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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP + LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD SINCE 1993

SUMMER · GAP YEAR · COLLEGE-ACCREDITED  |  2016–17


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COVER & INSIDE SPREAD  Ryan Gasper - Andes & Amazon Semester, Fall 2013


M A P M A K E R S O N C E D R E W D R AG O N S TO R E P R E S E N T L A N DS U N K N OW N . B O L D E X P LO R E R S W H O V E N T U R E D B E YO N D T H E M A P ’ S E D G E W E R E S A I D TO G O “WHERE THERE BE DRAGONS.” WE STILL GO THERE...

Will you?

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PHOTO  Parker Pflaum

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WHO WE ARE W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S I S A C O M M U N I T Y O F B O L D E D U C AT O R S A N D I N T R E P I D A D V E N T U R E R S . We guide participants to the map’s edge and invite them to build relationships that foster empathy and understanding across cultures.

W E A R E D E D I C AT E D T O C R O S S - C U LT U R A L E D U C AT I O N B E C A U S E W E B E L I E V E T H AT F U T U R E L E A D E R S W I L L B E R E Q U I R E D T O T H I N K B E Y O N D B O R D E R S W H E N C O N S I D E R I N G T H E I M P L I C AT I O N S O F R E S O U R C E S C A R C I T Y O N A G L O B A L C O M M U N I T Y. Our courses are designed to help young adults develop the self-awareness and cross-cultural competencies to be active participants in this conversation.

W H AT T Y P E O F D R A G O N A R E YO U ?

Summer

Gap

Co l l e g e -Acc re d i te d

4/6-week programs for students ages 15-20

3-month semesters for students ages 17-22

3-month study abroad semesters for university students

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LATIN AMERICA

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AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

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ANDES & AMAZON

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ANDES & AMAZON

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CENTRAL AMERICA

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CHINA SEMESTER

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CHINA SEMESTER

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HIMALAYA SEMESTER

HIMALAYA SEMESTER

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INDIA SEMESTER

INDONESIA SEMESTER

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MEKONG SEMESTER

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MIDDLE EAST SEMESTER

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SOUTHEAST ASIA

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INDIA SEMESTER

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WEST AFRICA SEMESTER

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WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

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“There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.

PHOTO  Annie Jiao

S A N T AYA N A

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O U R STO RY O U R STO RY B E G I N S O N A ST R E E T M E D I A N I N B E I J I N G I N T H E W I N T E R O F 1 9 8 8 . . .

Tenement coal fires shrouded much of the city in a gauzy haze. Founder Chris Yager

For five years, Chris worked tirelessly to make this vision a reality. He engaged in further

remembers standing alone that day, mesmerized by tens of thousands of bicyclists pedaling by.

study of cross-cultural engagement, worked in a number of schools, became EMT-certified

They didn’t smile and they didn’t make a sound: it was just a mass of humanity commuting to

and guided mountaineering courses for Outward Bound. Slowly, he learned how to be an

work in the pervasive smog of a recently-closed communist society.

experiential educator while building a close network of friends who were equipped to guide in China.

Chris recalls feeling distant and wildly out of place while he watched the silent parade of bicyclists pedal by. Amidst the endless stream of expressionless faces, Chris couldn’t imagine

Where There Be Dragons ran it’s first trip to China in the summer of 1993. At the end of the

where the joy would be found in these people’s lives. Where would these people find meaning?

summer, Chris knew that this model would work. If he hired expert instructors to take small

Was there a different kind of beauty realized by the quiet masses but unseen by someone

groups of students to stunning communities along the map’s edge, he could create a unique

raised under a different flag?

learning environment where students would be able to connect across cultures and gain a greater understanding of shared human experiences.

Small, lost and seeking connection, Chris felt powerless and disconnected. To whom could Today, Where There Be Dragons is the leader in cross-cultural education. We offer summer

he turn for solace, for explanation, for conversation?

and semester programs for high school and college students in 22 countries in the developing In that moment, the idea of Dragons was born: Students engaging in the complex conversations of resource equity, personal freedoms, creative expression and social justice

world. We follow the same model as we did in 1993, empowering expert instructors to take curious students to places of exceptional beauty and intrigue along the map’s edge.

needed a new paradigm for learning and engagement. Small group travel, excellent mentorship, honest inspection of critical issues and hands-on learning were key. In the company of mature

At Dragons, we go there... will you?

and knowledgeable instructors and with a small student-to-instructor ratio, participants could bridge gaps and join in a dialogue that would bring people together. Realities could be authentically shared. Divides between median and streaming bikes could be crossed. Differences between self and the other could be boldly explored.

WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

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W H AT M A K E S I T A D R A G O N S C O U R S E ? I N T H E I N D U S T R Y O F ‘ S T U D E N T T R AV E L ’ , W E A R E O N E A M O N G M A N Y. I N T H E F I E L D O F G L O B A L C I T I Z E N S H I P E D U C AT I O N , W E S TA N D A L O N E . W E U N D E R S TA N D T H AT M E N T O R S H I P M AT T E R S . A Dragons group consists of 12 students and 3 instructors. A 4:1 student-to-instructor ratio ensures that each student receives individual support and appropriate challenges. Most Dragons students and instructors keep in touch long after course end.

W E K N O W T H AT C H A N G E D O E S N ’ T H A P P E N O V E R N I G H T. When we arrive in a new place, we don’t bus between cultural landmarks. We understand that the process of knowing a place and knowing ourselves takes time and we ask our students to commit to that process. Whether you join a 4 or 6-week summer course or a 3-month semester, Dragons students should expect to slow down long enough to be uncomfortable and dig deep enough to become wiser about the world and about themselves.

W E T U R N I T I N E R A R I E S I N S I D E O U T.

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PHOTOS  n/a, Rebecca Thom, Michael Woodard

Dragons courses go out to extraordinary places. Students venture in to discover themselves. And instructors approach course design from the inside out.


“The manner in which you run your programs—student driven, flexible itineraries, tremendous freedom for the student, small groups, unbelievable student-to-instructor ratio made this a valuable learning opportunity for Scott, but also facilitated his personal growth in a manner I’m not sure any other program could have accomplished. PA R E N T O F S C OT T N E W M A N

A DRAGONS COURSE IS… BOLD

AG I L E

INSTRUCTOR-DRIVEN

No two Dragons courses are the same. The world is constantly

We hire experts. With an average of 4+ years of in-country

We empower our instructors. Individual instructor teams

changing and we believe our courses should too.

experience, Dragons Instructors are prepared to communicate

collaborate to design a customized course itinerary based

in local dialects and offer expert mentorship throughout the

on their personal in-country experience and the interests of

student experience. Cultural fluency allows instructor teams to

their incoming student group. Our community has an 85%

manage responsive itineraries and capitalize on unexpected

staff retention rate because instructors fall in love with the

learning opportunities.

work. There’s a special magic when guides are emboldened to create singularly unique experiences—when their creativity is unleashed in a supportive, respectful and collaborative

PHOTOS  Ryan Gasper, Chris Yager, n/a

environment.

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OUR PROGRAM COMPONENTS THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF EVERY DRAGONS COURSE

H O M E - S TAY S

L A N G U A G E S T U DY

TREKKING

Dragons students are travelers

In a Tajik yurt, in a Bedouin tent,

Mandarin, Arabic or Spanish…

Some Dragons students hike

not tourists. We believe in

in an apartment in Kunming…

All Dragons courses include

over 16,000ft passes in the

low-impact travel, and that

Every Dragons student is

language instruction. We do not

Andes; others leap through

means minimizing both our

matched 1:1 with a local family.

expect students to arrive with

waterfalls in the jungles of Laos.

environmental impact and our

Students live in the same

any level of understanding. We

Wherever you chose to trek, you

cultural impact at every possible

neighborhood, allowing them to

do expect students to interact

can be assured that Dragons

juncture. On course, we respect

build meaningful connections

with locals, and build an arsenal

Instructors will guide you into

cultural norms by staying in

both within the host community

of vocabulary words that enables

the wilderness, exposing you to

family-owned accommodations

and within the group. Students

them to deftly navigate a new

the pristine beauty of nature,

and riding local transportation.

often tell us that their home-stay

cultural context. On our language

undisturbed by the advances

The most profound learning

was the most transformative part

intensive courses, students

of modern development. Treks

moments often arise in the

of their Dragons experience. All

can expect 3-4 hours of daily

provide a unique opportunity for

spaces in between, and traveling

families are selected based on the

instruction with a 2:1 student-

students to assume leadership

with locals creates space for

safety of their home environments

to-instructor ratio. Few skills do

roles and build personal survival

un-orchestrated moments of

and genuine enthusiasm for cross-

more to empower students to be

skills, like learning to pitch a tent

engagement and epiphany.

cultural engagement.

independent global citizens.

or navigate above tree-line. RIGHT PAGE  Rebecca Thom, Simon Gulergun

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R U G G E D T R AV E L

LEFT PAGE  n/a, n/a, Eric Jenkins-Sahlin

We adventure, we explore, we learn... A Dragons course is designed to be a full immersion experience. We employ nine program components to ensure that every course hits the mark.


LEARNING SERVICE

D E V E LO P M E N T STUDIES

I N D E P E N D E N T S T U DY PROJECT (ISP)

C O M PA R AT I V E RELIGION & P H I LOS O P H Y

FOCUS OF INQUIRY (FOI)

We take pride in learning first

What variables contribute to a

Every Dragons student is paired

In many parts of the world,

Every Dragons course has an

and helping second. Students

good quality of life? How does

with a local mentor and asked

humans rely on a set of spiritual

academic focus of inquiry. This

rarely arrive in-country with the

privilege shape our sense of

to study a particular intellectu-

beliefs to interpret their daily

allows students to delve into

tools to genuinely ‘help’ another

global responsibility? These

al question or artisanal craft in

reality. Dragons Instructors

a specific line of questioning,

community, and we work hard

questions are central to the con-

greater depth. Anything is pos-

help students explore the belief

exploring the impacts of climate

to dispel such expectations.

versation about human develop-

sible, and as a student, the ISP is

systems of their host culture by

change, the core tenets of

Students use a four-step process

ment in the 21 century. Instruc-

a great way to tailor the course

living with home-stay families,

Buddhism or the idea of cultural

to listen, assess, act and then

tors introduce students to local

to meet your specific interests.

visiting religious monuments,

survival. We explore the focus

evaluate; a framework that can

activists who’ve taken a vocal

We’ve had students study every-

observing local rituals and

of inquiry by hosting guest

be applied to future learning

stance on the topic of ‘human

thing from kathak dance to the

reading relevant texts. Such an

speakers, reading local news and

service ventures. We don’t

development’, while using local

impacts of exploratory drilling

examination generally sparks

engaging in group discussions.

measure our success by the

examples to prompt discussion.

in the Amazon. If you take the

an internal conversation, and

Please reference Dragons’

number of ‘service hours’ logged,

Students are encouraged to

opportunity seriously, this is

instructors are available to guide

individual program descriptions

but rather by the number of

challenge their assumptions and

a great way to develop place-

students through important

to learn more about the FOI on

critical conversations that such

expand their understanding of

based expertise and hone your

conversations, asking, who am I,

your course.

an engagement provokes.

what it means to be “developed.”

ethnographic research skills.

and why do I matter?

st

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O U R C O R E VA L U E S THE HEART OF EVERY DRAGONS COURSE We’ve found that profound travel experiences often provide a strong mirror for the lives we live at home. Dragons instructors are prepared to guide reflective conversations, helping students to better understand themselves and to realize their full potential. Dragons’ Core Values are at the center of this self-discovery process.

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Global Citizenship

Leadership & Skill-building

Self-Exploration

Humility

Responsibility

Awareness

Inter-connectedness

Ownership

Curiosity

Compassion

Courage

Authenticity

Gratitude

Self-reliance PHOTOS  Christina Riuvera Cogswell, Jamie Woodall, Parker Pflaum

On course, students should expect to build critical skills in:


WHY IS DRAGONS’ MISSION I M P O R TA N T R I G H T N O W ? We’re glad you’re holding this catalog. There’s been a growing dialogue among students and educators about the value of an education in the 21st century. We’ve been listening, and we believe that many students are hoping to gain a concrete set of “global competencies” and leadership skills before they “grow up” and join the workforce. In our experience, it’s hard to gain these skills in a classroom. We are here to provide you with an alternative approach. Dragons courses are imperfect. We can’t predict exactly what skills you’ll need to succeed in your future life, but we’re willing to hedge our bets that a foreign language, a well-worn passport and a healthy dose of empathy will serve you well. Going Where There Be Dragons takes courage. We go there… will you?

“Thus travel spins us round in two ways at once: It shows us the sights and values and issues that we might ordinarily ignore; but it also, and more deeply, shows us all the parts of ourselves that might otherwise grow rusty.” PICO IYER

PHOTOS  Emma Hoffman, n/a, n/a

Why We Travel

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Bustling street corners. Steaming bao... ...A cacophony of engines, horns and vendors blend into the ambient hum that gives every conversation a sense of urgency and movement.

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ASIA IS CHANGING EVERYDAY.

Whether you’re in China, where suited entrepreneurs cut deals beneath billboards papered in Communist slogans, or in Cambodia, where monks might friend you on Facebook, the collision between traditions and modernity is evident at every turn. We invite you to join us in this exploration of culture and contrasts. In cities where cows share the bike lane and monkeys slide down the banisters. In mountains where holy men bless the dead and stand guard as vultures return their remnants to the sky. On rivers where pink dolphins swim free, and fishermen rise at dawn to drag their seining nets to shore. Asia is big and beautiful and full of mystery. We go there... will you?

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CHINA MANDARIN LANGUAGE INTENSIVE 4-Week & 6-Week Summer Abroad Programs

30/42 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Improve your Mandarin language skills through daily 2:1 instruction; live with carefully selected home-stays; engage in learning service projects.

