Buddhist temples, Zen gardens, palaces, and traditional wooden bridges and homes. Amidst its well-kept gardens, students delve into the study of Geisha, the traditional art form performed by Japanese women.
Takayama and Nagoya
From Kyoto, students travel to Takayama in order to slow down the pace and focus on academic writing. Time there is spent working on essays with close guidance from teachers, as well as commencing research for final Independent Study Unit interviews. Excursions to the Toyota museum in Nagoya, inspire dialogue in lecture, as students weigh topics such as the pros and cons of a car-centric society as it relates to international trade.
The bustling capital of Tokyo is the last stop on our journey through China and Japan. A collision of traditional and modern, students are immersed in the neon-lit streets surrounded by towering skyscrapers, juxtaposed against serene parks dotted with temples and cherry trees. Students visit sites like Shibuya crossing—the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world, and the lively and fashionable Roppongi and Harajuku neighbourhoods. Over meals of Japanese BBQ and bowls of shabu, students reflect on their time in Japan and bid a fond farewell from atop the Tokyo Tower.
Departure from Tokyo (Day 50)
|Program Fee Includes||Program Fee Does Not Include|
*All students travelling with MEI Academy are required to purchase Medical Insurance.
|Program Fee Includes|
|Program Fee Does Not Include|
*All students travelling with MEI Academy are required to purchase Medical Insurance.