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SUMMER & GAP YEAR PROGRAMS | 2018-19 THE LEADER IN CROSS-CULTURAL + EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION SINCE 1993


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COVER Celia Mitchell; THIS PAGE Ryan Gasper


MAPMAKERS ON C E D R E W D R AGON S TO R E PR E SE NT L A NDS UNKNOW N. BOLD EXPLORER S W HO VE N T U R E D BE YON D T HE M AP ’ S E D G E W E R E SA I D TO G O “ W HE R E T HE R E BE D R AGON S.”

WE GO THERE...

will you?

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PHOTO Parker Pflaum

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Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2


WHO WE ARE W E A R E A N I N T E R N AT I O N A L CO M M U N I T Y Dragons is a global community representing 6 continents, over 30 countries, and countless languages, villages, NGOs, religions, host families, perspectives, and stories. We are united by a mission of nurturing empathy and understanding across borders through authentic cultural exchange. Dragons offers summer and semester programs in 19 countries, each one custom-crafted by instructor teams who bring their unique vision and expertise to the course design. Our goal is to help participants develop the self-awareness and cross-cultural competencies to be active participants in the world.

WE A RE A L L ST UDE NTS

W E ARE BO LD E DU CATO RS

LEADI NG T HE WAY FOR 25+ Y EAR S

We take delight in getting dirty for the sake of discovery. ​

Our staff speak in local dialects and bring deep cultural

Dragons has over 25 years of experience guiding groups

We seek participants who are excited by the prospect

fluency and expert facilitation skills to our programs. When

and managing risk in the context of international

of exploring the road less-travelled and intrigued by the

not guiding with Dragons, our instructors are graduate

education. In addition to a history of partnerships with

questions encountered along the way. As we journey, we ask

students, returned Peace Corps Volunteers, U.N. development

over 50 esteemed schools and universities, our staff have

reflective questions about who we are, where we come from,

professionals, veteran wilderness guides, and career teachers.

facilitated international and domestic training programs

and how those inherent perspectives and power dynamics

We believe that future leaders will be required to think

specifically for teachers and faculty for almost a decade.

weave us together. We support our students as they lean into

beyond borders in order to cultivate a more inclusive,

We’ve established crucial risk management relationships

challenge. And as instructors, we ask ourselves, at every turn,

collaborative, and just future. We are fueled by a mission

with International SOS, key locally-based safety and

how we can be better teachers and more compassionate

to create positive change and pull off feats of educational

security officials, and a global network of reputable health

human beings. We carefully observe, collectively explore,

acrobatics in remote cross-cultural settings because we love

care professionals and hospitals. For more facts on our

and partner with students in a process of discovery.

what we do.

institutional reputation and integrity, please flip to page 63.

W E H O P E T H I S C ATA LO G H E L P S YO U G E T TO K N OW U S . . . About Dragons

Programs

Resources

WHAT WE DO

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PROGRAM COMPARISON CHART

14-15

BEYOND SUMMER & GAP PROGRAMS

62

WHY IS A DRAGONS PROGRAM RIGHT FOR YOU?

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ASIA SUMMER

16-33

FOR PARENTS

63

DYNAMIC COURSE DESIGN OUR PROGRAM COMPONENTS

11 12-13

LATIN AMERICA SUMMER

34-41

MEET A FEW OF OUR INSTRUCTORS

AFRICA SUMMER

42-47

WHAT CAN I HOPE TO TAKE AWAY?

66

GAP YEAR SEMESTERS

48-61

NEXT STEPS

67

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

64-65

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PHOTO Micah LeMasters

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Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2


W H AT W E D O A N D H OW W E D O I T D I F F E R E N T LY AUTHEN T I C I M M E R S IO N

ETH ICAL TRAVE L

On course, we learn by doing. We travel like locals, live with families, apprentice with artists,

Responsible travel is environmentally conscientious, culturally self-aware, and focused on

and learn from scholars, factory workers, sages, and community leaders alike. Our goal is to

developing mutually meaningful connections with local communities. We approach each

connect participants to a direct experience of a different place through hands-on and

program component and host community with respect and the humility to listen first.

meaningful engagement. We value language learning and homestays for their essential

We advocate for longer-term programming and smaller groups to reduce our ecological and

roles in opening doors to experiences in which students can listen, empathize, and learn. We

cultural footprints. And we don’t shy away from—but actively engage with—the complex

embrace a leadership model of leading-from-behind, such that participants follow their own

themes of learning service, neocolonialism, and global citizenship that arise in a group

questions and curiosity.

dynamic that encourages critical reflection.

DY NAM I C I T I N E RA RY DE S I GN

S MALL G RO U PS & P R OFESSI ONAL I NST R UC TOR S

Dragons itineraries are flexible to create space for unscripted, serendipitous, and candid

Mentorship matters. A typical Dragons group consists of 12 students and 3 instructors. This

moments of surprise and discovery. The world is constantly changing and we believe our

4:1 student-to-instructor ratio ensures that each participant receives individual support and

programs should too. Each program has an intentionally crafted structure, yet a dynamic

personalized challenge. The intimate group dynamic of a small cohort fosters deep dialogue

itinerary allows the group to be responsive to unique realities and opportunities as they arise.

and an inclusive group spirit that builds alumni friendships that last a lifetime. We work

Backpacks, not roller bags, are on the packing list because it’s a novel combination of gravel

with the best international guides and educators in the industry. Our instructors are

roads, local transportation, and dirt paths that make each program an original adventure.

carefully selected based on their group facilitation skills, local language fluency, regional experience in the country, and their connections with our host communities. To see the range of unique professional life experiences and academic educations that make our community of international instructors so exceptional, please flip to pages 64-65.

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

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

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PHOTO Ellie Happel

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Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2


W H Y I S A D R AG O N S P R O G R A M R I G H T F O R YO U ? M

B

AR

D•

•FRO

E YA K

O

W E ’ R E G L A D YO U ’ R E H O L D I N G T H I S C ATA LO G

TH

The world is an increasingly online, fast-paced, and complicated place. Difficult questions confront us today that require us to sit and slow down. At Dragons, we go to the edge of the map because we see value in accessing rarely-visited places, and rarely-heard narratives of breathtaking beauty and raw reality. We believe that an unplugged experience, in an unfamiliar place of cultural and natural beauty, can help participants find their breath. We believe in the power of storytelling

STRAIGHT FROM THE YAK'S MOUTH The best way for you to understand Dragons is to

and that a personal account will be most impactful when heard in the voice, language, and perspective of a host mother,

hear about the experience in the words of other

a community elder, a spiritual leader, or a local mentor. As instructors, we address fundamental questions around human

participants. In this catalog, you can find stories told

nature and our role and responsibility as engaged human beings in a fragile and complex natural and socio-economic landscape. And while we’re serious about what we do, we also don’t take ourselves too seriously: we recognize the value of

directly by students on the Yak Board reflections, pages 21, 26, 31, 37, 46, and 57.

unstructured play and downtime—be that a frisbee tossed across the Himalayan lowlands or floating over a techni-colored coral reef in Indonesia. Ultimately, we believe that more than photos, it’s perspective shifts earned from critical reflection that we take home to embody, cherish, and share.

Or flip to the back of this catalog (page 66) for post-course reflections on the most valuable insights students brought home.

There’s been a growing dialogue about the value of an education in the 21st century. Students and educators are increasingly asking for concrete sets of “global competencies” and leadership skills before they join the workforce. In our

We invite you to explore the edges of your courage

experience, it’s hard to gain these skills in a traditional classroom alone. Dragons offers an alternative approach. We can’t

and curiosity with us. Visit the Yak Board for course

predict exactly what skills you’ll need to succeed in your future, but we’re willing to hedge our bets that a foreign language,

postings from Dragons students past and present at

a well-worn passport, and a healthy dose of life experience will serve you well. Whatever your background, if you feel

yak.wherethereb ed rag ons .com

Dragons is right for you, we want to hear from 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. — P I C O I Y E R , W H Y W E T R AV E L

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

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PHOTO Michaela O'Connor

“The flexibility allowed my group to turn hikes into classes about religion. It allowed for us to get lost, which then turned into lessons on how not to get lost. We were given the freedom to explore like a traveler, not like a tourist.” — A LY S S A H I L B , SILK ROAD PROGRAM

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Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2


DY N A M I C C O U R S E D E S I G N W H AT I S A ' F L E X I B L E ' I T I N E R A RY ? Many study abroad programs provide a day-by-day (sometimes hour-by-hour) trip schedule used year-to-year. At Dragons, we keep our programs flexible and dynamic: each itinerary is uniquely designed and implemented by the instructors who lead the program. We believe some of the best experiences can come in the unscripted, serendipitous, and candid moments of surprise. It's a novel approach to travel and best explained directly by our participants: “The best part about being able to mix up the schedule is that you have the ability to invest your time in areas you are most passionate about. For example, during my trip to China we stumbled upon a shamanism festival with rich colors and new experiences. On the spot, our group decided that spending more time at the festival would be the best for our educational and cultural journey. The best days are those that aren’t 100 percent scripted.” —LIANA FLECKER, SILK ROAD PROGRAM “The most important part of embracing the flexible itinerary was recognizing that our safety was a priority over strict travel and time constraints, and the comfort of knowing we could adjust the plan to fit our needs.” — S I LV A N A M O N T A G U , S I K K I M P R O G R A M “Unlike American life regulated by precise and punctual schedules, life abroad is hectic and ever-changing, which is the beauty of it. Pre-program, I was concerned that the larger and central aspects of the trip may be changed, but this isn’t at all what Dragons means. “Flexible itinerary” refers to smaller, more logistical changes. You’ll still get to the end destination, just perhaps by a different route. The itinerary will never be changed in a way that detracts from your experience, but will instead always improve it for you or the group as a whole, whether it is balancing out the hiking days to make it more manageable or taking a quick side-trip to the hot springs to refuel as a group.” — W I L L L e VA N , P E R U P R O G R A M “To travel with a flexible itinerary is to travel with an open mind and receptivity to the realities of travel. During my program in Morocco, there were numerous occasions in which events caused unforeseen delays in our daily plan. While ordinarily, this would be a huge logistical and emotional headache, the ease with which my instructors took it in stride and adjusted our plans made all the difference. The benefit of a dynamic itinerary is bypassing the regimented, anxious parts of travel, to embrace the wild, unplanned fun that exploration can be.” —BRETT COHEN, MOROCCO PROGRAM "Ultimately, embracing the possibility of candid experiences—those that lead you into the waters coursing Himalayan rivers and into the corridors of 500-year old monasteries, as mine did during my programs—are what have been most influential in shaping me into the confident, prepared, and wise traveler I am today." —OLIVIA SOTIRCHOS, NORTH INDIA PROGRAM

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

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OUR PROGRAM COMPONENTS T H E B U I L D I N G B LO C K S O F E V E RY D R AG O N S CO U R S E We adventure. We explore. We learn. A Dragons course is designed to be a full immersion journey. We employ nine program components to ensure that every course is a

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H O ME STAY

LA NGUAGE ST UDY

T R EKKI NG

Dragons students are travelers

In a Tajik yurt, in a Bedouin tent,

All Dragons courses include

From strolls to the strenuous,

not tourists. We believe in low-

in an apartment in Kunming…

language instruction. We do

some Dragons students hike over

impact travel, and that means

Every Dragons student is

not expect students to arrive

16,000ft passes in the Andes;

minimizing our environmental

carefully matched with a local

with any level of understanding.

others walk to waterfalls outside

and cultural impact at every

family. Students live in nearby

We do expect students to

a homestay village. Wherever

possible juncture. On course,

neighborhoods, allowing them

interact with locals, and build a

you choose to trek, you can be

we respect cultural norms

to build meaningful connections

collection of vocabulary words

assured that Dragons Instructors

by staying in family-owned

within the host community and

that enables them to deftly

will guide you into wilderness,

accommodations and taking

group. Students often tell us

navigate a new cultural context.

exposing you to the beauty of

local transportation. The most

that their homestay was the

On our language intensive

nature, mingled with the unique

profound learning moments

most transformative part of their

courses, students can expect

cultural context. Treks provide

often arise in the spaces

Dragons experience. All families

3-4 hours of daily instruction

opportunities for students to

in-between, and traveling

are selected based on the safety

in small groups. Few skills do

assume leadership roles and

like locals creates space for

of their home environments and

more to empower students to

build personal backcountry skills,

un-orchestrated moments of

their genuine enthusiasm for

be independent global citizens

like learning to pitch a tent or

engagement.

cross-cultural engagement.

than language study.

read weather conditions.

RIGHT PAGE Lital Netter-Sweet , Nicos Christour, Photo from Dragons archives

R U GGE D T RAVE L

LEFT PAGE Steven Gu, Photo from Dragons archives, Michael Woodard

well-rounded experience.


L EARN I N G SERVI C E

DE V E LO P MENT ST U DI E S

INDE PE NDE NT STU DY PROJE CT ( IS P)

COMPAR AT I VE R ELI GI ON & P HI LOSOP HY

FOC US OF I NQUI RY (FOI )

We take pride in learning first

What variables contribute to a

Dragons students are often

In each place we visit, we con-

Dragons courses are built around

and helping second. Students

good quality of life? How does

paired with local mentors to

sider how local spiritual beliefs

particular academic themes. This

rarely arrive in-country with the

privilege shape our sense of

study a particular question, craft,

are employed to interpret daily

allows students to delve into

tools to genuinely ‘help’ another

global responsibility? These

or cultural tradition in greater

reality. Dragons Instructors help

a specific line of questioning,

community, and we work hard

questions are central to the

depth. Anything is possible, and

students explore the belief sys-

exploring the impacts of climate

to dispel such expectations.

conversation about human

as a student, the ISP is a great

tems of their host culture while

change, the local religious

Students use a four-step process

development in the 21 century.

way to tailor the course to meet

living with homestay families,

traditions, or the idea of cultural

to listen, assess, act and then

Instructors introduce students to

your specific interests. We’ve had

visiting religious monuments,

survival, for example. We explore

evaluate: a framework that can

local activists who’ve taken a vo-

students study everything from

observing local rituals, and

the focus of inquiry by hosting

be applied to future learning

cal stance on the topic of ‘human

kathak dance to the impacts

reading relevant texts. Such an

guest speakers, reading local

service ventures. We don’t

development,’ while using local

of exploratory drilling in the

examination generally sparks

news, and engaging in group

measure our success by the

examples to prompt discussion.