June 28 – July 28 June 28 – August 8

15 – 18 15 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOME-STAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

ISPs

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W LANGUAGE IN CHINA HAS ALWAYS BEEN A DYNAMIC AND POWERFUL FORCE,

“Well planned. Well balanced between urban/rural. Excellent instructors.

and as we enter a contemporary reality of emerging powers and dominant cultural

You successfully introduced my daughter to a completely foreign environment,

influences, the voice of this great country speaks louder than ever before. Dragons’

and she came home exuberant and inspired.” PA R E N T O F A D R I A N WA L S H

Mandarin Language Intensive is designed to help students find their own voice, offering comprehen-

MONGOLIA

home-stays and independent study projects (ISPs).

We leave the busy streets of Kunming for a rural home-stay with farming families in

Our language intensive course is based in Kunming,

Lashihai, a traditional Naxi community situated at the base of the 5596m Jade Dragon

a booming university city in the heart of China’s Yunnan

AS I A:   S UM M E R

Province. In a region renowned for its natural beauty and

INDIA

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BEIJING

XI ’A N

CHINA

confidence and prepare for expeditions into more rural areas of southern China. While in Kunming, students meet for four hours

LASHIHAI HONG KONG KUNMING

ethnic diversity—including the Naxi, Tibetan, Yi, Mosuo and Bai peoples—Kunming offers us a home-base to build linguistic

TIGER LEAPING GORGE

to practice new vocabulary with their host brothers and sisters at night.

of formal Mandarin instruction per day, with the option for 1:1

Snow Mountain. In this picturesque environment, we learn more about China’s many ethnic minority groups and enjoy daily activities with locals, including “U.S. vs. China” pick-up soccer and basketball with village teenagers. Students have the opportunity to continue their independent study projects in Lashihai, perhaps foraging for medicinal plants, practicing martial arts, teaching English to local children, or volunteering with migrant communities in the area. At course-end, students should have a dramatically expanded vocabulary and a

tutoring sessions in the afternoon for hungry learners. Home-stay

lasting sense of confidence in their ability to speak Mandarin and navigate a foreign

placements reinforce language acquisition, encouraging students

culture using the language skills they possess.

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RIGHT PAGE  n/a, n/a

sive instruction through formal language classes,

LEFT PAGE  Eric Jenkins-Sahlin

RUSSIA


CHINA THE SILK ROAD 6-Week Summer Abroad Program

42 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Explore the diversity of China’s cultural traditions: live with nomads in the Himalayas, cross the Taklamakan desert, discuss issues of religious plurality with monks in the Tibetan Plateau.

June 28 – August 8

15 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

TREKKING

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W about the culture. I truly felt immersed.”

POPULATION. Worlds away from Beijing, the far-western province of Xinjiang is a land where vast desert basins meet 20,000-foot peaks; where Central Asian cultures blend

RUSSIA

“I never expected to have this much fun, and learn so much

MORE THAN HALF OF CHINA’S LAND IS POPULATED BY LESS THAN 5% OF ITS

CLAIRE NUSEKABEL

together; and where many of China’s 55 minority groups call home. The adventuresome

MONGOLIA

Silk Road itinerary engages students with diverse communities in western China –

Kyrgyz and Tajik communities, where we share warm tea

including Uyghur, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tajik, Mongol, Tibetan, Hui, and Han communities—

and prepare for the next day’s journey.

while challenging them to consider complex issues related to human rights, political representation and globalization. Our course begins in the oasis of Kashgar, where the ancient perfumes of Silk Road merchants waft

CHINA

XI ’A N

ruins of Turpan and find rare depictions of Buddha in the painted caves of Dunhuang. Overnight trains complete a final learning service project in the Tibetan

packs, we ascend high into the Pamir Mountains,

Autonomous Regions of China’s Qinghai Province.

enjoying the phenomenal beauty of this seldom-

Circling back to Beijing, we take in the markers of contemporary Han Chinese society with new eyes and a sense of wonder for the vastness and cultural difference that is today’s China.

WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

INDIA

ASI A:   S U MM E R

reverberates from towering minarets. Donning our

capped massifs, we take shelter in the yurts of nomadic

BEIJING XINING

Over the next month, we traverse the Tarim Basin and

take us to the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, where we

visited range in the Himalayas. Surrounded by

TURPAN

KASHGAR

cross the Taklamakan desert. We explore the ancient

through labyrinthine bazaars and the call to prayer

exposed high alpine bluffs and tucked beneath snow-

URUMQI

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CHINA T H E YA N G T Z E R I V E R 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Examine life in Asia’s largest river basin: live with families in the Tibetan Plateau, meet with environmental activists at the Three Gorges Dam, and explore the industrial port of Shanghai.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W FROM ITS HEADWATERS IN THE HIGHLANDS OF TIBET TO THE DELTA IN SHANGHAI,

the golden Yangtze. Sitting on the banks, we watch

THIS PROGRAM FOLLOWS THE YANGTZE RIVER AS IT RUSHES NEARLY 4,000

as farmers haul cargo on bamboo shoulder poles,

MILES ACROSS SOUTHERN CHINA. This sinuous river has long shaped the region’s

fisherman cast for carp and monks ascend to a Taoist monastery overlooking the city. We travel by

industrial development, and students on this

boat 360 miles downstream to the world’s largest

course will gain firsthand insight into the lives of

hydroelectric project, The Three Gorges Dam. Local

the estimated 550 million people who live along

experts provide insight into the myriad issues related

the banks of this vital waterway.

to power generation, environmental impact, and

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Amdo, where Tibetan Buddhist monasteries are

INDIA

BEIJING

CHINA NANJING CHONGQING

SHANGHAI

China’s age-old struggle to control water resources. Continuing east, we pass through the cultural center

the pillars of local culture and pilgrims still arrive

of Nanjing, exploring the Ming Dynasty canals in the Jiangnan

with yak butter offerings each day. After our first

region, and eventually arrive in Shanghai. Standing on the docks of the world’s busiest

rural home-stay, we journey east through Sichuan Province, meeting with local farmers and environmen-

port, we consider all that we’ve learned about the raw tensions between tradition and modernity represented by life along the Yangtze River.

tal activists in this renown “Province of Abundance”. Our downriver journey takes us to Chongqing, an industrial city situated at the confluence of the azure Jialing River and

“I learned so much more on this program than I ever could in a classroom. Most importantly, this trip made me realize that there is so much to see in the world.” NU XIONG

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RIGHT PAGE  n/a, Aaron Slosberg

Our course begins in the Tibetan Kingdom of

MONGOLIA

LEFT PAGE  Aaron Slosberg, n/a

RUSSIA

cultural traditions, agricultural practices and


CHINA THE SEARCH FOR MEANING 6-Week Summer Abroad Program

42 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Encounter China through its philosophical and political constructs; delve into Chinese traditional medicine and martial arts; explore Chinese beliefs on mind and body.

June 28 – August 8

15 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

“This was not a vacation; it was an experience. I was truly immersed in Chinese culture.

“A PATH, TRAVELED, IS NO LONGER THE SAME PATH. A NAME, SPOKEN, IS NO

UMAR AMIN

LONGER THE SAME NAME.” Like the words of the “Old Master” (Laozi), Chinese philosophy has long been a source of fascination and inspiration as well as confusion

RUSSIA

Weaving through crowded streets, scented with steamed mutton, we meet with Hui

in China believe is as complex as ever: Taoist,

Muslims at China’s oldest mosque and hear about the history of Christianity at the city’s

Confucian, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian ideas

oldest Catholic church. We encounter China’s growing problem with homelessness

along with new religious movements, nationalism,

when we volunteer at a soup kitchen, gaining insight into local ideas of

and consumer culture are all in the mix. So what

social welfare.

does religious practice in China look like now? How

MONGOLIA

do people find and create meaning in their lives?

CHINA

LABRANG

XI ’A N

In days past, the Emperor performed ritual harvest rites at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven and a stone on the main altar was believed to be the center of the universe. We begin our course here, preparing for a journey that will bring us closer to understanding our own

Traveling further west, we enter the Tibetan Plateau and stop at Labrang Monastery, one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world. We witness stark contrasts between rural rhythms and urban development when we stop for a home-stay in Qinghai Province. The Search for Meaning is rarely over, and as we settle in for our final retreat at the Chan (Zen) Monastery, we

belief systems, as well as the diverse ideologies that influence

reflect on all that we’ve learned and hope to integrate into

modern-day China.

our lives back home. WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

ASI A:   S U MM E R

BEIJING XINING

We board a train to Xi’an, an ancient capital of China and a modern megacity.

and debate. Today, the question of what people

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CHINA A COMPREHENSIVE SURVEY 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Experience urban and rural realities in modern-day China: explore mega-cities and camp atop the Great Wall; discover the ethnic tapestry that is modern China.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W WHEN YOU VISIT CHINA FOR THE FIRST TIME, IT DOESN’T TAKE LONG TO REALIZE THAT EVERYTHING IS CHANGING AT WARP SPEED. Old neighborhoods of wooden houses are demolished to make way for 80-story buildings. Streets once filled with

“This summer was, without a doubt, one of the best (if not the best) I have ever had because of this trip. It opened up a whole new world to me, one of exploration and independence and risk taking, that I do not have access to at home... This trip has made me want to become a traveler.”

bicycles are now jammed with shiny cars. Buddhist RUSSIA

M AT T H E W K AT Z

monks read ancient sutras from iPads, and millions

INDIA

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in a race to keep up with 1.4 billion people on the BEIJING

CHINA

and learn about life for people on the periphery; we follow the daily routines of farmers and herders; we visit serene monasteries and booming mega-cities.

XI ’A N

We witness the Chinese peoples’ amazing capacity to adjust and adapt, and with each

in, you have to understand China.

new experience we take on, we challenge ourselves to do the same.

This program is Dragons’ version of an

CHENGDU

“Introduction to China” and part of what makes

LASHIHAI

As we travel across China by foot, train, bus and boat, we learn just how diverse it is.

move. If you want to understand the world we live

it unique is that our journey changes each year as we

Whether you choose to live like monks at a Buddhist monastery in Chongqing, journey into the Gobi Desert, or rehearse Beijing Opera postures with a master performer, this summer program promises to stretch your limits and give you a broad

KUNMING HONG KONG

encourage our instructors to explore new areas and interests with

understanding of China today.

their intrepid students. Our China Comprehensive journey includes a broad survey of contemporary realities: we trek beyond roads C A L L U S ( T O L L F R E E ) 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 8 2 . 9 2 0 3 O R ( I N T E R N AT I O N A L ) 0 0 1 . 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

LEFT PAGE  Shelby Marcus

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MONGOLIA

their families. The construction of new highways, rail lines and airports is underway virtually everywhere,

RIGHT PAGE  n/a, Xenia Octavia Viragh

of rural farmers now work in the city to support


M YA N M A R D E V E L O P M E N T S T U D I E S & S O C I A L T R A N S F O R M AT I O N 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Explore one of Asia’s last frontiers: hike through the bucolic farming tapestry of Shan State, build core competencies in learning service, learn the tenets of Theravada Buddhism.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W MAGNETIC. INSPIRING. DEVOUT. Myanmar is a nation of warmth, beauty, and complexity.

motes sustainable approaches to local development.

Through learning service projects and numerous engagements with development

Next we enjoy an unforgettable four-day trek through

professionals, we uncover significant pieces of the puzzle of Myanmar: how has a country

the patchwork fields of Shan State. By day we hike through

so rich in resources, culture and religion struggled politically and economically for more

fields of ginger, peppers and grain; at night we bed down in

than fifty years? Our journey begins in Bagan, where we watch the sun rise over the

the welcoming stilted houses of our village hosts. We then

majestic Ayerwaddy River and cycle among golden-spired temples in a vast complex of ancient pagodas. Next we travel to Sagaing, the spiritual heart of

transition into a ‘student-led expedition’. Past groups have traveled to Karen State to explore issues of identity with Karen

BAGAN

K ALAW

dealing with water scarcity. Concluding the course in Yangon,

ies scattered over the hills, and delve into Buddhist

we continue our focus on learning service by volunteering in

learning alongside local practitioners.

small groups according to interest and paired with Burmese students as cultural ambassadors.

learning service project in Mandalay—Myanmar’s

“I loved the fact that we were given the opportunity to choose

last royal capital. Dragons students teach in a

a service site to work at independently. I think that is an

monastic school that services 6,000 disadvantaged

opportunity few students have in foreign countries.”

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ALEXANDER WEISMAN

LAOS

YA N G O N

MAWLAMYINE

ASI A:   S U MM E R

Ayerwaddy Delta to discover how local farmers are creatively

faith. We come to rest in one of the 500 monaster-

students and volunteer with an organization that pro-

M A N DA L AY

M YA N M A R

and Mon minority groups; others have ventured into the

Myanmar and center of the country’s Buddhist

Pressing even further east we begin our first

CHINA

THAILAND

21


CAMBODIA PEACE & DEVELOPMENT STUDIES 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

AGES

Examine issues of human rights and international development: engage in the optimism of Cambodian youth, unpack the legacy of the Khmer Rouge.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 18

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

HOME-STAY

and language are meaningless. Our experiences shape the way that we see the world, but we are unified on the basis of compassion, love and a thirst for knowledge.”

MONKS, AND RELIGIOUS SPLENDOR. Today, Cambodians navigate complex conversations related to regional water politics and aspirations for more democratic rule. Students gain firsthand insight into these

L AOS

contemporary issues through intimate engagement with regional experts, extended home-stays and community-organized service projects. Our course begins in Siem Reap, where

AS I A:   S UM M E R

SIEM REAP

22

CAMBODIA

B AT TA M B A N G

VIETNAM

OONA MCDOWELL

Continuing past the floating villages of Lake Tonle Sap, we pause in the provincial city of Battambang where we participate in a learning service project with a local circus troupe, Phare Ponleu Selpak, and meet with officials at the Three Rivers Protection Network to discuss environmental issues that are critical to Cambodia’s food security. Returning to Phnom Penh, we face the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge genocide. We visit the Choeung Ek Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Prison, building a profound sense of

of Angkor Wat. Few experiences touch the splendor

empathy for the Cambodian people, and gaining an informed context for Cambodia’s

of bicycling through the morning mist to catch a

present-day politics.

