Dragons Catalog: Summer & Gap Year Programs

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SUMMER & GAP YEAR PROGRAMS IMMERSIVE + RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL SINCE 1993


All images in this catalog were taken by students and instructors on Dragons programs. Cover: Dragons students meander through terraced fields en route to a village in the Himalayan foothills. Maria Xu

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This spread: Students welcome the rising sun with a celebration on Laguna Chilata in the Cordillera Real, Bolivia. Ryan Gasper


MAPMAKERS ONCE DREW DRAGONS TO REPRESENT LANDS UNKNOWN.

GOING

“where there be dragons” IS TO EXPLORE BEYOND THE EDGE OF your MAP.

WHEN WE ENGAGE THE UNFAMILIAR, WE REDISCOVER OURSELVES AND THE WORLD, CHARTING PATHS TO AN EXPANDED HORIZON.

ARE YOU READY FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF ADVENTURE?

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 Our Programs

Programs

Resources

IMMERSIVE SUMMER & GAP PROGRAMS

5

COMPARE SUMMER PROGRAMS

14–15

OTHER OFFERINGS

50

RESPONSIBLE & ETHICAL TRAVEL

7

SUMMER PROGRAMS

16–33

NOTES ON SAFETY

51

LEARNING OUTCOMES

9

COMPARE GAP SEMESTERS

34–35

MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS

ALUMNI INSIGHTS

11

OPTIONAL COLLEGE CREDIT

PROGRAM COMPONENTS

12–13

GAP SEMESTERS

37

NEXT STEPS

52–53 55

38–49 3


There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice; and it fosters humor." — S A N T AYA N A

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Students hike an ancient trail around the sacred Peruvian peak of Ausungate. Aaron Slosberg


IMMERSIVE SUMMER & GAP PROGRAMS T R AV E L D I F F E R E N T LY For the past 3 decades, we have offered educational travel programs in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the United States. The Dragons experience provides a chance to cultivate meaningful connections and genuinely immerse yourself among the people and places we visit. Dragons programs are carefully designed to help you learn more about yourself and develop the real world skills not easily cultivated in a classroom. We aim to help our students develop self-awareness and cross-cultural competencies so they can be more active participants in our world. Here’s how we uniquely craft our programs...

UN F I LT E R E D T R AV E L

H AND-CRAFTE D PRO G RAMS

SMALL GR OUP S & MENTOR SHI P

Dragons students are travelers, not tourists. You apprentice

Each trip incorporates the skills, passions, and local connections

A typical Dragons group consists of 12 students and three

with artists, live with families, and engage with scholars,

of our expert instructors. Every program is an original adventure,

instructors (4:1 ratio) so that you receive individual support,

farmers, sages, and community leaders alike.

and we strive to never run the same program twice.

personalized challenge, and intentional mentorship.

ME A N I N G F UL O F F LINE R E LAT I O NS H I PS

H O LISTIC TRAVE L

FUN. ADVENT UR E. DEP T H

Programs offer an offline - and fully present - reality. You can

Our Program Components give you the opportunity to engage

Our trips offer the right balance of exploration and experiential

expect to return home with many shared stories and a lasting

with a wide range of activities such as homestays, trekking, and

education. You can expect to be challenged, create lasting

connection to the Dragons global community.

language study to ensure the most holistic experience possible.

friendships, and get your hands dirty for the sake of discovery.

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 PA S T D R AG O N S S T U D E N T 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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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

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Each June, Dragons brings staff in from over 15 different countries to participate in a two week intensive training and staff orientation in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Charis Boke


R E S P O N S I B L E & E T H I C A L T R AV E L VA L U E S M AT T E R Traveling responsibly has always been at the core of all we do. Our travel strives to be environmentally conscientious, culturally aware, and focused on developing sustainable and reciprocal relationships. We're far from perfect, but we're always guided by our impacts, travel ethics, and the humility to first listen and learn from our community partners. Dragons is committed to crosscultural education as a tool for breaking down barriers and enhancing understanding between people and communities. Here’s how we live our values:

» Commitment to Equity We actively strive to increase diversity, equity, and

» Learning Service

» Justice Minded

Our humble approach to service helps ensure that our

We intentionally explore issues of race, class, gender,

inclusivity within our community of administrative staff,

impacts are beneficial to all and enable students to turn

privilege, and power through a self-reflective lens in order

field instructors, student body, and in-country partners

good intentions into effective results. "Learning to serve"

to foster empathy & allyship.

is ultimately a process that makes for a lifetime of » Accessibility

thoughtful engagement.

We provide financial aid to over 20% of our students as well as scholarship grants via the Dragons Fund, our 501c3 partner. » B-Corp Certified Dragons meets the highest verified organizational

» Carbon Offsets We offset 100% of our carbon footprint from our

» Slow Travel

international flights and US office by supporting local

We run a limited number of programs because we value

grasslands conservation in Colorado. Offsets are not a

quality over quantity and seek to minimize our travel

cure-all, but are an important strategy for harm reduction.

impact. Programs are intentionally longer to make your travel count.

standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.

I have learned so much about the border, indigenous peoples, and the environment. This has been such a unique experience unlike anything I’ve done before and has given my the opportunity to reflect on my privilege and examine new perspectives." —RIO GRANDE SEMESTER STUDENT 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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I expected to meet amazing people and friends, be immersed in families and learn about culture first-hand, to enjoy the stunning mountain vistas and grapple with environmental and social justice issues alongside my fellow travelers (and locals!). These expectations were all met and exceeded." —BENJAMIN, SOUTH AMERICA SEMESTER STUDENT

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Dragons instructor Rishi Bhandari turns a Nepali hillside into an improvised classroom. Arvin Singh Uzunov-Dang


L E A R N I N G O U TCO M E S S K I L L S T H AT S TAY W I T H YO U Our courses help students clarify their own values, and discover how to embody those values in the world. We hope to foster self-awareness, leadership, and global engagement skills that last well after the course conclusion. Beyond our time together, we help students integrate the lessons and experiences from their Dragons course into their lives back home. Here is a sample of some of the skills and outcomes alumni have reported “taking home” after their Dragons course:

SE LF -AWAR E N E SS

LE ADE RS H IP

GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT

» Education, career, & life path development

» Foreign language competency

» Culturally sensitive & responsible travel practices

» Growth mindset, grit, & resiliency

» Critical thinking & decision making

» Cross-cultural competencies

» Power & privilege awareness

» Conflict resolution & communication skills

» Community & relationship building

» Comfort with discomfort

» Engagement with different perspectives

» Ethical photography & videography

» Reflection & mindfulness practice

» Self-reliance & humility

» Environmental awareness & advocacy

» Appreciation of “unplugged” time

» Giving & receiving feedback

» Exposure to diverse arts, cultures, & traditions

» Compassion, curiosity, & gratitude

» Adapting to the unexpected & unfamiliar

» Learning service & social justice

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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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 , S I L K R O A D P R O G R A M S T U D E N T

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A well-deserved day of group rest and relaxation in southern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Olivia Werby


ALUMNI INSIGHTS W H E R E B E I N G YOU I S AW E S O M E Whoever you are and whatever experiences you have had, you are welcome with us. Students who choose Dragons are from many backgrounds, but they are united by a sense of curiosity and a desire for real travel experiences. Sound like you? Meet some of our recent alumni:

LILLIAN

I VA N

AGE: 16

AGE: 15

HOMETOWN: Seattle, WA

HOMETOWN: Oakland, CA

DRAGONS PROGRAM: China

DRAGONS PROGRAM: Bolivia

HOBBIES: Piano, Coding, Ultimate Frisbee

HOBBIES: Running, Videography, Political Junkie

WORDS: “You won’t be driving to different sights on

WORDS: “...before you know it, the things that once

tour buses. Instead, you’ll experience the country by way

made you uncomfortable will be your favorite stories

of learning the traditions and hearing the stories of the

to tell.”

communities you stay with.”

SAM

EMMA

AGE: 18

AGE: 18

HOMETOWN: Chelmsford, MA

HOMETOWN: Edina, MN

DRAGONS PROGRAM: Senegal

DRAGONS PROGRAMS: Peru, Indonesia

HOBBIES: Basketball, Writing, Music

HOBBIES: Writing, Languages, Travel

WORDS: “I jump at any opportunity to step out of my

WORDS: “I’ve often found that I discover myself only

comfort zone while learning about a place and culture

when I am lost.”

so foreign to my own.”

VA N E S S A

ETHAN

AGE: 17

AGE: 19

HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, CA

HOMETOWN: San Rafael, CA

DRAGONS PROGRAM: Guatemala

DRAGONS PROGRAM: Peru

HOBBIES: Art, Movies, Beach Volleyball

HOBBIES: Spanish, Environmental Science, Food Justice

WORDS: “I didn’t realize how much I would learn

WORDS: “New experiences allow me to realize how

beyond improving my language. There was never a

little I know about in the world, and how narrow my

moment I wasn’t learning something from my group of

perspective is.”

awesome students and instructors.” 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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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 fully immersive journey. We employ nine program components to ensure that every course is a well-rounded experience.

LANGUAGE 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

16,000 ft 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: Arvin Singh Uzunov-Dang; Micah LeMasters; Photo from Dragons archives

H O ME STAY

Left: Steven Gu; Aaron Slosberg; Michael Woodard

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R U GGE D TRAVE L


L EA RN I N G SE RV I C E

E NV I R O N ME NTAL & S O CI AL JU STICE

INDE PE NDE NT STUDY PROJECTS (ISPs)

R ELI GI OUS & SP I R I T UAL T R ADI T I ONS

FOC US OF I NQUI RY (FOI )

We take pride in learning first

What variables contribute to

Dragons students are often

In each place we visit, we con-

Dragons courses are built

and helping second. Students

quality of life? How does privilege

paired with local mentors to

sider how local spiritual beliefs

around particular academic

rarely arrive in-country with the

shape our sense of global

study a particular question, craft,

are employed to interpret daily

themes. This allows students

tools to genuinely ‘help’ another

responsibility? What is our social

or cultural tradition in greater

reality. Dragons instructors help

to delve into a specific line

community, and we work hard

and environmental impact on

depth. Anything is possible, and

students explore the belief sys-

of questioning, exploring the

to dispel such expectations.

the world? These questions are

as a student, the ISP is a great

tems of their host culture while

impacts of climate change, local

Students use a four-step process

central to conversations about

way to tailor the course to meet

living with homestay families,

religious traditions, or the idea of

to listen, assess, act and then

equity and justice. Instructors

your specific interests. We’ve

visiting religious monuments,

cultural survival, for example. We

evaluate: a framework that can

introduce students to local

had students study everything

observing local rituals, and

explore the focus of inquiry by

be applied to future learning

activists who’ve taken a vocal

from kathak dance in India to the

reading relevant texts. Such an

hosting guest speakers, reading

service ventures. We don’t

stance on these topics. Existing

impacts of exploratory drilling

examination generally sparks

local news, and engaging in

measure our success by the

examples prompt discussions

in the Amazon. ISPs are a great

an internal conversation, and

group discussions. Please

number of ‘service hours’ logged,

as students are encouraged to

way to develop place-based

instructors are available to assist

reference individual Dragons

but rather by the number of

challenge their assumptions of

expertise, learn hands-on skills

students as they juxtapose

program descriptions to learn

critical conversations that such

what it means to live responsibly

from local mentors, and actively

in-country traditions with their

more about the FOI on your

an engagement provokes.

as a global citizen.

engage living cultural traditions.

own belief systems and values.

course of interest.