Amazon. ISPs are a great way to

an internal conversation, and

discussions. Please reference

number of ‘service hours’ logged,

Students are encouraged to

develop place-based expertise,

instructors are available to assist

Dragons individual program

but rather by the number of

challenge their assumptions and

learn hands-on skills from local

students as they juxtapose

descriptions to learn more

critical conversations that such

expand their understanding of

mentors, and actively engage

in-country traditions with their

about the FOI on your course

an engagement provokes.

what it means to be “developed.”

living cultural traditions.

own belief systems and values.

of interest.

st

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

ASIA SUMMER

RUGGED TRAVEL

LANGUAGE STUDY

TREKKING

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

INDEPENDENT STUDY PROJECT

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY (FOI)

LOW EMPHASIS MODERATE HIGH EMPHASIS

DATES

AGES

PAGE

China: Mandarin Language Intensive, 4-wk

10+ days

40+ hours

Day Hikes

5+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

15–18

p18

China: Mandarin Language Intensive, 6-wk

15+ days

60+ hours

Day Hikes

5+ hours

6/28 – 8/8

16–18

p18

5+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

5+ hours

6/28 – 8/8

16–18

p19

6/28 – 7/28

16–18

p20

6/28 – 8/8

15–17

p22

6/28 – 8/8

16–18

p23

6/28 – 7/28

16–18

p24

6/28 – 7/28

17–20

p25

6/28 – 8/8

16–18

p27

6/28 – 7/28

15–17

p28

6/28 – 7/28

15–18

p29

6/28 – 7/28

16–18

p30

6/28 – 7/28

16–18

p32

China: The Silk Road

China: The Yangtze River

10+ days

10+ hours

Day Hikes

5+ hours

China: Change & Tradition

10+ days

20+ hours

3+ days

5+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

10+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

3+ days

10+ hours

China & Laos: Holy Mountain to Hidden Kingdom Cambodia: Peace-Building & Conservation

Myanmar: Visions of Democracy

3+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

Indonesia: Community & Conservation

15+ days

10+ hours

3+ days

5+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

3+ days

10+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

5+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

3+ days

10+ hours

3+ days

5+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai

Bhutan: Happiness in the Himalayas Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas

North India: Roof of the World, 4-wk

10+ hours

10+ days

15+ hours

Eastern Himalayas: West Bengal to Sikkim

5+ days

5+ hours

3+ days

10+ hours

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

TREKKING

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

INDEPENDENT STUDY PROJECT

3+ days

RUGGED TRAVEL

SUMMER

North India: Roof of the World, 6-wk

LATIN AMERICA

6/28 – 8/8

17–20

p32

6/28 – 7/28

15–17

p33

DATES

AGES

PAGE

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY (FOI)

Guatemala: Spanish Language Intensive, 4-wk

15+ days

40+ hours

3+ days

15+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

15–17

p36

Guatemala: Spanish Language Intensive, 6-wk

15+ days

60+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

6/28 – 8/8

16–18

p36

Nicaragua: Community In Action

15+ days

40+ hours

3+ days

20+ hours

Bolivia: Spirit of the Andes, 4-wk

10+ days

20+ hours

5+ days

10+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

16–18

p38

6/28 – 7/28

17–19

p39

6/28 – 8/8

17–19

p39

Bolivia: Spirit of the Andes, 6-wk

20+ days

20+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

Peru: Sacred Mountains, 4-wk

5+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

5+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

15–17

p40

Peru: Sacred Mountains, 6-wk

10+ days

10+ hours

10+ days

5+ hours

6/28 – 8/8

16–18

p40

10+ days

20+ hours

5+ days

5+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

16–18

p41

Colombia: Stories of Peace & Resistance 14

HOMESTAY


AFRICA

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

TREKKING

LEARNING SERVICE

Madagascar: Island of Diversity

10+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

10+ hours

Morocco: Crossroads of Mountains & Cultures

10+ days

15+ hours

5+ days

5+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

3+ days

10+ hours

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

TREKKING

LEARNING SERVICE

30+ days

60+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

SUMMER

Senegal: In the Shade of the Baobab Tree

GAP YEAR 3-MONTH SEMESTER China Semester: South of the Clouds* Mekong Semester:

RUGGED TRAVEL

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

INDEPENDENT STUDY PROJECT

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY (FOI)

INDEPENDENT STUDY PROJECT

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY (FOI)

LOW EMPHASIS MODERATE HIGH EMPHASIS

DATES

AGES

PAGE

6/28 – 8/8

16–18

p44

6/28 – 7/28

16–19

p45

6/28 – 7/28

15–17

p47

DATES

AGES

PAGE

9/15 – 12/6 17-22 p50

2/12 – 5/6

20+ days

20+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

9/15 – 12/6 17-22 p51

Tibetan Plateau to the Heart of Southeast Asia 2/7 – 5/1 Myanmar Semester: Traditions & Transitions

Indonesia Semester Community, Culture & Conservation Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies* India Semester: Himalayas to the Ganges River* Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester: Spanish Language and Grassroots Activism

West Africa Semester: Rhythms of Senegal

20+ hours

9/15 – 12/6 17-22 p52

30+ days

30+ hours

5+ days

10+ hours

9/15 – 12/6 17-22 p53

30+ days

40+ hours

20+ days

20+ hours

9/15 – 12/6 17-22 p54

30+ days

40+ hours

10+ days

20+ hours

9/15 – 12/6 17-22 p55

2/7 – 5/1

30+ days

60+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

9/15 – 12/6 17-22 p56

2/7 – 5/1

30+ days

60+ hours

20+ days

10+ hours

9/15 – 12/6 17-22 p58

2/7 – 5/1

20+ days

20+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

9/15 – 12/6 17-22 p59

2/7 – 5/1

Morocco Semester: Ancient Cities to the Atlas Mountains

5+ days

2/7 – 5/1

Madagascar Semester: Cultural & Ecological Diversity

30+ hours

2/7 – 5/1

South America Semester: Andes & Amazon*

10+ days

2/7 – 5/1

20+ days

40+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

9/15 – 12/6 17-22 p60

2/7 – 5/1

30+ days

30+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

9/15 – 12/6

17-22

p61

2/7 – 5/1

*Students participating on select Gap Semester programs (China, Nepal, South America, India) may choose to take courses for college credit (optional). Please give us a call for more information: 303.413.0822

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Bustling street corners. Steaming chai... ...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 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

AGES

Improve your Mandarin language skills through daily instruction in small, personalized classes; live with carefully selected homestays; engage in Independent Study Projects (ISPs).

June 28 – July 28 June 28 – August 8

15 – 18 16 – 18

LANGUAGE IN CHINA HAS ALWAYS BEEN A DYNAMIC AND POWERFUL

We leave the busy streets of Kunming

FORCE, a  nd as we enter a contemporary reality of emerging powers and dominant

for a rural homestay with farming families

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

in Lashihai, a traditional Naxi community

Dragons Mandarin Language Intensive course offers comprehensive instruction

situated at the base of the 5596m Jade

RUSSIA

through formal language classes, homestays and

Dragon Snow Mountain. In this picturesque

independent study projects (ISPs).

environment, we learn more about China’s

Our 4 and 6 week Mandarin Intensive programs are based in Kunming, an accessible university city in the heart of China’s Yunnan Province. In a region MONGOLIA

renowned for its natural beauty and ethnic diversity—in-

AS I A:   S UM M ER

cluding the Naxi, Tibetan, Yi, Mosuo, and Bai peoples—Kun-

INDIA

18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

BEIJING

XI ’A N

CHINA

LANGUAGE STUDY

ISPs

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

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 documenting their experiences through writing or photography.

China. While in Kunming, students meet for 3–4 hours of formal

TIGER LEAPING GORGE

Mandarin instruction per day, with the option for 1:1 tutoring ses-

LASHIHAI HONG KONG KUNMING

ming offers us a home-base to build linguistic confidence and prepare for expeditions into more rural areas of southwestern

HOMESTAY

“During my rural homestay I learned what it means to truly be part of a community,

sions in the afternoon for hungry learners. Homestay placements

care for one another, and live with no boundaries... I'm so thankful for the opportunity

reinforce language acquisition, encouraging students to practice

to live in an environment completely unlike my own.”

new vocabulary with their host brothers and sisters at night. Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

—KYRA HAMERLING-POTTS

RIGHT PAGE Photos from Dragons archives

DAYS

DATES

LEFT PAGE Eric Jenkins-Sahlin

30/41

DESCRIPTION


CHINA THE SILK ROAD 6-Week Summer Abroad Program

41

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Explore the diversity of China’s cultural traditions: live with herders on the Tibetan Plateau, cross the Taklamakan desert, discuss issues of religious plurality with monks and Imams.

June 28 – August 8

16 – 18 RUGGED TRAVEL

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

TREKKING

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

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

OF ITS POPULATION. Worlds away from Beijing, the far-western province of Xinjiang is a land where vast desert basins meet 20,000-foot

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUSSIA

much about the culture. I truly felt immersed.”

—CLAIRE NUSEKABEL

peaks; where Central Asian cultures blend together. The adventuresome Silk Road itinerary engages students with diverse communities in western China—including Uyghur, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tajik, Mongol, Tibetan,

prayer reverberates from towering minarets. Donning our

Himalayas.

ruins of Turpan and the world-renowned painted caves

complex issues related to human

of Dunhuang. Overnight trains take us to the edge of

rights, political representation and

the Tibetan Plateau, where we learn the basics of yak

oasis of Kashgar, where the ancient through labyrinthine bazaars and the call to

BEIJING XINING

CHINA

herding from Tibetan homestay families. Working our way East, 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.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

INDIA

XI ’A N

ASI A:   S UM M E R

cross the Taklamakan desert. We explore the ancient

perfumes of Silk Road merchants waft

TURPAN

KASHGAR

Over the next month, we traverse the Tarim Basin and

challenging them to consider

Our course often begins in the

URUMQI

the phenomenal beauty of this seldom-visited range in the

Hui, and Han communities—while

globalization.

MONGOLIA

packs, we ascend high into the Pamir Mountains, enjoying

19


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

Experience life in Asia’s largest river basin: live with families on the Tibetan Plateau, learn about interconnected environmental realities at the Three Gorges Dam, explore the world's largest port.

June 28 – July 28

16 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

RUGGED TRAVEL

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

FROM ITS HEADWATERS IN THE HIGHLANDS OF TIBET TO THE DELTA

“I learned so much more on this program than I ever could in a classroom.

IN SHANGHAI, t his program follows the Yangtze River as it rushes nearly 4,000

Most importantly, this trip made me realize that there is so much to see in the world.” —NU XIONG

miles across southern China. This sinuous river has long shaped the region’s cultural traditions, agricultural practices, and industrial development; students on this course

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

estimated 550 million people who live along the

by boat 360 miles downstream to the world’s largest hydroelectric project, The Three

banks of this vital waterway.

Gorges Dam. Local experts provide insight into the

MONGOLIA

environmental impact, and China’s age-old

pillars of local culture and pilgrims still arrive with

struggle to control water resources.

AS I A:   S UM M ER

yak butter offerings each day. After our first rural

INDIA

20

BEIJING

CHINA NANJING CHONGQING

SHANGHAI

myriad issues related to power generation,

Continuing east, we pass through

homestay, we journey east through Sichuan Prov-

the cultural center of Nanjing,

ince, meeting with local farmers and environmental

and eventually arrive in Shanghai.

activists in this renowned “Land of Abundance.” Our downriver journey takes us to Chongqing, a thriving city situated at the confluence of the blue Jialing

Standing on the docks of the world’s busiest port, we consider all that we’ve learned about the raw tensions

River and the golden Yangtze. Sitting on the banks, we watch

between tradition and modernity

as farmers haul cargo on bamboo shoulder poles, fisherman

represented by life along the Yangtze River.

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE Camille Albouy

Our course begins in the Tibetan Kingdom of Amdo, where Tibetan Buddhist monasteries are the

LEFT PAGE Parker Pflaum, Eric Jenkins-Sahlin

RUSSIA

gain firsthand insight into the lives of the


E YA K

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B Y R YA N S U N G , S T U D E N T Dragons Princeton Bridge Year China

APPLES ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF KUNMING STANDS XUNING TEMPLE, A

When I finally admitted to her that we had never met before, she didn’t show

BUDDHIST PLACE OF WORSHIP SPLASHED WITH TANGERINE

disappointment, but rather smiled with the same enthusiasm from before and

GOLD, NAVY BLUE, AND A STRONG, BOLD RED. Adorning the

said “Enjoy them! They’re a gift.”

temple stands a massive golden Buddha, whose four faces watch in every direction the residents of the homogeneous, concrete dominoes below.

After lunch, we were allowed to explore. I approached the central temple,

Before embarking on what would be a month’s trekking into the rural Yunnan

and was greeted by a friendly monk as humble in speech as he was in his

countryside, our cohort reached the temple for a vegetarian lunch.

appearance, which consisted of plain yellow robes, worn sandals, and a shaved head. He gave me a warm welcome with his limited English, and in

With some time left before entering the dining hall, I stopped by a small

turn, and we spent some time conversing on complex theological topics with

vendor’s stand, which I assumed sold Xuning souvenirs. I found instead that

my solely conversational Mandarin. Before we concluded giving our formal

it sold jewelry, but as to not offend and show complete disinterest, I did not

farewells, the monk unexpectedly pulled out the latest Chinese smartphone

leave immediately. Running the stand was a woman in her golden sixties,

from his robes and said “Add me on WeChat!”

modestly dressed yet luxuriously welcoming. When I approached her, she unveiled a contagious toothy smile and excitedly said Hao jiu bu jian, “long

I left the temple now with four bright red apples, and my seventh friend on my

time no see!” She immediately reached for the box behind her, pulled out two

Chinese social media account.

bright, red apples, and handed them to me. Very much confused, I took the apples, uncertain on what to do with them. I had never been to either Xuning

Whether shop or temple, kindness was in no shortage in Kunming. After my

Temple or China, so I was certain I could not have met the woman before.

return to the city in October, I hope to be able to someday give away apples

She began to speak enthusiastically to me about

of my own; not with any particular underlying motive,

our supposed previous contact, but I had difficulty

but for the mere joy that comes with giving apples to a “long lost acquaintance,” or a monk with a new foreign friend on WeChat.

ASI A:   S UM M E R

comprehending because her accent differed greatly to what I was used to.

Visit the Yak Board for course reflections from Dragons students past and present at YA K.WHER ETHER EB EDR AGON S.COM

21


CHINA CHANGE & TRADITION 6-Week Summer Abroad Program

41

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Experience urban and rural realities in modern-day China: explore mega-cities and remote mountain villages; discover the ethnic tapestry that is modern China.

June 28 – August 8

15 – 17

WHEN YOU VISIT CHINA FOR THE FIRST TIME, IT DOESN’T TAKE LONG TO REALIZE THAT EVERYTHING IS CHANGING AT WARP SPEED. Old

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOMESTAY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

“This summer was one of the best (if not the best) I have ever had. It opened up a whole new world to me, one of exploration and independence and risk taking, that I do not

neighborhoods of wooden houses are demolished to make way for 80-story

have access to at home... This trip has made me want to become a traveler.” — M AT T H E W K AT Z

buildings. Buddhist monks read ancient sutras from iPads. Millions of rural farmers

MONGOLIA

The construction of new highways, rail lines, and airports is underway virtually everywhere, in a

periphery; we follow the daily routines

race to keep up with 1.4 billion people on the

of farmers and herders; we visit

move. If you want to understand the world we

serene monasteries and booming

live in, you have to understand China.

mega-cities.

AS I A:   S UM M ER

This program is Dragons version of an

INDIA

22

BEIJING

CHINA

XI ’A N

CHENGDU

LASHIHAI KUNMING HONG KONG

As we travel across China

“Introduction to China” and part of what makes

by foot, train, bus and boat, we

it unique is that our journey changes each year

discover the extent of diversity.

as we encourage our instructors to explore new

We witness the Chinese

areas and interests with their intrepid students.

peoples’ amazing capacity to

This comprehensive journey includes a broad

adjust and adapt, and with each

survey of contemporary realities: we trek beyond

new experience we take on, we

roads and learn about life for people on the

challenge ourselves to do the same.