Wat. In Siem Reap we reside just outside the city at a multi-faith retreat center, Metta Karuna, where an

KEP

pilgrims and adventurers flock to the storied ruins

mandarin sunrise over the main temple at Angkor PHNOM PENH

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

world. The walls that humans put up between countries, made up of money, skin color

COUNTRY THAT EVOKES IMAGES OF OVERGROWN JUNGLE TEMPLES, ROBED

THAIL AND

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

“I have learned through quality and rugged experiences that there is a powerful union in the

KNOWN FOR THE INCOMPARABLE RUINS OF ANGKOR WAT, CAMBODIA IS A

CHINA

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

Australian nun schools us on the intricacies of landmine politics and the phenomenon of orphanage tourism.

Slowing down for a week of home-stays, students experience the rhythms of rural life, cooking over wood fires, harvesting mangoes and washing cows in the Mekong River. We spend our last days on the unspoiled white sand beaches of Rabbit Island, reflecting on big questions, like “what constitutes a good quality of life?” and “what is the purpose and meaning of ‘development’?”

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DAYS

DATES

LEFT PAGE  n/a

30

DESCRIPTION


LAOS C O N S E R VAT I O N & D E V E L O P M E N T 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Witness the awakening of Southeast Asia’s hidden gem: the environmental impacts of mega-dams, trek through jungle, live on an island in the middle of the Mekong.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 18

C H Idiscuss NA

VIETNAM

LAOS

(LAOS PDR) IS A LAND OF STAGGERING BEAUTY, R  EVERENT BUDDHISM AND

VIENTIANE THAKHÈK

LANGUID MYSTIQUE—a land where locals pride themselves on the motto: Laos ‘People Don’t Rush’. To

THAILAND 4,000 ISLANDS

RUGGED TRAVEL

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W LAOS PEOPLE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC

LUANG PRABANG

preparing them for the travels ahead. A four-day trek takes us into the heart of the Phou Khao Khouay National Protected Area wilderness, where we splash beneath picturesque waterfalls and wander into isolated Lao Theung hamlets. In Vientiane, we find a find a dazzling array of medieval

live this way requires a mindset and manners as fluid and

temples, Socialist monuments and 21st century construction

clear as water itself.

projects, highlighting the interplay between traditional values

Southeast Asia’s only landlocked country, Laos is CAMBODIA

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

and modern aspirations. Local experts offer insight into future dam development, and historians help us unpack little-

Mekong River and the tropical highlands, where

known stories from the US’ Secret War (1964-1973). We meet with

Indochinese tigers, Asiatic elephants, Agile gibbons and

survivors, advocates and land-mine specialists who risk their lives to

Siamese crocodiles roam wild. Historically considered

clear millions of unexploded ordnance still buried beneath the countryside.

a geopolitical afterthought, times are changing, and students who venture to Laos will discover roiling international debates over mega-dam projects, unregulated deforestation and transboundary resource management. We begin our journey on the placid shores of Nam Ngum Lake. Here students receive an overview of Theravada Buddhism and introductory language classes,

A weeklong home-stay on the idyllic island of Don Dohn gives us insight into traditional fishing practices and the daily rituals of Theravada Buddhism. By course-end, students grapple with questions about the tension between traditions and modernity, returning home with some answers, but more significantly returning with infinitely better questions.

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ASI A:   S U MM E R

dominated by two geographic entities: the mighty

23


THAILAND THE SPIRIT OF GRENG JAI 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Explore the idea of reciprocity: participate in hands-on learning service projects, live with hill tribe communities, and study Theravada Buddhism along Thailand’s exquisite coast.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 17

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOME-STAY

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

“The jungle came right up to the sand and the water was so calm and clear. I can truly say that I have been to paradise.”

FROM FORESTED MOUNTAIN TOPS TO SMALL RURAL VILLAGES NESTLED AMID RICE PADDIES TO THE BUZZING METROPOLIS OF BANGKOK, our Thailand

THAILAND GROUP JOURNAL

program is a broad and unforgettable journey in “The Land of Smiles.” In one of the we explore fantastic ancient ruins in one of Asia’s most splendid World Heritage Sites,

Thailand course provides off-the-beaten-path

and we settle into a Buddhist monastery for a five-day meditation retreat.

experiences that incorporate village homeMYANMAR

stays, community service work, jungle trekking,

MAE HONG SON CHIANG MAI

L AOS

From the hill-regions of the north, we travel to the coastal communities of the south for a week-long

extensive discourse on Theravada Buddhism, and

exploration of sea-fairing communities in regions

a thorough discussion of regional politics and

bordering Malaysia. Our Thailand adventure

SUKHOTHAI

24

U B O N R ATC H ATA N I

THAILAND

CAMBODIA INDIA

KRABI

Our program begins in Chiang Mai, in Thailand’s north, and then travels to border areas in the east.

BANGKOK

culminates with a few day’s exploration of the country’s colorful and bustling capitol, Bangkok. Whether harvesting rice with your home-stay

Outside of Mae Hong Son we hike through bamboo

mother in the emerald-green fields of Chang

forest and stay with ethnic Karen villagers. In Mae Sot

Muen or listening to the rhythmic prayers of a

near the Burmese border, we survey border issues and

Buddhist abbot in Sukhothai, students are sure to

integrate service work with inspiring visits to medical

be transformed by the strong culture of reverence

clinics, orphanages, and various NGO’s. In Sukhothai

and reciprocity that makes Thailand so unique.

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AS I A:   S UM M E R

issues in human rights.

RIGHT PAGE  Beatriz Schaver Eizaguirre, n/a

CHINA

world’s most popular travel destinations, our


INDONESIA C O M M U N I T Y & C O N S E R VAT I O N 6-Week Summer Abroad Program

42 CHINA

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Experience the most diverse archipelago on Earth: live with sea gypsies, attend a Torajan buffalo ceremony, and learn about efforts to protect the world’s most extraordinary coral reefs.

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

June 28 – August 8

16 – 19 RUGGED TRAVEL

HOME-STAY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

“My home-stay in Tana Toraja was life changing. When I left, they cried just as hard as I did.

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W MANADO

BORNEO

LUWUK

MOROWALI

TA N A TO R A JA

It was so powerful knowing that I had touched someone’s life that radically, and that they were

LIVING LANGUAGES, INDONESIA IS HOME TO

THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF BIODIVERSITY OF ANY

volcanoes, and discuss the idea of ‘spiritual plurality’ with our

NATION. Whether you’re attending a buffalo sacrifice in MAKASSAR

INDONESIA UBUD, BALI

able to touch mine in the same way in just one short week.”

COMPRISED OF OVER 17,000 ISLANDS AND 700

M O R G A N AV I S

gracious hosts.

Toraja, spearfishing with your home-stay father in

A few flights and an overnight boat trip takes us to the

Sampela, or examining gender roles in the world’s

archipelago of Wakatobi, home to the Bajau people, or the

FLORES

“sea nomads”. The Bajau build homes over the open ocean and

your worldview and stimulate your senses. Students

only go to shore an average of five days/year. We embrace their

unpack the complex relationship between cultural and

unique lifestyle, snorkeling over fragile reefs, attending indigenous

environmental preservation as they traverse ecologically

ceremonies, and learning about conservation initiatives from local

and anthropologically distinct islands in Indonesia’s grand

leaders.

archipelago.

As we engage with the indigenous communities of Indonesia,

Arriving first in Yogyakarta, students dive head-

we begin to understand that our definition of “community”

long into Javanese culture, working with street artists, attending shadow-puppet

extends far beyond the people in our own towns. Diverse

performances and studying the basics of the Bahasa Indonesian language.

experiences help expand our worldview and encourage us to

We then head east to the island of Flores, where students live with Christian families in the pastoral village of Langa. We meet with local coffee producers, hike up dormant

be more mindful of the interconnected relationships between people and an increasingly fragile natural world.

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ASI A:   S U MM E R

AUSTRALIA

largest Muslim nation, Indonesia is sure to challenge

25


N E PA L T R A D I T I O N S O F T H E H I M A L AYA S 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

AGES

Discover the mysticism of the Himalayas: trek into remote CHINA mountain communities, participate in a meditation retreat, and engage with post-earthquake reconstruction efforts.

June 28 – July 28

16 – 19

DELHI

N E PP OAK LH A R A

BHUTAN

MERCHANTS, POETS, ARTISTS, AND WARRIORS

AS I A:   S UM M E R

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

mature, thoughtful and with a greater understanding of that part of the world.”

PA R E N T O F N AT E Z U C H E R

HAVE PASSED THROUGH KATHMANDU DURING THEIR JOURNEYS ACROSS THE GREAT HIMALAYAN

of learning service within their cultural context. We experience what it means to give

RANGE. Some never left, and today, Newaris, Sherpas,

and to receive, emphasizing in particular the importance of exchange.

Gurungs, Tamangs, Magars, Thar, Limbus, and ethnic

26

ISPs

“Nate scored his trip an “11” on a scale of 1-10. He arrived home dirty and smelly, but more

SINCE ANCIENT TIMES, TRAVELERS, MONKS, K AT H M A N D U

PATA N

INDIA

RUGGED TRAVEL

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

TIBE T

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

Saying good-bye to our gracious hosts, we head to a Buddhist meditation retreat

Tibetans all peacefully co-exist in the peaks and valleys

in Pharping, where we learn about the foundations of Buddhist philosophy and

of this dynamic country. Nepal’s rich cultural diversity

participate in a spiritual practice that is both personal and deeply introspective. Back

provides a strong foundation for a larger conversation

in Kathmandu, students begin independent study projects (ISPs), delving deeper into

about the underpinnings of identity, community, and

Ayurvedic medicine, Thangka painting, sarangi lessons, or a topic of their choosing.

spirituality.

Local scholars come to our Program House to share their insights on Nepal’s history,

Our journey begins in the hilltop Newari trading village of Bandipur. After a short orientation, we venture into the Himalayan foothills, where we settle in for home-stays with a community of subsistence farmers in Ale Gau. Local leaders teach us about the values and challenges

politics and culture; they also offer a unique perspective on the socio-political complexities facing a newly-Democratic Nepal, and about the challenges that the 2015 earthquake posed to Nepali society. This course is both an outer and inner journey, focused on forming connections with the local community and within oneself.

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DAYS

DATES

LEFT PAGE  n/a, Claire Dumont

30 LEH

DESCRIPTION


NORTH INDIA IDENTITY IN EXILE 6-Week Summer Abroad Program

42 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Examine the roots of Tibetan identity: join refugee communities for a learning service project, discuss climate change in the Himalayas, and trek into the sacred Changtang Plateau.

June 28 – August 8

15 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

CHINA

TREKKING

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

LEH

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

MANALI DHARAMSALA

TIBE T

A K I S TA N

NEPAL DELHI AGRA

INDIA

FOLLOWING THE DALAI LAMA’S ESCAPE IN

economic patterns within the region.

THE WAKE OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN TIBET,

Leaving the oasis of Ladakh, we venture to the

THOUSANDS OF RELIGIOUS PRACTITIONERS

remote Changthang Plateau, a land of herders and

TRACED THEIR LEADER’S PATH, SEEKING REFUGE

nomads and the symbolic end of many Tibetans’

IN INDIA, NEPAL, AND BHUTAN. Dharamsala, nestled

safe pilgrimage east. At the alpine reserve of Lake

along the western edge of India’s Himachal Pradesh,

Tso Moriri, we visit herding encampments, volunteer

was eventually established as the seat of His Holiness’

with an ecological preservation project, and prepare

exiled government. To this day, it is a place where the

for a challenging 9-day trek into Himachal Pradesh.

traditions of Tibetan language, traditional medicine, art, and

Eventually, we return to Dharamsala to live with families of Tibetan refugees, volunteer with Gu Chu Sum’s

that inspires the world community with its stories of struggle

ex-political prisoner’s organization, and attend classes at the

and perseverance, and with its hopeful and compassionate

Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. At course-end, we consider

identity.

everything we’ve learned about identity and political justice, always remembering the

Our exploration of Tibetan culture begins in Ladakh, North India, often known as

heart and character of the Tibetan people.

“Little Tibet”. We immerse ourselves in the local culture by engaging in a learning

“Come with an open mind and open heart and come prepared to be challenged but also to

service project and sitting before Buddhist philosophers, climate-scientists, and scholars who present on their traditions, as well as the shifting cultural, ecological, and

have some of the most amazing and unforgettable times of your life.”

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TENZIN CROWLEY

ASI A:   S U MM E R

spirituality are studied, preserved, and upheld. It is a place

27


NORTH INDIA THE ROOF OF THE WORLD 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Test your limits: trek over snow-capped passes in the Himalayas, live with yak herders, and discuss the impacts of globalization on isolated mountain communities.

June 28 – July 28

16 – 19

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

TREKKING

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

CHINA LEH

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

MANALI

TIBE T

PA K I S TA N

NEPAL

A CHALLENGING JOURNEY SET AGAINST

spectacular and wild region of the Himalayas. Jagged peaks and windswept expanses

A BACKDROP OF CERULEAN SKIES AND

cradle seldom-visited farming and monastic communities. These villages run as they

FLUTTERING PRAYER FLAGS, our Roof of the

have for centuries, sustained by limited farming, yak and sheep husbandry, trade, and

DELHI

World course is a trekking-intensive program

28

designed for students who are physically fit

rest of the world by heavy snowfall, few of the world’s inhabited places are so isolated.

and intellectually curious. Amid the breathtaking

And due to their isolation, the remote villages of the trans-Himalaya have experienced a

mountains of the Indian Himalayas, students

cultural barrier of sorts, preserving their traditional culture and Buddhist heritage like a

experience unparalleled mountain scenery as they

snow-hushed secret. Throughout the journey, students meet with local leaders and guest

cross snow-covered passes by day and button into

speakers to learn the basic teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. As a group, we discuss how

zero-degree bags at night. As we hike through this

these principles might guide regional development.

Ladakhis and Tibetans—nomads, herders, farmers,

planning, high-altitude travel, minimum-impact camping, and the ecology of the

and devoted practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism—

Himalayas. Our ROW students return home with basic backpacking skills and a greater

often learning as much about our physical limits as

awareness of their physical and spiritual selves.

we learn about new ways of life. Staging our course out of Leh, Ladakh, set high up in the Tibetan Plateau, we journey into the far northern region of Zanskar, a

“I have to commend your instructors again - all 3 of them were absolutely amazing… They were inspiring and we truly appreciate the positive influence they had on our daughter.”

