Introducing MASSIE...

The MASSIE Program gives visiting students from partner universities the opportunity to live and study in an English environment for one semester or less.  Students live in residence, are matched with Mount Allison conversation partners, and are fully integrated into all aspects of campus life.  They follow a specialized English program which is uniquely-tailored to meet the needs and requirements of their home universities.  Field trips and activities serve to introduce students to the history, culture and geography of Atlantic Canada.  A volunteer component provides participants and community members with opportunities for hands-on learning and cross-cultural connections.  At the end of each MASSIE program, the students return to their home university where they resume their studies.

Program goal
The primary aim of the MASSIE program is to provide students with an opportunity to improve their proficiency in academic and conversational English through classroom work, field trips, volunteer service, and participation in campus and community life.

MASSIE offers two 15-week programs in the summer and fall months and a 6-week program in the winter months.  The summer program runs from May to early-August while the fall program runs from late-August to mid-December.  The winter program runs from early February to mid-March. 

Students are typically second or third-year students from Mount Allison’s partner universities in Japan.  Students apply through their home university and must meet certain minimum English proficiency requirements to be approved for study at Mount Allison.  Groups vary in size from 20-40 students per program. 

Students attend specialized, closed language classes which run parallel to regular Mount Allison classes.    MASSIE teachers have extensive experience with the Program and possess professional backgrounds in ESL/EAL education.  The following five courses form the core MASSIE curriculum: Oral Language Skills (OLS), Critical Thinking in English (CTIE), Writing, Listening and TOEFL.  Students have the option of signing up for additional special-offer courses taught by Mount Allison faculty which are specifically and exclusively designed for MASSIE.

Accommodation & meals
MASSIE students live on-campus in Mount Allison residences.  Summer program participants are assigned single rooms and live together in the same residence under the supervision of Mount Allison Residence Assistants (student staff).  Fall and winter program participants share double rooms and live alongside Mount Allison students in 4-5 different residences.  Through the Mount Allison Unlimited Meal Plan, students have full access to all meals served at Jennings Dining Hall.

Volunteer component
One of the unique aspects of the program is the opportunity it provides students to interact with members of the Sackville community.  To this end, two weeks are set aside at the end of each program for students to volunteer in schools, with community groups and in job-shadowing roles with local businesses.  Students benefit from the chance to practice their English in an authentic setting while experiencing Canadian life and culture in a first-hand way.  The community benefits through the opportunities for friendship and cross-cultural education that come from these interactions.  

Campus & community volunteers
Another important aspect of the program is the extent to which Mount Allison students and local residents have come to be involved as volunteers.  Each MASSIE student is partnered with a Mount Allison student who serves as an English conversation partner.  In previous years, MASSIE students were likewise paired with a Mount Allison roommate.  All told, more than 1,500 Mount Allison students have developed a new knowledge of a different culture and, more importantly, come away with new friends.  These friendships and experiences have often led Mount Allison students to visit or seek employment in Japan. 

On the community side of things, area families have long served as local hosts to summer MASSIE students.  Pairs of students are matched with area families who in turn agree to include them in family events over the course of the summer.  The cross-cultural benefit of this kind of meaningful interaction cannot be overstated.  Students feel welcomed as part of the family and gain rare insights into local life and customs; families are rewarded with new friendships and new cultural perspectives which extend far beyond the Tantramar region.

For more information on how you can get involved as a program volunteer, visit the Get Involved page on our website.