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

LEFT PAGE Photo from Dragons archives, Ming Jiu Li

RUSSIA

RIGHT PAGE Parker Pflaum, Photo from Dragons archives

now work in the city to support their families.


CHINA & LAOS H O LY M O U N T A I N T O H I D D E N K I N G D O M 6-Week Summer Abroad Program

41

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Discover the economic, environmental, and cultural mosaic of China and Laos by exploring the communities and landscapes along the Mekong River.

June 28 – August 8

16 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

FROM THE BASE OF SACRED KAWAGEBO MOUNTAIN THE MIGHTY

Mekong basin swells into jungle streams. We explore

MEKONG RIVER COURSES THROUGH GORGES AND MEGA-DAMS,

the Mekong river as a natural resource and, perhaps

GRADUALLY WIDENING INTO THE TROPICAL RAINFORESTS OF LAOS. The China and Laos program splits time between China's Yunnan province and northern

waterfalls dripping off sacred Kawagebo Mountain,

plateau of Tibet, where we meet the

Laos, live with artisan families in the tranquil UNESCO

river as it gathers Himalayan glacial

World Site of Luang Prabang, and interact with

three weeks are spent in Laos, where the

inspiring NGOs in Vientiane, Laos’ capital-village. Offering students an opportunity to explore the region through a transnational lens, this program delves into the economic, environmental, and cultural mosaic of Laos and China.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

SHANGRI LA KUNMING

INDIA

JINGHONG LUANG NAMTHA LAOS

LUANG PRABANG

VIENTIANE

ASI A:   S UM M E R

trek into the sparsely inhabited rainforests of northern

spent descending from the highlands

CHINA

We live with Tibetan families, hike to glacial

Our course begins on the high

toward the Golden Triangle. Our second

MONGOLIA

living deity—known as the Mae Nam Khong, or Mother and economic stability.

springs, and tumbles southward.

RUSSIA

fuel development, while in Laos it is nothing less than a

landscapes, spiritual traditions, and

Here in China our first three weeks are

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

seen as an untamed power source to be harnessed to

Mekong—and a critical source of sustenance, divinity,

along the Mekong River.

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

more importantly, as a cultural symbol: In China, it is

Laos as we explore the diverse critical issues connected to life

HOMESTAY

23


CAMBODIA P E A C E - B U I L D I N G & C O N S E R VAT I O N 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 Rougen and explore Buddhism firsthand.

June 28 – July 28

16 – 18

context around Cambodia’s present-day

A COUNTRY THAT EVOKES IMAGES OF OVERGROWN JUNGLE TEMPLES,

political landscape. We meet with

ROBED MONKS, AND LUSH RICE FIELDS.

activists and artists who call one Finally we make our

of Southeast Asia for nearly a thousand years. Here we explore the storied ruins to

way to the coastal village of

discover the traditions that have endured throughout the centuries of changing power.

Kampot, where we engage in

gain insight into the effects of upriver dams on the THAIL AND

L AOS

ecology of Cambodia’s largest body of fresh water.

AS I A:   S UM M ER

In Cambodia's cultural haven, we meet with a local circus troupe, Phare Ponleu Selpak, and discuss environmental issues that are critical to

SIEM REAP

CAMBODIA

B AT TA M B A N G

VIETNAM KEP

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

a community-run mangrove restoration project and delve into colonial history. We celebrate the final days of our course reflecting with group members near the white sand beaches of Rabbit Island.

Cambodia’s food security. Our course continues onto the bustling

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

capital of Phnom Penh. Here we confront the PHNOM PENH

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

of Asia's hippest cities home.

the secrets to the ecological and architectural wonders of a culture that ruled much

Continuing past the floating villages of Lake Tonle Sap, we CHINA

24

HOMESTAY

KNOWN FOR THE INCOMPARABLE RUINS OF ANGKOR WAT, CAMBODIA IS

Our course begins in the overgrown temples of Angkor civilization which hold

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

and language are meaningless. Our experiences shape the way that we see the world,

atrocities of the Khmer Rouge genocide, build empathy for the Cambodian people, and gain

but we are unified on the basis of compassion, love and a thirst for knowledge.”

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

—OONA McDOWELL

RIGHT PAGE Photo from Dragons archives, Danny Wood

DAYS

DATES

LEFT PAGE Photos from Dragons archives

30

DESCRIPTION


M YA N M A R VISIONS OF DEMOCRACY 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

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

June 28 – July 28

17 – 20

TRANSITION. INSPIRATION. DEVOTION. Myanmar is a nation of warmth, beauty,

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

LEARNING SERVICE

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

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

and complexity. Through numerous engagements with development professionals, youth

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

activists, and NGOs, we uncover significant pieces of the puzzle of Myanmar. Our journey

opportunity few students have in foreign countries.”

begins in Bagan, where we watch the sun rise over the majestic Irrawaddy River and cycle

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

CHINA

—ALEXANDER WEISMAN

among golden-spired temples in a vast complex of ancient pagodas. Next we travel to Sagaing, the spiritual heart of Myanmar and center of the country’s Buddhist faith. We come to rest in one of the 500 monasteries scattered over the hills, and delve into Buddhist learning alongside local practitioners. Pressing even further east we

Next we enjoy a four-day trek through the unforgettable patchwork fields of Shan State. By day we hike through farms of ginger, peppers, and grain; at night we bed down in the

K ALAW

LAOS

some groups choose to travel to Naypyidaw to learn about

in Mandalay—Myanmar’s last royal

have ventured into the Irrawaddy Delta to discover how local

capital. Dragons students teach

farmers are creatively dealing with water scarcity. Concluding the course in Yangon, we wander among

6,000 disadvantaged students and

the most striking Buddhist stupa in the world, Shwedagon,

volunteer with an organization that

and get a glimpse of the bustling former colonial capital of

promotes sustainable approaches to

Yangon through the eyes of young politicians, activists, and artists.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

YA N G O N

MAWLAMYINE

ASI A:   S UM M E R

the transition from military state to democratic darling; others

local development.

BAGAN

welcoming stilted houses of our village hosts. From here,

begin our first learning service project

in a monastic school that services

M A N DA L AY

M YA N M A R

THAILAND

25


E YA K

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BY LARKIN BARRON, STUDENT Indonesia Semester

DEAR HOME Dear Non-Quick Dry Clothes, I don’t even remember what you feel like. My shoulders and knees are so used to being covered, the idea of wearing shorts is almost scandalous. I have so much respect for the strong women and men who are able to wear jeans, long sleeves, and head scarves in this kind of heat. That’s some kind of devotion.

Dear Friends, I think of you and smile. Dear Home, I have come to believe that you, home, are a deceptive concept. If home was just one thing then, to me, it could never be a house. I think that it must instead be a state of heart. Not a state of mind or state of being, but a way that your heart feels when you are given ease and joy by your surroundings. That moment when the smile comes from the inside, the outer shells collapse and you

from these chili-filled, rice-mounded bowls of deliciousness. Food styles so

know, in your heart, that you are home. I have had to say goodbye to you Bed,

different I can’t even compare, though I’m starting to realize that not only is it

Shower, Phone, Kitchen, Clothes, Friends. I chose to do this not out of spite but out

possible to eat rice three times of day, but it is, in fact, a cultural expectation.

of an inner compulsion to stretch my boundaries. To expand my mind. To fill my

Dear Bed, You are so much more comfy than I ever appreciated. How could a simple mattress, so much more than 2 inches of padding on a wooden panel, bring so much joy? How I long to sink into your welcoming folds and lie there till all exhaustion has fled from my body and mind. I would jump on you… or just fall asleep. Bed, I miss you most.

heart with the sights and sounds of the unknown, even if it meant squat toilets and bucket showers and fleets of loud motorbikes, or a new language and a new diet and a new state of being. I did it because sometimes one home isn’t enough, and when the heart says it’s time to go exploring, well, who am I to disagree. So, home, I have left you behind.

But in many ways, in almost all the ways maybe,

Dear Shower, Sorry to say it, but I’ve actually replaced you. Yeah, I mean hot water can be nice, maybe calming, maybe relaxing, but I honestly enjoy cold water in a bucket. I’ll pour it over my head slowly and feel cleaner than I ever did with your

Larkin

Dear Phone, Okay. There are times when I wish I could escape to Facebook. Music I especially miss. I wish I was able to use GPS, but sometimes in order to see more you must carry less. I’m relieved not to have you. Distraction, I think, would only be degenerative. I don’t want to be stopped from living fully. I don’t want to miss a flash of color or smell of spice. Any moment lost could be a lifelong memory missed. Visit the Yak Board for course reflections from Dragons students past and present at

26

Love,

YA K.WHER ETHER EB EDR AGON S.COM

LEFT PAGE Celia Mitchell

AS I A:   S UM M ER

electric spigot. Although—I never was this hot and sweaty at home.

I haven’t left home at all.

RIGHT PAGE Beatriz Schaver Eizaguirre, Photo from Dragons archives

Dear Kitchen, The tastes you’ve given me throughout my life are a world away


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

41

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Experience the most diverse archipelago on Earth: live with sea nomads, harvest coffee, and learn about efforts to protect the world’s most extraordinary coral reefs.

June 28 – August 8

16 – 18 RUGGED TRAVEL

COMPRISED OF OVER 17,000 ISLANDS

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

as I did. It was so powerful knowing that I had touched someone’s life that radically,

IS HOME TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF BIODIVERSITY OF ANY NATION.

HOMESTAY

“My homestay in Tana Toraja was life changing. When I left, they cried just as hard

AND 700 LIVING LANGUAGES, INDONESIA

CHINA

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

and that they were able to touch mine in the same way in just one short week.”

— M O R G A N AV I S

Whether hiking through the rainforests, spearfishing with your homestay father in Sampela, or examining MANADO

BORNEO

Indonesia is sure to challenge your worldview and

LUWUK

TA N A TO R A JA

gender roles in the world’s largest Muslim nation,

MOROWALI

stimulate your senses. Arriving first in Yogyakarta, students dive headlong into Javanese culture, working with street artists, attending shadow-puppet

MAKASSAR

UBUD, BALI

build homes over the open ocean and spend the majority of their lives on the water. We embrace their unique lifestyle, snorkeling

performances, and studying the basics of the Bahasa

over fragile reefs, attending indigenous ceremonies, and learning

Indonesian language.

about conservation initiatives from local leaders.

FLORES

We then head east to the island of Flores, where

As we engage with the diverse peoples of Indonesia,

students live in the pastoral village of Langa. We meet with

we begin to understand that our definition of “community”

local coffee producers, hike up dormant volcanoes, and learn about local religious traditions with our gracious hosts. AUSTRALIA

A few flights and boats take us to the archipelago of

extends far beyond the people in our own towns. Diverse experiences help expand our worldview and encourage us to be more mindful of the interconnected relationships.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

ASI A:   S UM M E R

INDONESIA

Wakatobi, home to the Bajau people, or the “sea nomads.” The Bajau

27


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

RUGGED TRAVEL

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

CHINA

FROM THE VERDANT MOUNTAINS AND

MYANMAR

RICE PADDIES OF THE NORTH TO THE L AOS

BUZZING METROPOLIS OF BANGKOK,

U B O N R ATC H ATA N I

THAILAND BANGKOK

CAMBODIA

LEAVES ONE ENCHANTED AND YEARNING TO

AS I A:   S UM M ER 28

Moving far to the east, to the Khorat plateau, we find ourselves in Thailand's

EXPLORE THE NEXT WONDER. Our program begins

agricultural heart, Isan province, living with families in a village relocated from the

in the capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Mai.

reservoir created by a hydroelectric dam. Amid

Here students orient to the cultural, spiritual, and culinary

paddies and glittering Buddhist temples,

nuances of the north before entering into a Theravada

we explore some of the dichotomies that

Buddhist monastery for a meditation retreat. We then

come with living in a region experiencing

move further north into the mountainous hill tribe regions, KRABI

—T H A I L A N D G R O U P J O U R N A L

THE STAGGERING BEAUTY OF THAILAND

SUKHOTHAI

INDIA

I can truly say that I have been to paradise.”

where we hike through jungles teeming with a dazzling array of wildlife and stay with ethnic minority villagers. Continuing north, we enter a week-long stay at an eco-village where we study permaculture and sustainability practices.

rampant development while maintaining ritual and custom. Our Thailand journey culminates with a few day’s exploration of the country’s colorful and bustling capital, Bangkok,

We learn about seed banking, traditional organic farming, adobe

where we say goodbye to Southeast Asia

building, natural medicines, and rice cultivation in a valley surrounded by

amid the wild sprawl and awe-inspiring

picturesque national parks.

skyline of one of the world's great alpha cities. Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE Chelsae Ferrell

CHIANG MAI

LEFT PAGE Photos from Dragons archives

MAE HONG SON

“The jungle came right up to the sand and the water was so calm and clear.


B H U TA N H A P P I N E S S I N T H E H I M A L AYA S 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Explore a Himalayan culture where “happiness” has become a measure of national development. Homestays and intimate community connections help unveil unique Buddhist worldviews.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 18

CHINA

how these embodied philosophies impact people’s

“GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS”

daily choices. Through listening to both local

METRICS FOR DEVELOPMENT, Bhutan

PUNAKHA THIMPU

NASPE URA

PARO

B H U TA N

about notions of "happiness" as contributors

and the concept of the earth as an

to our own quality of life. Our journey into the

interdependent organism. Since the

Himalayan region of Bhutan gives us rare access challenging us to reevaluate commonly held notions of

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

arrival of television in 1999 and a cascade of global influences, Bhutan has experienced a steady increase in foreign tourism which contradicts

had deep social impacts, particularly on the creation of unique government policies on conservation, preservation, and sustainable development. We will also delve deeply into Buddhist philosophy, histories, and folk tales to understand different ways of viewing our existence on this planet. We seek to understand

long-held traditions. How can we understand the pressures and adaptations of Bhutanese culture in the face of a globalizing world? In our questioning and exploration of Bhutan, we hope to find a better understanding of the worldviews and assumptions that shape our lives and happiness back home.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

ASI A:   S UM M E R

We will learn how Buddhism, as the state religion, has

INDIA

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

gain insights to perspectives on the environment, our role in conservation,

to the sacredness in the vast and wild landscapes,

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

villagers and professional academics, we

encourages us to ask what we can learn

our role in the natural world.

BANGLADESH

HOMESTAY

IN A COUNTRY WHERE THE PHRASE LANDS ITSELF ON A LIST OF KEY

TIBE T

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

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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

TIBE T DELHI

N E PP OAK LH A R A

Discover the mysticism of the Himalayas: experience life in remote mountain communities, participate in a meditation retreat, and explore how the country is getting back on its feet post-earthquake.

June 28 – July 28

16 – 18

CHINA

HAVE PASSED THROUGH KATHMANDU DURING THEIR BHUTAN JOURNEYS ACROSS THE GREAT HIMALAYAN RANGE.