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P A R E N T O F L I LY H I M M E L M A N

RIGHT PAGE  n/a, n/a

The Roof of the World course is designed to teach students the basics of expedition

rugged landscape, we pass small communities of

LEFT PAGE  Cara Starnbach

AS I A:   S UM M E R

INDIA

the patronage of monasteries. Because many of these villages are often cut off from the


SIKKIM H I M A L AYA N S T U D I E S 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Experience the mysticism of remote Himalayan communities: work with artists and healers in Darjeeling and gain insight into the Himalaya’s myriad spiritual traditions.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOME-STAY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W NESTLED DEEP IN THE EASTERN END OF THE GREAT HIMALAYAN MOUNTAIN RANGE, SIKKIM IS A RESTRICTED INDIAN PROVINCE THAT SITS SNUGLY BETWEEN

“You gave me such an opportunity this summer, not just to travel to this magical place, but something to hold on to that has sparked a new light, purpose and ambition in my life.” B R I G E T T E B A R N AT O

NEPAL AND BHUTAN. Referred to as the last “Shangri-La,” this ancient kingdom was the final state to become part of India in 1975 and only in the 1980’s did it open to tourism. The tension between modern influences and traditional values is strikingly apparent in Sikkim, as various ethnic groups, including Bhutias, Tibetans, Indians, Gurkhas, Sherpas, Lepchas, and Magars work to safeguard their heritage amidst the draw of globalization. Dragons students engage

of the region. In Kalimpong, we live with home-stay families and work with local ISP mentors, taking up apprenticeships with artists, musicians, healers, cultivators, and practitioners of Hinduism, Buddhism, and local versions of shamanism. We delve more deeply into Buddhism by sitting for a three-day retreat at a local monastery. Heading further into the Himalayas, students witness Sikkim’s incredible biodiversity, trekking through lush forests and looking up at the shadows of Mount

Buddhist and Hindu temples, gaining insight

Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak.

CHINA LEH

into the age-old wisdom that has held these

Students who are willing to embrace challenge, grit,

Himalayan tribes together for centuries.

and adventure, while asking deeper questions about

Our course begins in Darjeeling, a hill

their own spirituality, will be moved and inspired

station – renowned for its fine tea – that serves

by the diversity of Sikkim’s natural landscape and

as an introduction to the cultures and traditions

TIBET

cultural fabric. DELHI

N E PAL K AT H M A N D U

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L A N G TA N G KANCHENJUNGA GANGTOK KALIMPONG DARJEELING

BHUTAN

ASI A:   S U MM E R

with local communities and explore ancient

29


I) FO C IN US Q UI OF RY (F O

CO M RE PA LI RA GI T O IVE N

IN D ST EPE U N (IS DY DE P) PR N T OJ EC T

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DE

A SE RN RV ING IC E

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TO PAGES 10–11.

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OF EACH PROGRAM COMPONENT, GO

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FOR A COMPREHENSIVE DESCRIPTION

RU G TR G E AV D EL

P R O G R A M C O M PA R I S O N C H A R T

LOW EMPHASIS MODERATE HIGH EMPHASIS

ASIA SUMMER China: Mandarin Intensive, 4-wk

10+ days

40+ hours

Day Hikes

10+ hours

China: Mandarin Intensive, 6-wk

15+ days

60+ hours

Day Hikes

15+ hours

5+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

5+ hours

China: The Silk Road

China: The Yangtze River

10+ days

10+ hours

Day Hikes

5+ hours

China: The Search for Meaning

15+ days

20+ hours

Day Hikes

10+ hours

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China: A Comprehensive Survey

5+ days

20+ hours

Day Hikes

5+ hours

Myanmar: Development Studies

3+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

15–18

p21

Cambodia: Peace & Development Studies

5+ days

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15–18

p22

Laos: Conservation & Development

5+ days

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai

5+ days

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3+ days

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Indonesia: Community & Conservation

10+ days

10+ hours

3+ days

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North India: Identity in Exile

3+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

15+ hours

3+ days

5 hours

15+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

5 hours

3+ days

10+ hours

Sikkim: Himalayan Studies

Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas

North India: The Roof of the World

6/28 – 7/28

15–17

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6/28 – 8/8

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LATIN AMERICA SUMMER Guatemala: Spanish Intensive, 4-wk

10+ days

40+ hours

3+ days

15+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

15–17

p34

Guatemala: Spanish Intensive, 6-wk

10+ days

40+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

6/28 – 8/8

16–18

p34

Nicaragua: Community In Action

10+ days

40+ hours

3+ days

20+ hours

Bolivia: Identity & Development, 4-wk

5+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

10+ hours

10+ days

20+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

5+ hours

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Bolivia: Identity & Development, 6-wk Peru: Sacred Mountains, 4-wk Peru: Sacred Mountains, 6-wk

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6/28 – 7/28

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I) FO C IN US Q UI OF RY (F O

CO M RE PA LI RA GI T O IVE N

IN D ST EPE U N (IS DY DE P) PR N T OJ EC T

T V ST ELO UD P IE ME S N

DE

A SE RN RV ING IC E

LE

KI NG TR EK

N ST GU UD AG Y E

LA

M EST AY HO

RU G TR G E AV D EL

LOW EMPHASIS MODERATE HIGH EMPHASIS

AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST DATES

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15–18

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6/28 – 7/28

15–18

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6/28 – 8/8

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6/28 – 7/28

15–18

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DATES

AGES

PAGE

9/15 – 12/6

17-22

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SUMMER Senegal: In the Shade of the Baobob Tree Rwanda: Development & Peace-building

10+ days

10+ hours

3+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

5+ hours

Day hikes

10+ hours

Madagascar: Island of Diversity

10+ days

10+ hours

Day hikes

10+ hours

Jordan: Crossroads of Traditions & Modernity

5+ days

30+ hours

3+ days

5+ hours

GAP YEAR 3-MONTH SEMESTER South America Semester:

30+ days

40+ hours

20+ days

20+ hours

Andes & Amazon 2/12 – 5/1 Central America Semester:

20+ days

40+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

9/15 – 12/6

17-22

p47

Roots of Rebellion 2/12 – 5/1 China Semester:

30+ days

40+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

9/15 – 12/6

17-22

p48

South of the Clouds 2/12 – 5/1 Nepal Semester:

30+ days

40+ hours

20+ days

30+ hours

9/15 – 12/6

17-22

p49

Himalayan Studies 2/12 – 5/1 Indonesia Semester

10+ days

30+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

9/15 – 12/6

17-22

p50

Community, Culture & Conservation 2/12 – 5/1 Mekong Semester

10+ days

20+ hours

10+ days

20+ hours

9/15 – 12/6

17-22

p51

Life Along the River 2/12 – 5/1 Middle East Semester:

20+ days

60+ hours

5+ days

10+ hours

9/15 – 12/6

17-22

p52

The Fertile Crescent 2/12 – 5/1 Southeast Asia Semester:

10+ days

30+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

9/15 – 12/6

17-22

p53

Myanmar in Transition 2/12 – 5/1 India Semester:

30+ days

40+ hours

10+ days

20+ hours

9/15 – 12/6

17-22

p54

Visions of India 2/12 – 5/1 West Africa Semester:

30+ days

30+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

9/15 – 12/6

17-22

p55

The Many Stories of Africa 2/12 – 5/1

Indicates a college-accredited option for this semester, p56

WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

31


Take three coca leaves between your fingers and bless Pachamama.

32


L AT I N A M E R I C A IS FULL OF BEAUTY, AND IT IS ALSO UNDERGOING RAPID CHANGE.

Plant a row of seedlings to ensure next year’s harvest. Crest a 14,000ft pass and remember how grateful you are to be alive. Quechua communities are learning to cope with impacts of climate change in the Andes. Mayan communities are still reclaiming their land after 36 years of civil war. Bolivia’s Aymara President, Evo Morales, is crafting new legislation to promote climate justice on a global scale. Latin America is a continent filled with movers and shakers; you can hear it in the rhythm of their music. Whether you're interested in learning more about the silver mines in Potosí or the legacy of US military tactics in Guatemala, Latin America is a landscape rich with color, community and fervent activism. In Latin America, we are students of community reinventing itself… are you?

33


G U AT E M A L A S PA N I S H L A N G UAG E I N T E N S I V E 4-Week & 6-Week Summer Abroad Programs

30/42 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Investigate issues of social justice in the wake of Guatemala’s thirty-six year civil war while improving your Spanish language skills through individualized 1:1 instruction.

June 28 – July 28 June 28 – August 8

15 – 17 16 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOME-STAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W AT DAWN A HOWLER MONKEY CRIES FROM THE BRANCH OF A GIANT CEIBA TREE.

Project, and in the afternoons we immerse ourselves

In the Cuchumatanes Mountains, a young woman rises to grind corn on a stone petate.

in local Quiche’ culture, where we engage in such

Along Avenida Reforma, street-children juggle oranges for change as businessmen tuck

activities as assisting our home-stay siblings with a

34

local recycling program.

explore this complicated country of contrasts

protective folds of the Cuchumatanes Mountains

volcanic peaks and traditional traje walk

where local communities share their accounts of

alongside Armani suites.

TIKAL

BELIZE

From Pachaj, we wind our way into the

where steamy jungles rise to meet towering

Our course begins in Antigua, where we play soccer with local kids, hike through coffee plantations and begin our first Spanish lessons.

Guatemala’s thirty-six year civil war. Their stories help us understand the root causes of Guatemala’s embarrassing human rights record, sharp economic inequalities and deeply embedded racism.

We ride the infamous Chicken Bus—a colorful and COBAN TODOS SANTOS

G UATE M A L A

Our final leg takes us into the Peten rainforest, where we

chromed-out version of a 1990s Blue Byrd

encounter howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, and coatis in the ancient city of Tikal. We

school bus—past the sacred Lake Atitlan, and

rest in hammocks, converse with our new Spanish vocabulary, and reflect on all we’ve

eventually arrive in Pachaj for a week of 1:1

learned about indigenous rights and Guatemala’s grassroots revolutionaries.

intensive language study. In the mornings we

SANTIAGO ATITL A N SAN LUCAS TOLIMÁN

volunteer with the Chico Mendes Reforestation EL

SALVADOR

“I think I came alive on this course in a way I can’t explain, but I felt so full of life.”

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MAISIE HEITMAN

RIGHT PAGE  n/a

ME XICO

LEFT PAGE  Slade Cogswell, n/a

L AT IN AM ER IC A :  SU M MER

into air-conditioned office buildings. Students


NICARAGUA COMMUNITY IN ACTION 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Improve your Spanish through daily 2:1 instruction and learn what it takes to be a grassroots activist in some of Central America’s most politically engaged communities.

June 28 – July 28

16 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOME-STAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

LEARNING SERVICE

ISPs

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W “There have been so many different vibes and

CENTRAL AMERICA, A NARROW STRIP OF STEAMING JUNGLES AND FIERY VOLCANOES, IS THE EARTH’S MOST RECENT MAJOR LAND FORMATION, AND

opportunities in just one month. I can safely say that

A MELTING POT OF CULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY. At its heart lays

this course is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”

Nicaragua, the “land of lakes and volcanoes,” and a hotbed for innovative community

ELLA PEPPER

With an emphasis on community based learning-service, intimate home-stays,

cooking in a giant adobe oven. In the afternoons,

and exceptional language instruction, our Nicaragua program allows students to learn

we study Spanish with professional teachers before

directly from community activists, farmers, and NGOs working for social justice and

cooling off in thunderous waterfalls.

sustainability. In the picturesque colonial city of Esteli, we deepen our understanding

After heartfelt goodbyes, we travel south for

of Spanish language and the burning social issues of Latin America while immersing

a learning service project with Los Quinchos, an

ourselves in the warm hospitality of Latin Culture through intimate home-stays.

organization that takes children off the streets of

On the island of Ometepe, we summit the Concepcion volcano and visit lush coffee

HONDUR A S

O COTA L ESTELÍ M ATAG A LPA

NICARAGUA

LEÓN

MANAGUA

GRANADA

Managua. Dragons’ Nicaragua program provides

and banana plantations that skirt its base. In the highlands of Nicaragua, we settle into

rich cultural immersion that allows students to

the hamlet of El Lagartillo where families invite us into their humble, solar-powered

gain a deep understanding of the important social

homes to share meals and discuss their visions for a brighter future. Over the course

issues facing Latin America while greatly improving

of our two-week stay, students dive into independent study projects (ISP), perhaps

their Spanish language and exploring new skills in

playing music with the local band, acting with a socially conscious theater troop, or

sustainable development.

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COS TA

RIC A

LATI N A ME R IC A :  S U M ME R

response to the rapid changes of globalization.

35


BOLIVIA IDENTITY & DEVELOPMENT 4-Week & 6-Week Summer Abroad Programs

30/42 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Immerse yourself in the Andes: perform a ritual ceremony for Pachamama, trek over snow-swept passes, and discuss the impacts of resource extraction with local communities.

June 28 – July 28 June 28 – August 8

16 – 18 16 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOME-STAY

TREKKING

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

distinct ethnic and language groups, vast mountain ranges, dense Amazonian jungle,

capped Cordillera Real range, and then

and a shifting socio-political landscape, Boliv-

descend into dense cloud forest on the

ia provides a vast panorama for students to

edge of the Amazon Basin. Observing

explore the links between past and present

striking ecological transitions, we discuss

in the heart of South America. Students inte-

issues of conservation and resource

grate into several local communities through

management in one of the most bio-diverse

extended home-stays, focused language study, and a direct engagement with local

CORDILLERA APOLOBAMBA

activists and politicians.

S O R ATA

The course begins in Cochabamba, where

L A PA Z COCHABAMBA CORDILLERA REAL

BOLIVIA

for producing chocolate, coffee and coca, and home to Bolivia’s Afro-Bolivian population. We settle into a relaxing retreat for the final days and reflect on all we've learned about Bolivia’s

Students enjoy daily Spanish language

distinct indigenous identities and environmental preservation.

instruction at our Program House while mobilization and resistance in the Andes. PAR AGUAY

Our trek ends in the Yungas region, known

we live in a small Quechua farming community.

learning about the vibrant history of grassroots

CHILE

pockets of the planet.

