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Partnerships i n

g l o b a l

e d u c a t i o n

Customized global citizenship & leadership programs in the developing world since 1993

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In the days


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before the world had been fully charted,

map-makers would draw in to represent the lands that were still unknown. Bold explorers who ventured beyond the map’s edge were said to go

“where there be dragons.” i n t ro d u c t io n

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d r a g o n s

who we are and what we do where we go why partner with dragons? our 3 core values our 9 program components Something Hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges – Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go. Rudyard Kipling


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p ro c e s s


4 5 6 8 9 e x a m p l e s

the course design process critical global issues project-based and service learning comprehensive language and cultural studies m o v i n g

10 12 14 16

f o r w a rd

cost, timing & long-term development


Dragons partnership programs combine the best in experiential and classroom education. Through travel, service learning, and intellectually challenging experiences, students engage fully in the world.

Working with mature and experienced guides, Dragons collaborative programs build in an established core curriculum that fosters leadership, cultivates personal responsibility, and engages the whole student, providing an ideal complement to classroom-based learning in global studies.

Partners include: Princeton University, Bridge Year Program Phillips Exeter Academy Hawken School Carleton College The Lawrenceville School Norfolk Academy Castilleja School Riverdale Country Day The Archer School for Girls Cathedral School for Boys Hathaway Brown School

“Dragons demonstrates, at every level, a profound commitment to creating the very best student experience abroad. The caliber of their on-site staff, their tireless attention to risk management, and their truly innovative approach to experiential learning make them a valued program partner.� John Luria, Director - Bridge Year Program Princeton University

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Dragons is a community of dedicated and innovative educators who believe firmly We initially partnered with Dragons to run a comparative religion and trekking program in Sikkim in 2011. This year, we are building a program in Myanmar focused on literature and immigration. The expansive nature of their curriculum and the veteran experience of their instructors have helped us provide breakthrough learning for students that will stick

that authentic, well-intentioned and carefully crafted cross-cultural programming promotes self-assured leadership and global citizenship.

It’s who we are By engaging with foreign cultures on basic human levels, we strive to mitigate racism, foster compassion, and nurture lives that are built on knowledge and wisdom. The relationships, curriculum and resources that we’ve built over the years ensure our partners a co-authored learning experience that will deeply broaden students’ understanding of the world and inspire confidence in their own abilities. When considering the level of care and intention that we put into every institutional relationship, you’ll see that Dragons is the finest, best staffed, and best-executed overseas partner available.

More than just a custom-group travel company, we work exclusively with your vision to employ the best in experiential education, academic study, group travel, and cultural immersion. Our course-design process ensures a singularly unique program that specifically addresses your goals and objectives while employing a core curriculum that nurtures holistic student growth in global citizenship, self-awareness and with them for the rest of their lives. I’m committed to Dragons as a go-to partner for providing the highest quality and safest programming abroad. Cris Harris, Director - Writing Center Outdoor Leadership Program, Hawken School

leadership skills. No two Dragons programs are ever the same, and students will not feel as though they’re moving through a revolving door, on the heels of one group, to be replaced quickly by another. Rather, they enjoy the authenticity and intimacy of intentionally planned and expertly facilitated experiences that have been crafted exclusively for them.


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Along the Map’s Edge, in the valleys and landscapes that offer extraordinary learning opportunities.

since 1993


I worked with Dragons to plan a course to Guatemala

and mountains of developing countries, there are cultures Dragons has worked with inspired teachers and administrators

g o ?

for 7th and 8th grade boys focused on language study and cultural immersion. I was pleased by the planning process and found Dragons easy to work with. They


develop collaborative programs throughout Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

... and where we go.

understood my desire for appropriate programing for middle school and created a dynamic yet balanced itinerary for us. The leadership thrilled me during the trip as well - we had three Dragons instructors and three school chaperones, which was phenomenal. I’ve traveled to five countries with four international companies and would only recommend Dragons - I felt like we had great support, were safe, and had an

China Jordan Guatemala Nicaragua


Nepal India

Rwanda Peru Bolivia


Thailand Vietnam Cambodia Laos Myanmar Indonesia

In a world being fractured by cultural misunderstanding, we believe that tomorrow’s leaders will be most effective when they have been informed by close encounters with the other.