AS I A:   S UM M ER

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

opportunity to trek through stunning mountain valleys, before settling into a homestay with subsistence farmers in the Himalayan foothills. Here we learn the daily

across the Himalayan region all peacefully co-exist in the peaks

rhythms of agricultural life and have the

and valleys of this dynamic country. Nepal’s rich cultural diversity

chance to talk to local people about their

provides a strong foundation for a larger conversation about the

lived experience of pressing global concerns

underpinnings of identity, community, and spirituality.

such as climate change and foreign aid.

Our program weaves a path between rural and urban

30

ISPs

Moving into rural Nepal, we get the

Some never left, and today a multitude of ethnic groups from

environments and different religious communities as we explore

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

SINCE ANCIENT TIMES, TRAVELERS, MONKS, MERCHANTS, POETS, ARTISTS, AND WARRIORS

K AT H M A N D U

PATA N

INDIA

AGES

For the comparative religion aspect of this course, we explore the intertwined religions of Hinduism and Buddhism and also go on a short

how ancient traditions can survive in a rapidly developing

meditation retreat, where we have the chance to fully immerse ourselves in monastic

society. During our time in the Kathmandu valley, we meet

life. We learn about the foundations of Buddhist philosophy from a learned monk and

with local activists and experts who share their insights on

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

Nepal’s history, politics, and culture. They also offer a unique perspective on the socio-political complexities facing

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

a newly-democratic Nepal, and challenges the 2015 earthquake poses to Nepali society.

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

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

— PA R E N T O F N AT E Z U C H E R

RIGHT PAGE Kendall Marianacci

DAYS

DATES

LEFT PAGE Kyle Lee, Photo from Dragons archives

30

LEH

DESCRIPTION


E YA K

AR

D•

•FRO

B O

M

TH

BY LEXI NEESE, STUDENT Nepal Semester

T H E M O U N TA I N S L I F T M E U P Day 7: After rising early, we made the four-hour drive to Helambhu,

I was very nervous that the hike up to Galegaon would be a

a sacred hidden valley in the Himalayas where we would start our

repeat of the first trek. The sun was shining as we set off up the

first trek. We had a dal bhat lunch and set out on our adventure.

hill. When I looked at my watch for the first time, I was surprised

Ten minutes going up a steep stone staircase and my breath was

to find that 45 minutes had passed. My breath was easy and my

labored. I regretted all those days I put off exercise to go out with

mind was clear. I was not only enjoying the beautiful scenery of

friends or watch a movie with my younger sister. I paused to catch

the forests and the mountains, I was able to have conversations

my breath. I can’t do this, I’m not going to make it, I’m not ready

with the people around me. It started to drizzle as we reached

for this, played over and over in my mind, a poisonous thought

the top. Instead of a sad rain, however, it was cleansing and

pattern that rekindled itself whenever the path started to get

transformative, washing away the sweat and dirt of the past few

challenging. I did end up making it to our destination; however,

hours. While encouraging me to keep going on the first trek two

the entire time I was trekking, the noxious record of self-doubt

months ago, my instructor Kristin told me that despite gravity

played in my head, every syllable weighing me down and making

and everything pulling them down, the Himalayas are growing

the trek that much more difficult.

three inches every year. I feel more in touch with the mountains now. Even with the huge boulders, cliffs, and crevices, an

Day 66: On our fifth day in the village of Balamchaur, we decided to take a day hike to the nearby village of Galegaon.

“airiness” pervades them that can be seen and felt in the clouds swirling around the snow-capped peaks. Getting ready to go

A soccer tournament was taking place, and people from

on the next trek, I have found my mantra:

all the nearby villages were gathering for the festivities.

The mountains lift me up.

ASI A:   S UM M E R

Visit the Yak Board for course reflections from Dragons students past and present at YA K.WHER ETHER EB EDR AGON S.COM

31


“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.” — P A R E N T O F L I LY H I M M E L M A N

NORTH INDIA ROOF OF THE WORLD 4-Week & 6-Week Summer Abroad Programs

30/41 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Examine diverse Himalayan cultures, explore Tibetan Buddhist traditions, and trek into the awe-inspiring mountains of Ladakh.

June 28 – July 28 June 28 – August 8

16 – 18 17 – 20

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

TREKKING

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

CHINA LEH

NEPAL DELHI

stay in family homes in tiny villages, sharing

MILES FROM PAKISTAN TO CHINA,

meals and learning about village life, or we

THE HIMALAYAN RANGE BOASTS HALF THE WORLD’S HIGHEST MOUNTAINS. Clinging to the far western flank of the Tibetan

AS I A:   S UM M ER

INDIA

32

plateau, jagged peaks and windswept valleys have

pitch tents and sleep outside under the brilliant blanket of stars. The six-week program travels further south into the Himalayan foothills to

largely preserved the local cultures of Ladakh. Our

the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

exploration begins close to the regional capital

Upon the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet,

of Leh, where we learn language basics, explore

thousands of devout followers settled in

pastoral communities, and acclimatize to the 11,500ft

Dharamsala, the seat of His Holiness’ exiled

elevation. We explore local issues in meetings with

government. Today, Tibetan language, traditional

NGO leaders who share their firsthand experiences

medicine, art, and spirituality are preserved here. It is a

trying to preserve the traditional Ladakhi heritage

place that inspires with stories of struggle and perseverance and a message of hope and

and environment despite shifting cultural, ecological,

compassion. We stay in a Buddhist monastery to better understand the basic tenets of

and economic patterns within the region. We trek deep into glaciated valleys, passing through tiny hamlets as we follow remote herders’ trails. As we pass through some of the world’s most breathtaking mountains, we

Buddhism before moving onto Dharamsala to live with Tibetan refugee families, work in the fields, and attend classes at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. The North India course is a window into diverse Himalayan cultures and landscapes, as the region adapts to both challenging environmental and political climates.

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE Photos from Dragons archives

TIBE T

PA K I S TA N

STRETCHING MORE THAN 1500

LEFT PAGE Cara Starnbach, Photo from Dragons archives

MANALI


E A S T E R N H I M A L AYA S WEST BENGAL TO SIKKIM 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Experience the mysticism of remote mountain communities: work with local artists and healers, and gain insight into the myriad spiritual traditions of the Eastern Himalaya.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 17 HOMESTAY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

ISPs

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

NESTLED DEEP IN THE EASTERN END OF THE

“You gave me such an opportunity this summer, not just to travel to this magical place, but

GREAT HIMALAYAN MOUNTAIN RANGE, WEST

something to hold on to that has sparked a new light, purpose and ambition in my life.”

CHINA BENGAL LEH

AND SIKKIM ARE INDIAN STATES THAT SIT

— B R I G E T T E B A R N AT O

SNUGLY BETWEEN NEPAL AND BHUTAN. The tension between modern influences and traditional values is strikingly apparent TIBET

DELHI

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

N E PAL K AT H M A N D U

L A N G TA N G KANCHENJUNGA GANGTOK KALIMPONG DARJEELING

BHUTAN

apprenticeships with artists, musicians, healers, cultivators,

in this region, as various ethnic groups

and practitioners of Hinduism, Buddhism, and types of

work to safeguard their heritage amidst

shamanism. We delve more deeply into Buddhism

the draw of globalization. Dragons

by sitting in meditation for a short retreat at a

students engage with local communities and explore ancient Buddhist and Hindu traditions,

local monastery, complementing our more theoretical understanding of the religion

gaining insight into the age-old wisdom that has held

with personal practice. Heading further

Himalayan people together for centuries. Our course

into the Himalayas, students witness

begins in northern West Bengal, an area—renowned for

Sikkim’s incredible biodiversity, with day

its fine tea—that serves as an introduction to the cultures

hikes through lush forests with potential

and traditions of the region. Amidst verdant hills of tea waiting to be picked, we learn about the living blend of religious and cultural traditions which rival the beauty of the landscapes. In

views, when monsoon rains abate, of Mount Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

ASI A:   S UM M E R

INDIA

Kalimpong, we live with homestay families and work with local mentors, taking up

33


Take three coca leaves between your fingers and bless Pachamama.

34


L AT I N A M E R I C A IS ALIVE WITH THE COLOR OF CHANGING TRADITIONS.

Plant a row of seedlings to ensure next year’s harvest. Crest a 15,000ft pass and give thanks to the Mother Earth. Float by canoe along tropical waterways in the embrace of the jungle. In the folds of the Andes, Quechua communities are learning to cope with the impacts of climate change while staying rooted to traditional ways of life. In Central America, Mayan communities listen to Reggaeton while weaving patterns handed down from centuries past. These landscapes and stories impart valuable lessons about globalization, indigenous identity in our modern world, and natural resource use in some of the most diverse pockets of our planet. Latin America is a land of movers and shakers, of sacred peaks and vibrant community systems, of rhythm and color. Whether you’re interested in learning more about the silver mines in Potosí or the rhythms of marimba in Guatemala, Latin America is a landscape rich with beauty, complexity, and transformation. In Latin America, we are students of community reinventing itself…

are you?

35


G UAT 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

30/41 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Investigate issues of social justice amidst Guatemala’s diverse landscapes and communities while improving your Spanish language skills through personalized instruction.

June 28 – July 28 June 28 – August 8

15 – 17 16 – 18

OUR GUATEMALA COURSE OFFERS THE PERFECT MELD OF INTENSIVE

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

LEARNING SERVICE

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

“We sent our son to Guatemala as a teenager, and he returned as a Spanish-speaking,

LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION, LEARNING SERVICE, AND HANDS-ON EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING. Known as the “land of eternal spring,” Guatemala is

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

thoughtful, sensitive and appreciative young man; a powerful evolution!”

— R O B I N F E L L , PA R E N T

a country where towering volcanoes cradle the rich cultural heritage of the colorful

36

Spanish instructors in personalized one-on-one lessons while engaging in authentic homestays and meaningful community-driven learning service projects.

TIKAL

BELIZE

COBAN TODOS SANTOS

G UATE M A L A

We begin our course in Pachaj, a small mountain

SALVADOR

in weaving and marimba. We then wind our way into the pro-

Guatemala’s second biggest city, Quetzaltenango. In

tains to the community of San Juan

Pachaj, we live with generous homestay families, enjoy

Cotzal. Here we join our homestay

one-on-one Spanish language instruction, and volunteer

families in the fields as they plant

with the Chico Mendes Reforestation Project.

their food staples of beans, corn, and

Institute, we travel to the highland community of EL

volunteer in local schools, and receive instruction

tective folds of the Cuchumantes Moun-

After a three-day trek from Quetzaltenango to Lake

SAN LUCAS TOLIMÁN

language instruction, we meet with shamans and healers, learn traditional cooking,

community nestled in the pine forest outside of

Atitlan and a visit to the Mesoamerican Permaculture

SANTIAGO ATITL A N

challenges definitions of “traditional” and “modern.” While continuing with our Spanish

squash. Our comprehensive journey concludes with a few days in the spectacular colonial capital of Antigua.

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE Ashley Milligan

travel to remote communities to study under professional

ME XICO

Todos Santos. Hidden in the clouds, Todos Santos is a mystical mountain town that LEFT PAGE Lital Netter-Sweet, Photo from Dragons archives

L AT IN AM ER IC A :  SU M MER

and resilient Maya people. Through this lush and textured land we


B

AR

D•

•FRO

E YA K

O

M

TH

B Y H A I L E Y O L C O T T, S T U D E N T Guatemala Program

SAN JUAN LA LAGUNA I HAVE NOW BEEN LIVING IN GUATEMALA FOR A WEEK, AND IT HAS BEEN A TIME FULL OF SURPRISES, CHALLENGING MOMENTS, AND BEAUTY. I remember standing with the other students in front of a group of women who would be our host mothers for the next five days, and I was terrified. What if I said the wrong thing? Or they couldn’t understand me? Although neither my fear of offending someone nor the challenge of a language barrier have disappeared, they have certainly lessened. For the past three days, I have grown accustomed to bucket showers at 7am, followed by a delicious breakfast of eggs and beans, before heading to Spanish classes. The sound of hands slapping tortilla dough has become a familiar noise that is constantly echoing through the house. My eyes have been delighted by the beautiful huipil traditional shirts worn by the women. San Juan is nestled between two beautiful green hills, and right along Lake Atitlan. In all honesty, it is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been. We are also taking Spanish classes for four hours every morning. Although I have only attended two classes, I am amazed by how quickly everyone in the group is improving. Each of our teachers is helping us address specific weaknesses in our Spanish, as well as long conversation about public health in Guatemala. This is an opportunity to practice Spanish in an organic way, that is just not possible outside of a Spanish-speaking country. It is hard to capture a culture so different from our own in words. The constant smell of street food lingers in the air, and in the moments when rain is not soaking us all, the sun beats down on the cobblestone streets. But, not only are the sights, smells, and sounds of San Juan different from the US, so are the people. There is a deep rooted generosity and strength in everyone I’ve met here. My host mom, similar to others, is willing to put my comfort and happiness before her own. This astounds and inspires me as I often struggle to even share candy with my brother back home. To many more days of mosquito-bitten legs, walking in the rain, and laughing until it hurts! I continue to look forward to learning more about the history that shaped this beautiful country and explore and learn while I’m here.

LATI N A ME R IC A :  S U MM E R

capturing our attention through complex conversations in Spanish I never knew I could carry. During one of our classes, I had an hour

Visit the Yak Board for course reflections from Dragons students past and present at YA K.WHER ETHER EB EDR AGON S.COM

37


NICARAGUA COMMUNITY IN ACTION 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Improve your Spanish through daily instruction and learn the history of grassroots activism in some of Central America’s most socially engaged communities.

June 28 – July 28

16 – 18 HOMESTAY

CENTRAL AMERICA, A NARROW STRIP OF LUSH JUNGLES AND FIERY

LANGUAGE STUDY

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

“There have been so many different vibes and opportunities in just one month. I can

VOLCANOES, is the earth’s most recent major land formation and a melting pot of cultural and biological diversity. At its heart lays Nicaragua, the “land of lakes and

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

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

—ELLA PEPPER

volcanoes,” and a hotbed for innovative community response to the

38

independent study projects (ISPs), with options

our Nicaragua program allows students to learn directly from

to play music with a local band, act with a

community activists, farmers, and NGOs working for social justice

O COTA L ESTELÍ

and sustainability.

M ATAG A LPA

NICARAGUA

enjoying the warm hospitality of carefully selected homestays.

GRANADA

We then travel to the island of Ometepe, where we summit the Concepcion volcano and visit lush coffee and banana plantations COS TA

RIC A

socially conscious theater troop, learn to cook with a giant adobe oven, or take advantage

Our journey begins in the picturesque colonial city of Esteli, where we deepen our understanding of Spanish language while

MANAGUA

visions for a brighter future. Students dive into

intimate homestays, and exceptional language instruction,

that skirt its base. Moving on to the highlands of Nicaragua, we settle into the hamlet of El Lagartillo for a two-week homestay. Local families invite us into their warm,

of other myriad learning opportunities. In the afternoons, we study Spanish with professional teachers before cooling off in thunderous waterfalls. After heartfelt goodbyes, we travel south for a learning service project with Los Quinchos, an organization that takes children off the streets of Managua. Nicaragua will capture our hearts and minds with its overwhelming hospitality and hopeful visions for the future.