The sharp contrasts of Bolivia help bring our own beliefs into focus as we consider how best to integrate the Bolivian concept of ayni, or reciprocity, and environmental stewardship into our lives back home.

C A L L U S ( T O L L F R E E ) 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 8 2 . 9 2 0 3 O R ( I N T E R N AT I O N A L ) 0 0 1 . 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE  n/a, n/a

we depart on a four-day trek in the snow-

BR A ZIL

36

Acclimatized to the Andean elevation,

STAGGERING CULTURAL AND ECOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ON THE PLANET. Host to 36

LEFT PAGE  Tom Pablo, Julianne Chandler

L AT IN AM ER IC A :  SU M MER

KNOWN AS A LAND OF EXTREMES, BOLIVIA IS HOME TO SOME OF THE MOST


PERU S AC R E D M O U N TA I N S 4-Week & 6-Week Summer Abroad Programs

30/42 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Celebrate Peru’s unbelievable diversity: paddle the Amazon River Basin in a dugout canoe and live with Quechua families in the heart of the Andes.

June 28 – July 28 June 28 – August 8

15 – 17 16 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

TREKKING

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

ECUADOR

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

“Q’eros changed something big inside me. What I value has changed; so has my definition of happiness.”

PERU, ANCIENT SEAT OF THE INCA – ONCE THE PERU

BR A ZIL

GREATEST CIVILIZATION IN SOUTH AMERICA, IS A LAND OF TOWERING PEAKS AND STEAMY JUNGLES,

HUARAZ

CHIQUIÁN

OF MODERN URBAN CENTERS AND HIDDEN

S ATI P O LIMA

O L L A N TAY TA M B O

CUSCO

PUERTO MALDO NATO

BOLIVIA

and culture of this majestic country are

JULIA LOTVINA

We travel overland to Cusco, exploring the relics of Sacsayhuamán and the central Plaza, listening for tales of Incan rulers and the Spanish conquistadors that came before. A short trek takes us to Machu Picchu, although we quickly skirt the crowds and settle in for a four-day home-stay in the Parque

reflected in the striking socio-economic

de la Papa. We rise with our home-stay siblings, harvesting

disparities that pervade society. Students

potatoes, herding and milking livestock, and participat-

dig into critical development issues by

ing in a learning service project led by local leaders.

living with families in remote indigenous communities and exploring seldom-visited regions of the sacred Andes Mountains and lush Amazonian forests.

By the end of the course, students are equipped with basic wilderness skills, and a deeper understanding of regional environmental issues and the mysticism of Andean cosmology. Expect to hone

Our journey begins with a short flight into the heart of the Peruvian Amazon

your Spanish, live closely with remote indigenous

rainforest. A small boat takes us up the Madre de Dios River, where we learn about

communities, and trek through awe-inspiring terrain

forest ecology while listening to a symphony of tropical birds and jungle calls. We meet

as you discover a profound new relationship between

with local elders who share their hopes and fears about regional development initiatives.

yourself and the world around you.

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LATI N A ME R IC A :  S U M ME R

VILLAGES. The radical juxtapositions in landscape

MACHU PICCHU

37


The beat of a djembe. The call to prayer. A warm chuckle as your nene pulls up her chair and serves you another plate of ceebu jen.

38


AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST HAVE THEIR OWN RHYTHM.

Sounds announce our arrival in a new place, and slowly their rhythm reminds us that we’ve landed in Africa or the Middle East. In urban Senegal, you’ll find young entrepreneurs huddled in high-tech co-working spaces just as readily as you’ll stumble upon an open-air market selling fish from the morning haul. Jordan is a haven for Iraqis, Palestinians, Syrians and Norwegians, welcoming refugees and aid workers amidst regional unrest; and Rwanda, a refuge for the last wild herds of East Africa. Whether you’re dancing to the beat of a drum, paddling a pirogue out to sea or sipping black coffee in a souq, there are stories in the lands of our ancestors and wisdom in the echoes of their laughter. Come learn to speak French or Arabic, Pulaar or Wolof… there are stories waiting to be heard. We’re listening… are you?

39


SENEGAL IN THE SHADE OF THE BAOBAB TREE 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Discover true generosity: live with a Senegalese family, learn a new craft, drum and dance; find yourself deeply immersed in a new worldview.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOME-STAY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

40

and ask a question about your future. Spin

the time like many other programs out there. I have developed as an individual, as a global citizen, and as a contributing member of a community.” MICHAEL FORTENBERRY

and dance with Sufi mystics. Discover fluent Spanish speakers on a mangrove island. Speak

SAINT LOUIS

with a young man preparing to cross the Strait of TOUBA

DAKAR THIES

Gibraltar to find work in Spain. This country

SENEGAL

is a collision of influences: French, Islamic,

TA M BACO U N DA

KOLDA KEDOUGOU

MALI

gender, education, social justice and human migration. From Yoff, we travel on to the holy city of Touba, encountering Sufi mysticism and

African— and increasingly, American and

the mysterious Mouride Brotherhood. We trek through the gorgeous foothills of the

Chinese. Renowned for its hospitality and

Fouta mountains, visiting Pulaar villages, traditional healers, and environmental activists

tolerance, Senegal makes room for it all. Our journey begins in the peaceful fishing

GUINE A

This week sets the stage for an in-depth exploration of issues related to public health,

neighborhood of Yoff, where horse-carts crowd out taxis and pedestrians share the roads with parades. We spend the first week learning about cultural “do’s and dont’s”, practicing greetings in Wolof and

along the way. We come to rest for a week of home-stays, where students live in a traditional thatched-hut family compound with no electricity or running water. Students spend the day as locals do, working in the fields, milking cows, partaking in drumming and dance lessons, and sitting in on village meetings. As we sink into the rhythm of Senegalese life, we see that the tradition of teranga, the culture of giving, offers us many lessons about community and our own humanity.

French, and unpacking the term ‘development’. C A L L U S ( T O L L F R E E ) 1 . 8 0 0 . 9 8 2 . 9 2 0 3 O R ( I N T E R N AT I O N A L ) 0 0 1 . 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE  Felicia Jing, Cheyney Hagerup, Rebecca Thom

IN SENEGAL. Enter a fortuneteller’s hut

MAURITANIA

“The trip did an amazing job of giving us the right direction, but not holding our hands all

LEFT PAGE  Morgan Sutton

AF R IC A & MID D LE E AST:  SU M MER

YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN


R WA N DA DEVELOPMENT & PEACE-BUILDING 6-Week Summer Abroad Program “To exercise my body and mind, to play, to learn by doing, to sit and reflect. The most exciting part is being able to take it all home – my trip really doesn’t end here.”

30 DAYS

JULIA REICHELSTEIN

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Celebrate resilience: examine post-genocide reconstruction initiatives, participate in a learning service project with Congolese refugees, and track giraffes in Akagera National Park.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 18

UGANDA

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOME-STAY

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

CONGO

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF EAST AFRICA

RUHENGERI

KIBUYE

RWANDA. Known as “The Land of a Thousand

RWANDA B U TA R E

TANZ ANIA

BURUNDI

town of Butare for our first home-stay. Students begin independent study projects with local craftsmen, while a Rwandan-run

Hills”, Rwanda is at the forefront of African

NGO specializing in micro-grants offers

development, making it an ideal place to

us insight into the meaning of the term

study the relationship between traditional

‘development’. Returning to Kigali, we visit

models of international aid and the growing

memorial sites and take a closer look at the

movement towards entrepreneurship and innovation in East Africa.

history of the 1994 genocide. The final weeks of the course bring us

The course begins in Kigali, where students find an 'Africa' rarely shown in the media: a landscape of skyscrapers and highways. We quickly leave the honking streets of Kigali for the cooing hills of Nyungwe Forest. After a short orientation to Kinyarwanda, we depart on a trek among the awe-inspiring volcanoes of the Musanze region, listening for the distant rumblings of wild mountain gorillas.

to another learning service project with community members from a Congolese refugee camp; it takes us on a safari among zebras and elephants in Akagera National Park; and it brings us to the shores of the majestic Lake Kivu. Rwanda is a country of incredible resilience, natural beauty and diversity. Our course itinerary is designed to connect students with the daily realities of Rwandan life while providing a comprehensive overview of how this African nation is responding to

When we emerge from the woods, we find ourselves in the university

modern-day challenges.

WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

A FR ICA & M ID D LE EAST:   S UM M ER

TO A LAND OF MISTS AND MOUNTAINS:

KIGALI

41


MADAGASCAR ISLAND OF DIVERSITY 6-Week Summer Abroad Program

42 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Become a steward of the earth: understand the competing interests of economic development and resource conservation in an international hotspot of biodiversity.

June 28 – August 8

15 – 18 RUGGED TRAVEL

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

TOAMASINA

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

His stories are great, and he clearly enjoyed learning and using Malagasy.”

PA R E N T O F N AT E H O S K I N

and animal species in Madagascar are not found anywhere

and local environmental activists share a unique

else in the world. The Malagasy people are similarly unique.

perspective on this global issue.

AMPEFY

Over the past 2,000 years, immigrants have paddled dugout R ANOMAFANA PARK

ISALO PARK

TOLIARA

canoes across the Indian Ocean and floated rafts across the Mozambique Channel, blending the influences of Southeast Asia and Africa into a distinct Malagasy identity. Over the course of the summer, we uncover the diverse narratives of the Malagasy people, as well as the diverse species that inhabit this incredible island. Our journey begins in Ampefy, a village nestled in the shadows of a booming waterfall. A short orientation provides the foundation for our future travels, as we learn to navigate local transportation, speak with home-stay families and examine the

influences of globalization with a more critical eye. Next, we travel to the coast of the Mozambique Channel for our first home-stay. This community is grappling with the impacts of overfishing and marine habit destruction,

We return to the highlands, camping in the sandstone canyons of Isalo National Park and searching for lemurs in Ranomafana’s lush mid-altitude rainforest. The rest of the month takes us on a winding journey through rural homestays and a few learning service projects. Whether we’re meeting with policymakers in Antananarivo or looking for chameleons in Andasibe National Park, we come to realize that each creature has a role to play in shaping the future of Madagascar: it’s complex, it’s diverse and it’s an incredible place to explore what it means to be human in the 21st century.

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RIGHT PAGE  Riley Smith, Emelie Chace-Donahue

MADAGASCAR

LEFT PAGE  Eloise Schrier, n/a

AF R IC A & MID D LE E AST:  SU M MER 42

diverse and colossal in size, more than 80% of the plant

HOME-STAY

“Fantastic. Nate came home more confident, independent and self-actualized.

MADAGASCAR: THE EIGHTH CONTINENT. Stunningly A N TA N A N A R I VO

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS


“Dragons is stellar. It is the leader in student travel to developing nations. I can’t thank you enough!” PA R E N T O F P H O E B E S M I T H

JORDAN CROSSROADS OF TRADITIONS & MODERNITY 6-Week Summer Abroad Program

30 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Venture into the heart of the Levant: trek across the storied Wadi Rum Desert and discuss issues of resource scarcity with environmental activists.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOME-STAY

LANGUAGE LANGUAGE STUDY STUDY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

IR AQ AMMAN

MADABA

JORDAN

and Tweisi. Students gain a unique window into Bedouin life, both by

SENDS TEXT MESSAGES FROM HIS iPHONE. A

bonding with their home-stay siblings and by joining local mentors

camel drinks water out of a recycled Nestlé bottle.

to complete independent study projects (ISPs). Students may study

Pedestrians queue outside of KFC, just after Friday

dhobka, traditional Jordanian dance; join a falcon-hunter for his daily

prayers. The world certainly isn’t flat; if anything,

hunt; visit the local mosque; or meet with a women’s cooperative

it’s textured by the intersection of traditional

to learn about cultural narratives on gender.

values and modern consumerism. Add a decade of

Trading desert-scapes for metropolitan streets, our

regional unrest and forced migrations on top of that,

group travels north to Amman for an urban home-stay.

and you’ve found yourself at the epicenter of a hot conversation about human migration, state-building and

EGYP T AQABA

resource preservation in the modern-day Levant.

WADI RUM

Our journey begins in the heart of the Wadi Rum desert, SAUDI

AR ABIA

where Bedouin families host a traditional goat roast beneath

Here, we draw on a robust network of contacts within the development sector and the local arts scene to add perspective to our conversation about what it means to be Jordanian today. Our final days lead us into the ancient city of Petra and off to the shores of

a sea of stars. A four-day trek leads us along Lawrence-of-

the Dead Sea. Students interested in developing their

Arabia’s famed path, as we rise with the sun, study Arabic in

Arabic language skills while diving into a complex

the heat of the day, and play cesja in the late afternoon.

collage of identity politics will thrive on this four-week

We meet our first home-stay families in the villages of Desa

immersion in the Levant.

WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

A FR ICA & M ID D LE EAST:   S UM M ER

SYRIA

A BEDOUIN IN TRADITIONAL RED SHAMAGH

43


Take a beat. Listen for the rhythm of your own steps.

44


GAP YEAR SEMESTERS ARE AN OPPORTUNITY.

This is the first year of your adult life and it’s a good time to gain some perspective. You might find it from a snow-capped peak in the Andes or from a sleepy fishing village in Laos. You could be inspired by your first meditation retreat in the Himalayas or by an impromptu drum circle in Senegal. This is your time to wake up. To reconnect with curiosity. To find joy. To use your voice. To consider critical issues and be optimistic about cross-cultural solutions. It doesn’t take a classroom to be a student… are you ready for the world to teach you?