Where do you want to take your students?

authentic experience that many students would not be able to replicate when traveling with their families. Also, there were no hidden costs or expected tips which I’ve experienced with other companies. Sarah Roggero, Spanish Teacher Cathedral School for Boys

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Collaborative work with Dragons will increase the depth and quality of your students’ experience, while reducing cost, hassle and risk.

Why partner with Dragons? a g r e a t e r l e v e l o f e n g a g e m e n t : Our experienced, well-trained field-staff collaborate directly with teachers and professors to develop original programs that consistently provide profound opportunities for students. Recent research by the study abroad industry has illuminated the fact that overseas learning experiences are dramatically more resonant when they are accompanied by a strong mentor relationship. Our field staff is composed of mature educators who have years of high-level personal and professional experience, and the skills needed to teach, guide, and empower students in profound ways. Having lived, worked, studied or volunteered overseas, our instructors are able to tap into their unique backgrounds, sharing with students the personal connections that they have made. With a pool of more than 1,000 field-staff, with a year-round presence in many of the countries in which we work, and with regional Program Houses – complete with stocked libraries and to which we attach regional support personnel, Dragons is able to connect students to uniquely-rich learning experiences that are well beyond the scope of conventional tourism. b e t t e r v a l u e : Tourism – the act of journeying to a new place for new experience and for pleasure – has its place; at Dragons, however, we provide experiences for the traveler, developing and stewarding meaningful encounters that evince Global Citizenship, that educate - profoundly, and that afford our students a deeper understanding of the human experience and their place within it. The depth of learning that we provide has been workshopped and practiced over hundreds of thousands of student days in the field. Teachers and w

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l e s s h a s s l e : How would you coordinate a home-stay in a remote part of the Andes, or arrange a meeting with the Dalai Lama, or source Arabic language instructors, or arrange to meet a dissident author in China? If you were to make every day of your students’ travel experience a brilliant learning opportunity, how would you structure an itinerary to ensure that each student’s needs and interests were being met?

a s a f e r p r o g r a m : Dragons’ risk-mitigation begins in our marketing and admissions process, when we begin to tone-set the experience. Pre-course direction covers essentials in personal care, from inoculation recommendations to suggestions for preparing to work within a new cultural context. Instructors write letters to students and often visit a school to meet with concerned parents. Throughout our tone-setting process, we create the container for the course, wherein students feel safe entering their learning zone while respecting the safety limits drawn by the instructional staff and accompanying teachers. Our 72-hour safety plan begins when students first meet their instructors. Throughout the course, instructors communicate with our risk managers, and should an

With administrators who speak over fifteen languages, with programhistories that span our twenty-three years in business, and with a pool of over experienced guides, we think forward, research, design and implement the richest available learning experiences so that teachers and administrators can focus on co-teaching and on their own experience.

event occur which requires immediate attention, our on-call emergency response team is available 24/7. Finally, our instructors’ first-hand knowledge of in-country risk issues and medical facilities ensures that safety considerations are paramount in all aspects of course design and implementation.

administrators seeking to provide a comparable level of deep engagement would have to allocate exponentially more resources to source the contacts, develop the leadership and build the support systems that Dragons makes available.


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Whether it’s a ten day language course in Guatemala, or a three week course focusing on water rights in North India, each program is built on the foundation of our core curriculum, weaving together up to

nine program components in a three-phase skills progression towards the inculcation of our core learning outcomes: global citizenship, self-awareness and leadership.