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S U M M E R T R AV E L P R O G R A M S 4–WEEK & 6–WEEK PROGRAMS, AGES 15–20

Adventure beyond the ordinary. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or this is your first adventure away from home, expand your worldview by diving into another culture. Build lasting friendships and experience what it’s like to really live somewhere else, if only for a few weeks.

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A Dragons group descends to an Andean mountain lake. Ryan Kost


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

LANGUAGE STUDY

TREKKING

LEARNING SERVICE

China: Mandarin Language Intensive, 4-wk

10+ days

40+ hours

Day Hikes

China: Mandarin Language Intensive, 6-wk

15+ days

60+ hours

China: The Yangtze River

5+ days

Taiwan: Mandarin Language Intensive

ASIA

RUGGED TRAVEL

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

INDEPENDENT STUDY PROJECT

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

LOW EMPHASIS MODERATE HIGH EMPHASIS

DATES

AGES

PAGE

5+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

15 – 18

p16

Day Hikes

5+ hours

6/28 – 8/8

16 – 18

p16

10+ hours

3+ days

5+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

16 – 18

p17

10+ days

40+ hours

Day Hikes

5+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

15 – 18

p18

Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai

10+ days

10+ hours

3+ days

10+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

15 – 17

p19

Indonesia: Community & Conservation

15+ days

15+ hours

3+ days

5+ hours

6/28 – 8/8

16 – 18

p21

Cambodia: Peace-Building & Conservation

5+ days

10+ hours

Day Hikes

5+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

16 – 18

p22

Bhutan: Happiness in the Himalayas

5+ days

5+ hours

5+ days

5+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

16 – 18

p23

North India: Roof of the World, 4-wk

3+ days

5+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

16 – 18

p24

North India: Roof of the World, 6-wk

3+ days

10+ hours

10+ days

15+ hours

6/28 – 8/8

17 – 20

p24

Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas

10+ days

10+ hours

3+ days

10+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

17 – 20

p25

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

TREKKING

LEARNING SERVICE

DATES

AGES

PAGE

Peru: Sacred Mountains, 4-wk

5+ days

10+ hours

5+ days

5+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

15 – 17

p27

Peru: Sacred Mountains, 6-wk

10+ days

10+ hours

10+ days

5+ hours

6/28 – 8/8

16 – 18

p27

Guatemala: Spanish Language Intensive, 4-wk

15+ days

40+ hours

3+ days

15+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

15 – 17

p28

Guatemala: Spanish Language Intensive, 6-wk

15+ days

60+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

6/28 – 8/8

16 – 18

p28

Bolivia: Spirit of the Andes, 4-wk

10+ days

40+ hours

5+ days

10+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

17 – 19

p29

Bolivia: Spirit of the Andes, 6-wk

20+ days

60+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

6/28 – 8/8

17 – 19

p29

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

TREKKING

LEARNING SERVICE

DATES

AGES

PAGE

Senegal: In the Shade of the Baobab Tree

10+ days

10+ hours

3+ days

10+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

15 – 17

p31

Morocco: Crossroads of Mountains & Cultures

10+ days

15+ hours

5+ days

5+ hours

6/28 – 7/28

16 – 19

p32

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

TREKKING

LEARNING SERVICE

DATES

AGES

PAGE

<5 days

5+ hours

10+ days

20+ hours

7/05 – 7/30

15 – 18

p33

n/a

5+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

7/05 – 7/30

15 – 18

p33

LATIN AMERICA

AFRICA

NORTH AMERICA Colorado River Basin: Sustainable Relations Lake Superior: The Good Life

RUGGED TRAVEL

RUGGED TRAVEL

RUGGED TRAVEL

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

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

INDEPENDENT STUDY PROJECT

INDEPENDENT STUDY PROJECT

INDEPENDENT STUDY PROJECT

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

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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 ISPs

IN THE WORLD. For anyone interested in exploring and understanding China’s rich

traditional Chinese medicine, martial arts, musical instruments, and environmental

history and culture, its ever-increasing influence in the world, and what life is like for

issues. Students also explore local historic and cultural

the 1.4 billion people who live here, learning Chinese is the first step. Our approach to

sites such as The Golden Temple, the Bird and

language study is holistic: including group travel,

Flower Market, and Green Lake Park.

homestays, and Independent Study Projects (ISPs)

During rural homestays, sample

Our 4-week and 6-week program options divide their time between Kunming (capital city of Yunnan MONGOLIA

AS I A:   S UM M ER

LANGUAGE STUDY

directly from local mentors about topics ranging from Chinese cooking, calligraphy,

in addition to formal classroom instruction.

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HOMESTAY

MORE PEOPLE SPEAK MANDARIN CHINESE THAN ANY OTHER LANGUAGE

RUSSIA

INDIA

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

BEIJING

XI ’A N

CHINA

LASHIHAI HONG KONG KUNMING

up soccer or basketball games with village teenagers, foraging

Province) and one of several small villages in rural

for medicinal plants with local

Yunnan. This is a region renowned for mountainous

practitioners, visiting Buddhist

terrain, natural beauty and ethnic diversity—including Naxi, Tibetan, Yi, Dai, and Miao (Hmong) people. During both urban

TIGER LEAPING GORGE

activities include organizing pick-

monasteries, and learning about the work of local NGOs.

and rural homestays, students meet for 3–4 hours of formal

Students return home with a

Mandarin instruction per day. Homestay placements reinforce

firsthand understanding of China’s

language acquisition and offer students opportunities to practice

increased confidence in their ability to

new vocabulary with their families in the evenings.

communicate and navigate in a rapidly

While in Kunming, students also engage in ISPs, learning

changing China.

TEL: 303.41 3.0822

Right: Parker Pflaum; Eric Jenkins-Sahlin

Days

DATES

Left: Photos by Eric Jenkins-Sahlin

31/42

DESCRIPTION


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

31 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

development, environmental destruction,

ECONOMY LIKE NO OTHER FEATURE OF THE LANDSCAPE. Students on

and China’s age-old struggle to control

this course will gain firsthand insight into the lives of the 550 million people who live

water resources.

RUSSIA

MONGOLIA

our journey in Shanghai, where we

spectacular mountain scenery, we

explore the vibrant cultural scene and

begin our exploration of China’s ethnic

NANJING CHONGQING

SHANGHAI

unique history of the world’s busiest

and ecological diversity, visiting Tibetan

port. Here we reflect on how this

Buddhist monasteries as well as ethnically

river shapes and has been shaped by

Lisu, Yi, Naxi and Pumi communities.

all of the people who rely on it for food, transportation, power, and inspiration.

to Chongqing, one of the fastest growing cities in the world, where porters haul cargo

CHINA

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

on bamboo shoulder poles, as avant-garde skyscrapers line the downtown. From here, we travel by boat 360 miles downstream to the world’s largest hydroelectric project, the Three

“This was a truly transformative experience for her. She returned with a broader outlook on life and the world. She has a better understanding of what is important to her and not worry about the little things. She’s a much more centered person and this will serve her well as she heads into her senior year of high school. This trip exceeded all expectations for her and that speaks volumes.”

Gorges Dam, learning about issues related to economic 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 O F S U M M E R PA R T I C I PA N T

ASI A:   S UM M E R

BEIJING

TREKKING

Continuing east, we conclude

winds through deep gorges amidst

Our downriver journey takes us next

INDIA

RUGGED TRAVEL

ASIA’S LONGEST RIVER HAS SHAPED CHINA’S HISTORY, CULTURE, AND

along the banks of this vital waterway. Beginning in Yunnan Province, where the river

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

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TA I WA N MANDARIN LANGUAGE INTENSIVE 4-Week Summer Abroad Program

31 Days

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Improve your Mandarin language skills through small group classes, carefully selected homestays, and community engagement while experiencing the rich cultural traditions that thrive in Taiwan.

June 28 – July 28

15– 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

ISPs

CHINA

TA I WA N

million is the political, cultural, and economic center

CULTURAL RICHES LONG LOST

of Taiwan. Known for its night markets, Japanese

BEYOND ITS BORDERS. Settled over

colonial architecture, and a thriving scene of

millennia by travelers from southwest China,

young activists and artists, we live with host

Taiwan was known as the “Beautiful Island” for centuries for its endless seashores and stunning mountains.

firsthand about topics such as cooking,

its time between Taipei and the indigenous village of

calligraphy, Chinese medicine, martial arts, or

Zhenxibao. Situated in the island’s northwest, amidst

other cultural traditions.

picturesque mountains, Zhenxibao means “the sacred

AS I A:   S UM M ER

skills. We also dive into Independent Study Projects (ISPs) in the afternoons learning

Our 4-week Mandarin intensive program divides

18

families and continue to hone our language

place where the sun first shines at dawn” and is home to the Atayal people. Here we live with families and settle into a daily routine of Mandarin lessons in the morning and learning about farming and environmental

In addition to formal language study, all of our activities are rich with opportunities to navigate new interactions using your Chinese language skills. We build not only language competence, but also deeper confidence in navigating the colorful tapestry of Taiwan.

issues in the afternoon. Sharing household chores, joining in daily activities, and experiencing Atayal culture first-hand is an opportunity to build friendships and understand a unique way of life preserved in Taiwan.

“I am inspired to make my own choices in life based on what I want and what I feel, rather than following this cookie-cutter expectation of what a successful life should be."

After our rural homestay, we dive into the bustling capital of Taipei. This city of 2.6 TEL: 303.41 3.0822

— E L L A , PA S T D R AG O N S S T U D E N T

Right: Photos from Dragons archives

ZHENXIBAO

TAIWAN HAS PRESERVED MANY

Left: Photos by Yi-Ching Hsieh

TA I P E I


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

31 Days

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Explore living reciprocity: a 3-day Theravada meditation retreat in the cool mountains of Chiang Rai, help out on community-driven learning service permaculture projects, and live with hill tribe communities.

June 28 – July 28

15 – 17

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

CHINA

LEARNING SERVICE

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

MYANMAR MAE HONG SON CHIANG MAI

FROM THE BUZZING METROPOLIS OF

L AOS

BANGKOK TO THE VERDANT MOUNTAINS AND RICE PADDIES OF THE NORTH, THE

SUKHOTHAI

U B O N R ATC H ATA N I

THAILAND BANGKOK

CAMBODIA

— K AT E , PA S T D R A G O N S S T U D E N T

STAGGERING BEAUTY OF THAILAND LEAVES living in a region experiencing rampant development while

THE NEXT WONDER. Our program begins in the

maintaining ritual and custom.

Kingdom of Siam’s first capital, Sukhothai. culinary nuances of the Land of Smiles before boarding the slow train north to the art and cultural hub of Thailand,

KRABI

in school). I know now what I want to do and what I love and how I want to live my life.”