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE Moriah Kofsky, Photo from Dragons Archives

With an emphasis on community-based learning service,

HONDUR A S

LEÓN

solar-powered homes, share meals and discuss their

LEFT PAGE Photos from Dragons archives

L AT IN AM ER IC A :  SU M MER

rapid changes of globalization.


“I looked for a course that would challenge me physically, emotionally, mentally yet still teach me about the world. Well I found it.” —JAMES TEJERA

BOLIVIA SPIRIT OF THE ANDES 4-Week & 6-Week Summer Abroad Programs

30/41 DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Immerse yourself in the Andes: perform ritual mountain ceremonies, trek over snow-swept passes, and discuss the impacts of climate change with local communities.

June 28 – July 28 June 28 – August 8

17 – 19 17 – 19

KNOWN AS A LAND OF EXTREMES, BOLIVIA IS HOME TO SOME OF THE MOST STAGGERING CULTURAL AND ECOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ON THE language groups, vast mountain ranges,

the dense cloud forests on the edge of

dense Amazonian jungle, and a shifting

the Amazon Basin. Observing striking

socio-political landscape, Bolivia provides

ecological transitions, we discuss

between past and present in the heart of South

CORDILLERA APOLOBAMBA

communities through extended homestays,

S O R ATA L A PA Z COCHABAMBA CORDILLERA REAL

PAR AGUAY

management in one of the most biodiverse pockets of the planet. Our final excursion takes us south to the Uyuni Salt Flats, and otherworldly

with local activists and landscapes

landscape home to unique flora and fauna, aquamarine lagunas, and the largest reserves of

live in a small Quechua farming community. Stu-

lithium on the planet. Summiting an active volcano,

dents enjoy daily Spanish language instruction

we discuss issues of resource use and environmental

at our Program House while learning about the

conservation in one of the most dramatic locales on the planet. For our final days

vibrant history of grassroots mobilization and

together, we settle into a relaxing retreat to reflect on all we've learned about Bolivia's

resistance in the Andes.

grassroots activism and fascinating cultural and environmental diversity.

CHILE ARGENTINA

TREKKING

issues of conservation and resource

focused language study, and direct engagement The course begins in Cochabamba, where we

BOLIVIA

LANGUAGE STUDY

depart on a four-day trek in the snow-capped Cordillera Real range, descending into

America. Students integrate into several local

HOMESTAY

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

LATI N A ME R IC A :  S U MM E R

BR A ZIL

RUGGED TRAVEL

Acclimatized to the Andean elevation, we

PLANET. Host to 36 distinct ethnic and

a panorama for students to explore the links

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

39


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

30/41 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

TOWERING PEAKS AND STEAMY JUNGLES, OF

A short trek takes us to Machu Picchu, where we quickly

MODERN URBAN CENTERS AND HIDDEN VILLAGES.

skirt the crowds and settle in for a four-day

The radical juxtapositions in landscape and culture

HUARAZ

CHIQUIÁN

of this majestic country are mirrored in the striking

S ATI P O

L AT IN AM ER IC A :  SU M MER

LIMA

40

socio-economic disparities that pervade society.

O L L A N TAY TA M B O

MACHU PICCHU CUSCO

PU ERTO MALDO NATO

Students dig into critical development issues by living with families in remote indigenous

BOLIVIA

homestay in the Parque de la Papa. We rise with our homestay siblings, harvest potatoes, herd and milk livestock, and participate in a learning service project led by local leaders.

communities and exploring seldom-visited

By the end of the course

regions of the sacred Andes Mountains

students are equipped with

and lush Amazonian forests.

basic wilderness skills, and a

Our journey begins with a short flight into the heart of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. A small boat takes us up the Madre de Dios River,

deeper understanding of regional environmental issues and the mysticism of Andean cosmology.

where we learn about forest ecology while listening to a symphony of tropical birds and jungle calls. We meet with local elders who share their hopes and fears about regional

“Q’eros changed something big inside me. What I value has changed;

development initiatives.

so has my definition of happiness.”

We travel overland to Cusco, exploring the relics of Sacsayhuamán and the central

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

—JULIA LOTVINA

RIGHT PAGE Adelaide Nalley, Nathaly Granados

BR A ZIL

Plaza, listening to tales of Incan rulers and the Spanish conquistadors that came before.

LEFT PAGE Photo from Dragons archives, David Haffeman

PERU

PERU, ANCIENT SEAT OF THE INCA IS A LAND OF


COLOMBIA S T O R I E S O F P E AC E & R E S I S TA N C E 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

30

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Learn about community approaches to conflict resolution and peace-building, explore cities and mountains, and practice Spanish through the arts, dance, and music.

June 28 – July 28

16 – 18

EXPERIENCE A VIBRANT AND DIVERSE COUNTRY FROM SNOWY

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

Our journey begins in a sub-tropical corridor between the Andes and tropical

ANDEAN PEAKS, RAINFORESTS WITH ENDLESS SHADES OF GREEN,

lowlands, where we partner with a cultural and ecological restoration program

ALPINE WETLANDS THAT PRODUCE WATER AS IF BY MIRACLE, AND THE

that is working on the construction of a giant “forest of peace.” From

COLORS AND RHYTHMS OF THE PACIFIC AND ATLANTIC COASTS. with the many traditions of Colombia’s

there, we transition to our first homestay with Guambiano indigenous families in the western Andes, learning about their relationship with land and nature. In Bogotá, we explore Latin America’s largest city, and practice

indigenous communities, African

Spanish through the arts, dance, and music with

descendants, and people of European

young people’s cultural collectives. We end our

heritage create a fascinating

adventure with a trek to the ancient Lost City

fusion of landscapes, cultures, and

in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, where

identities. The history of conflict and

massive peaks rise up out of the tropical shores of

transformation that Colombia has

the Caribbean to altitudes above 18,000 feet. Our

endured in recent decades, leading to the current Peace Process, offers meaningful lessons around the power of resistance, memory, resilience, and forgiveness in the face of civil conflict.

trajectory connects us to artists and dreamers,

SIERR A NE VADA D E S A NTA M A RTA

VENE ZUEL A

B O G OTÁ

COLOMBIA SAN AGUSTÍN, HUILA

farmers and indigenous leaders, peace builders and musicians, all working to weave together narratives of peace, resistance, and unity for

ECUADOR

their people and nation.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

PERU

LATI N A ME R IC A :  S U MM E R

These spectacular backdrops—along

ISPs

41 BR A ZIL


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.

42


AFRICA HAS ITS OWN RHYTHM.

Sounds announce our arrival in a new place, and slowly their rhythm reminds us that we’ve landed in Africa. 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. Get lost among techni-colored mounds of spices or the snow capped Atlas mountains in Morocco. Find the meaning of biodiversity among the Baobab trees of Madagascar. 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 ready to hear Arabic, French, Wolof, Malagasy… there are stories waiting to be heard. We’re listening…

are you?

43


MADAGASCAR ISLAND OF DIVERSITY 6-Week Summer Abroad Program

AGES

Explore Madagascar’s biological and cultural diversity, economic challenges, environmental conservation efforts, and the stories of the Malagasy people.

June 28 – August 8

16 – 18

A NTA N A N A R I VO AMPEFY

MADAGASCAR

A M BATA M A N G A

MOR ANDAVA

ANTISRABE

R ANOMAFANA PARK

AF R IC A:   SUM M ER

ISALO PARK

44

RUGGED TRAVEL

MADAGASCAR: THE EIGHTH CONTINENT.

coast of the Mozambique Channel for our first

Stunningly diverse and colossal in size, more than 80%

homestay. This community is grappling with

of the plant and animal species in Madagascar are not

habit destruction, and local environmental

similarly unique. Over the past 2,000 years, immigrants

activists share a unique perspective on this

have paddled dugout canoes across the Indian Ocean and

global issue.

floated rafts across the Mozambique Channel, blending the influences of Southeast Asia and Africa into a distinct Malagasy narratives of the Malagasy people, as well as the diverse species that inhabit this incredible island.

HOMESTAY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

the impacts of overfishing and marine

found anywhere else in the world. The Malagasy people are

identity. Over the course of the summer, we uncover the diverse

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

The rest of our journey takes us on a rugged, winding path through rural homestays and breathtaking landscapes. Whether we’re meeting with policymakers in Antananarivo or looking for chameleons in

Our journey begins in Ampefy, a village nestled in the shadows of a booming waterfall. A short orientation provides the

Andasibe National Park, we come to realize that each creature has a role to play in shaping the future of Madagascar.

foundation for our future travels, as we learn to navigate local transportation, speak with homestay families, and examine the influences of globalization with a more critical eye.

“This trip was incredible. The fact that we fit so much into six weeks and were able to explore so many different aspects of Madagascar from rainforest to beach to sandstone

We journey south to camp in the sandstone canyons of Isalo National Park and search for lemurs in Ranomafana's lush mid-altitude rainforest. Next, we travel to the

canyon was amazing. Everything was an experience. I loved it.”

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

—ELSA BECHU

RIGHT PAGE Cara Lane-Toomey, Gigi Crouch

DAYS

DATES

LEFT PAGE Eloise Schrier, Bella Heffer

41

DESCRIPTION


MOROCCO C R O S S R O A D S O F M O U N TA I N S & C U LT U R E S 4-Week Summer Abroad Programs

30

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

From forested mountains to the Sahara desert, explore the languages, faiths, and cultures that make up the western-most outpost of the Arab world.

June 28 – July 28

16 – 19

WANDERING THROUGH A MOROCCAN SOUQ (MARKET PLACE), FRAMED BY THE ANCIENT WALLS OF CITY MEDINAS, YOU ARE SURE TO THINK THAT YOU HAVE ENTERED ANOTHER ERA. Hiking along ancient trade routes and current nomadic enclaves, we experience a Morocco that few travelers encounter.

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

“The rural homestay taught me the most. I learned so much in terms of spoken and comprehensive language, Moroccan culture and way of life, and friendship and hospitality. I also learned a lot about myself, as I was surprised I was able to thrive so well in an environment I never could have imagined myself being in.” —JACKSON KENNA

Our time in remote villages immerses students in Morocco’s unrivaled hospitality; families welcome us as kin and our tea cups are never left empty. Throughout the country we

we come to see how religion and culture unite indigenous provides us wonderful opportunities to learn about

budding Arabic language skills.

the history and tradition of this, often mystical, Muslim

In the imperial cities of Fes and

culture. Whether outside an intricately decorated mosque in

Marrakesh, the sounds of people

Casablanca or walking an unpaved road in a quiet mountain

bargaining in Arabic fill our ears as

town, we often hear the call to prayer, and are reminded

the smells of exotic spices fill your

five times a day that among the vastly disparate lives of

nose. Yet only a few hours hike takes us out of the cities and to a village of peaceful mud huts in the mountains.

SPAIN

Amazigh and Arab peoples. Our time in Morocco

Morocco’s people, Islamic culture, faith, and devotion continue to bring families and communities together as it has for over 1300 years.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

FES CASABLANCA MIDDLE ATL A S M O U NTA I N S

ESSAOUIRA MARRAKESH

H I G H ATL A S M O U NTA I N S

MOROCCO

AF R IC A :  S U MM E R

engage with locals using our

Though Morocco shows us a land of great differences,

45


B

AR

D•

•FRO

E YA K

O

M

TH

BY ZANDRA CAMPBELL, STUDENT Dragons Princeton Bridge Year Senegal

SOME THOUGHTS ON RELIGION A WEEK AGO, AS I POSTULATED BEFORE ALLAH IN A SUFI SERVICE FOR TABASKI (A CELEBRATION OF THE SACRIFICE OF ISHMAEL), TEARS ROLLED DOWN MY CHEEKS. The tears surprised me, but I soon recognized that I was crying because the practitioners’ prayer was so beautiful, and they were so united, and I wasn’t a part of it. Their faith in Allah connected them, and I felt that, despite my love for Judaism, my disbelief in a god isolated me from that community experience. Afterwards, the group conversed about their faiths, and members of my team expressed that although they did not subscribe to Islam, joining in the prayer connected them both to their own faiths and the community. My sadness deepened; everyone’s faith seemed to be such a part of that community experience that I so desperately craved. I felt that I must be missing out on some of the world’s joy, but you can’t force yourself to believe in something, right? Later on in the day, however, I was playing with all the children as they helped sacrifices the rams. We were laughing and taking selfies, and they begged me to pick them up and spin them around again and again until I grew so dizzy, I could barely stand. I realized that not sharing the same religion or even the same god didn’t mean I couldn’t take part in the community. Even going through the seemingly empty motions of a prayer that didn’t mean anything to me at face value, we shared something. We were sharing an experience—the sun on our faces, the feeling of the plastic woven mat under our knees, and the feeling of jàmm (peace). We were connected through these moments in the universe that we share. Faith in a god can be a beautiful thing, but it isn’t some magic ingredient for joy—you don’t need faith to do good or be connected to Senegal gives me hospitality. On our last night in Dene, the spiritual community in which we stayed during Tabaski, the community sang the national anthem of the United States in Wolof for us. I was so touched, I teared up again. With or without God, the world is an amazing place. Statistically, the chances of our own existences are so infinitesimally small, and the chances of that many people equally as improbable of existing as I should come together and stand in that circle around that bonfire is practically impossible. Yet there we were, and that’s miraculous.

Visit the Yak Board for course reflections from Dragons students past and present at 46

YA K.WHER ETHER EB EDR AGON S.COM

LEFT PAGE Elke Schmidt

AF R IC A: S U MM ER

threw a goodbye party for us. We danced around a bonfire singing in Wolof, and to close the night, one of the woman of Dene

RIGHT PAGE Angelica Calabrese, Nicos Christou

people. And in any case, I do have faith. I have faith in people to be and do good. The teranga (spirit of hospitality) pervasive through


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

30

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

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

June 28 – July 28

15 – 17

M A U R aI Tnew A N Icraft, A

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOMESTAY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

SAINT LOUIS DENE DAKAR

YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN NDEM THIES

IN SENEGAL. Enter a fortuneteller’s hut and ask

SENEGAL TA M BACO U N DA

TEMANTO SAMBA KOLDA KEDOUGOU

GUINE A

MALI

“The trip did an amazing job of giving us the right direction, but not holding our hands all the time like many other programs out there. I have developed as an individual,

a question about your future. Spin and dance with

as a global citizen, and as a contributing member of a community.”

Sufi mystics. Discover fluent Spanish speakers on

—MICHAEL FORTENBERRY

a mangrove island. Speak with a young man preparing to cross the Strait of Gibraltar to find work

trees turn into lush, green forest. We trek through the foothills of

in Spain. This country is a collision of influences:

the Fouta mountains, visiting Pulaar villages, traditional

French, Islamic, African, and increasingly, American and Chinese. Renowned for its hospitality and tolerance,

We come to rest for a week of homestays, where students live in a traditional thatched-hut

Our journey begins along the sandy shores of Dene, a

family compound. Students spend the day as

community located just outside of Dakar. Here we learn

locals do, working in the fields, milking cows,

cultural norms, study comparative religion, practice

partaking in drumming and dance lessons,

greetings in Wolof and French, explore colorful markets, dance and drum with local teachers, and begin to examine issues surrounding the term ‘development.’ This week

and listening to village meetings. As we sink into the rhythm of Senegalese

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

life, we see that the tradition of teranga (the

education, social justice, and human migration.

culture of giving) offers us many lessons about

Heading south, we watch the flat desert landscape scattered with ancient baobab

community and the web of connections we share.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

AF R IC A :  S U MM E R

Senegal makes room for all.

healers, and environmental activists along the way.