Dragons core curriculum: a holistic foundation g l o b a l c i t i z e n s h i p : Courses engage issues in social justice and equity, globalization,

race power and privilege and sustainable development by role-modeling a

global citizenship

dedication to social justice and a respect for diversity, while promoting a sense of responsibility


based on the belief that every individual can make a difference.

inter-connectedness compassion



curiosity authenticity

self-awareness responsibility ownership courage self-reliance

leadership and skill building

How can we help students harness privilege and opportunity for a common, global good?

s e l f - a w a r e n e s s :  Instructors and teachers skillfully offer opportunities for students to reflect on their own life through new perspectives and experience, through a connection with the “other.” Programs cultivate student curiosity and ultimately, help them embrace their most authentic selves. How do we facilitate students’ awareness of personal and cultural values, strengths, and challenges?

l e a d e r s h i p a n d s k i l l b u i l d i n g :  Throughout each program students are offered new skills such as intercultural competency, foreign language, expeditionary behavior, and independent field research, and hold a refined sense of leadership capacity. Instructors facilitate this process by modeling authentic leadership, teaching skills and lessons, and offering feedback and mentorship throughout the course. How do we elucidate our students “best self ” and empower them to work well with others?


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In co-authoring a powerful and holistic student experience abroad, Dragons’ Program Directors work directly with you to construct an itinerary from our nine Program Components. Components are incorporated to varying degrees depending on your defined learning outcomes, and in some cases, left out completely.

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Dragons participants travel in a style that enables them to genuinely know the people of the countries we visit. This often isn’t the fastest or most comfortable way to travel, but for adaptable participants it offers the most authentic experience.

h ome - s ta y s

Home-stays take students to the core of their experience. Families share Dragons commitment to expanding participants’ understanding of their culture. All have been selected because of the safety of their home and their enthusiasm in working with students.

tre k k i n g & w i l d e r nes s e x p l ora ti on

s ervi ce l ear ni ng / l ear ni ng to s erve

s urvey of devel opm ent i s s ues

i ndependent s tudy projec ts (I SPs )

lang uag e stud y

introd uc tion to p hilosop hy & c omp arative relig ion

c ontemp orary issues c urric ulum

Intensive foot travel Dragons works with Through meetings The Independent All courses incorporate Participants are Each course lends enables us to venture individuals and with development Study Project is an some degree of introduced to the itself differently to to towns isolated from organizations that professionals, opportunity for each language training. We commonly-shared the introduction of modern technological have a long-standing government officials, student to choose a expect our students religious and particular academic influences and to commitment to the and local activists, topic of particular will want to interact political thinking themes. While some contemplate the human community’s needs. students learn firstinterest and examine with locals as closely that has helped to programs explore a interconnection to the Project-based learning hand how efforts to it throughout the as they can, and few shape the country’s particular global issue, natural ecosystem. may range from improve quality of life length of the course. things do more to culture. We survey others offer a survey classroom teaching to may both positively ISP choices are self- empower participants, religious traditions of diverse themes health-care outreach, and negatively directed and supported and facilitate an through temple visits, and topics through or hands-on building impact the region’s by field-based research ease of cultural monastery stays, lectures, readings, and projects. people, culture and methodology and local understanding. and meetings with structured learning environment. mentors. accomplished teachers opportunities. and practitioners.


dynamic & collaborative course-design process a c o - p o w e r e d p r o c e s s : Each custom partnership course has one or two faculty members that work with the Dragons administration and instructors through a course design process. Once the course is well defined, we work carefully to integrate faculty and instructors into a unified leadership team and empower them to work alongside Dragons instructors as co-facilitators and field-educators, often creating a space for them to teach to key themes, and helping manage the group’s learning. g r o u p s i z e : Small groups enable us to provide low-to-the-ground, high-quality experiential education courses wherein we can best address the personal needs, interests and goals of each student. The flexibility of small groups enables us to take advantage of unique opportunities, and all experiences are more personal, interesting, and engaging. Most importantly, a small group size allows us to more easily address safety concerns and respond to changes in student health. Simultaneously, Dragons is open to working with groups of any size, employing strategic group splits, and maintaining an intimate participant-to-instructor ratio. Ideally, we ask that you recruit 8-14 students to participate on a course. Faculty and teachers will serve as a liaison between Dragons and students throughout the year. We will provide all of the

course-design process

the necessary admission paperwork, including visa, flights, preparation materials, and pre-course information, but we will often ask for support in distributing and collecting the materials. We will of course always be available to speak with students or their parents about the program to answer any questions they may have. c o u r s e - d e s i g n p r o c e s s : The most effective partnership programming begins by defining intended learning outcomes, and working backwards to design experiences that will actively create opportunities for students to engage:


The course-design process learning outcomes

Learning outcomes, whether values-based outcomes such as global citizenship and leadership, skills such as language acquisition, or curriculum-based outcomes such as history or religion, allow us to differentiate between a trip and a program.