ONE ENCHANTED AND YEARNING TO EXPLORE

Here students orient to the cultural, spiritual, and

INDIA

“This trip changed my life and I learned so much about myself (more than I ever learned

Chiang Mai. Here we explore the city’s many temples and meet

monastery in Chiang Rai for a three day meditation retreat where we learn and practice many forms of meditation—insight, walking, eating, silent—to center ourselves. We then venture to a Thai-run eco-village to study permaculture and sustainability practices. We

migrant workers rights, environmental protection, and elephant

learn about seed banking, traditional organic farming,

conservation. We then move further north into the mountainous hill

adobe building, natural medicines, and rice cultivation in a

tribe regions in Mae Hong Son, where we hike from village to village

valley surrounded by picturesque national parks. Our Thailand

through tea plantations and coffee fields staying with ethnic minority

journey culminates with a few day’s exploration of the country’s

communities to catch a glimpse into their traditional way of life. Amid paddies and

colorful and bustling capital, Bangkok, where we say goodbye to Southeast Asia amid

glittering Buddhist temples, we explore some of the dichotomies that come with

the wild sprawl and awe-inspiring skyline of one of the world's great alpha cities.

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

with grassroots NGOs and activists working on gender equality,

From here, we enter into a small Theravada Buddhist

19


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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

20

Love,

WWW.THEYA KBOA R D.COM

Left: 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: 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

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

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

June 28 – August 8

16 – 18

42 Days

CHINA

MANADO

BORNEO

LUWUK

TA N A TO R A JA

MOROWALI KENDARI

MAKASSAR

WA K ATO B I

UBUD, BALI

RUGGED TRAVEL

COMPRISED OF OVER 17,000 ISLANDS

nomads.” The Bajau live in stilted houses built over the

AND 700 LIVING LANGUAGES, INDONESIA

open ocean and spend the majority of their lives on the

IS HOME TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF

water. We embrace their unique lifestyle, snorkeling

BIODIVERSITY OF ANY NATION. Whether

over fragile reefs, attending indigenous ceremonies,

hiking through bamboo forests, spearfishing with your

and learning about conservation initiatives from

homestay father, or examining gender roles in the

local leaders.

world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia is

of Indonesia, we begin to understand that our

senses. Arriving first in Yogyakarta, students dive

definition of “community” extends far beyond our

headlong into Javanese culture, working with street

own towns. Diverse experiences help expand our

studying the basics of the Bahasa Indonesian language.

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

As we engage with the people and places

sure to challenge your worldview and stimulate your

artists, attending shadow-puppet performances, and

HOMESTAY

worldview and encourage us to be more mindful of our interconnected relationships.

We then head east to the island of Flores, where students live in the pastoral village of Langa. We meet with local coffee producers, hike amid dormant volcanoes, and learn about local religious traditions with our gracious hosts. A few flights and boats take us to the archipelago AUSTRALIA

“To me, the most special component of this trip is the environment Dragons has co-created with the Indonesian communities...This environment not only fosters, but more importantly promotes the formation of real relationships between homestay families and Dragons students. ”

of Wakatobi, home to the Bajau people, or the “sea 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

— S E A N , PA S T D R AG O N S S T U D E N T

ASI A:   S UM M E R

INDONESIA

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

21


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 Rouge and gain insight into Theravada Buddhism firsthand.

June 28 – July 28

16 – 18 RUGGED TRAVEL

KNOWN FOR THE INCOMPARABLE RUINS OF ANGKOR WAT, CAMBODIA IS

with the Cambodian people, and gain

A COUNTRY THAT EVOKES IMAGES OF JUNGLE TEMPLES, BRIGHT

context around Cambodia’s present-

ORANGE ROBED MONKS, AND LUSH RICE FIELDS. Our course begins in the

day political landscape. We meet

overgrown temples of Angkor civilization which hold the secrets to the ecological

with activists and artists who call

and architectural wonders of a culture that ruled much of Southeast Asia for nearly a

one of Asia's hippest emerging

thousand years. Here we explore the storied ruins to discover the traditions that have

cities home.

endured throughout the centuries of changing power. Continuing past the floating villages of Lake Tonle Sap, we gain insight into the effects of upriver dams on the L AOS

ecology of Cambodia’s largest body of freshwater

AS I A:   S UM M ER

and discuss environmental issues that are critical

22

to Cambodia’s food security.

CAMBODIA

B AT TA M B A N G

VIETNAM KEP

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

way to the coastal village of Kampot, where we engage in a community-run mangrove restoration project and celebrate with group members near the sea.

of Battambang where we meet with dedicated NGO representatives working on education, child

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

rights, and anti-orphanage tourism initiatives. PHNOM PENH

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

the final days of our course reflecting

Our course continues on to the sleepy city

SIEM REAP

HOMESTAY

Finally we make our

CHINA

THAIL AND

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

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

In Phnom Penh, we confront the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge genocide, build empathy

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

TEL: 303.41 3.0822

— O O N A , PA S T D R AG O N S S T U D E N T

Right: Jack Greene; Mika Adley

Days

DATES

Left: Photos from Dragons archives

31

DESCRIPTION


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

31 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

16 – 18

TIBE T

PUNAKHA

NASPE

THIMPU PARO

URA

B H U TA N

on this planet. We seek to understand how these embodied

“GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS”

philosophies impact people’s daily choices. Through

METRICS FOR DEVELOPMENT, Bhutan

we gain insights into perspectives on the environment, our role in conservation, and the concept of the earth

"happiness" means. It prompts us to ponder,

as an interdependent organism. Since the arrival of

in both Himalayan and personal contexts, what

television in 1999 and a cascade of global influences,

contributes to our quality of life. Our journey into the

Bhutan has experienced a steady increase in foreign

sacredness in the vast and wild landscapes, challenging

tourism which contradicts long-held traditions. How can we understand the pressures and adaptations of Bhutanese

us to reevaluate commonly held notions of our role in the

culture in the face of a globalizing world? In our questioning

natural world.

and exploration of Bhutan, we hope to find a better understanding of

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

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

listening to local villagers, professionals, and academics,

encourages us to think critically about what

Himalayan nation of Bhutan gives us rare access to the

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

the worldviews and assumptions that shape our lives and happiness back home.

deep social impacts, particularly on the creation of unique government policies on conservation, preservation, and BANGLADESH

"I feel like I got everything possible out of Bhutan and Nepal in 4 weeks...The most

sustainable development. We will also delve deeply

important part of this trip is how learning about these cultures and having these

into Buddhist philosophy, histories, and folk tales to understand different ways of viewing our existence

experiences made me reflect and learn about myself and how I view the world.”

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

— M A R G A U X , PA S T D R AG O N S S T U D E N T

ASI A:   S UM M E R

INDIA

HOMESTAY

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

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

23


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

31/42 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

HOMESTAY

TREKKING

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

CHINA LEH

DELHI

NEPAL

sharing meals and learning about village life,

MILES FROM PAKISTAN TO CHINA,

or we pitch tents and sleep outside under

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

24

the brilliant blanket of stars. The six-week program travels further south into the Himalayan foothills to the

plateau, jagged peaks and windswept valleys have

Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Upon

largely preserved the local cultures of Ladakh. Our

the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet,

exploration begins close to the regional capital

thousands of devout followers settled

of Leh, where we learn language basics, explore

in Dharamsala, the seat of His Holiness’

pastoral communities, and acclimatize to the 11,500

exiled government. Today, Tibetan language,

ft elevation. We explore local issues in meetings with

traditional medicine, art, and spirituality are

NGO leaders who share their firsthand experiences

preserved here. It is a place that inspires with stories

trying to preserve Ladakhi heritage and environment

of struggle and perseverance and a message of hope and compassion. We stay in

despite shifting cultural, ecological, and economic

a Buddhist monastery to better understand the basic tenets of Buddhism before

patterns within the region.

moving onto Dharamsala to live with Tibetan refugee families, work in the fields, and

We trek deep into glaciated valleys, passing

attend classes at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. The North India course is a

through tiny hamlets as we follow remote herders’ trails. As we pass through some

window into Himalayan cultures and landscapes, as the region adapts to challenging

of the world’s most breathtaking mountains, we stay in family homes in tiny villages,

environmental and political climates.

TEL: 303.41 3.0822

Right: Benjamin Felser; Maria Xu

TIBE T

PA K I S TA N

STRETCHING MORE THAN 1500

Left: Caleb Brooks, Photo from Dragons archives

DHARAMSALA


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

31

LEH

Days

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Discover the beauty of the Himalayas: experience life in remote mountain C H I N A participate in a meditation retreat, and study traditional arts with communities, local masters.

June 28 – July 28

17–20

SINCE ANCIENT TIMES, TRAVELERS,

TIBE T DELHI

N E PP OAK LH A R A

MONKS, MERCHANTS, POETS, ARTISTS, K AT H M A N D U

BHUTAN PATA N

INDIA

AND WARRIORS HAVE PASSED THROUGH

KATHMANDU DURING THEIR JOURNEYS ACROSS

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

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

THE GREAT HIMALAYAN RANGE. Some never left,

of agricultural life and have the chance to talk to local

and today a multitude of ethnic groups from across the

people about their lived experience of pressing global

Himalayan region all peacefully co-exist in the peaks

concerns such as climate change and foreign aid.

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

To better understand the rich spiritual traditions

diversity provides a strong foundation for a larger

of Nepal, we explore the intertwined religions of

conversation about the underpinnings of identity,

Hinduism and Buddhism and also go on a short

community, and spirituality.

ISPs

meditation retreat where we have the chance to fully

explore how ancient traditions can survive in a rapidly developing society. During our

immerse ourselves in monastic life. We learn about the foundations of Buddhist philosophy from a monk and participate in a spiritual practice that is both informative and deeply introspective.

time in the Kathmandu valley, we meet with local activists and experts who share their insights on Nepal’s history, politics, and culture. They also offer a unique perspective on

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

the socio-political complexities facing a newly-democratic Nepal, and challenges the 2015 earthquake continue to pose to Nepali society.

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

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 O F S U M M E R PA R T I C I PA N T

ASI A:   S UM M E R

Our program weaves a path between rural and urban environments and different religious communities as we

25


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B Y A L LY S O N , S T U D E N T South America Semester

MIND & BODY When you trek, it’s impossible not to be aware of your body. Each day becomes broken up into a set of systems and routines—all of them ways to care for your physical health, your cohesion with the larger group, to care for your ability to continue. Thoughts fly out of my head and all that remains is the way my feet sound on the path, the air whooshing in and out of my lungs, the sun and the clouds and the rain. In those long hours, especially the ones we recently spent in the Valle de Sondondo, it is so obvious to me: The mind and body are intrinsically connected, each dependent on the other. And nowhere is that more apparent for me than on a trek. HEAD I feel my head pound as we ascend, bit by bit, towards the mountain pass

HEART I’m in the kitchen tent, helping cook dinner with Miguel and Teo.

in the distance. When we get there, I know instantly that every step was worth

Miguel shows me how to peel cloves of garlic with a blunt knife. I carefully strip

it. From this viewpoint, Miguel (our guide) tells us we are at the exact midpoint

away each layer of translucent purple skin. When I ask Teo about his cooking

between two districts. Neighborhoods sprawl out before us, encompassing the

experience, he tells me that he has eighteen years of experience in being a

valleys and tapering off into the ridges beyond. Each person in the group finds a

cocinero for treks like these. And when I ask why, he just shrugs and smiles. Es

rock, and together the group builds an apacheta—a structure, a miniature tower—

un acción de amor, no? he asks me with a grin, and continues to stir. FEET Go! Before I let myself think twice about it, I splash into the freezing

THROAT I always have trouble finding my voice in a group—never wanting to

river, feet instantly going numb. Why did I decide to do this, again? I think for a

be contrary, waiting for a way to speak without conflict. But that’s not always

moment, remembering the steamy indoor hot spring I just left to swim in these

conversations—about power and privilege, victimization and the framing of history, on

unforgiving waters. Besides me, Jackson and Michaela are gasping and shouting just like I am, striving deeper in the water before their nerves leave them. I grit my teeth and follow. Above us, Rosel calls encouragement. I screw my eyes

foreign aid and development. None were

closed and, sucking in one more breath, dunk my head underwater. In that split

peaceful, but all were necessary. As we

second, everything about what I’m doing right now—the cold pressing in around

continue our descent into the community

me, my hair floating around my head in a halo, my feet firmly planted on the

where we’ll camp tonight, I can't help but wonder: How many conversations and people

riverbed—brings me irresistibly into the present. Here I am, I think. And again: Here I am. And then my head breaks the surface, and I can’t stop smiling.

and experiences have I missed in the past, by choosing not to speak?