47


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

48


GAP YEAR SEMESTERS CAN TURN THE WORLD INTO A CLASSROOM.

Beyond well-worn routines, discovery of new perspectives awaits. 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?

49


RUSSIA

MONGOLIA

BEIJING

CHINA

CHINA

XI’AN

XIAHE

CHENGDU

SOUTH OF THE CLOUDS

KUNMING

NDIA

3-Month Gap Year Program

83

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Improve your Mandarin, practice a traditional Chinese art form, and explore ethnic minority communities throughout China.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 12 – May 6

17 – 22 17 – 22

CHINA. FEW COUNTRIES EVOKE THE SAME CURIOSITY AND INTENSE FASCINATION. Our semester in China does more than introduce the contemporary China that is seen in the country’s burgeoning cities; our course takes us among

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

ISPs

"Some of the best most impactful and enjoyable [memories] were actually unplanned or even unintended. They just happened on the road or were bumps along that road, and those are probably the ones which leave the biggest impressions." —ROBERT BURNS

this country’s diverse peoples and cultures and across lesser visited urban and rural landscapes. Inventive travel experiences are balanced with a strong language

50

Building on all we've learned and experienced in Kunming, we begin

Kunming—located southeast of the Tibetan Plateau—is our home for six weeks of

travel through China's western

the program. This “city of eternal spring” is the capital of China’s Yunnan Province; an

corridor with unique itineraries

ideal location from which we explore Han Chinese/minority relations, economic reforms

each semester that may take

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

us through Guizhou, Sichuan,

lectures, discussions, and mentored community-engagement, we explore traditional

Qinghai, Ningxia, or Gansu

Chinese approaches to healing, cooking, exercise, art, and music. While in Kunming,

Provinces. With a broad

students live independently with Chinese host families, many of whom represent the

curriculum and an itinerary

“new middle class” within contemporary society. At the Dragons Program House, we

designed to explore the variety

gather for Chinese language study, work on Independent Study Projects, hear from

this country has to offer, our

visiting scholars, and cook traditional meals with fresh foods purchased at the local

semester program offers an

market.

unparalleled overview of China today. Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE Sampor Burke, Emma Hoffman

GA P Y E AR   SE MEST ER

history and economic development, society, and cultural traditions.

LEFT PAGE Parker Pflaum, From the Dragons archives

curriculum and a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary exploration of modern Chinese


KUNMING

CHINA

XISHUANGBANA

VIETNAM LUANG PRABANG

LAOS

MEKONG

VIENTIANE

THAILAND

T I B E TA N P L AT E A U T O T H E H E A R T O F S O U T H E A S T A S I A

BANGKOK

3-Month Gap Year Program

CAMBODIA K R AT I E

PHNOM PENH

83

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

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

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

FROM ITS SACRED HEADWATERS IN THE TIBETAN PLATEAU, THE

mines leftover from the US' Secret War. We enter rural

MEKONG RIVER FLOWS 4,800-KM TOWARDS THE SOUTH CHINA SEA,

home-stays on the idyllic river island of Don Dohn,

CLEAVING A BOUNDARY BETWEEN MYANMAR, LAOS, AND THAILAND.

relaxing into “Laos time” as we prepare for the

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

final leg of our journey.

river is a means of economic development. By focusing on the interdependency of

In Cambodia, we learn about the ancient

people and the natural world, The Mekong Semester examines how the demand for

Angkor empire and the tumultuous history of a

electricity and anthropocentric needs are causing irreparable damage to delicate

region ravaged by war that is once again at the

ecosystems and traditional ways of life.

forefront of development work We meet with

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

NGOs in Phnom Penh and stay with communities

Tibetan Buddhist landscapes and examine the impacts of China’s controversial

living on the banks of the sacred river. Near the

mega-dam projects. In border villages, we explore transnational trade, ASEAN, and

mouth of the Mekong Delta, we reflect on the

China’s impact on the cultural integrity and economic security of the Greater Mekong

long-term health of the river ecosystem and bring our

Sub-region.

great journey to a close.

Crossing into Laos, we explore the province of Luang Namtha on treks beneath the jungle canopy and travel through some of the most remote regions in Southeast Asia,

“Dragons strengths are in the authenticity of where they go, what they choose to do and

where cross-border trade and a booming ecotourism industry are contributing to rapid

see, where they stay and how the participants are involved along the way. Dragons does

modernization and environmental degradation. In Vientiane, we turn our focus towards

not just lead students by their hands and guide them, they let them figure things out.”

public health initiatives, visiting an international NGO working to clear unexploded W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

— PA R E N T S O F N I T S A P L AT I S

GA P Y E AR S EM E STE R

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

HOMESTAY

51


CHINA

M A N DA L AY

M YA N M A R K ALAW

LAOS

M YA N M A R TRADITIONS & TRANSITIONS 3-Month Gap Year Program

MAWLAMYINE

THAILAND

83

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Witness democracy in action. Meet with international development experts, volunteer at the largest monastic school, and engage with the rich cultural heritage of Myanmar.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

to promote ours.” After soaking in the majesty of this Great Dagon Stupa, we hop

THE BARK OF THE THANAKA PLANT AS A NATURAL SUNSCREEN. In 2011,

on a train for to Bagan, the ancient temple complex in the north, for orientation. We

after fifty years under a repressive military dictatorship, the country opened to the

begin lessons in introductory Burmese, Theravada Buddhist traditions, regional power

semester program have the opportunity to explore a complex culture, greatly untouched by Western influences.

GA P Y E AR   SE MEST ER

RUGGED TRAVEL

IN MYANMAR, MEN STILL WEAR TRADITIONAL LONGYI AND WOMEN USE

international community. Students on this unique

52

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

Together, we explore themes

structures, and the dazzling complexity of Myanmar's ethnic, historical, and political landscape. The next few weeks find us visiting the great Mount Popa for a short trek and our first encounter with devout Theravada Buddhism. Following a rural homestay in the village of Atar, we travel to Mandalay where students spend five weeks living and

related to cultural preservation,

learning at the largest monastic school in the country. Here we continue our focus on

economic development, and

learning service by volunteering in small groups according to interest and paired with

political transition as they

Burmese students to foster meaningful exchange.

relate to the shifting faces of Myanmar. We begin our voyage at the tranquil Shewdagon Pagoda, where Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi once asked the world to, “Please use your liberty

After a visit to Shan state for a gorgeous trek through the highlands, students spend the final weeks of the course directing their own travels, perhaps into the Irrawaddy Delta or a journey to Karen state. Concluding the course in Yangon, we see the country through the eyes of merchants, entrepreneurs, and young activists who aim to redefine the way the word sees their country. Over the course of three months, students on our Southeast Asia Semester build core competencies as global citizens and discover community-led models for societal change.

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE Aaron Slosberg

YA N G O N

LEFT PAGE Xenia Octavia Viragh, Danny Wood

BAGAN


CHINA

MANADO

BORNEO

INDONESIA

LUWUK

TA N A TO R A JA

MOROWALI KENDARI

MAKASSAR

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

AUSTRALIA DESCRIPTION

83

DAYS

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

DATES

AGES

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

SPANNING FROM MALAYSIA TO AUSTRALIA, WITH OVER 17,000

mangrove ecosystems, and look at the nuances

EQUATORIAL ISLANDS,Indonesia hosts the world’s highest level of biodiversity

of environmental conservation.

and one of the richest cultural tapestries on earth. Our program begins in Yogyakarta,

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

islands famous as a source of nutmeg and

have been for centuries. With our Program House as a base, students engage in arts

cloves. Featuring dramatic volcanic formations

study, language instruction, and topical discussions on the course’s themes of cultural

draped in luxuriant vegetation and uninhabited

and religious diversity, creative expression, ecology and environmental protection, all

islands wrapped in white sand beaches, the

while living with carefully selected homestay families.

Bandas boast incredible marine diversity and a fascinating history at the center of the spice trade. We return to Yogyakarta to conclude a course that is

coffee production, hike spectacular volcanoes, explore topics in spiritual plurality, and

rugged and comprehensive, and that introduces students to some

develop a deeper understanding of traditional farming.

of the most significant ecological, cultural and geo-political conversations of our time.

We then travel to the southeastern archipelago of Wakatobi, an extraordinary National Marine Park and home to the Bajau people (also known as “sea nomads”). Staying in the stilted bamboo huts of Sampela, students learn about Bajau culture,

“Each place we went to and family I stayed with showed me something about life. Swimming with dolphins in the Bandas. Spear fishing in Sampela. Playing soccer in

practices, and religion. We snorkel world-class coral reefs, learn from host fathers

Langa. Playing gamelan in Java. There were so many impactful and enjoyable activities.”

how to fish with spears and nets, attend indigenous ceremonies, visit endangered

— W I L L I A M D U FA U LT

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

GA P Y E AR S EM E STE R

mysterious Bandas, a small group of volcanic

orchestra), Javanese dance, and shadow puppetry are studied and performed as they

From Java, we head east to the island of Flores where students live in the pastoral

RUGGED TRAVEL

Heading east we may travel to the

on the island of Java. In this center for arts and culture, ritual crafts of gamelan (bronze

village of Langa. Here students stay with generous homestay families, learn about

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

53


CHINA

EH

N E PA L

TIBET N E PAL

LHI

K AT H M A N D U

L A N G TA N G 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

83

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Experience the mysticism of the Himalayas: trek on the roof of the world, study traditional arts with local masters. Live in a farming village, and sit for a Buddhist meditation retreat.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

THE HIMALAYAS. SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL,THESE COLOSSAL PEAKS WITH THEIR VAST WEB OF RUGGED, ISOLATED VALLEYS AND DISTINCT ETHNIC GROUPS HAVE DRAWN ONLY THE MOST INTREPID TRAVELERS

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

TREKKING

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

"I learned how to harvest barley, milk cows, and sort flax seed. I learned about Ayurvedic healing and took a jungle hike to find herbs. I had private lessons on the Bhagavad Gita. I witnessed the true meaning of community and felt a deep connection to humanity.”

FROM DISTANT LANDS. Through rural and urban homestays, a retreat in a Buddhist

—ISABELLE GRANT

monastery, high mountain trekking, learning service, and independent study, Dragons

54

deep roots in a mystical land. Our Himalaya Semester is based in the

a range of concepts in Buddhism and Hinduism and how these blend and co-exist in a beautiful patchwork. From academic discourse to hands-on study, students find areas of personal interest to explore during our time in Kathmandu. Bronze casting, jewelry making, stone carving, thangka (Buddhist iconography) painting, and music are just

Kathmandu Valley, an ancient crossroads

a few of the apprenticeship opportunities available. Students critically reflect on their

and melting pot of Himalayan peoples.

place in the world through exploring concepts of service, visiting grassroots develop-

While living with host families and

ment projects, or participating in the daily workings of an ashram.

studying Nepali language, students

From Kathmandu we hike into the foothills of the Himalaya to explore rural Nepali

meet with local scholars and activists

village life. We settle into a calmer pace of agrarian life, living simply while learning

and learn about Nepal’s history, poli-

about subsistence living. We also venture high into the Himalayas for an unforgettable

tics, and culture. The study of spiritual traditions is a central component of our Himalaya semester, introducing students to

trek amid the earth’s tallest mountains. Hiking over high elevation passes, we enjoy several weeks of active exploration through one of the most ruggedly beautiful and dramatic areas on earth.

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE Photo from Dragons archives, Stew Motta

GA P Y E AR   SE MEST ER

encountering ancient spiritual traditions with

LEFT PAGE Maria Xu, Scott Diekema

Himalaya students explore this remarkable region,


CHINA LEH

TIBE T

A K I S TA N

NEPAL

DELHI

INDIA

VAR ANASI C A LC U T TA

INDIA

H I M A L AYA S T O T H E G A N G E S R I V E R 3-Month Gap Year Program

83

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 7 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

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

artisans. Daily language classes in Hindi

IMMERSES STUDENTS IN AN INTENSELY THRIVING COMMUNITY BUILT

not only help students communicate

ALONG THE BANKS OF THE GANGES RIVER. Among the most sacred cities in

with Indian hosts, but with mentors

India, Varanasi is a melting pot of ancient tradition, modern commerce, and spiritual

of community service projects

exploration.

sponsored by schools, clinics, and

Depending on the season, we either begin or end our course with a mountain trek deep into the Indian Himalayas. To communicate the breadth and depth of Indian

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

ISPs

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

environmental organizations. Independent Study Projects are a core component of

Calcutta, Agra and the Taj Mahal, and Bodhgaya. However, it is our extended stay in

Dragons India semester, giving

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

students the chance to master

encompasses extended homestays, yoga instruction, artist internships, ISPs, and

new and useful skills, develop a fresh

learning service work. In Varanasi, students see Hindus walk through dawn light for a

perspective on historical and social

ritual dip in their cherished Ganges, and also learn from the communities of Buddhists,

issues, and practice traditional Indian art

Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, and other devout people who live and practice in this holiest of

forms. While engaging in these studies, students

holy cities.

also have the chance to explore some of the subcontinent's most venerated and least-known places. From a trip to the Bodhi Tree and Temple at Bodhgaya, where the

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

Buddha attained enlightenment, to traditional local villages rarely visited by Westerners,

renowned sitar and tabla players, traditional doctors, university professors, or local

students witness what it means to live in India in the 21st-century.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

GA P Y E AR S EM E STE R

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

It is in this inspirational celebration of life and transformation that we immerse

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

55


BELIZE

G UAT E M A L A

NICARAGUA

G UAT E M A L A & N I C A R AG UA S PA N I S H L A N G UAG E A N D G R A S S R O OT S AC T I V I S M

CO S TA R I C A

PANAMA

83

DAYS

3-Month Gap Year Program

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Build Spanish language fluency, examine grassroots political activism, and enjoy a hands-in-the-dirt approach to understanding culture and community.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

GA P Y E AR   SE MEST ER

CENTRAL AMERICA: A NARROW STRIP OF LUSH JUNGLES AND FIERY

56

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

LEARNING SERVICE

We move to Nicaragua, where communities

VOLCANOES, UNITES TWO MASSIVE CONTINENTS AND SPLITS THE

have long relied on local solutions to social

WORLD'S LARGEST OCEANS. Rising out of the sea this causeway of cultures and

and environmental challenges. In the

ecological diversity is an explosion of rapid biological and cultural change. Today the

face of political strife and rapid

countries of Central America continue their historic legacy of adaptation, responding

globalization, these communities

to environmental and social challenges with innovative communal strategies. The

have joined together to devise

Guatemala and Nicaragua Semester approaches indigenous culture and collective life

creative and revolutionary

through extended rural homestays, personalized language study, work on communal

responses in the form of radical

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

social movements, progressive

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

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

organizations, and innovative

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

technologies. While living

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

in homes with local farmers

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

and continuing with Spanish

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

instruction, students learn about

has played out here for hundreds of years. Herbal healers, weavers, and community

the revolution, participate in local

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

agricultural co-ops, partake in the

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

annual coffee harvest and meet some of the

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

friendliest folk in this part of the world.