45


BR A ZIL

SOUTH AMERICA

PERU CUSCO CORDILLERA APOLOBAMBA PUNO S O R ATA L A PA Z COCHABAMBA

ANDES & AMAZON 3-Month Gap Year Program

CORDILLERA REAL

BOLIVIA

CHILE

AGES

Examine social movements and environmental conservation efforts in the mountains and jungles of Bolivia and Peru.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 12 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

and I owe that to my Dragons experience.” LAURA BURKE

snow on a ridge of the Cordillera Apolobamba. Gold miners bent over trays alongside the Madre de Dios… These scenes all speak to the many walks of life in Bolivia and

empowers homeless children with the skills to tell stories on stage. Charged up by this

Peru. Whether it’s a remnant of the Spanish empire or a tribute to the Aymara’s gods,

display of democracy in action, we strike out on our first trek, circling up at night to

the magic and mysticism that resonates from this sacred land seeps into every aspect

discuss the impacts of climate change as we witness glaciers receding before our eyes.

of daily life. Students on the Andes & Amazon semester have the opportunity to learn

GA P Y E AR   SE M EST ER

TREKKING

' The way I think and process things has fundamentally changed,

CHOLITAS IN BOWLERS. Three coca leaves pressed together for Pachamama. Fresh

46

HOME-STAY

In Peru, we re-trace ancient Incan trekking routes to

about issues of social justice and environmental activism, while the warm culture of

Machu Picchu, and venture deep into the Amazon

ayni, or reciprocity, makes them feel at home throughout their journey.

where we listen to indigenous leaders recount

The semester begins in the agricultural town of Tiquipaya in Central Bolivia. Here, students live with local families, largely of Quechua descent, and settle into the rhythms of daily life. Our time is characterized by intensive Spanish instruction, exposure to local

the impacts of natural resource extraction on their communities. This course highlights

activists in Cochabamba, and independent study projects (ISPs). This first month lays

the tension between

the foundation for our future travels, helping students develop critical language and

conservation and

leadership skills.

development, while offering

Ready for the next challenge, we set off for the twin cities of La Paz and El Alto,

students the language and

dramatic urban centers that sit above 13,000 feet amidst the snow-capped peaks

leadership skills necessary to lead a life

of the Cordillera Real. Here we partner with Teatro Trono, a local theater group that

of intrepid engagement.

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RIGHT PAGE  Lital Netter-Sweet

DAYS

DATES

LEFT PAGE  Danielle Strasburger, Tom Pablo

84

DESCRIPTION


BELIZE

G UAT E M A L A HONDURAS

CENTRAL AMERICA

E L S A LVA D O R NICARAGUA

ROOTS OF REBELLION

CO S TA R I C A

3-Month Gap Year Program

PANAMA

84 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Build Spanish language fluency, examine models of political activism and connect with land-based communities in Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 12 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOME-STAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W CENTRAL AMERICA: A NARROW STRIP OF STEAMING JUNGLES AND FIERY

in human rights, community health, and development provide opportunities to get

VOLCANOES, UNITES TWO MASSIVE CONTINENTS AND SPLITS THE WORLD'S

involved in contemporary struggles for continuity and change in Guatemalan society.

LARGEST OCEANS. Rising out of the sea at a confluence of five tectonic plates, this causeway of cultures and ecological diversity is an explosion of rapid biological and

Our final destination is Nicaragua, where communities have long relied on local solutions to social and environmental challenges. In the face of political strife, devastating war, and rapid globalization, these communities have joined together to

of adaptation, responding to environmental and social challenges with innovative

come up with creative and revolutionary responses in the form of radical people’s

communal strategies. The Central America Semester takes a hands-in-the-dirt approach

movements, progressive organizations, and innovative appropriate technologies.

to understanding indigenous culture and collective life in Guatemala and Nicaragua

While living in homes with local farmers and continuing with their one-on-one Spanish

through extended rural home-stays, one-on-one language study, work on communal

instruction, students learn about the revolution, participate in local agricultural co-ops,

farms, and a participatory examination of land-use and grass roots activism.

intern with NGOs, partake in the annual coffee harvest and meet some of the friendliest

In the western highlands of Guatemala, over eighty percent of the population

folk in this part of the world.

is indigenous Maya who maintain a legacy of rich cultural survival and community

Through a rugged and authentic exploration of some of the most remote regions

strength in the face of diverse external pressures. Living with indigenous families,

of Central America, the "Roots of Rebellion" semester seeks to unearth the complex

working the fields, and learning Spanish, we begin our semester with an experiential

issues facing indigenous and peasant communities working towards development

understanding of Mesoamerican culture and the legacy of conquest and resistance that

and conservation today. With Spanish lessons, rural home-stays on organic farms and

has played out here for five hundred years. Herbal healers, weavers, and community

learning service at the forefront, this semester program provides an experiential and

leaders share their arts and experience while conversations with local NGOs working

fresh perspective on relationships with land and community organization.

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G AP Y EA R S E M ESTE R

cultural change. Today the countries of Central America continue their historic legacy

47


RUSSIA

MONGOLIA

BEIJING

CHINA

XIAHE

CHINA

XI’AN

CHENGDU

SOUTH OF THE CLOUDS

KUNMING

NDIA

3-Month Gap Year Program

84 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Improve your Mandarin, practice a traditional Chinese art form, and explore ethnic minority communities along China’s northwest frontier.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 12 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOME-STAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

ISPs

48

and mentored community-engagement we explore

FASCINATION. With 5,000 years of history and an expansive tapestry of cultures, this

traditional Chinese approaches to healing, cooking,

country generously presents our adventurers with a fascinating semester experience.

body discipline, art and music. In Kunming,

Dragons’ semester in China does more than introduce the contemporary China that is

students live independently with Chinese host

seen in the country’s burgeoning cities; our course takes us deep among this country’s

families, many of whom represent the “new class”

various faces and across disparate urban and rural landscapes. Exploring little-seen

within contemporary society. At the Dragons

sides of this vast land, we challenge many preconceived Western notions about this

Program House, we gather for Chinese language

country. We venture into remote areas where China is still dramatically underdeveloped.

study, work on Independent Study Projects, hear

We explore regions of extraordinary natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

from visiting scholars, and cook traditional meals with

Inventive travel experiences are balanced with a strong language curriculum and a

fresh foods purchased at the local market.

comprehensive, inter-disciplinary exploration of modern Chinese history and economic development, society, and cultural tradition. Kunming—southeast of the Tibetan Plateau, within a few days’ reach of either

Two travel segments bookend our Kunming experience, with options to sink deep into Central Asian culture in China’s Northwestern Provinces, or traverse the dramatic valleys of the Hengduan Mountains in

Myanmar or Laos—is our home for six weeks of the program. This “city of eternal spring”

Northwestern Yunnan, or connect lost and forgotten Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries, or

is the capital of China’s southwest Yunnan Province, and it is an ideal location from

cross ancient stone bridges to link Southeastern villages. With a broad curriculum and

which we explore Han Chinese/minority relations, economic reforms and development,

an itinerary designed to explore both thriving urban centers and undeveloped villages,

environmental concerns, and China’s rich history. Through guest-lectures, discussions

our China semester offers an unparalleled comprehensive overview of today’s China.

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RIGHT PAGE  Kristin Brudevold, Scott Diekema

CHINA. FEW COUNTRIES EVOKE THE SAME CURIOSITY AND INTENSE

LEFT PAGE  Parker Pflaum, n/a

GA P Y E AR   SE M EST ER

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W


CHINA H

LHI

N E PA L

TIBET L A N G TA N G

N E PAL K AT H M A N D U

KANCHENJUNGA GANGTOK KALIMPONG DARJEELING

BHUTAN

H I M A L AYA N S T U D I E S 3-Month Gap Year Program

INDIA

84 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Experience the mysticism of the Himalayas: trek above 16,000ft, study traditional arts with a local master, live in a farming village, and sit for a Buddhist meditation retreat.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 12 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOME-STAY

TREKKING

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

"The village stay and the Kathmandu home-stay were by far the most powerful parts of the

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

course. Living with a family shed a lot of light on how I need to treat my family.”

THE HIMALAYAS. SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL,these colossal peaks with their vast

DA N N Y M I C H E L I N

web of rugged, isolated valleys and distinct ethnic groups have drawn only the most intrepid travelers from distant lands. Through rural and urban home-stays, ten days

work with a Tibetan doctor, or with Ayurvedic practitioners or shamanic healers. For

in a Buddhist monastery, high mountain trekking, learning service, and independent

those interested in community service projects, teaching English, volunteering in local

study, Dragons’ Himalaya students explore this remarkable region and its people,

orphanages, and participating in environmental awareness

encountering ancient spiritual traditions with deep roots in a mystical land.

and HIV/AIDS education programs are just a few of the

Our Himalaya Semester is based in the Kathmandu Valley, an ancient crossroads and

volunteer opportunities available. From Kathmandu we hike into the foothills of

language, students meet with local scholars and activists and learn about Nepal’s

the Himalaya to explore rural Nepali village life.

history, politics and culture while pursuing a wide range of independent study and

We settle into a calmer pace of agrarian life,

learning service projects.

living without electricity and learning about

The study of spiritual traditions is a central component of our Himalaya semester,

subsistence living. We also venture high into the

introducing students to a range of concepts in Buddhism, Hinduism and Shamanism.

Himalayas for an unforgettable trek amid the

From academic discourse to hands on study, students find areas of personal interest

earth’s tallest mountains. Hiking at elevations

to explore in depth during our time in Kathmandu. Bronze casting, jewelry making,

over 15,000 ft, we enjoy several weeks of active

stone carving, thangka (Buddhist iconography) painting, and music are just a few of the

exploration through one of the most ruggedly

apprenticeship opportunities available. Students interested in traditional medicine can

beautiful and dramatic areas on earth.

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G AP Y EA R S E M ESTE R

melting pot of Himalayan peoples. While living with host families and studying Nepali

49


CHINA

MANADO

BORNEO

INDONESIA

LUWUK

TA N A TO R A JA

MAKASSAR

MOROWALI KENDARI

C O M M U N I T Y, C U LT U R E & C O N S E R VA T I O N

WA K ATO B I

3-Month Gap Year Program

INDONESIA UBUD, BALI

84 DAYS

AUSTRALIA DESCRIPTION

Experience the majesty of the most diverse archipelago on Earth: live with a remote jungle tribe, spearfish with sea gypsies, and discuss conservation initiatives with local experts.

DATES

AGES

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 12 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

“I stood on top of a volcano, slept 100 feet up in a tree, lived on the ocean with sea nomads,

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W

became a part of four incredible families, and felt the compassion of countless Indonesians that went out of their way for me.”

SPANNING FROM MALAYSIA TO AUSTRALIA, WITH OVER 17,000 EQUATORIAL

LAUREN HARPER

ISLANDS, INDONESIA HOSTS THE WORLD’S HIGHEST LEVEL OF BIODIVERSITY AND ONE OF THE RICHEST CULTURAL TAPESTRIES ON EARTH. Our program begins

of Wakatobi, an extraordinary National Marine Park and home to the Bajau people

in Yogyakarta, on the island of Java. In this center for arts and culture, ritual crafts of

(otherwise known as “sea nomads”). Staying in the stilted bamboo huts of Sampela,

50

From Java, we head east to the island of Sulawesi and into the Tana Toraja region of the southern highlands, home of extraordinary Tongkonan architecture. Starting

students learn about Bajau culture, practices, and religion. We snorkel world-class coral reefs, learn from host fathers how to fish with spears and nets, attend indigenous ceremonies, visit endangered mangrove ecosystems, and look at various paradigms of environmental conservation. Heading east we travel to the mysterious Bandas, a small group of 10 volcanic is-

in the city of Rantepeo, we visit the famous buffalo

lands famous as a source of nutmeg and cloves. Featuring dramatic volcanic formations

market and wander the labyrinth of coffee and spice

draped in luxuriant vegetation and uninhabited islands wrapped in white sand beaches,

stalls. We then trek through terraced rice paddies

the Bandas boasts the world’s most biodiverse marine environment and much of our

and along mountain ridges. Living in home-stays,

stay is spent studying coral reef ecology and learning about the area’s rich marine life.

students are honored guests at a week-long funeral ceremony—a celebrated event that has brought international attention to Torajan culture. We then travel by boat to the southeastern archipelago

In ecology, a “niche” refers to a role taken by a kind of organism within its community. As we explore the many unique indigenous communities of Indonesia and their dynamic relationships to the world, we begin to understand that our “community” extends far beyond the other people in our own towns to all of the other life forms which sustain us.

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GA P Y E AR   SE M EST ER

and expertly performed as they have been for centuries.

LEFT PAGE  Aaron Slosberg

gamelan, Javanese dance and shadow puppetry are dutifully studied


KUNMING

CHINA

XISHUANGBANA

VIETNAM LUANG PRABANG

LAOS

MEKONG

VIENTIANE

THAILAND

LIFE ALONG THE RIVER

BANGKOK

3-Month Gap Year Program

CAMBODIA K R AT I E

PHNOM PENH

84 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

Examine issues of transboundary resource management within Asia’s largest river basin, explore diverse belief systems, and participate in community-driven service projects.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 12 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

RUGGED TRAVEL

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W FROM ITS SACRED HEADWATERS IN THE TIBETAN PLATEAU, THE MEKONG RIVER

the Secret War. We then slow down and enjoy

FLOWS 4,800-KM TOWARDS THE SOUTH CHINA SEA, cleaving a boundary between

rural home-stays on the idyllic river island of

Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, and coursing into the heart of mainland Southeast Asia. To

Don Dohn, relaxing into “Laos time” as we

the Tibetans, the Upper Mekong is a powerful spiritual entity. To the Chinese, the river

prepare for the final leg of our journey.

is a means of economic development. By focusing on the interdependency of people and the natural world, students on The Mekong Semester examine how the demand for

In Cambodia, we learn about the ancient Angkor empire and the tumultuous history of a region ravaged by war and

delicate ecosystems and traditional ways of life.

genocide. We meet with NGOs in Phnom

Our journey begins in China’s Yunnan Province where we trek through sacred

Penh and visit marginalized communities

Buddhist landscapes and examine the impacts of China’s controversial mega-dam

on houseboats. At the mouth of the

projects. In border villages, we explore transnational trade, ASEAN, and China’s impact

Mekong Delta, we reflect on the long-

on the cultural integrity and economic security of the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

term health of the river ecosystem and

Crossing into Laos, we explore the provinces of Luang Namtha, Bokeo, and

bring our great journey to a close.