Visit the Yak Board for course reflections from Dragons students past and present at 26

WWW.THEYA KBOA R D.COM

Right: Photo from Dragons archives; David Haffeman

possible. On this trek, we’ve had lots of difficult

Left: Nina Saligman

L AT IN AM ER IC A :  SU M MER

bringing the height of the pass a few inches higher, all to say: We were here.


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

31/42 Days

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

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

June 28 – July 28 June 28 – August 8

15 – 17 16 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

TREKKING

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

ECUADOR

PERU

BR A ZIL

PERU, ANCIENT SEAT OF THE INCA IS A LAND OF

Plaza, listening to tales of Incan rulers and

TOWERING PEAKS AND STEAMY JUNGLES, OF

the Spanish conquistadors that came

MODERN URBAN CENTERS AND HIDDEN VILLAGES.

before. A short trek takes us to Machu

The radical juxtapositions in landscape and culture of

HUARAZ

this majestic country are mirrored in the striking socio-

CHIQUIAN S ATI P O

CUSCO

PUNTO M A LD O N ATO

economic disparities that pervade society. Students dig

homestay in the Parque de la Papa.

into critical development issues by living with

We rise with our homestay siblings,

families in remote indigenous communities

harvest potatoes, herd and milk

and exploring seldom-visited regions of BOLIVIA

crowds and settle in for a four-day

the sacred Andes Mountains and lush

livestock, and participate in a learning service project led by local leaders.

Amazonian forests. Our journey begins with a short flight

By the end of the course students are equipped with basic wilderness skills, and a

into the heart of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.

deeper understanding of regional environmental

A small boat takes us up the Madre de Dios River,

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

“Peru changed something big inside me. What I value has

hopes and fears about regional development initiatives.

changed; so has my definition of happiness.”

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

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

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

LATI N A ME R IC A :  S U MM E R

LIMA

MACHU PICCU

Picchu, where we quickly skirt the

27


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

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

L AT IN AM ER IC A :  SU M MER 28

HOMESTAY

OUR GUATEMALA COURSE OFFERS THE PERFECT MELD OF INTENSIVE

Todos Santos. Hidden in the clouds, Todos

LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION, LEARNING SERVICE, AND HANDS-ON

Santos is a mystical mountain town that

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING. Known as the “land of eternal spring,” Guatemala is a

challenges definitions of “traditional”

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

and “modern.” While continuing with

resilient Maya people. Through this lush and textured land we travel to remote communities to study under professional

ME XICO

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

TIKAL

BELIZE

TODOS SANTOS

LANGUAGE STUDY

LEARNING SERVICE

our Spanish language instruction, we meet with shamans and healers, learn traditional cooking, volunteer in local schools, and receive instruction in weaving and marimba.

We begin our course in Pachaj, a small mountain

We then wind our way into the protective

community nestled in the pine forest outside of

folds of the Cuchumantes Mountains to the

Guatemala’s second biggest city, Quetzaltenango. In

community of San Juan Cotzal. Here we join our homestay families in the fields as

Pachaj, we live with generous homestay families, enjoy

they plant their food staples of beans, corn, and squash. Our comprehensive journey

one-on-one Spanish language instruction, and volunteer

COBAN

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

concludes with a few days in the spectacular colonial capital of Antigua.

with the Chico Mendes Reforestation Project. G UATE M A L A SANTIAGO ATITL A N

After a three-day trek from Quetzaltenango to Lake

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

Atitlan and a visit to the Mesoamerican Permaculture

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

Institute, we travel to the highland community of

SAN LUCAS TOLIMÁN

EL

SALVADOR

TEL: 303.41 3.0822

— R O B I N , PA R E N T

Right: Moriah Kofsky; Photo from Dragons Archives

Days

DATES

Left: Photo from Dragons archives; Juancho Galich

31/42

DESCRIPTION


“I looked for a course that would challenge me physically, emotionally, mentally yet still teach me about the world. Well I found it.” — J A M E S , PA S T D R AG O N S S T U D E N T

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

31/42 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

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

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

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

MOST STAGGERING CULTURAL AND ECOLOGICAL DIVERSITY ON THE

dense cloud forests on the edge of the Amazon Basin. Observing striking ecological

PLANET. Host to 36 distinct ethnic and

transitions, we traverse an original Incan roadway that once served a an important trade

language groups, vast mountain ranges,

route between the high Andes and the tropical cloud forests below. Our journey takes

dense Amazonian jungle, and a shifting

us along the base of snow-capped peaks, through

socio-political landscape, Bolivia provides

misty montane forests, alongside coffee and

a panorama for students to explore the links

coca fields, and into the heart of Afro-

between past and present in the heart of South

Bolivian culture in the Yungas region.

America. Students integrate into several local CORDILLERA APOLOBAMBA

communities through extended homestays, focused

S O R ATA

language study, and direct engagement with local

L A PA Z

activists and landscapes

COCHABAMBA CORDILLERA REAL

BOLIVIA

in a small Quechua farming community. Students enjoy daily Spanish language instruction at our Program House while learning about the vibrant history of grassroots mobilization and resistance in the Andes. CHILE ARGENTINA

south to the Uyuni Salt Flats, an otherworldly landscape home to unique flora and fauna, aquamarine

The course begins in Cochabamba, where we live

PAR AGUAY

Our final excursion takes us

Acclimatized to the Andean elevation, we depart

lagunas, and the largest reserves of lithium on the planet. Summiting an active volcano, we discuss issues of resource use and environmental conservation in one of the most dramatic locales on the planet.

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

TREKKING

29


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BY ZANDRA CAMPBELL, STUDENT Dragons Princeton Bridge Year Senegal

SOME THOUGHTS ON RELIGION A WEEK AGO, AS I POSTULATED BEFORE ALLAH

motions of a prayer that didn’t mean anything to me at face

IN A SUFI SERVICE FOR TABASKI (A CELEBRATION

value, we shared something. We were sharing an experience—

OF THE SACRIFICE OF ISHMAEL), TEARS ROLLED

the sun on our faces, the feeling of the plastic woven mat

DOWN MY CHEEKS. The tears surprised me, but I soon

under our knees, and the feeling of jàmm (peace). We were

recognized that I was crying because the practitioners’

connected through these moments in the universe that we

prayer was so beautiful, and they were so united, and I wasn’t

share.

a part of it. Their faith in Allah connected them, and I felt that, despite my love for Judaism, my disbelief in a god

Faith in a god can be a beautiful thing, but it isn’t some

isolated me from that community experience. Afterwards,

magic ingredient for joy—you don’t need faith to do good

the group conversed about their faiths, and members of my

or be connected to people. And in any case, I do have faith. I

team expressed that although they did not subscribe to Islam,

have faith in people to be and do good. The teranga (spirit of

joining in the prayer connected them both to their own faiths

hospitality) pervasive through Senegal gives me hospitality.

and the community. My sadness deepened; everyone’s faith

On our last night in Dene, the spiritual community in which

seemed to be such a part of that community experience that

we stayed during Tabaski, the community threw a goodbye

I so desperately craved. I felt that I must be missing out on

party for us. We danced around a bonfire singing in Wolof,

some of the world’s joy, but you can’t force yourself to believe

and to close the night, one of the woman of Dene sang the

in something, right?

national anthem of the United States in Wolof for us. I was so

With or without God, the world is an amazing place.

taking selfies, and they begged me to pick them up and spin

Statistically, the chances of our own existences are so

them around again and again until I grew so dizzy, I could

infinitesimally small, and the chances of that many people

barely stand. I realized that not sharing the same religion

equally as improbable of existing as I should come together

or even the same god didn’t mean I couldn’t take part in

and stand in that circle around that bonfire is practically

the community. Even going through the seemingly empty

impossible. Yet there we were, and that’s miraculous.

Visit the Yak Board for course reflections from Dragons students past and present at 30

WWW.THEYA KBOA R D.COM

Right: Angelica Calabrese; Nicos Christou

Later on in the day, however, I was playing with all the children as they helped sacrifices the rams. We were laughing and

Left: Christy Sommers

AF R IC A:   SUM M ER

touched, I teared up again.


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

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

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

June 28 – July 28

15 – 17

31 Days

RUGGED TRAVEL

MAURITANIA

ENTER A FORTUNETELLER’S HUT AND ASK A

SAINT LOUIS

QUESTION ABOUT YOUR FUTURE. Spin and dance

DENE DAKAR

NDEM THIES

with Sufi mystics. Speak with a young man preparing

SENEGAL TA M BACO U N DA

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

MALI

TEMANTO SAMBA KOLDA KEDOUGOU

GUINE A

landscape scattered with ancient baobab trees turn into lush, green forest. We trek through the foothills of the

This country is a collision of influences: French,

Fouta Djallon mountains, visiting

Islamic, African, and increasingly, American and

Pulaar villages, traditional healers,

Chinese. Renowned for its hospitality and tolerance,

and environmental activists

Senegal makes room for all.

along the way. We come to rest

to examine issues surrounding the term 'development.' From

for a week of homestays, where students live in traditional thatchedhut family compounds. Students spend the day as locals do, working

Thies we travel to the sandy shores of Dene, where we

in the fields, milking cows, partaking in

study spiritual traditions amongst a community of Islamic

drumming and dance lessons, and listening to

scholars, practice French and Wolof greetings and learn new cultural norms, and possibly stay up late drumming and dancing under the stars. This week sets the stage

village meetings. As we sink into the rhythm of Senegalese life, we see that the tradition of teranga

for an in-depth exploration of issues related to public health, gender, education, social

(the culture of giving) offers us many lessons about community and the web of

justice, and human migration.

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

first taste of tchieb-u-dien, Senegal's national dish, and explore colorful markets, dance and drum with local teachers, and begin

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

Heading south, we watch the flat desert

to cross the Strait of Gibraltar to find work in Spain.

Our journey begins in Thies, where we get our

HOMESTAY

31


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 Program

DESCRIPTION

Discover the famed hospitality, faiths, and languages of Morocco across ranges, ancient cities, and rural villages. S Pmountain AIN

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

AF R IC A:   SUM M ER

MOROCCO

32

ALGERIA

LANGUAGE STUDY

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

“The rural homestay taught me the most. I learned so much in terms of spoken and

SOUQ (MARKET PLACE), FRAMED BY THE ANCIENT WALLS OF CITY MEDINAS,

16 – 19 HOMESTAY

WANDERING THROUGH A MOROCCAN FES

June 28 – July 28

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

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

YOU ARE SURE TO THINK THAT YOU

well in an environment I never could have imagined myself being in.”