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE Reed Harwood

E L S A LVA D O R

LEFT PAGE Charlotte Boyden, Juancho Galich

HONDURAS


E YA K

AR

D•

•FRO

B O

M

TH

BY CAROLINE FENELON, STUDENT Guatemala & Nicaragua Semester

A NEW VIEW ON SERVICE CHOOSING TO DEFER FROM COLLEGE AND TAKE A GAP YEAR IS A MAJOR

the construction of the latrine, we helped where we could—from mixing cement to

ABNORMALITY FROM WHERE I COME FROM. The situation was prompting

carrying rocks—all while taking detailed notes. We were not imposing our building

questions upon questions: What is a gap year? What do you mean you are not going

techniques on the locals. No, they were teaching us.

to college next year? What will you be doing?

The reason why we spent that week learning was actually so we could later act as

How do you begin to explain a Dragons course to anyone? I told these people that I

a bridge. Luis, a few weeks prior, had received a call from the leader of a women’s

would be living in homestays in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala and learning

weaving cooperative who inquired on how to get into contact with IMAP to learn

Spanish. Then, I would pause for their reaction: Wouldn’t you be taking Spanish classes

how to build a solar composting latrine. It hit Luis—why not have our group use the

in college? “Well, yes, but I will also be volunteering.” With that word, “volunteering,”

skills learned working at IMAP to construct a latrine with the weaving co-op? That is

the doubter’s face would light up with a more approving expression of understanding.

exactly what we did.

I was always hesitant to throw around that word (volunteering) because I deliberately

Though those two weeks ended up being focused on construction, or what many

did not choose a program that’s main focus was service. Yet it was as though because

would label as “service,” in reality, we were working and learning side by side our

I was traveling to developing countries, everyone expected me to volunteer—like if I

Guatemalan friends doing what we could to act as a bridge—transmitting information

was not going to volunteer, I was doing something wrong, being selfish.

from one local institute to another one that had asked for it.

When I recall the past three months, I do not immediately think of volunteer work.

It all made me start to think about how I am going to

Instead, I remember being welcomed with open arms into families’ homes; I remember

explain the past three months when I return

studying Spanish in a thirty-six family town; I remember learning so much about local

home. I could boil the adventure down

cultures and life in general from the many characters we met along the journey.

“volunteer work” has been vastly different from what might be imagined. We did not come into a town with the mentality that we were there to help and teach the “less fortunate” how to construct “superior” buildings or live in a “better” way. For example, in our first “service” oriented week, we partnered with IMAP (the MesoAmerican Permaculture Institute), a Guatemalan-founded and run organization, to learn how to construct a solar composting latrine. While our friends at IMAP led

impressed. But the lessons I have learned, and relationships I have formed, go so much deeper. So no, these past three months have not revolved around service work, and I am not ashamed of it.

GA P Y E AR S EM E STE R

We have encountered this legendary “service” element on this course; yet the

to being described simply as service work; people would probably be

Visit the Yak Board for course reflections from Dragons students past and present at YA K.WHER ETHER EB EDR AGON S.COM

57


BR A ZIL

PERU CUSCO CORDILLERA APOLOBAMBA

SOUTH AMERICA

PUNO S O R ATA L A PA Z COCHABAMBA

ANDES & AMAZON 3-Month Gap Year Program

CORDILLERA REAL

BOLIVIA

CHILE

83

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

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

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

INDIGENOUS WOMEN IN COLORFUL FLOWING SKIRTS. THREE COCA LEAVES PRESSED TOGETHER FOR PACHAMAMA. Fresh snow on a ridge of the

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOMESTAY

TREKKING

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

"The most wholesome, frustrating, nourishing, enriching program. This journey came full circle, and the experiences we had on our own, as a group and within Bolivia and Peru

Cordillera Apolobamba. Gold miners bent over trays alongside the Madre de Dios…

seemed to be exactly what we all needed. I would not change a thing.” — F A R I D A H N D I AY E

These scenes all speak to the many walks of life in Bolivia and Peru. Whether it’s a

58

this display of democracy in action, we strike

the Andes & Amazon semester have the opportunity to learn about issues of social

out on our first trek, circling up at night to

justice and environmental activism, while the warm culture of ayni (reciprocity) makes

discuss the impacts of climate change

them feel at home throughout their journey.

as we witness glaciers receding before

The semester begins in the agricultural town of Tiquipaya in Central Bolivia. Here,

our eyes.

students live with local families, largely of Quechua descent, and settle into the rhythms

In Peru, we re-trace ancient Incan

of daily life. Our time is characterized by intensive Spanish instruction, exposure to local

trekking routes to Machu Picchu, and

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

venture into the Amazon basin where

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

we listen to indigenous leaders recount

leadership skills. Ready for the next challenge, we set off for the twin cities of La Paz

the impacts of natural resource extraction

and El Alto, dramatic urban centers that sit above 13,000 feet amidst the snow-capped

on their communities. Descending deep

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

into the Amazon, we conclude amidst the calls

that empowers youth to engage with issues of social justice on stage. Charged up by

of birds and shadows of virgin rainforests.

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE Steven Gu

that resonates from this sacred land seeps into every aspect of daily life. Students on

LEFT PAGE Grace Powell, Julianne Chandler

GA P Y E AR   SE MEST ER

remnant of the Spanish empire or a tribute to Aymara gods, the magic and mysticism


AMBANJA

MAHAJANGA

MADAGASCAR

A NTA N A N A R I VO AMPEFY

MADAGASCAR

A M BATA M A N G A

MOR ANDAVA

ANTISRABE

C U LT U R A L & E C O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y

R ANOMAFANA PARK

3-Month Gap Year Program

ISALO PARK

83

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Study endangered landscapes and cultures, witness the competing interests of economic development, and discover the natural wonders of the "8th continent."

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

SET APART FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT, MADAGASCAR IS THE

production while working alongside

FOURTH-LARGEST AND ONE OF THE MOST BIOLOGICALLY DIVERSE

local farmers.

ISLANDS IN THE WORLD. Historical and geographic isolation have made

taxi-brousse, through the candlelight

nowhere else on earth.

of family dinners, or under the canopy

HOMESTAY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

of a lush rainforest; our semester exposes us to the stories that make Mad-

surveys alongside wildlife researchers. We learn about lemurs, an endangered primate

agascar a place unlike any other. Alone at

well-known for their catlike faces, large ears, and playful sounds and behaviors.

the bottom of the Indian ocean lies a beautiful and wild island waiting to be explored.

homestay families and exploring the natural wonders of tsingy (limestone pinnacles) and the Avenue of the Baobabs. After watching the dancing shadows of the majestic baobab trees at sunrise, we travel north to a quiet highland village near the capital. Electricity is rare and time passes quickly as we spend our days with families tending to daily needs: planting crops, fetching sticks for cooking, or washing clothes in the river. Even further north, on red dusty roads of the desert, we arrive in a place where the

“The most powerful aspects of the course were, to me, incredibly small and simple things... These moments are what make Dragons special because I know that in order to really experience these simple and profound things, one needs to... step out of the ideal and into the real. Open your mind and let go of the previous, secondhand judgments. Let go of convenience and complaints. Stop taking everything for granted. Open your mind and

rainforest touches the coast and the scent of vanilla fills the air where we spend the final

listen and look and let everything wash over you. Push yourself to the edge but not over it.”

weeks of the program volunteering in local villages and learning about cacao and vanilla

— AV A W E I L A N D

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

GA P Y E AR S EM E STE R

tems. We trek in two of the country’s most famous national parks and conduct animal

In the eastern region of the country, we practice the Malagasy language with

RUGGED TRAVEL

From the bumpy back seat of a

Madagascar a place where almost all of what you see, hear, and do are possible Early on in the program, we set out to explore some of the country’s unique ecosys-

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

59


SPAIN

FEZ

MOROCCO

H I G H ATL A S M O U NTA I N S MARRAKESH

MOROCCO

A N C I E N T C I T I E S T O T H E AT L A S M O U N TA I N S 3-Month Gap Year Program

ALG ERIA

83

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

From forested mountains to the Sahara desert, study the languages, faiths, and diversity of culture that make up the western-most outpost of the Arab world.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

ISLAMIC ART AND DIVERSE TRADITIONS COMBINE IN THE ENCHANTING

"Jennifer loved everything about the group, the instructors, the people of Morocco and

CITIES WHOSE VERY NAMES STRIKE COLORFUL CHORDS IN THE IMAGI-

Morocco... It opened her mind about what she would like to do with her life...”

NATION: CASABLANCA, MARRAKESH, AND FES. Within and beyond the city

— S A N D R A L E M U S , PA R E N T O F J E N N I F E R L E M U S

walls we explore incredible sites, tastes, and experiences, accessible only to the intrepid opportunity to explore philosophical and political Islam,

60

as well as progressive approaches to gender issues and ethnic diversity. Our journey

youth and elders, urban and rural dwellers, Arabs and indigenous tribes, farmers and

will allow us to compare the vastly

academics. Through rugged travel and authentic interactions, we examine the dominate

different rural and urban Moroccan

issues of this diverse society standing at the crossroads of Middle Eastern, African, and

lifestyles, as well as see first hand the

European cultures.

varying degrees to which history

We stay with urban families in cool cinder-block buildings and indigenous families

and religion impact daily duties,

in warm mud-homes, we help host communities with daily activities, travel through

culture, and understanding of the

striking natural settings, and walk through an endless series of canyons in search of

world beyond Morocco. In the

the opportunity to camp alongside nomadic families. Our time in urban environments

western-most outpost of the Arabic

and remote villages immerses us in Morocco’s unrivaled hospitality, as people

world, we explore a culture which will

welcome us as kin and our cups are never left wanting for sweet mint tea. In a world

embrace us at every opportunity with

where understanding Islam becomes increasingly relevant, we are given the unique

its famed hospitality and kindness.

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

RIGHT PAGE Elke Schmidt, Anastasia Maranto

GA P Y E AR   SE MEST ER

We travel through the most ecologically diverse country in North Africa. Buses and pack animals help us wind through the great diversity of people who make up Morocco:

LEFT PAGE Cara Lane-Toomey, Ami Li

traveler fueled by a curious spirit.


M AU R I TA N I A

SAINT LOUIS

DAKAR THIES

SENEGAL

WEST AFRICA

TA M B ACO U N DA

KOLDA KEDOUGOU

RHYTHMS OF SENEGAL 3-Month Gap Year Program

LABE

GUINEA

83

DAYS

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

From peanut farming villages to mangrove islands, explore contemporary issues of West Africa while delving into the arts in a culture renowned for its generosity and hospitality.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22 17 – 22

"Amazing and transformative! Eve learned so much about global issues.... She became sensitized to how people live outside the US and the challenges they face. All this learning and growing took place within a joyful, warm and welcoming environment." — PA R E N T S O F E V E S T E I N

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOMESTAY

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

language skills at the market, in service work, and with the community. Casting off in a pirogue (a Senegalese fishing boat), the group sails to an island community in the where students are

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

welcomed by host families. We serve

THE WORD “PEACE” AND STRANGERS INVITE YOU INTO THEIR HOMES

alongside a local women’s cooperative to replant mangroves and camp on nearby islands, catching fish for our dinner and

when hundreds of people stop to worship on the city’s sidewalks. Senegal’s famous

keeping our eyes peeled for the dolphins,

hospitality, called “teranga,” is in the air from the moment we set foot on the sandy

manatees, and flamingos that call this

streets of Dakar.

unique environment home. Returning to the

The semester takes us from the French colonial outpost of St. Louis, to the

mainland, our feet carry us to breathtaking

fast-paced capital of Dakar, all the way to a Sufi Islamic coastal village on a white

waterfalls and plateaus, where we speak with local

sand stretch of beach. Students on this semester stay almost exclusively with local

environmental activists and explore the home of some

families and have the opportunity to meet with leaders, traditional healers, regional

of West Africa’s last chimpanzees.

development specialists, and other experts in West African history, geography, and philosophy. Students study Wolof and French throughout the semester, using their new

We conclude in an artist enclave perched on rocky cliffs above the sea, leaving with stories we carry with us, and continue to tell, for years to come.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

GA P Y E AR S EM E STE R

FOR A CUP OF TEA. It's a country of contrasts where new development occurs beside centuries-old traditions. The Muslim call to prayer sounds five times a day

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B E YO N D S U M M E R & G A P P R O G R A M S T H E R E A R E M A N Y WAYS TO B E CO M E A D R AG O N Dragons offers other types of programs. Whether you are a parent, teacher, college student, or business leader, Dragons has opportunities for inspired community engagement, facilitated experiential learning, and intentional cross-cultural travel. Here are a few ways to go Where There Be Dragons...

62

FOR EDUCATORS

FOR ADULTS

FOR PARTNERS

COLLEGE STUDY ABROAD

E x p a n d yo u r P ra c t i c e

I g n i te y o u r I m a g i n a t i o n

Develop your Vision

Enhance your Learning

Educator Programs—for faculty and

For adults seeking to engage in the poetry

For institutions seeking to enhance

Dragons offers College Study Abroad

administrators—immerse participants

and magic of our global community, Dragons

and deepen their work in cross-cultural

Semesters that combine hands-on

in hands-on exploration of the critical

offers unique and authentic travel experiences

leadership and programming, Dragons

experiential learning with excellence in

issues of our time. Working alongside

in the world’s most intriguing locales. In

offers customized services in consulting,

academic course-work in partnership with

an intimate cohort of innovative and

the context of rich and contrasting cultural

training, and program development.

Naropa University. Dragons curriculum

inspired colleagues, these four to 14-day

realities, participants of all ages have the

Through 25-years of experience building

brings academic learning to the next

experiences offer the best in professional

opportunity to step away from the rhythms of

entrepreneurial leadership teams, we have

level by weaving mentorship throughout

development for cross-cultural education.

daily routines to find deeper meaning within

developed tested tools and processes for

adventurous and dynamic learning

Through homestays, collaborative work

their own lives. On an Adult Program, you

bringing together diverse leadership styles

experiences. Our targeted curriculum

in communities, workshops and exchange

can expect to learn from the same program

and visions into more inspired, aligned,

offers four courses allowing students to

with local experts, participants build

components and travel philosophy that are

and collaborative teams. Dragons unique

take a regular semester course load. By

meaningful relationships, bringing to life

hallmarks of our student programming.

approach to cross-cultural education

complementing formal academics with

classroom curriculum back home while

We offer expertly guided adventures that

translates into the world of academics,

our innovative approach to cross-cultural

learning intentional program design,

inspire participants to profoundly connect

business, and leadership development

education, Dragons offers the most holistic

risk management, and ethical

with the beauty and struggle that define our

to offer more inspired visions for

and inspiring College Study Abroad

community engagement.

collective human experience.

success and collaboration.

programming available.

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2


F O R PA R E N T S N OT E S O N S A F E T Y, R E P U TAT I O N , A N D R I S K M A N AG E M E N T If you are a parent who wants reassurance, a student researching programs, or anyone interested in what’s behind our industry leading reputation, here are some important facts:

D R AG O N S H A S 2 5 + Y E A R S O F I N T E R N AT I O N A L R I S K

S C H O O L S A N D U N I V E R S I T I E S C H O O S E D R AG O N S .