We have worked with Dragons to support a faculty-led field research seminar in Guatemala since 2006. The

define program components

Program components define the building blocks for a program that intentionally creates space for students to engage in the learning that will lead them to our defined outcomes.

Dragons instructor provided a complementary role by bringing experiential pedagogy to help students reflect and process their experiences, as well as solid training in risk management and a depth of experience on the ground. From what I’ve seen, Dragons instructors have

build a progression

a balanced skill-set and a knack for connecting with

Every course builds experiences and lessons that allow students to acquire new skills, to practice those skills by failing forward, and ultimately to embark on an expedition that allows instructors to lead from behind.

finalize itinerary

While many programs begin with a list of places to visit, we believe that a final itinerary should be crafted around the activities and experiences that will best lead students to our defined learning outcomes.

sign students up

Dragons admissions team provides marketing materials, online registration, and support with all paperwork and logistics throughout the admissions process. students, and working well in dynamic leadership

pre-course curriculum

Program Directors work with you to build a course reader, introduce key themes, and to build the group “container� through intentional goal setting, tone setting, and visits by Dragons instructors.

teams, which makes them a valuable resource on any study abroad program. Helena Kaufman, Director - Off-Campus Studies Carleton College


Often tied to specific classroom curriculum, Dragons partners with professors and teachers to build programming around specific topics of paramount global concern. Previous courses have explored environmental conservation

programs that study critical global issues in Vietnam, global health and international relations in China, cultural survival in Peru and Guatemala, women and development studies or food security in India, human rights in Cambodia, and many others. Courses designed around a particular theme engage distinguished local professors, development professionals, artists, and government officials to illuminate multiple perspectives, and offer hands-on, experience-based understanding. These courses benefit greatly from Dragons program


college-level study abroad curriculum resources as well as our program house libraries, which offer a relaxing sanctuary to host group discussions, concerts, and language classes.

critical global issues

These programs represent just a few examples of successful collaboration around critical global issues.


Featured Program Profile Moving China: How Migration is Changing Villages and Cities PROGRAM OVE R VI E W:

This course considers the environmental and social

implications of mass migration from countryside to urban environments, with additional emphasis on the sustainability of current infrastructure development-

Our program in Cambodia offered access to people and places I could not have otherwise experienced. Each day we engaged in meaningful human

levels. Our exploration includes both rural and urban environments in

connections and profound experiences that changed

Southwest China.

the way we will talk about Global Studies. Overall,


Chinese history and politics, Maoist China, migration, development

policies in strategies in contemporary China, environmental sustainability, agricultural practices. IN COLLABORATION WITH PHILLIPS EXETER ACADEMY, EXETER, NH

the program was a great success, and one of the best professional experiences of my life. David Medvitz, Technology Education Pingree School


Other collaborative programs built around critical global issues: Socio-Cultural Field Research Seminar in Guatemala and Chiapas in collaboration with


Northfield, MN


Poverty and Development in India in collaboration with SCHOOL,


Lawrenceville, NJ


For more information and examples of custom program itineraries, please call 303.413.0822 or email


Effective, collaborative work begins when students are guided to ask the right questions: •

Was the project initiated by the local community, and is there community ownership and buy-in?

Does the project value capacity-building over infrastructure development?

Was the community service project decided because of actual needs in the community or because of the ease of integrating unskilled workers into the tasks?

What is the life-span of the project, and how will the project build on itself once outside actors are no longer involved?

project-based and service learning Through participation in project-based programs, students gain a larger understanding of international development and efforts to address systemic problems in health care, education, access to clean food and water, etc. More significantly, though, students develop a moral compass in which they see more clearly how their actions and decisions impact the people and environment outside of their immediate communities. As a cornerstone to Global Citizenship Education, program

learning how to be of service becomes a process of developing empathy for those whose resource-


profound lessons that aren’t available to those living in more developed countries.

examples: and

service learning

base and opportunity-levels may be less, but whose life-histories and cultures provide often At the university, high school, and middle-school level, Dragons has developed project and internship-based programs from ten days to nine months featuring collaboration with reforestation organizations, after-school programs, rural clinics, animal rescue projects, youth leadership organizations, and micro-finance NGOs amongst many others.