Udomxai, some of the most remote regions in Southeast Asia, where cross-border trade and a booming ecotourism industry are contributing to rapid modernization. In Vientiane, we turn our focus towards public health initiatives, visiting the headquarters

“In order to truly break down barriers as a traveler, maybe all we need is to see that we are all humans, made up of the same stuff.”

of MAG, an international NGO working to clear unexploded ordnance leftover from WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

LOUISA KANE

G AP Y EA R S E M ESTE R

electricity and anthropocentric resource management is causing irreparable damage to

51


SYRIA

IR AQ AMMAN

MIDDLE EAST

MADABA

JORDAN

THE FERTILE CRESCENT

EGYP T AQABA WADI RUM

SAUDI

84 DAYS

3-Month Gap Year Program AR ABIA

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Venture into the heart of the Levant: live with Bedouin communities in Wadi Rum, and examine issues of resource scarcity and refugee resettlement with experts in Amman.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 12 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOME-STAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

52

STAND ON THE SHORES OF THE DEAD SEA AND RECOUNT STORIES FROM THE

for an urban home-stay. Here, we draw on a

OLD TESTAMENT AS YOU GAZE ACROSS THE INCREDIBLE EXPANSE OF JORDAN’S

robust network of contacts within the develop-

RIFT VALLEY. Hike up to the ancient citadel in the center of Amman, and count the

ment sector and the local arts scene to add

construction cranes silhouetted against the evening sky. Walk through the famous Souk

perspective to our conversation about what

Jara on Friday night and take your pick of succulent medjool dates, traditional shemagh

it means to be Jordanian today. We continue

and pirated DVDs. The tension between tradition and modernity is ever-present in the

our study of Arabic, drawing on resources at

storied land of the Levant. Students on Dragons’ Middle East Semester will have the

the University of Jordan, and we participate

opportunity to delve into the complex history of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,

in an extended learning service project.

while considering how resource scarcity and human migration are shaping the modern

The final weeks of course are a student-led expedition. This provides the group a unique

Our semester begins in the small villages of Desa and Tweisi just outside the Wadi

opportunity to delve further into a specific course

Rum desert. Bedouin families welcome us into their homes for the first few weeks of

topic, perhaps working alongside recently resettled

course, offering students a unique window into modern-day Bedouin life. We begin

Syrian refugees in Irbid; exploring the ancient city of Petra; or

daily Arabic lessons while local mentors help students initiate their independent study

interviewing Christian pilgrims amidst the interfaith community in Madaba.

projects (ISPs): topics may include dhobka—a traditional Jordanian dance, falconry, Bedouin law, or an inquiry into cultural narratives on gender, to name a few. Trading desert-scapes for metropolitan streets, our group travels north to Amman

Our Fertile Crescent itinerary is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of Jordan today, drawing on the complex narratives of Palestinian, Syrian and Iraqi refugees to add breadth to the conversation.

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RIGHT PAGE  Danny Wood, n/a

Middle East.

LEFT PAGE  n/a, n/a

GA P Y E AR   SE M EST ER

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W


CHINA

M A N DA L AY

M YA N M A R BAGAN

K ALAW

LAOS

SOUTHEAST ASIA M YA N M A R I N T R A N S I T I O N

YA N G O N

MAWLAMYINE

THAILAND

84 DAYS

3-Month Gap Year Program

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Witness democracy in action: meet with international development experts and volunteer at the largest monastic school in Myanmar.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 12 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W THERE ARE NO McDONALD’S IN MYANMAR. NO STARBUCKS. MEN STILL WEAR

ox-carts and bus-rides bring us to Mandalay,

TRADITIONAL LONGYI AND WOMEN USE THE BARK OF THE THANAKA PLANT

where we settle in at Phaung Daw Oo

AS A NATURAL SUNSCREEN. President Thein Sen opened Myanmar’s borders to the

(PDO), the country’s largest monastic

international community in 2011 after fifty years under a repressive military dictatorship,

school for our first cross-cultural

and students on this unique semester program have the opportunity to engage with

learning service project with the pre-

Myanmar’s unique cultural heritage, yet untouched by Western influences. Together, we

college students at PDO.

explore complex themes related to cultural preservation, economic development and

Crossing the border into Thailand, we head on to the Thai Plum Village, a

We begin our voyage at the tranquil Shewdagon Pagoda, where Nobel Peace Prize

Buddhist monastery in the lineage of master

winner Aung San Suu Kyi once asked the world to “Please use your liberty to promote

Thich Nhat Hanh. We learn more about the key

ours.” After soaking in the majesty of this Great Dagon Stupa, we hop on a train for

tenets of Theravada Buddhism from the young monks, and

orientation in Bagan, the ancient temple complex in the north. We become acquainted

draw comparisons to Buddhist practices in Myanmar.

with cultural ‘dos and dont's’, begin lessons in introductory Burmese and learn more

We then return to Myanmar where students take more ownership over their

about each other, building the foundation of the strong group experience that lies

experience, delving into Independent Study Projects (ISPs) and preparing for a final

ahead.

journey to Karen State, a historically autonomous area along the border of Thailand.

The next few weeks find us trekking through the hills of Kayah State and harvesting rice with our first home-stay families in the village of Atar. A combination of foot-travel,

Over the course of three months, students build core competencies as global citizens and discover community-led models for social activism.

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G AP Y EA R S E M ESTE R

political transition as they relate to the shifting face of Myanmar today.

53


CHINA

“Go to India, learn something new, light a fire, get excited.

LEH

Find that you can. Find that amid the craziness and noise, you have no choice but to find stillness in yourself.”

TIBE T

PA K I S TA N

NEPAL

DELHI

MARJORIE ISAACS

INDIA

VAR ANASI C A LC U T TA

INDIA

VISIONS OF INDIA 3-Month Gap Year Program

84 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Immerse yourself in the rich fabric of Indian life: meditate beneath the Bodhi tree, deconstruct the term ‘caste’, and become a new family member in India’s holiest city.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 12 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOME-STAY

ISPs

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

54

hosts, but with leaders of community service

STUDENTS IN AN INTENSELY THRIVING COMMUNITY BUILT ALONG THE BANKS OF

projects sponsored by schools, clinics, and

THE GANGES RIVER. Among the most sacred cities in India, Varanasi is a melting pot

environmental organizations. Independent

of ancient tradition, modern commerce and spiritual exploration.

Study Projects are a core component of

Depending on the season, we either begin or end our course with a mountain trek

Dragons’ India semester, giving students

deep into the Indian Himalayas. To communicate the breadth and depth of Indian culture

the chance to master new and fascinat-

and the complexities of the modern Indian State, we embark on trips to Delhi, Calcutta,

ing skills, develop a fresh perspective on

Agra and the Taj Mahal, and Bodghaya. However, it is our extended stay in Varanasi that

historical and social issues, and practice

frames this course, providing students a deep cultural encounter that encompasses

traditional Indian art forms. While engaging in

extended home-stays, yoga instruction, artist internships, ISP studies, and service work.

these studies, students also have the chance to

In Varanasi students see Hindus walk through dawn light for a ritual dip in their cherished

explore some of the subcontinent's most venerat-

Ganges, and they learn as well from the communities of Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs

ed and least-known places. From a trip to the Bodhi

and other devoted people who live and practice in this holiest of holy cities. It is in this inspirational celebration of life and transformation that we immerse our-

Tree and Temple at Bodhgaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment, to traditional local villages rarely visited by Westerners, students wit-

selves. Students live with welcoming families whose members might include world-re-

ness what it means to live in India in the 21st century. Throughout the journey, students

nowned sitar and tabla players, traditional doctors, university professors, or local arti-

and instructors collaborate to create spaces in which students discover new aspects of

sans. Daily language classes in Hindi not only help students communicate with Indian

compassion and leadership and grow to better know themselves.

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RIGHT PAGE  Christy Sommers, Anastasia Maranto

BASED IN VARANASI, THE CITY OF LIGHT, OUR INDIA SEMESTER IMMERSES

LEFT PAGE  n/a, Stew Motta

GA P Y E AR   SE M EST ER

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W


M AU R I TA N I A

SAINT LOUIS

DAKAR THIES

SENEGAL

WEST AFRICA

TA M B ACO U N DA

KOLDA

THE MANY STORIES OF AFRICA

KEDOUGOU

3-Month Gap Year Program

LABE

GUINEA

84 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Explore issues of human migration, community development and Islamic spirituality through intimate home-stays and learning service projects in rural Senegal.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 12 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOME-STAY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

P R O G R A M OV E RV I E W “My family in Sare Ilo didn't know me by my American identity.

AS YOU WALK DOWN THE STREET IN SENEGAL, PEOPLE GREET YOU WITH THE

All they knew about me was the deepest, most human parts of me that they saw everyday.”

WORD PEACE AND STRANGERS INVITE YOU INTO THEIR HOMES FOR A CUP OF TEA. You can feel Senegal’s famous hospitality, called teranga, the moment you set foot in Dakar, and students are encouraged to leave their preconceived identities and stereotypes of “Africa” at home, opening their hearts to the many stories that constitute modern-day Senegal. begins in a pirogue, a Senegalese fishing boat, as we cast off for home-stays on an island in the Sine-Saloum Delta. Here, we listen to our home-stay ‘parents’

GRACE McNALLEY

keeping our eyes peeled for the dolphins, manatees, and flamingos that call this unique environment home. Returning to mainland Senegal, we enter urban home-stays in Kolda. Students confront pressing development issues including health, unemployment, gender, human rights, and education through a series of NGO visits and mentored study. Heading east, we trek from village to village amidst the rolling hills around Kedougou, stopping to bathe beneath breathtaking waterfalls and speaking with local environmental activists along the way. The Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes: “Stories matter. Many stories

recount harrowing tales of canoe

matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used

journeys to Europe that so many make

to empower, and to humanize.” We leave Senegal with stories, many stories, far beyond

in search of work. We also partner with a local women’s cooperative to replant mangrove trees, and camp on nearby islands,

what media sources can tell us at home. Our last days in Senegal are punctuated by a flurry of phone calls as we say goodbye to the friends and family who took us in here, people whose stories we will continue to tell for years to come.

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G AP Y EA R S E M ESTE R

Our exploration of Senegalese identity

55


C O L L E G E -AC C R E D I T E D S T U DY A B R OA D A D D A G LO B A L P E R S P E C T I V E TO YO U R AC A D E M I C S T U D I E S Dragons’ Study Abroad offers college-accredited semester programs for ambitious students who are interested in engaging more deeply with the world and building the practical skills to make a greater impact as global citizens. We partner with Naropa University to offer college-accreditation. Naropa University is a Buddhist-inspired liberal arts university that offers undergraduate and graduate programs based on an educational philosophy of contemplative education. This educational approach emphasizes an acute awareness of place and of self amidst a rigorous liberal arts curriculum. Our Study Abroad Faculty possess a rich blend of academic training, life experience, and field-based teaching skills. When we recruit new Faculty we look for an equal measure of place-based expertise (4+ years of in-country experience) and a strong commitment to providing our students with the most exceptional educational experience possible.

S T U DY A B R OA D P R O G R A M S

COURSE OPTIONS

ANDES & AMAZON

THE REGIONAL SEMINAR

Immerse yourself in Spanish-language study, hone your backcountry skills, and examine trends in environmental conservation and social justice by working alongside community members in Bolivia and Peru.

WE OFFER FOUR INTERDISCIPLINARY CO U R S E S F O R AC A D E M I C C R E D I T O N E V E R Y S T U DY A B R OA D P R O G R A M .

C H I N A : S O U T H O F T H E C LO U DS Study Mandarin, live with a home-stay family in Kunming, and engage with issues of human rights and economic development through an extensive exploration of rural and urban communities in southern China. H I M A L AYA N S T U D I E S Trek through the Himalayas, participate in a 10-day introduction to Tibetan Buddhism and meditation, and delve into complex issues related to social equality, religious diversity and sustainable development.

A survey of regional history and politics, including an examination of resource management, economic development, public health policy and human rights. C O N T E M P L AT I V E I N T E R C U LT U R A L D E V E LO P M E N T & L E A D E R S H I P A course in cross-cultural leadership and communication

*Students may enroll in 1 to 4 academic courses per semester. Each course is worth 4 credits.

styles. Students explore their personal belief systems and consider alternative worldviews.

*Course credits are transferable to colleges

I N D E P E N D E N T S T U DY P R O J E C T ( I S P )

and universities across the country.

Individualized study with a local mentor. Students develop

Interested students should check with the

ethnographic research skills and practice working in cross-

Study Abroad office at their university to make sure that academic credits can be transferred.

cultural partnerships. L A N G U A G E S T U DY Daily lessons focused on increasing verbal competency.

VISIONS OF INDIA

Local home-stays and ISP partnerships help reinforce

Study Hindi, practice a traditional art form – such as yoga,

language acquisition.

tablas or Ayurvedic medicine, and connect with experts at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) to explore contemporary issues related to religion and social inequality. 56

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“The strengths of Dragons programs are tremendous attention to safety, great opportunities for travel into ‘the beyond,’ an impressive student-to-instructor ratio, varied experiences, and unique opportunities to grow and learn about yourself and a group of amazing peers.” P A R E N T O F K A I T L I N D O N N E L LY

RISK MANAGEMENT OUR EXPERIENCE We challenge our students, both physically and emotionally. Our job is to help students embrace that challenge while navigating the associated risks, safely, professionally and transparently. In our 20+ years of experience in the field, we’ve successfully trained over 1,000 Dragons Instructors and stewarded over 300,000 “in-field” days. Over time, we’ve built Risk Management systems and regional contacts that help us navigate a wide-range of unexpected challenges—from dog bites to lost passports to political instability. With every incident we’ve encountered, we’ve developed a broader understanding of safety issues within a regional context and we’ve worked hard to incorporate our new findings into the pedagogy that currently supports our students' experiences.