M A N AG E M E N T E X P E R I E N C E .

Dragons has collaborated to design custom programming for Princeton University, The

Over a quarter-century we’ve built Risk Management systems and regional contacts that

Thacher School, Milton Academy, and Carleton College, among others. To see a full list of

help us navigate a wide-range of challenges—from dog bites to lost passports to political

the 50+ schools and universities that have partnered with Dragons and read testimonials,

instability. We have long-standing relationships with International SOS, key locally-based

visit the Partners Section of our website.

safety and security officials, and a global network of health care professionals. With Administrators based domestically and internationally, our support team—with acute

E T H I C S A N D S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y M AT T E R T O U S .

attention to the safety and security of our participants—is on-call 24/7 while students are

Administratively, Dragons is B-Corp Certified to meet rigorous standards of social and

in the field.

environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. In the field, Dragons practices a paradigm shift away from “voluntourism” towards “learning service” models

O U R I N S T R U C T O R S A R E E X P E R I E N C E D, C A R E E R

that promote community sustainability and participant humility. Dragons has a Community

PROFESSIONALS.

Grant Fund that returns financial support to the places that so generously welcome our

Typically, when a Dragons instructor team heads into the field they collectively represent

participants.

multiple languages, ten or more years of in-country experience, and years managing student groups abroad. Dragons Instructors average 30+ years in age. Most Dragons

T H E E X P E R I E N C E I S I N VA L U A B L E .

instructors work with us for over three years and some veteran staff have been with us

No one can explain it better than someone who knows personally. We welcome the

for over 10 years. Every instructor team has Wilderness First Aid/Responder, or higher,

opportunity to put you in touch with other alumni parents or participants to hear about

medical certifications. When needed, Instructors call on their linguistic fluency, local

their experiences firsthand.

contacts, and regional expertise to deftly navigate unexpected issues.

A N OT E O N R I S K . WE TRAIN THE TRAINERS.

We challenge our students, both physically and emotionally. Our job is to help students

Dragons has been leading trainings on best practices in international programming for

embrace those challenges while navigating the associated risks safely, professionally, and

outside faculty, schools, and organizations since 2009. Additionally, we facilitate a 2-week

transparently. There are risks inherent to travel, which families should carefully consider

training focused on wilderness risk management, innovative education practices, and

prior to choosing a program. Please carefully read our Participant Agreements for further

cross-cultural communication for our field staff. This keeps our Instructor community up-

details. If you have questions about Dragons safety and security policies, please don’t

to-date with the highest standards in international experiential education. We’ve trained

hesitate to contact us. We would be more than happy to discuss the finer points of our

over 1,000 Dragons Instructors and stewarded over 300,000 “in-field” participant days,

Risk Management systems with you.

contributing to our industry leading reputation for quality staff.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

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M E E T A F E W O F O U R I N S T R U C TO R S D R AG O N S I N S T R U C TO R S A R E AT T H E CO 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 are experienced educators. They are community builders. They are activists. Dragons Instructors have spent an average of 4+ years living abroad, and when they’ve chosen to pause within a single community, they’ve gained the skills to return there as international ambassadors, helping bridge the distance between students and communities on the other side of the world. We feel honored to work with this incredible community of educators. We hope you’ll take a moment to get to know them.

Shuier Zhang China

Uttara Pant India

Shuier's parents have been Dragons homestay parents for over a decade in Yunnan. She spent the last 10 years studying in the London area, where she works as a professional translator and interpreter. She loves using her language fluency to bridge cultures and facilitate communication. When she is not leading Dragons students or working on translation projects, Shuier works as a freelance art journalist, writing about art exhibitions in London for publishers in China.

Uttara’s love for the mountains began in the Palani Hills of India. Here, among eucalyptus trees and bison, she attended an international boarding school with students from around the world. Moving to the US, she attended Sarah Lawrence and Harvard Universities while focusing her studies on psychology, geography, and development economics. After graduation, she found her way to SECMOL, an alternative school in the remote Himalayan communities of North India, and later worked at Navdanya, an India based NGO working to preserve traditional agricultural methods through seed banks and advocacy for women farmers’ rights.

Luke Hein China

Ming Jiu Li China, Southeast Asia

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.

Ming was born in southwest China, but spent most of his youth in Singapore. After finishing high school, and two years of mandatory military service, Ming moved to North Carolina where he obtained his engineering degree from Duke University while working on issues of gender and social justice with the Women’s Center. Ming has led over 5 courses in China and Southeast Asia with Dragons. As an educator, he is guided by Simone Weil’s quote that “attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

Sarah Bolasevich China, Bhutan

Rita Suwantari Indonesia

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.

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.

Anna McKeon Cambodia

Caitlin McKimmy North India

Anna left university intending to be an actress and singer in London’s West End, but ended up working on social change initiatives in Cambodia. Anna's experiences along the way have given her a unique skill set that she finds particularly useful for introducing young people to new cultures, challenges, and perspectives as they explore the world and their own identity. Now a freelance communications consultant based in Phnom Penh, Anna spends most of her time working for the Better Volunteering, Better Care initiative, advocating against volunteering in orphanages and promoting ethical and responsible volunteering alternatives.

Caitlin once found the word “Dragons” spelled out in stones at the crest of a high mountain pass in North India. Intrigued, Caitlin tracked us down, and has since led courses in the Himalayas and the Andes. Caitlin speaks Tibetan, Hindi and Spanish. She has 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.

M.Sc. in Translation Studies, University of Edinburgh M.A. in Interpreting and Translation, University of Westminster

B.A. English, Minor in Asian Studies, Auburn University

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

M.A. University of Cambridge: English Literature P.G.Dip GSA Conservatoire, Musical Theatre

64

B.A. Liberal Arts, Sarah Lawrence College M.A. International Education Policy, Harvard

B.S.E. Environmental Engineering, Duke University

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

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

Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2


Japhy Dhungana Nepal

Irene Platarrueda Latin America

Japhy speaks five languages, and always has a difficult time answering the question: “Where are you from?” Raised in Nepal, Japhy spent his childhood exploring the Himalayas and dreaming of exploration and adventure in distant places like California. As a teenager, he immigrated to inner-city Los Angeles with his family, setting the stage for a dramatic cross-cultural education. After completing his undergraduate studies, he rode his beloved bicycle, “Bucephalus,” from his mother’s front door in the US all the way to Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia. Japhy is an accomplished alpinist and rock climber.

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.

Thinlas Chorol North India

Richard Brown Latin America

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.

Born in South Africa to a journalist and a diplomat, Rich has lived in Guatemala since 2013. After graduating from Columbia, he worked with miners and activists in rural Appalachia to combat mountaintop removal coal mining. Rich is an editor and journalist for EntreMundos, a bilingual magazine in Guatemala focused on human rights and social development issues. Rich is just as passionate about identifying bird and plant species as he is about fostering intercultural dialogue.

Claire Bennett Southeast Asia, Himalayas

Micah LeMasters Madagascar, Indonesia

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.

Micah first traveled outside of the US after buying a plane ticket to London on a whim. Immediately falling in love with the idea of ‘other’, he spent a year living in Australia studying Aboriginal history and Australian literature. After several backpacking trips through Europe and the US, Micah joined the Peace Corps in Madagascar, where he taught high school, conducted adult literacy classes, and worked with the World Wildlife Federation. He then enrolled in a Master’s course where he studied the implications and effects of multi-modal literacies, cultural nuance and language on educational processes and experiences.

B.A. Summa Cum Laude, with Honors in Anthropology from the University of California Los Angeles.

B.A. from Jammu University

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

B.A. Anthropology, Columbia University

M.A. History, University of Cambridge

Luis Alvarado Latin America, Himalayas

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

Juan Salvador Galich Guatemala

B.A. with honors, American history/English, University of Indianapolis M.S.ed, Literacy, Language and Culture studies from Indiana University

Babacar Mbaye Senegal 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.

Sidonie Emerande Madagascar

Proud of being the son of artists and a true nature lover, ‘Juancho’ has worked as a professional guide and educator in Antigua Guatemala for over 10 years. When he is not climbing volcanoes or guiding film crews on adventures, he is collaborating on musical projects with local and international artists. Juancho discovered the beauty of Guatemala through his passion for mountain biking and outdoor adventures, and was inspired to work as a local activist campaigning to help support communities as they endeavored to preserve nature and improve their lives. Juancho is a trained chef who traveled and lived in the U.S. for two years before following his heart back to Guatemala—where he continues to pursue a lifestyle that is deeply connected to the natural landscape.

B.A. Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching M.A. Studies in Civilization on Gender/Social Issues, Antananarivo University Growing up in Madagascar, Sidonie moved around the country for her parents’ work. At 19, she participated in an international exchange program that sparked her passion for exploration and adventure. She started her teaching journey with Peace Corps in Madagascar as a Malagasy language and cross cultural facilitator. Sidonie’s work with Peace Corps allowed her to collaborate with US volunteers, NGOs, and local authorities. Sidonie is also a lover of languages and speaks Malagasy, English, French, German, and passable Arabic and Spanish.

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W H AT C A N I H O P E TO TA K E HOME FROM THIS EXPERIENCE? A CO M M O N Q U E S T I O N , A N SW E R E D BY O U R PA R T I C I PA N T S

“I was challenged. I became more confident. I became more inspired. We had incredible discussions. I learned about a new culture which in turn made me think critically about myself and my own life. I reevaluated my values and I think I am now a more loving, compassionate, understanding, curious, and inspired person.” —EL WILLIAMS, SOUTH AMERICA SEMESTER “Before my Dragons course, I knew I was passionate about global engagement, but had no idea how to translate that internal drive into action. After my course, I felt as if

“The community from which I come has shaped many of my views, mannerisms, and perspectives; while this is generally okay, such a cloistered outlook on the world

I gained the confidence, courage and support to get out into the world—whether that

inevitably leads to a lack of perspective concerning the lives, thoughts, and struggles

meant becoming involved in a club at my school, as a volunteer in my local community,

of people around the world. Exposure to Moroccan people, in all their differences

or with the issues of a country far from home.”

compared to Americans, radically changed my worldview. Meeting Muslims daily and

—OLIVIA SOTIRCHOS, NORTH INDIA PROGRAM

having informative conversations about their faith changed the way in which I view religion.”

“I no longer get impatient in lines in the grocery stores or complain about the long wait

—BRETT COHEN, MOROCCO PROGRAM

for my coffee. My world is bigger now, and my town feels smaller. I feel a little more caged in—not a great feeling, but I know that it will push me to keep on getting out of my comfort zone and keep traveling.”

“I’ve started meditating daily since I got home, and have been keeping a gratitude journal I write in every few days. When it is so easy to get swept away in the chaos of

— K AT E C A N N I N G , M A D A G A S C A R P R O G R A M

my senior year of high school, filled with college applications, difficult classes, family responsibilities, friends, and everything else, I have found that my experiences abroad

“I learned about resource extraction, the lives of indigenous tribes in the Amazon, Andean spirituality and music, and about my fellow Dragons who made

have become a grounding force.” — S I LV A N A M O N T A G U , S I K K I M P R O G R A M

my experience truly unforgettable. But the greatest effect that Through reflection, Peru taught me more about my role in the world as a global citizen, my role with my peers, and about who I want to be.” — W I L L L e VA N , P E R U PROGRAM

“My time in Indonesia has allowed me to act, advocate, and lead by example for friends and family about world issues I really care about. Even three years later, I think about my homestays, instructors, and friends from the trip all the time. It ignited a passion for global environmental and social justice causing me to choose my specific majors and minors at school (Environmental Studies, Sociology, and International Development). My semester in Indonesia gave me so much direction for who I want to be.” — C R I S S Y M C C A R T H Y, I N D O N E S I A S E M E S T E R

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Q U E S T I O N S ? G I V E U S A C A L L AT 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2

PHOTO Rebecca Winslow

my experience had on me was my perspective on myself.


S O W H AT N O W ?

NEXT STEPS

THE SEARCH FOR A PERFECT SUMMER OR SEMESTER P R O G R A M S TA R T S W I T H A S K I N G G O O D Q U E S T I O N S .

VISIT OUR WEBSITE Visit Dragons website to see photos, videos, more specific program descriptions, and read participant reflections from the field via our Yak

Here are some for you to consider (and ask of different providers) as you do your research:

Board. If you have questions while exploring our site, just send a message to us via Live Chat.

»» How many years have you been running international programming? SPEAK WITH DRAGONS STAFF

»» What is your ratio of instructors to students?

Give us a call! We love hearing from prospective students and

»» What are the typical professional qualifications and ages of your field staff? »» Do your field staff speak the local languages and have extensive in-country experience?

parents. Our staff is ready to answer any question, no matter how big or small. And we’re always happy to put you in touch with alumni students for their perspective on specific programs.

»» How many of your staff return year after year?

SCHEDULE A HOME VISIT We have Dragons instructors touring the country and meeting with

»» What type of trainings do you provide your field staff?

prospective students and families. Connecting in-person is a great way to hear about programs and find out if Dragons is right for you.

»» How do your mitigate and respond to risks on course? »» How are your programs and itineraries designed?

READY TO JOIN US?

»» How do you approach the theme of “service” and manage the dangers of “voluntourism”?

Don't wait too long. Our most popular summer and semester programs generally start to fill up 3-6 months before departure. Students

»» How do you ensure the sustainability of your programming with local communities?

are admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis, so get in touch to hold

»» How do you help students apply what they've learned abroad after they return home?

remaining on a specific program.

your place on a program. Or check our website for updates on the spots

To hear our responses to these questions, and more, give us a call!

WHERE THERE BE DRAGONS ON INSTAGRAM

T H E A P P L I C AT I O N P R O C E S S

1

APPLY ONLINE

2

SUBMIT A DEPOSIT TO HOLD YOUR SPACE

3

INTERVIEW

FINANCIAL AID Any student that demonstrates reasonable financial need is eligible to apply for financial aid. When awarding financial aid, we look for applicants who are curious, driven, and ready to fully engage with communities around the world.

Follow us on Facebook for community news and reflections, photos, and videos from around the world. facebook.com/WhereThereBeDragons

Approximately 20% of our students go abroad with some level of financial assistance each year. Check out our website to find out more.

W W W.W H E R E T H E R E B E D R A G O N S . C O M / S T U D E N T S

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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

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

TREKKING

LEARNING SERVICE

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

INDEPENDENT STUDY PROJECT

COMPARATIVE RELIGION

PHONE: 303.413.0822 | EMAIL: INFO@WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM | FAX: 303.413.0857 3200 Carbon Place #102, Boulder, CO 80301

WWW.WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM/STUDENTS

FOCUS OF INQUIRY

Dragons 2018 Catalog: Summer & Gap Year Programs  

Dragons is a global community representing 6 continents, over 30 countries, and countless languages, villages, NGOs, religions, host familie...

Dragons 2018 Catalog: Summer & Gap Year Programs  

Dragons is a global community representing 6 continents, over 30 countries, and countless languages, villages, NGOs, religions, host familie...