HAVE ENTERED ANOTHER ERA. Hiking

— J AC K S O N , PA S T D R AG O N S S T U D E N T

along ancient trade routes and current nomadic enclaves, we experience a Morocco that few

us wonderful opportunities to learn about the history

travelers encounter. Our time in remote villages

and tradition of this, often mystical, Muslim

immerses us in Morocco’s unrivaled hospitality;

culture. Whether outside an intricately

families welcome us as kin and our tea cups are

decorated mosque in Casablanca or

never left empty.

walking an unpaved road in a quiet

Throughout the country we engage with locals

mountain town, we often hear the call

using our budding Arabic language skills. In the imperial cities of Fes and Marrakesh,

to prayer, and are reminded five times

the sounds of people bargaining in Arabic fill our ears as the smells of exotic spices

a day that among the vastly disparate

fill your nose. Yet only a few hours hike takes us out of the cities and to a village of

lives of Morocco’s people, Islamic

peaceful mud huts in the mountains.

culture, faith, and devotion continue to

Though Morocco shows us a land of great differences, we come to see how religion and culture unite indigenous Amazigh and Arab peoples. Our time in Morocco provides

bring families and communities together as it has for over 1300 years.

TEL: 303.41 3.0822

Right: Christy Sommers; Natalie Gruben

Days

AGES

Left: Cara Lane-Toomey; Gigi Crouch

31

DATES


COLORADO

LAKE SUPERIOR

S U S TA I N A B L E R E L AT I O N S H I P S W I T H L A N D & WAT E R I N T H E W E S T E R N U S

4-Week Domestic Summer Program

THE GOOD LIFE

4-Week Domestic Summer Program

CHINA

CHINA

26

DATES DESCRIPTION

AGES

July 5 – July 28

15 – 18

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

DATES

26

Days

TREKKING

RUGGED TRAVEL

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

CANADA

DATES

AGES AGES PROGRAM PROGRAM COMPONENT COMPONENT EMPHASIS EMPHASIS

July 5 – July 28

15 – 18

Days

RUGGED TRAVEL

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

LEARNING SERVICE

CANADA

BACKPACK TO THE SOURCE OF THE U N I T E D S TAT E S BOULDER PAONIA

COLORADO RIVER. Study permaculture

PADDLE KAYAKS TO CAMP ON SANDY BEACHES. Explore food

APOSTLE ISLANDS

and sustainability on local farms, and float desert canyons while studying the history,

sovereignty, indigenous rights, and grassroots activism as we pursue “the good

U N I T E D S TAT E S

ecology, and pressing issues of the region.

BEARS EARS

life” around Lake Superior. Program Highlights:

• Meet with scientists, activists, ranching families, and MEXICO

recreational groups to gain a deeper understanding of the demands on land and water

• Study permaculture with sustainable farmers and learn about practical solutions for climate change in southwest Colorado • Develop a complex understanding of the human history and a deeper connection with the natural environment in the high mountains and winding desert canyons

• Spend a week sea kayaking the Apostle Islands MEXICO

National Lakeshore exploring white sand beaches, camping under the stars, and swimming from sandstone cliffs.

• Engage with tribal community members to learn about indigenous sovereignty, Ojibwe cultural history, and relationships to land and water. • Build traditional skills such as tanning hides, building shelter, foraging wild foods and medicines, and animal tracking.

• Introduction to backpacking along the Continental Divide

• Connect with local artisans to learn about their crafts and lifestyles.

• Float the red rock canyons of the Colorado River Basin while you learn about

• Herd sheep and harvest berries as we explore sustainable farming practices

complicated demands on this precious water resource

throughout the peninsula.

N OR T H AM ER IC A :   S UM M ER

Program Highlights:

33


GAP YEAR FALL & SPRING SEMESTER PROGRAMS, AGES 17–22

Invest in your future with a Dragons Gap Year. Leave your well-worn routines and discover new perspectives. Reconnect with your curiosity and explore new ways of being in the world. Step out of the classroom to find inspiration and skills for your future.

34

Students traveling via a dugout canoe in Indonesia. Aaron Slosberg


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

LOW EMPHASIS MODERATE

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

TREKKING

LEARNING SERVICE

30+ days

60+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

20+ days

20+ hours

10+ days

10+ hours

30+ days

30+ hours

5+ days

10+ hours

20+ days

20+ hours

15+ days

20+ hours

Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies

30+ days

40+ hours

20+ days

20+ hours

South America Semester: Andes & Amazon

30+ days

60+ hours

20+ days

10+ hours

30+ days

60+ hours

10+ days

20+ hours

20+ days

30+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

30+ days

30+ hours

5+ days

20+ hours

<5 days

5+ hours

20+ days

30+ hours

<5 days

10+ hours

15+ days

30+ hours

30+ days

40+ hours

Varies

Varies

GAP YEAR PROGRAMS China Semester: South of the Clouds Mekong Semester: Tibetan Plateau to the Heart of Southeast Asia Indonesia Semester: Community, Culture, & Conservation Bhutan Semester: Environmental Sustainability & Community Happiness

Guatemala Semester: Spanish Language & Social Justice Morocco Semester: Ancient Cities to the Atlas Mountains West Africa Semester: Rhythms of Senegal Colorado River Basin Semester: Sustainable Relations with Land and Water in the Western USA Rio Grande Semester: Stories of Culture, Identity, & Environment Along the Southern Border Independent Spring Experience (Locations Vary)

RUGGED TRAVEL

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

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

INDEPENDENT STUDY PROJECT

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

DATES 9/15 – 12/6 2/7 – 5/1 9/15 – 12/6 2/7 – 5/1 9/15 – 12/6 2/7 – 5/1 9/15 – 12/6 2/7 – 5/1 9/15 – 12/6 2/7 – 5/1 9/15 – 12/6 2/7 – 5/1 9/15 – 12/6 2/7 – 5/1 9/15 – 12/6 2/7 – 5/1 9/15 – 12/6 2/7 – 5/1 9/1 – 11/10 3/1 – 5/10 9/1 – 11/10 3/1 – 5/10 1/15 – 2/26 2/12 – 3/25

HIGH EMPHASIS

AGES

PAGE

17 – 22

p38

17 – 22

p39

17 – 22

p40

17 – 22

p41

17 – 22

p42

17 – 22

p44

17 – 22

p45

17 – 22

p46

17 – 22

p47

17 – 21

p48

17 – 21

p48

18+

p49

35


Dragons taught me what it means to be a responsible traveler– one who engages with local culture, one who cares for nature, one who travels not to observe…but to learn. Dragons instilled me with the values and skills needed to be a positive force for change.” — I VA N , P A S T D R A G O N S S T U D E N T

36

Finding new 'classroom' spaces in Nepal. Lauren Cain


OPTIONAL COLLEGE CREDIT M A K E T H E M O S T O F YO U R G A P S E M E S T E R Earn college credits while developing your language skills, regional knowledge, and intercultural understanding. All Dragons Gap Year Programs offer optional college credit through Portland State University (PSU) with additional course offerings available through Naropa University on select programs. Your college courses are integrated into your day-to-day activities to create an immersive learning experience; encounters with local experts, host families, artisans, activists and more form the core course content. Your hands-on learning is supplemented by writing exercises, selected readings, and presentations. You are eligible to complete up to 16 quarter credits (PSU) and/or 4 semester credits (Naropa) during your semester. Included below is a sample of college credit course offerings available:

ANTH 103: Introduction to Anthropology; How Location Affects Culture

GEOG 230: Environment and Society; Geography of Global Issues

MGMT 299: Principles of Economics; International Economics

COMM 215: Introduction to Intercultural Communication; Building Effective Cross-Cultural Communication Skills

HIST 299: Colonialization and Western Influences

PHE 299: Healthcare Systems and the Affected

ESM 101: Environmental Sustainability

INTL 199: Globalization Awareness and Community Development

PHL 299: Introduction to Spiritual/Religious Studies & Their Roles in Culture

EMS 102: Global Perspectives

INTL 299: Leadership Across Borders

PSY 204: Psychology as Social Science

ESM 199: Climate Change and Its Impacts

MGMT 199: Social Entrepreneurship; Creating Impact Through Innovative Action

SOC 199: Self and Community; Culture, Cohort, and Self

CHIN 150/250/350: Mandarin I/II/III

NPL 150/250/350: Nepali I/II/III

SPAN 150/250/350: Spanish I/II/III

Will the credits transfer to my college? Many students have had great success transferring credits from a Dragons program, but the process & requirements vary by school. The first step is to contact your college (either an admissions or an academic advisor) to understand their process for transferring credits. Visit our website for a full list of college credit offerings, course descriptions, deadlines, and course registration fees.

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

37


RUSSIA

MONGOLIA

BEIJING

CHINA

XI’AN

XIAHE

CHENGDU

SOUTH OF THE CLOUDS

KUNMING

NDIA

3-Month Gap Year Program

Days

DATES

AGES

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

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22 HOMESTAY

THROUGHOUT ITS LONG HISTORY, CHINA—LIKE FEW OTHERS—HAS

hear from visiting scholars, and meet as a group

INSPIRED CURIOSITY AND FASCINATION IN TRAVELERS, SEEKERS,

to plan our adventures and investigations.

MERCHANTS, AND DREAMERS. Our semester in China does more than introduce

GA P Y E AR   SE MEST ER

LANGUAGE STUDY

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

ISPs

Building on all we've learned and

the contemporary China that is seen in the country’s ever-expanding cities; we gain a

experienced in Kunming, we begin five

firsthand understanding of the country’s diverse peoples and cultures, moving through

weeks of travel through China's western

lesser-visited urban and rural landscapes.

corridor with unique itineraries that

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

38

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

may take us through Guizhou, Sichuan,

comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of modern Chinese history and economic

Qinghai, Ningxia, or Gansu Provinces.

development, society, and cultural traditions. Kunming—located southeast of the

With a broad curriculum and an

Tibetan Plateau—is our home for five weeks of the program. This “city of eternal spring”

itinerary designed to explore the variety

is the capital of China’s Yunnan Province; an ideal location from which we explore

this country has to offer, our semester

ethnic diversity, environmental issues, and the dramatic changes that people in China

program offers an unparalleled overview of

have witnessed in recent decades. Through guest lectures, discussions, and mentored

China today.

community engagement, we explore traditional Chinese approaches to healing, cooking, exercise, art, and music.

"Some of the best most impactful and enjoyable [memories] were actually unplanned

While in Kunming, students live independently with homestay families, many of

or even unintended. They just happened on the road or were bumps along that road,

whom represent the “new middle class” in urban China today. At the Dragons Program House, we gather for language classes, work on Independent Study Projects (ISPs), TEL: 303.41 3.0822

and those are probably the ones which leave the biggest impressions." — R O B E R T, PA S T D R A G O N S S T U D E N T

Right: Sampor Burke; Emma Hoffman

83

DESCRIPTION

Left: Photos from Dragons archives

CHINA


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

CAMBODIA

3-Month Gap Year Program

K R AT I E

PHNOM PENH

83 Days

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Examine issues of transboundary resource management within Southeast 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

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

FROM ITS SACRED HEADWATERS IN THE TIBETAN PLATEAU, THE

the idyllic river island of Don Dohn, relaxing into “Laos

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

time” as we prepare for the final leg of our journey.