These programs represent just a few examples of successful collaboration around project-based learning.


Featured Program Profile Environmental and Social Justice in Highland Guatemala PROGRAM OVE R VI E W:

Through direct exchange and collaboration with local

peers and community experts, students engage in a hands-on project-based course

Our Dragons Instructors, Keith and Matt were incredible. They were open to suggestion and critique and always kept Dana and me in the loop. I felt our communication was strong before and during the course. Matt and Keith both empowered and

in sustainability alongside Q’eqchi’ and Tz’utujil Maya women. Visits to local

supported us. They also adapted extremely well to

initiatives for reforestation, traditional agriculture, and food security, provide

changes in schedule and came up with new plans on

important background and context while students gain new skills in permaculture design practices. The course culminates in a collaborative school garden project. MAI N THE M E S:

Permaculture, appropriate technology, sustainable agriculture,

Mayan cultural representation and history, human rights, contemporary social

the fly. We could rely on them to think through the best options for the students and communicate that to us and ask for input when we had any to give. They also were knowledgeable and placed primary concern on kids’ health and safety. They did this

movements, women’s education and gender studies. IN COLLABORATION WITH ARCHER SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, LOS ANGELES, CA 2 INSTRUCTORS – 2 TEACHERS – 13 STUDENTS AGES 14-17 – 10 DAYS – TUITION 2,450

Other project-based collaborative programs: Bolivia, service and culture in the high Andes in collaboration with MIDDLE SCHOOL,


Hillsborough, CA


Princeton Bridge-Year Program in India, Senegal, and China in collaboration with PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, Princeton, NJ 1 DRAGONS SITE DIRECTOR – 2/3 SUPPORT STAFF – 6 TO 8 STUDENTS AGES 18-19 – 9 MONTHS

in a wonderful way that never made the kids feel uncomfortable. I really do not think Dragons could do anything to improve in the area of leadership. Kris Schulte, History Teacher The Lawrenceville School

For more information and examples of custom program itineraries, please call 303.413.0822 or email


Working with high school, middle school and university students,

comprehensive language and cultural studies Dragons has developed programming in Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic and Hindi language studies. Programs feature one-on-one or smallgroup language classes with locally-sourced teachers, trained by Dragons, to work effectively with your students, and may include meaningful home-stays set up exclusively for your students in rural and urban environments. p ro g r am

e x am p l es:

c o m p re he nsive

Comprehensive programming will take students off the beaten path to villages seldom visited by outsiders, areas rich in learning opportunities where Dragons has established long-standing relationships of reciprocity and solidarity.

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c u l t u r al stu d ie s

These programs represent just a few examples of successful collaboration around language and cultural immersion.


Featured Program Profile Arabic Studies in Jordan: Ancient roots and modern perspectives in the Levant PROGRAM OVE R VI E W:

This program focuses on an exploration of the deeper

Thank you so much for all your hard work in making

levels of contemporary Arab society in Jordan and its neighbors and encourages

this the most memorable trip I’ve ever taken – I miss it

students to peel back the layers of an overexposed, yet little-understood region.

already and I got off the plane 3 hours ago! We were

While engaging in linguistic and cultural immersion, we explore topics related

already lucky enough to have special instructors like

to pressures of modernization, impacts of development, gender roles and the

you, Kara, and Sophie to lead us through China, but

significant struggles experienced by a region poor in the vital natural resources

expectations and made the trip as great as it was.

of energy and water. MAI N THE M E S:

your passion and care for all of us really exceeded our

Arabic language study, Islam, gender studies, geo-politics,

Anahita Afshari, Castilleja School

ancient civilization, resource management and development. IN COLLABORATION WITH RUTGERS PREPARATORY SCHOOL, SOMERSET, NJ 2 DRAGONS INSTRUCTORS – 1 TEACHER – 8 STUDENTS AGES 14-18 – 2 WEEKS – TUITION 3,230