T H E R E A R E F O U R F O U N D AT I O N A L A S P E C T S O F O U R R I S K M A N A G E M E N T S Y S T E M : WE HIRE EXPERIENCED INSTRUCTORS

W E H AV E A R O B U S T N E T W O R K O F I N - C O U N T R Y R E S O U R C E S

Dragons Instructors average 30+ years in age, with 4+ years of in-country experience. When

Our organization is built on 20+ years of personal connections, and we often receive word of

needed, Instructors call on their linguistic fluency, local contacts and regional expertise to deftly

security issues before they are taken to press. We supplement word-of-mouth updates with

navigate unexpected risk management issues.

daily reports from the US State Department, the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control. If the occasion should arise, we leverage these contacts to mobilize the

W E P L AC E A P R E M I U M O N P R O F E S S I O N A L D E V E LO P M E N T

necessary resources immediately.

Each year, we coordinate a 2-week training focused on wilderness risk management, student group management and cross-cultural communication. This keeps our entire staff up-to-date

W E H AV E A 2 4 / 7 S U P P O R T T E A M I N B O U L D E R

with best practices in international experiential education.

The Dragons Risk Management Team is dedicated to ensuring the highest-quality international programming, with acute attention to the safety and security of our students, instructors and in-country partners. This steadfast team is on-call 24/7 while we have students in the field.

There are inherent and other risks in adventure and recreational activities and travel which we cannot control. Traveling in foreign countries, at high altitudes, in wilderness areas or mountainous terrain, presents real risks. Unpredictable changes in weather conditions, political instability, or recreational or travel activities such as trekking, backpacking, bike riding, or taking local transportation involve hazards that can lead to injury or possibly even death. Evacuations can be difficult, and can be complicated by severe weather, poor roads or other unforeseen circumstances that are beyond our control. On some of our programs we may be several days from competent emergency medical care. Students interested in our programs should understand the risks and hazards, and be willing to take personal responsibility for their well-being. This process begins when students are medically screened for our programs. In consideration of the primacy we place on risk management, we require a candid review of each student’s medical history, and students found to have withheld medical or psychological issues will be asked to return home early, without refund. Though courses vary in physical rigor, all students should be in reasonably good physical condition prior to attending a Dragons program. Some programs are much more strenuous than others; students should carefully read individual program descriptions for details. If you have questions about Dragons’ safety and security policies, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be more than happy to discuss the finer points of our Risk Management system with you. WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

57


O U R I N ST R U C TO R S D R A G O N S I N S T R U C T O R S A R E AT T H E C O R E O F O U R I N T E R N AT I O N A L P R O G R A M M I N G . They join our community from all walks of life – from the stacks at the Harvard Kennedy School, from a classroom in Urumqi, or perhaps from a window seat on the Trans-Mongolian Express. When they begin their first course, Dragons instructors have an average of 4+ years of in-country experience. We hope that the bios below give you a window into the diversity of skills and experiences that contribute to Dragons’ strong culture of mentorship and responsible community engagement.

Long Yun,  China

Thinlas Chorol,  North India

B.A. Physical Education, Yunnan Normal University

B.A. from Jammu University

A gong fu teacher by trade and an experiential educator by practice, Long Yun first joined Dragons in 2010. Over the past five years, Long Yun has led Dragons courses all over southern China, and currently works full-time on Dragons’ Princeton Bridge Year Program in Kunming. There’s a poetry in the slow measured movements of gong fu, limbs moving like the arch of a calligraphy brush, and students are likely to learn as much from Long Yun’s mindful disposition as they are from her artful navigation of Chinese culture.

Thinlas is the founder of the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company, the first travel company in Ladakh to be solely owned and operated by women. A strong advocate for eco-friendly, community-based tourism, Thinlas helps both Dragons students and local developers understand the interconnected nature of natural resources and human development. Thinlas is incredibly accomplished—voted the Vellore Institute of Technology’s “Person of the Year” in 2015 for her contributions to the female job market in Ladakh—and we feel privileged to work with such a strong female role model on our North India programs.

Michael Liebenluft,  China

Caitlin McKimmy,  Himalayas, North India

M.A. Performance Studies, Shanghai Theatre Academy B.A. East Asian Studies and Theater, Yale University

M.T.S. in Buddhist Studies, Harvard Divinity School B.A. in Religion and Neuroscience, Carleton College

Michael first moved to Shanghai after being awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to teach and study at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. His theater repertoire covers a diverse range of topics, from hair salons to Mongolian history to Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WWII. Some of his most memorable moments in China include camping atop the Great Wall, picnicking with a group of Tibetan monks, and sampling stir-fried honeybees in a Miao village. Michael’s enthusiasm for the human experience is infectious; it lights up a stage and it certainly shines through in his students.

Caitlin once found the word “Dragons” spelled out in stones at the crest of a high mountain pass in North India. Intrigued by this group of intrepid “Dragons”, Caitlin applied for an instructor position and has led courses in the Himalayas ever since. A regional expert, Caitlin speaks Tibetan, Hindi and Spanish; she’s lived in a Buddhist monastery in central India, taught English in Northeast Tibet, interviewed Sri Lankan forest hermits about love, and worked with the Tibetan community in exile to understand their conception of “Buddhist Ecology.” Caitlin believes that the upheaval of conscientious travel can unearth something inexpressibly rich within us.

Emilie Kirk,  Southeast Asia

Claire Bennett,  Southeast Asia, Himalayas

M.Sc. Soils & Biogeochemistry, University of CA - Davis B.Sc. International Agricultural Development, University of CA - Davis

M.A. History, University of Cambridge

Emilie first set foot in Asia an AFS exchange student in 2003, and she fell in love. Emilie feels particularly connected to rice-based agriculture, and has had the privilege of working in Thailand, Sri Lanka, California, the Philippines, and Laos while pursuing a masters degree in international agricultural development and soil science. Over time, she has become fluent in Lao and Thai and remains deeply committed to finding a global solution to food security. As an educator, Emilie spices up traditional teaching modalities with her love of improvisational dance, cooking and art.

Claire is driven by a passion for global equality and social justice. She first ventured to Asia as a volunteer in Nepal and later returned to found a rural development organization, PHASE. Since then, she has spent time volunteering in Cambodia, coordinating regional strategy for “global education” within the UK school system, and facilitating Global Youth Action - a global work project for disadvantaged youth. Claire is an incurable optimist and has boundless energy – mainly fueled by caffeine from her British tea-drinking habit. She’s currently writing a book on the value of learning service, instructing courses for Dragons, and working as a freelance development consultant.

Luke Hein,  China

Chime Dolma,  North India

B.A. English, Minor in Asian Studies, Auburn University Luke spent his senior year of high school living in China and never looked back. Since then, he’s explored the nuances of Chinese culture by interviewing migrant workers, interning at CNN, teaching English and traveling by foot, bus, plane, train, horse, and tractor through rural and urban China. Luke is especially fascinated by the country’s regional diversity and the rural-urban divide; his article, “Who Are the Migrants?” appears in FROMzine. Luke epitomizes the idea of life-long learning, and when he’s not instructing for Dragons, he’s working hard to compile a book of Chinese short stories and stay sharp on a slew of stringed instruments. 58

M.A. International Educational Development, Teachers College, Columbia University B.A. Political Science and Chinese (double), Middlebury College Chime grew up in Kham, Tibet as an illiterate nomadic yak herder until the age of thirteen. She took a perilous journey from Tibet to India in pursuit of education, eventually immigrating to the United States as a teenager. She is a winner of the Gates Millennium Scholarship and the Kathryn Davis Peace Scholarship. Fluent in Tibetan, English, and Chinese, Chime is moving on to Spanish: to us, she represents the archetype of a life-long learner.

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Rita Suwantari,  Indonesia

Elley Cannon,  Jordan

B.A. in English, Sanata Dharma University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

B.A. Arabic & Int’l Letters, magna cum laude, Tufts University Fellow, Center for Arabic Studies Abroad, American University in Cairo

Rita was born and raised in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She is the youngest of 9 children and currently lives with 13 of her family members. In her words, “It is amazing! I love to be in a crowd.” On course, everyone benefits from her easygoing nature and innate compassion; and traveling with 12 students is nothing new. Rita got her start as a guide with ViaVia, a Belgian travel company and after 15 years in the industry, we were lucky enough to harness her talents as an experiential educator. Rita is an invaluable mentor, graciously helping students and instructors unpack the intricacies of Indonesian culture.

Raised in the redwoods of California, Elley grew up aching to explore the world. For her senior thesis, Elley translated an Arabic novel by Moroccan author Rachid Nini into English. Next, she won a highly competitive fellowship from the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad and spent a year studying in Egypt. Later she worked as the Study Abroad Coordinator for Middlebury College in Amman, Jordan. With a nuanced understanding of the modern Middle East and a biting Arabic tongue, Elley is an exquisite educator. Students find solace in her warm sense of humor and her passion for issues of social justice.

Caleb Brooks,  Southeast Asia

Luis Alvarado,  Latin America

MSc Community Wellbeing in Disaster and Development, Northumbria University, 2011 B.S. Religion and Social Work, University of the Cumberlands, 2005.

B.A. Spanish Language and Literature, B.A. Fine Arts, Truman State University

Caleb first traveled to Southeast Asia as a volunteer in 2003. From 2006-2008 he lived in Cambodia’s Kandal Province working at Resource Development International, a wonderful NGO focusing on education, health, and water quality. The next few years found him popping up in various spots around the globe: riding the Trans-Mongolian from Beijing to Moscow, writing a thesis on post-conflict development in Liberia, and pedicabbing back at home in Kentucky. Caleb tries hard to approach every experience as a learner, and it certainly rubs off on his students.

Inspired by the intact cultures of the Mayan people of Mesoamerica, Luis has spent several years living, working and learning in Central America. Over time, he developed an interest in regenerative agriculture and traditional healing. Since beginning work with Dragons in 2011, Luis has had the opportunity to explore those interests in further flung reaches of the world, including Nepal and India where he developed a deep and abiding interest in the traditional spiritual and healing practices of South Asia. Luis currently works for Dragons in a number of capacities while continuing to pursue his passions in language, music, and health.

Sarah Bolasevich,  Himalayas

Dhyana Kuhl,  Nicaragua

M.T.S. South Asian Religious Traditions, Harvard Divinity School B.A. Religious Studies and Multidisciplinary Studies, Stonehill College

M.A. in International Education Development, Columbia University B.A. Language, Literature and Culture, Antioch College

Sarah is a humanist at heart. She began studying the human process of “makingmeaning” of the world as an undergraduate student, and it has since led her on a wild path, from Kathmandu to Lhasa to the base of Mt. Kailash, delving deep into the tenets of Tibetan Buddhism. Sarah currently speaks five languages, and has built a base of Asia-specific expertise through her work as a teacher’s assistant for SIT Nepal, and later as a graduate student at Harvard Divinity. On course, Sarah works hard to help students to discover their own voices and find a place in the global community as informed, compassionate people.

Dhyana has been working in the field of education and international development for almost 15 years. She’s worked as a classroom teacher across the Americas; she partnered with the CRESP Center for Transformative Action at Cornell University to found a cultural exchange program; and coordinated many development projects in Nicaragua, notably partnering with “Cooperativa INNOVA”, a nonprofit that combats climate change and unemployment by training young leaders to implement sustainable technologies. Dhyana is a powerhouse with a heart of gold, and students will be lucky to call her a mentor.

Cho Chor,  Cambodia

Kane Smego,  Latin America

Cho grew up in a remote area of Siem Reap, Cambodia very near the ancient city of Angkor Thom. He is the oldest of 9 siblings and helped to teach and raise them. Today, Cho is a dedicated educator, teaching Khmer, guiding for Dragons, and instructing for PEPY Tours. Cho believes that storytelling can change the world, and he generously shares multiple narratives about Cambodia’s history, traditions and cultures with our students. The more time that students spend with him, the more they begin to see the resilience and beauty of the Cambodian people reflected in his ever-present smile.

B.A. in Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Babacar Mbaye, Senegal

Irene Platarrueda,  Latin America

It takes a wise man to know one, and sometimes it feels hard to quantify all that Babacar brings to a Dragons program. Babacar is an educator at heart, and has worked as an English teacher in Senegal since 1997 after receiving his MA in English. Babacar has been working with Dragons since 2006, first supporting Dragons summer courses and more recently moving into a full-time position with our Princeton Bridge Year program. Although students see Babacar as their fearless leader, he maintains that he is first and foremost a student of their unique perspective and wisdom.

B.A. in Socio Cultural Anthropology from the National University of Colombia

WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

Kane is a performing artist, writer, National Poetry Slam Finalist, and youth educator raised in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Kane’s first big break came after he recorded oral histories of the 2011 uprisings in Egypt and Morocco, eventually aired on NPR and American Public Media. Later that year, Kane co-founded a youth arts and education nonprofit called Sacrificial Poets, where he helped underserved youth tell their stories. Since then, Kane has performed all over Africa, Central America, the Middle East, and Europe, notably facilitating a cross-cultural hip-hop exchange for the US State Department. Kane believes that language is a tool for empowerment, and hopes to help every Dragons student find their voice.

Irene spent her early childhood in the Colombian Amazon forest where her mother worked with indigenous communities. Later, her family moved to the shores of Lago Atitlan in Guatemala. As she grew up, Irene came to believe that the real richness of our planet lies in the diversity of the human experience. Irene has since worked with the United Nations Development Program on a joint peacebuilding initiative with the Colombian government. Irene is committed to holistic community building, and works with Dragons students to help them realize the fullness of their potential. 59


MAPMAKERS ONCE DREW DRAGONS TO REPRESENT LANDS UNKNOWN. BOLD EXPLORERS WHO VENTURED BEYOND THE MAP’S EDGE WERE SAID TO GO

“ where there be dragons ”… There are people who live their lives for adventure, exploration and knowledge… people who are willing to venture into the unknown for the sake of discovery. For those people, we offer incredible experiences. We hope you are one of them.

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOME-STAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

TREKKING

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

INDEPENDENT STUDY PROJECTS

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY (FOI)

TOLL-FREE: 1.800.982.9203 -OR- 303.413.0822 | FAX: 303.413.0857 | INFO@WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM 3200 Carbon Place #102,  Boulder CO 80301

WWW.WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM

Dragons 2016 Catalog: Summer, Gap & College-Accredited Programs  

Please enjoy our 2016 course catalog. We're excited to share new programs in Sikkim, Madagascar and Myanmar. If Dragons sounds like your typ...

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