CLEAVING A BOUNDARY BETWEEN MYANMAR, LAOS, AND THAILAND.

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

In Cambodia, we meet with NGOs in Phnom

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

Penh and stay with communities living on the

is a means of economic development. By focusing on the interdependence of people

banks of the sacred river. A highlight of our

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

time is the homestay situated on an island in

and anthropocentric needs are causing irreparable damage to delicate ecosystems and

the Bassac River where we settle into village

traditional ways of life.

life and work side-by-side with families, cooking together, sharing our stories and

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

feeling what it’s like to live in rural Cambodia.

mega-dam projects. In border villages, we explore transnational trade and China’s

Near the mouth of the Mekong Delta we conclude

impact on the cultural integrity and economic security of the Greater Mekong

with reflections on the long-term health of the river

sub-region. Crossing into Laos, we explore the province of Luang Namtha on treks

ecosystem and bring our great journey to a close.

beneath the jungle canopy and travel through some of the most remote regions in Southeast Asia, where cross-border trade and a booming ecotourism industry are contributing to rapid modernization and environmental degradation. In Vientiane, we turn our focus towards public health initiatives, visiting an international NGO working to

“Dragons strengths are in the authenticity of where they go, what they choose to do and see, where they stay and how the participants are involved along the way. Dragons does not just lead students by their hands and guide them, they let them figure things out.”

clear unexploded mines leftover from the US' Secret War. We enter rural homestays on 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 S E M E S T E R S T U D E N T

GA P Y E AR S EM E STE R

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

HOMESTAY

39


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

GA P Y E AR   SE MEST ER

17 – 22 RUGGED TRAVEL

SPANNING FROM MALAYSIA TO AUSTRALIA, WITH OVER 17,000

mangrove ecosystems, and look at the nuances of

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

environmental conservation.

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

40

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

Bandas, a small group of volcanic islands famous

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

as a source of nutmeg and cloves. Featuring

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

dramatic volcanic formations draped in luxuriant

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

vegetation and uninhabited islands wrapped in

diversity, creative expression, and cultural and environmental conservation, all while

white sand beaches, the Bandas boast incredible

living with carefully selected homestay families.

marine diversity and a fascinating history at the

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

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

Heading east we may travel to the mysterious

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

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

center of the spice trade. We return to Yogyakarta to conclude a course that is

coffee production, hike spectacular dormant volcanoes, explore topics in spiritual

rugged and comprehensive, and that introduces students to some

plurality, and 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”).

“Each place we went to and family I stayed with showed me something about life.

Staying in the stilted bamboo huts of Sampela, students learn about Bajau culture,

Spear fishing in Sampela. Playing soccer in Langa. Playing gamelan in Java.

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

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 , PA S T D R AG O N S S T U D E N T

TEL: 303.41 3.0822

Right: Chelsea Ferrell; Rishi Bhandari

Days

Experience the majesty of the most diverse archipelago on Earth: explore Javanese arts, trek to hidden jungle hot springs, spearfish with sea nomads, and discuss conservation initiatives with local experts.

AGES

Left: Sadie Fischbeck; Katie Loebner

83

DATES


CHINA

TIBE T

PUNAKHA

PARO

B H U TA N

NASPE

THIMPU

URA

B H U TA N

E N V I R O N M E N TA L S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y & C O M M U N I T Y H A P P I N E S S

INDIA

3-Month Gap Year Program

BANGLADESH

83 Days

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Experience this secluded Himalayan country where “happiness” and Buddhist belief systems are the guiding principles underlying economic, environmental, and community development.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

border with Tibet, we continue to immerse ourselves

BHUTAN HAS CAPTURED THE IMAGINATION OF EXPLORERS AND

in the lesser-explored cultural heartlands of Bhutan

SCHOLARS ALIKE. Part of its allure can be found in Bhutan’s intentional seclusion

through extended treks in Himalayan peaks,

from the world beyond its boundaries. Up until very recently, the royal monarchy

community homestays, attendance of religious

carefully controlled external influences, only allowing television into the country in

festivals, and Independent Study Projects (ISPs)

1999. Even today, travel to Bhutan is tightly monitored by a deliberately restrictive visa

with local masters in traditional arts and crafts.

program for foreign visitors. Bhutan’s seclusion, however, has resulted in an unparalleled

Our semester concludes back where we started,

conservation of long-held values, Buddhist beliefs, and cultural practices. Through

spending the last two weeks of the program back

homestays, community engagement, and immersion in cultural practices, our semester

in Nepal, using the opportunity to better understand

explores how Bhutanese traditions have created a society uniquely centered on the

our time in Bhutan in contrast to its Himalayan

values of community happiness and environmental sustainability.

neighbor, and concluding our course with a reflective

Starting in neighboring Nepal, we spend our first three weeks in the Kathmandu Valley learning about the shared geographic and cultural foundations common to

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

retreat to bring perspective and closure to our time together. Throughout our travels in Bhutan, we gain new perspectives on our relationship with

this Himalayan region before flying into Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital. Partnering with a

the environment, broadened understanding of sustainability, and awareness of how our

Bhutanese environmental NGO, we explore how Buddhist traditions have given rise to

underlying values can influence individual and societal choices. In a country where the

a belief in the inherent sacredness and non-economic value of Mother Nature. We live

phrase “Gross National Happiness” has become a key metric in national development,

in homestays, engage with thriving Buddhist monasteries, and explore the many sacred

Bhutan presses us to ask how our own “happiness” can contribute to the sustainability

sites in the regions surrounding Thimpu. Moving to more remote regions along the

of our communities and shared resources.

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

CLOISTERED AMIDST THE DRAMATIC BACKDROP OF THE HIMALAYAS,

TREKKING

41


CHINA LEH

N E PA L

TIBET L A N G TA N G

NEPAL

DELHI

K ATH M A N D U

KANCHENJUNGA

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 enchantment 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

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

ISPs

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

"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

— I S A B E L L E , PA S T D R AG O N S S T U D E N T

Buddhist monastery, high mountain trekking, and in-depth independent study, Dragons Nepal students explore this remarkable region,

42

beautiful patchwork. From academic discourse to hands-on study, students find areas of personal interest to explore during our time in our urban homestays. Bronze casting,

Our Himalayan Semester is based in the

jewelry making, stone carving, thangka (Buddhist iconography) painting, and music

Kathmandu Valley, an ancient crossroads

are just a few of the apprenticeship opportunities available. Students critically reflect

and melting pot of Himalayan peoples.

on their place in the world through exploring concepts of service, visiting grassroots

While living with host families and

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

studying Nepali language, students

We leave the Kathmandu Valley for the foothills to explore rural Nepali village

meet with local scholars and activists

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

and learn about Nepal’s history, politics,

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

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

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

TEL: 303.41 3.0822

Right: Iris Kim

deep roots in a mystical land.

range of concepts in Buddhism and Hinduism and how these blend and co-exist in a

Left: Maria Xu; Scott Diekema

GA P Y E AR   SE MEST ER

encountering ancient spiritual traditions with


E YA K

AR

D•

•FRO

B O

M

TH

FROM THE STUDENT GROUP JOURNAL Nepal Semester

I N N E PA L . . . "AS OUR STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM COMES TO A CLOSE, THE GROUP WANTED TO ANONYMOUSLY SHARE SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THAT WHICH WE EXPERIENCED, OBSERVED, AND LEARNED OVER THESE MANY MONTHS... “In Nepal...I experienced a supportive, inclusive, and compassionate group culture.

“In Nepal...I experienced what it is like to be a part of a true community.

I had the chance to step up as a leader, take on significant autonomy, independence, and

Everyone addresses each other as “brother” or “sister” even if they are complete strangers,

decision-making responsibility. I experienced life in a Buddhist Monastery, hiked in Gaurishankar

and they will not hesitate to go way out of their way to help each other out. The communal

Conservation Area, lived in Patan in the Kathmandu valley, solo traveled, and much more.”

mentality reminded me how important it is to be connected to others...”

“In Nepal...I learned how to braid momos, how to cut tiny tomatoes with a very dull knife,

"In Nepal...I stepped outside my comfort zone in various ways and consequently,

and how to walk along the edges of a terraced bean field, holding up the hem of a scarlet sari.”

experienced many different ways of thinking, viewing the world, and living. We met a diverse range of Nepalis: Tami farmers, permaculture practitioners, young

"In Nepal...I learned that culture exists in the grit and grime. In the dust created by

urbanites striving for change, Newari artisans, Kagyu Karmapa Tibetan Buddhist lamas,

civilizations. Its in the magenta and bright coral smeared across my hair playing Holi.

hiking guides, influential fixers and liaisons, and travelers. That access allowed

In the cracks between stones of a temple, in the carved hands of a goddess on a roof strut.

us to problematize and nuance our understandings of this country that is increasingly

It’s in the crimson, auburn, and ocher spices thrown over chopped potatoes frying in a

connected with the global community and navigating its way through complex questions.”

pan of sunflower oil. It’s even in the dust over Kathmandu, a specter so vast and omniscient and sentient that it has become its own character in the story."

“In Nepal...I experienced earth-shaking thunderstorms, bruised hips from terrible jeep

“In Nepal...I experienced sadness as I learned how fast the aquamarine glaciers

I experienced sharp pain followed by instant relief as I washed my aching feet in frigid

overhead were receding, and when I sat with women, tears streaming down their faces

opalescent pools, and stifling silence when we awoke to a fresh blanket of snow

as they relayed their life’s unimaginable hardships."

covering the small Tibetan village”

GA P Y E AR S EM E STE R

rides, and countless red rhododendron bushes, growing smaller as the altitude increased.

Visit the Yak Board for course reflections from Dragons students past and present at WWW.THEYA KBOA R D.COM

43


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

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

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

HOMESTAY

TREKKING

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

"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.” — FA R I DA H , PA S T D R A G O N S S T U D E N T

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

44

this display of collective creativity in action,

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

we strike out on our first trek, circling up

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

at night to discuss the impacts of climate

them feel at home throughout their journey.

change as we witness glaciers receding

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

before 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. Traveling along tropical

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

waterways, we conclude amidst a symphony of birds

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

and the embrace of the most bio-diverse forests on the planet.