Other collaborative language and cultural immersion programs: Men of Maize; cultural immersion and language in Highland Guatemala in collaboration with


San Francisco, CA


Senegal: The Janus Face of Development in collaboration with BROWN SCHOOL,


Shaker Heights, OH


For more information and examples of custom program itineraries, please call 303.413.0822 or email


The belief that all genuine education comes about through experience does not mean that all experiences are genuinely or equally educative. John Dewey

cost, timing and long-term development | 800-982-9203 | e-mail:

Cost: While the cost for each program varies depending on where it is, for how long, and what the itinerary includes, students should expect to pay from 1850 to 3800 in tuition for a ten-day to three-week course. Dragons is a committed partner, and able to work with the financial limitations of your community, offering scholarships when enrollment numbers permit, and making every effort to create equal opportunity for all students. In order to calculate the cost, Dragons estimates the cost per student, per day based on the itinerary, the cost of the instructors, of in-country travel expenses, the cost of the teacher/professor expenses, and the fixed costs of our risk management, emergency response team, program directors, and staff-training. Course tuition is all-inclusive, less international airfare, and covers all faculty expenses, including international airfare. Timing: Over the years, we’ve found that custom courses are most successful when students sign up five to six months prior to the course start date. This allows time to build a unified leadership team, modify and make final adjustments to our itinerary, to schedule a Dragons representative for pre-course tone-setting and preparation meetings, and to potentially introduce key themes into classroom curriculum. Upon termination of your course, Dragons is available to help support the process of ongoing transference for students, coordinating visits from Dragons instructors, regional experts or exchanges with host communities. L o n g - t e r m d e v e l o p m e n t w i t h y o u r i n s t i t u t i o n : Our long-term goal is to be the go-to partner for international programming at your school, capable of serving needs - from excellence in programming to excellence in risk-management and emergency response, to excellence in communication. While you are able to provide the best possible classroom education for your students, Dragons is the leader in providing complementary intercultural experiential programming. We pride ourselves on dynamism, professionalism, and communication, and are positioned to grow and adapt to your needs, working with your feedback to morph and improve our work, and to better integrate classroom curriculum into international programming. Dragons also offers faculty trainings, consulting, and professional development courses to further support the most effective and safe international programming at your institution. For more information on this, please visit our website:

19 As I walked the dusty, dirty streets of Senegal, I felt confused and distracted stumbling through this foreign land. As I high-fived the young children in the streets, I realized the humanity that encompassed me everywhere. I was instantly comforted by the family around me. These people all had stories, most untold. I yearned to hear everything they had to say: where they lived, what their childhood was like, what they hoped and dreamed for, even what they had for breakfast! I had a fire in me to explore the world, write, and enjoy all this world has to offer. Senegal had reignited my true love for people. Even those that have nothing have offered me their everything. I am forever moved by this lifestyle of relation-

ships before schedules, others before oneself, love before time. The second that those tiny, worn hands, the color of sweet-smelling coffee beans, touched my soft, nervous snow-colored hands, my perspective changed, and I felt the connection of humanity that surrounds us all. McKenna R., Hathaway Brown School

Customized global citizenship & leadership programs in the developing world since 1993 On ancient maps dragons were drawn to symbolize the unknown. To travel beyond the familiar world was to go “where there be dragons.” Dragons programs are authentic, rugged and profound student travel adventures that expose the beautiful and complex realities of the countries in which we travel. Dragons programs encourage deep immersion into strikingly different physical and cultural landscapes, combining the best in experiential education, travel, service learning, and physically and intellectually challenging experiences.

rugged travel home-stays trekking & wilderness exploration service learning / learning to serve survey of development issues independent study projects (ISPs) language study introduction to philosophy & comparative religion contemporary issues curriculum  |  800-982-9203 |  e-mail:

3200 Carbon Place #102,  B oulder, CO 80301

Dragons Partnerships in Global Education  

Dragons Partnerships in Global Education