TEL: 303.41 3.0822

Right: Laila Skramstad; Photo from Dragons archives

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

Left: 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


ME XICO

TIKAL

BELIZE

G UAT E M A L A

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS

TODOS SANTOS

PACHA J

G UAT E M A L A

S PA N I S H L A N G UAG E & S O C I A L J U S T I C E 3-Month Gap Year Program

SAN JUAN LA LAGUNA ANTIGUA

EL SA LVA D OR

83 Days

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Build Spanish language fluency, examine models of political activism, and engage with diverse Mesoamerican communities and cultures.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

LINKING TWO MASSIVE OCEANS AND CONTINENTS, CENTRAL AMERICA

the state of Chiapas in Southern Mexico to explore

IS A CAUSEWAY OF MESOAMERICAN CULTURES AND ECOLOGICAL

the common Mayan cultural heritage which

DIVERSITY. Today, the communities sharing in this Mesoamerican heritage continue

transcends national boundaries. While living

a legacy of adaptation to rapid environmental and social challenges. The Guatemala

with farming communities and further

Semester takes a hands-in-the-dirt approach to understanding the indigenous cultures

honing our Spanish skills, students learn

of Mesoamarica through extended rural homestays, personalized language study, work

about Chiapas’ history of revolution and

on community learning service projects, and examination of grassroots activism.

resistance, participate in agricultural

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

LEARNING SERVICE

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

initiatives, climb mystic ancient temples, and explore the delicate encounter

pressures. Living in with indigenous families, we work in el campo, learn Spanish

between past and present. Through a rugged and authentic

healers, weavers, and community leaders share their knowledge through Independent

exploration of some of the most remote

Study Projects (ISPs) while conversations with local NGOs working in human rights,

regions of Guatemala and Mesoamerica, our

community health, and development provide opportunities to get involved in

semester unearths the complex issues facing indigenous

contemporary struggles for continuity and change in Guatemalan society. Beyond

communities working towards sustainable development in a

intensive community engagement and homestays, we explore Guatemala’s geographic

globalizing landscape. With intensive Spanish lessons, rural homestays, and thoughtful

and cultural diversity through extended travel and hiking expeditions.

learning service engagement, students gain an immersive perspective on our

The final phase of our itinerary has the option to take us across the border into

relationships with land, tradition, and community.

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

indigenous Maya, maintaining a legacy of rich cultural strength in the face of external in personalized classes, and immerse ourselves in Mesoamerican culture. Herbal

LANGUAGE STUDY

45


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

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

RUGGED TRAVEL

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

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 , PA R E N T

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

46

political Islam, as well as progressive approaches to gender issues and

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

ethnic diversity. Our journey will allow

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

us to compare the vastly different

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

rural and urban Moroccan lifestyles,

European cultures.

as well as see first hand the varying

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

degrees to which history and

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

religion impact daily duties, culture,

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

and understanding of the world

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

beyond Morocco. In the western-most

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

outpost of the Arab world, we explore

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

a culture which will embrace us at every

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

opportunity with its famed hospitality and kindness.

TEL: 303.41 3.0822

Right: Zach Witkin; Nicos Christou

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: Stefan Reutter; Ami Li

traveler fueled by a curious spirit.


MAURITANIA

SAINT LOUIS

DAKAR THIES

SENEGAL TA M BACO U N DA

KOLDA

THE

MALI

G AMBIA KEDOUGOU

LABE

WEST AFRICA RHYTHMS OF SENEGAL 3-Month Gap Year Program

GUINE A

83 Days

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

From agricultural villages to mangrove islands, explore West Africa while delving into artistic and musical traditions in a culture renowned for its generosity and hospitality.

Sept 15 – Dec 6 February 7 – May 1

17 – 22 RUGGED TRAVEL

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

for dinner and keeping our eyes peeled for the

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

dolphins, manatees, and flamingos that call this

FOR A CUP OF TEA. It's a country of contrasts where new development occurs

unique environment home. Returning to the

beside centuries-old traditions. The Muslim call to prayer sounds five times a day

mainland, our feet carry us to breathtaking

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

waterfalls and plateaus, where we speak

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

with local environmental activists and

streets of Dakar.

explore the home of some

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

HOMESTAY

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS

of West Africa’s last chimpanzees. We conclude in an artist enclave

stretch of beach. With possible multi-week excursions to neighboring Guinea and

perched on rocky cliffs above the sea,

Gambia, students stay almost exclusively with local families and have the opportunity

leaving with the stories we've earned, and

to meet with leaders, traditional healers, regional development specialists, and other

will re-tell for years to come.

experts in West African history, geography, and philosophy. Students study Wolof and French throughout the semester, using their new language skills at the market, in service work, and with the community.

"Amazing and transformative! Eve learned so much about global issues...She became

Casting off in a pirogue (a Senegalese fishing boat), the group sails to an island

sensitized to how people live outside the US and the challenges they face. All this

community where students are welcomed by host families. We serve alongside a local

learning and growing took place within a joyful, warm and welcoming environment."

women’s cooperative to replant mangroves and camp on nearby islands, catching fish

— PA R E N T S O F S E M E S T E R S T U D E N T

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

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

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

47


COLORADO

RIO GRANDE

S U S TA I N A B L E R E L AT I O N S H I P S W I T H L A N D & WA T E R I N T H E W E S T E R N U S

S T O R I E S O F C U LT U R E , I D E N T I T Y, & ENVIRONMENT ALONG THE SOUTHERN BORDER

Gap Year Program

Gap Year Program

CHINA

71 Days

CHINA DATES

AGES

Sept 1 – Nov 10 March 1 – May 10

17– 21

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

71 TREKKING

RUGGED TRAVEL

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

LEARNING SERVICE

CANADA

Days

DATES

AGES

Sept 1 – Nov 10 March 1 – May 10

17– 21 TREKKING

BOULDER

B A S A LT BEARS EARS

RUGGED TRAVEL

ENV. & SOCIAL JUSTICE

LEARNING SERVICE

CANADA

BACKPACK TO THE SOURCE OF U N I T E D S TAT E S

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

TREK TO THE HEADWATERS OF THE

THE COLORADO RIVER. Study permaculture and sustainability on local farms, and float desert canyons while studying the history, ecology, and pressing issues of the region.

RIO GRANDE. Float sections of the river in New Mexico and Texas, and explore the

U N I T E D S TAT E S

living intersections of culture, identity, and

SAN LUIS VALLE Y

justice along the southern border.

TAO S

GRAND CANYON

families, and recreational groups to gain a deeper understanding of the demands on land and water

• Study permaculture with sustainable farmers and learn about practical solutions for climate change • Backpack along the Continental Divide, including possible mountain peak summits • Float the red rock canyons of the Colorado River Basin while you learn about complicated demands on this precious resource and how water has carved the magnificent natural beauty of the Southwest • Study controversial land use issues and natural resource extraction practices in the Bears Ears National monument and other public lands

48

BIG BEND

MEXICO

• Explore our own relationship to land and water as we float sections of the Rio Grande around Taos, NM and Big Bend, TX to learn how natural forces have shaped the landscape.

• Gain a deeper understanding of sustainability and food sovereignty from cutting edge regenerative agriculture projects in Taos, NM and the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado. • Look critically at US immigration policy, nationalism, and social justice movements, meeting with organizations at the front-line of immigrant-advocacy work • Trek to the headwaters of the Rio Grande on a multi-day backpacking expedition in the Southern Rockies

Right: Tavinee Maithai

GA P Y E AR   SE MEST ER

• Meet with scientists, activists, ranching MEXICO

Program Highlights:

EL PA SO

Left: Davis Haffeman; Maddie Melton

Program Highlights:

ALBUQUERQUE


INDEPENDENT SPRING EXPERIENCE AN INDEPENDENT GAP YEAR OPTION 6 to 12 Weeks; Locations Vary

42-84 Days

DESCRIPTION

DATES

AGES

Looking for a more independent next step in your Gap Year? For those who have completed a group program (+1 month, any provider), we offer more autonomous and self-directed travel options over the spring semester.

Starts: January 15 Starts: February 15

18– 25

PROGRAM COMPONENT EMPHASIS

HOMESTAY

LANGUAGE STUDY

ISPs

MAYBE YOU’VE DONE A GROUP TRAVEL PROGRAM WITH DRAGONS OR

LOCATIONS

ANOTHER ORGANIZATION. Maybe you’re feeling ready for a more independent

ISEs are offered in places where Dragons has long-established and active community

experience abroad…but here’s what you’re wondering: How can I avoid the backpacker

networks: Guatemala, Bolivia, China, Senegal, Nepal, Cambodia, and Indonesia.

tourist traps? How do I build authentic connections when I don’t know anyone there? Who do I call on for support when I have questions or if something goes wrong? It can be hard to know where to even start. We’ve heard from many past Dragons stu-

ON-SITE SUPPORT Each program site is staffed by a Dragons On-Site Coordinator: a veteran Dragons instructor with extensive in-country expertise and experience. The On-Site Coordinator

feeling lost, unsupported, or even conflicted about the ethics and efficacy of their presence

has weekly face-to-face meetings with each student, conducts a multi-day orientation

and projects. So we’ve launched the Dragons Independent Spring Experience (ISE).

focused on safety, cultural norms, and strategies for engagement, and acts as a cultural facilitator and mentor throughout. Participants are placed with a vetted homestay

ISE PROGRAMS OFFER

family for the program duration, receive intensive language instruction (as desired), and

» Meaningful cross-cultural engagement outside the structure of a group semester,

are paired with local mentors for an Independent Study Project (ISP). Participants also

but still with the support of Dragons local (in-country) resources and mentorship.

have 24/7 access to our in-country and international emergency response resources.

» A co-created, personalized, and self-directed Gap Year or study abroad experience. » Direct Support from Dragons international network of trained in-country staff and vetted resources.

ISE programs have two start dates with a 6-week minimum length and weekly exten-

» Access to Dragons Administrative Team & our decades of expertise in managing international risk and emergency response.

DETAILS & ELIGIBILITY sion options (up until May 1). ISE programs are for those who have previously completed a group travel program (international or domestic of 1+ months) with any provider.

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

dents that some of the travels they pursued on their own after a group program left them

49


OT H E R O F F E R I N G S T H E R E A R E M A N Y WAYS TO E N G AG E W I T H D R AG O N S P R O G R A M M I N G Dragons offers programs for different audiences. Whether you are a parent, teacher, college student, or business leader, Dragons has opportunities for inspired community engagement,

50

COLLEGE STUDY ABROAD

EDUCATOR PROGRAMS

ADULT TRAVELERS

PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS

Credit-Bearin g Academic Courses for Col lege Students

For Teachers, Administrators, & Professional Educators

For Individuals, Small G r o u p s , & Fa m i l i e s

For Schools and Organizations

An alternative approach to college study

International and domestic professional

Culturally immersive small group and

Customized travel programs for schools,

abroad through cultural exploration,

development courses that deliver a

custom-designed programs for adult

universities, businesses, and organizations.

regional and intercultural studies,

core curriculum in cross-cultural and

travelers and families. Created to

We also offer consulting and training

independent study projects, language

experiential education while immersing

inspire curiosity and cultivate profound

in ethical cultural engagement and

courses, and a small-group experience.

educators in critical global issues.

relationships with people and place.

program development.

WTBDRAGONS.COM/COLLEGE

WTBDRAGONS.COM/EDUCATORS

WTBDRAGONS.COM/ADULTS

WTBDRAGONS.COM/PARTNERS

This Page: Elizabeth Causey; Amrit Ale

facilitated experiential learning, and immersive cross-cultural travel. Here are a few more ways to go Where There Be Dragons...


N OT E S O N S A F E T Y U N D E R S TA N D I N G O U R R I S K M A N AG E M E N T SYS T E M S We intentionally push our students intellectually, emotionally, and physically because we believe growth and discovery are often found outside of comfort zones. Our job is to create opportunities for meaningful challenge while safely, professionally, and transparently managing the inherent risks of travel. In our 25+ years of experience, we’ve successfully trained over 1,000 Dragons instructors and stewarded over 300,000 “in-field” days. Over time, we’ve built robust risk management systems, extensive local contacts, and a practiced understanding of regional safety issues that help us to offer innovative programming.

THERE ARE FOUR FOUNDATIONAL ASPECTS OF OUR RISK MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS THAT ENSURE SAFETY IS ALWAYS OUR TOP PRIORITY:

1

W E H I R E E X P E R I E N C E D I N ST R U C TO R S Typically, a Dragons instructor team collectively represents multiple languages, ten or more years of in-country experience, and years managing groups in remote settings. Every instructor

team has Wilderness First Aid/Responder, or higher, medical certifications. Instructors are also adept at working with students to manage medical issues.

2

W E P L AC E A P R E M I U M O N I N S T R U C T O R T R A I N I N G A N D P R O F E S S I O N A L D E V E LO P M E N T Each year, we facilitate a 2-week all-staff training focused on student group management, physical and emotional safety, cross-cultural communication, experiential education, leadership

development, and international risk management. We also lead trainings on best practices in international programming for outside faculty, schools, and organizations. For these reasons, schools and universities such as Princeton University, Thacher School, Milton Academy, and over 50 other institutions have chosen Dragons to design and facilitate custom programming.

3

W E H AV E A N E X P E R I E N C E D 2 4 / 7 F I E L D S U P P O R T T E A M With experienced administrators based domestically and internationally, Dragons Risk Management Team is dedicated to ensuring the highest-quality international programming, with careful

attention to the safety and security of our students, instructors, and in-country partners. This team is on-call 24/7 to support our groups in the field.

4

W E H AV E A R O B U S T N E T W O R K O F I N T E R N AT I O N A L R E S O U R C E S Our organization is built on decades of personal connections, and we often receive word of security issues before they are taken to press. We supplement word-of-mouth

updates with reports from the US State Department, the Overseas Security Advisory Council, the World Health Organization, and the Center for Disease Control. We work closely with International SOS to receive access to 24/7 medical consultation and emergency support services. We have carefully researched in-country medical facilities and our instructors go into the field with comprehensive emergency management tools.

?

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT DRAGONS SAFETY AND SECURITY POLICIES PLEASE CONTACT US. WE WOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO DISCUSS THE FINER POINTS OF OUR RISK MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS WITH YOU.

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

51


M E E T A F E W O F O U R I N S T R U C TO R S T H E Y A R E E X P E R I E N C E D E D U C ATO R S . T H E Y A R E CO M M U N I T Y B U I L D E R S . T H E Y A R E M E N TO R S . With an average of 4+ years living abroad and local language fluency, our instructors have developed the skills to return to communities as cross-cultural liaisons. Our instructors draw upon personal networks to create opportunities for connection and guide students as they navigate inter-cultural nuances. We feel honored to work with this incredible community of global educators. We hope you’ll take a moment to get to know them.

4: 1 RAT I O

H IGH R ET E N TIO N RATE

E DU CATIO N

LI FE EXP ER I ENC E

DI VER SI T Y

A typical group consists of 12 students and 3 instructors

On average, over 80% of our instructors return each year; over 60% have worked 3+ programs

The majority of our instructors hold a master's degree or PhD

Dragons instructors average 30+ years of age and have a wide range of professional backgrounds

51% male, 49% female; the majority were born outside of the U.S. and are multilingual

Shuier Zhang China

Anna McKeon Cambodia

Shuier's parents have been Dragons homestay parents for over a decade in

Anna left university intending to be an actress and singer in London’s West

Yunnan. She spent the last 10 years studying in the London area, where she

End, but ended up working on social change initiatives in Cambodia. Now a

works as a professional translator and interpreter. She loves using her language

freelance communications consultant based in Phnom Penh, Anna spends

fluency to bridge cultures and facilitate communication. When she is not

most of her time working for the Better Volunteering, Better Care initiative,

leading Dragons students or working on translation projects, Shuier works as

advocating against volunteering in orphanages and promoting ethical and

a freelance art journalist, writing about art exhibitions in London for publishers

responsible volunteering alternatives.

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

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

in China.

Joseph Vincent China

Uttara Pant India

Joseph first began learning Chinese at the age of sixteen when he moved to

Uttara’s love for the mountains began in the Palani Hills of India. Here, among

Taiwan as a Rotary exchange student. He continued to study Chinese literature,

eucalyptus trees and bison, she attended an international boarding school

history, art, and religion at Reed College before completing his MA in Chinese

with students from around the world. Moving to the US, she attended Sarah

Literature at National Taiwan University. Joseph came to Dragons after two

Lawrence and Harvard Universities while focusing her studies on psychology,

years working as an instructor at the Chinese summer programs at Middlebury-

geography, and development economics. After graduation, she found her way

Monterey Language Academy and when not instructing for Dragons, works as

to SECMOL, an alternative school in North India, and later worked at an India

a translator for Tzu Chi Foundation, a Buddhist NGO based in Hualien, Taiwan.

based NGO working to preserve traditional agricultural methods through seed

B.A. Chinese Literature and Language, Reed College M.A. Chinese Literature, National Taiwan University

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

banks and advocacy for women farmers’ rights. 52

TEL: 303.41 3.0822


Ming Jiu Li China, Southeast Asia

B.S.E. Environmental Engineering, Duke University

Juan Salvador Galich Guatemala Proud of being the son of artists and a true nature lover, ‘Juancho’ has worked

Ming was born in southwest China, but spent most of his youth in Singapore.

as a professional guide and educator in Antigua Guatemala for over 10 years.

After finishing high school, and two years of mandatory military service, Ming

When he is not climbing volcanoes or guiding film crews on adventures, he is

moved to North Carolina where he obtained his engineering degree from

collaborating on musical projects with local and international artists. Juancho

Duke University while working on issues of gender and social justice with the

discovered the beauty of Guatemala through his passion for mountain biking and

Women’s Center. Ming has led over 5 courses in China and Southeast Asia with

outdoor adventures, and was inspired to work as a local activist campaigning to

Dragons. As an educator, he is guided by Simone Weil’s quote that “attention

help support communities as they endeavored to preserve nature and improve

is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

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.

Caitlin McKimmy North India

B.A. in Religion and Neuroscience, Carleton College M.T.S. in Buddhist Studies, Harvard Divinity School Ph.D. Candidate, University of Colorado Boulder

Irene Platarrueda Latin America

B.A. in Socio Cultural Anthropology from the National University of Colombia Irene spent her early childhood in the Colombian Amazon forest where her

Caitlin has led courses in the Himalayas and the Andes. Caitlin speaks Tibetan,

mother worked with indigenous communities. Later, her family moved to the

Hindi and Spanish. She has lived in a Buddhist monastery in central India,

shores of Lago Atitlan in Guatemala. As she grew up, Irene came to believe that

taught English in Northeast Tibet, interviewed Sri Lankan forest hermits

the real richness of our planet lies in the diversity of the human experience.

about love, and worked with the Tibetan community in exile to understand

Irene has since worked with the United Nations Development Program on

their conception of “Buddhist Ecology.” Caitlin believes that the upheaval of

a joint peace-building initiative with the Colombian government. Irene is

conscientious travel can unearth something inexpressibly rich within us.

committed to holistic community building, and works with Dragons students to help them realize the fullness of their potential.

Japhy Dhungana Nepal

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

Richard Brown Guatemala

B.A. Anthropology, Columbia University Born in South Africa to a journalist and a diplomat, Rich has lived in Guate-

Japhy speaks five languages, and always has a difficult time answering the

mala since 2013. After graduating from Columbia, he worked with miners and

question: “Where are you from?” Raised in Nepal, Japhy spent his childhood

activists in rural Appalachia to combat mountaintop removal coal mining. Rich

exploring the Himalayas and dreaming of exploration and adventure in distant

is an editor and journalist for EntreMundos, a bilingual magazine in Guatemala

places like California. As a teenager, he immigrated to inner-city Los Angeles

focused on human rights and social development issues. Rich is just as pas-

with his family, setting the stage for a dramatic cross-cultural education.

sionate about identifying bird and plant species as he is about fostering inter-

After completing his undergraduate studies, he rode his beloved bicycle,

cultural dialogue.

“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.

Claire Bennett Southeast Asia, Himalayas

Babacar Mbaye Senegal

Claire is driven by a passion for global equality and social justice. She first

It takes a wise man to know one, and sometimes it feels hard to quantify all that

ventured to Asia as a volunteer in Nepal and later returned to found a rural

Babacar brings to a Dragons program. Babacar is an educator at heart, and has

development organization, PHASE. Since then, she has spent time volunteering

worked as an English teacher in Senegal since 1997 after receiving his MA in

in Cambodia, coordinating regional strategy for “global education” within the

English. Babacar has been working with Dragons since 2006, first supporting

UK school system, and facilitating Global Youth Action—a global work project

Dragons summer courses and more recently moving into a full-time position

for disadvantaged youth. Claire is an incurable optimist and has boundless

with our Princeton Bridge Year program. Although students see Babacar as

energy—mainly fueled by caffeine from her British tea-drinking habit. Claire is

their fearless leader, he maintains that he is first and foremost a student of their

the author of the book Learning Service: The Essential Guide to Volunteer Travel.

unique perspective and wisdom.

M.A. History, University of Cambridge

M.A. English, Cheikh Anta Diop University

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

53


Dragons helped me see that family is family and people are people, no matter where they are, what religion they practice, or what language they speak. Despite our many differences, we are all capable of connecting with each other as human beings.” — B A B E T T E , PA S T D R AG O N S S T U D E N T

54

Laughter is always a shared language in a Dragons homestay in Nepal. Maria Xu


NEXT STEPS

S O W H AT N O W ?

F I N D I N G T H E R I G H T P R O G R A M S TA R T S W I T H ASKING QUESTIONS.

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

With so many travel programs out there, it can be hard to know where to begin. Here are some questions 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.

SPEAK WITH DRAGONS STAFF

» How many years have you been running international programming?

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

» What is your ratio of instructors to students?

parents. Our staff is ready to answer any question, no matter how big or

» What are the typical professional qualifications and ages of your field staff?

small. And we’re always happy to put you in touch with alumni students for their perspective on specific programs.

» Do your field staff speak the local languages and have extensive in-country experience?

MEET A DRAGONS INSTRUCTOR

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

We have Dragons instructors touring the country and meeting with prospective students and families. Connecting in-person is a great way to

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

hear about programs and find out if Dragons is right for you.

» How do your mitigate and respond to risks on course?

READY TO JOIN US?

» How are your programs and itineraries designed?

Don't wait too long. Our most popular summer and semester

» How do you approach the theme of “service” and manage the dangers of “voluntourism”? » How do you ensure the sustainability of your programming with local communities?

programs generally start to fill up 3–6 months before departure. Students are admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis, so get in touch to hold your place on a program. Or check our website for updates on the spots remaining on a specific program.

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

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

To hear our responses to these questions, and more, give us a call at 303.413.0822.

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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.

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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

55


MAPMAKERS ONCE DREW DRAGONS TO REPRESENT LANDS UNKNOWN. GOING

“where there be dragons” IS TO EXPLORE BEYOND THE EDGE OF your MAP.

WHEN WE ENGAGE THE UNFAMILIAR, WE REDISCOVER OURSELVES AND THE WORLD, CHARTING PATHS TO AN EXPANDED HORIZON.

ARE YOU READY FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF ADVENTURE?

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