Dragons Programs are staffed with expert cross-cultural educators.
Our staff speak in local dialects and bring deep cultural fluency and expert facilitation skills to our programs. They are accomplished cross-cultural educators whose in-country experiences, academic backgrounds and personal contacts enrich the program on every level. With over 1,000 past guides to choose from, our Adult Programs are staffed with Dragons most experienced and celebrated Instructors. Under the deft mentorship of experienced guides, we use the medium of radical difference to reflect on our own life experiences while we come to a more meaningful engagement with life.
Senegal: Music & Mysticism
B.A. Phonetics & Language (French, English & Pulaar), Cheikh Anta Diop University
Samba was born and grew up in rural southern Senegal. He moved to Dakar to complete high school and attend university, obtaining a joint degree at Senegal’s Cheikh Anta Diop University. Samba served as a supervisor for CADRE, an education and development NGO and taught French and English for private school. In 1998 he became a language and cross-cultural trainer for the US Peace Corps, where he worked as a language trainer, teaching French and Pulaar before being promoted to worked as a Cross-Cultural Coordinator. In 2004 Samba immigrated to the US, where he has taught English as a Second Language classes for interested staff at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.
M.A. Contemplative Psychology, Naropa University
B.F.A. Graphic Design, Carnegie Mellon University
In her early teens, Megan dreamt of living in a rural village on the African continent. That dream came to fruition a decade later when she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small agricultural community in southern Senegal. In 2005, Megan co-created and guided Dragons first program on the African continent bringing students to her village. The holistic, community centered, and off-the-beaten-path style of Dragons’ programs captured Megan’s heart and in the past dozen years, she has continued her involvement with Dragons in several capacities including Instructor, West Africa Program Director, Marketing Director, and most recently, Co-Director of Adult Programs. Outside of Dragons, Megan supports young adults through her private psychotherapy practice and guides adults and adolescents on growth oriented backpacking trips.
Peru: Women in the Sacred Valley
Julianne’s heart was captured by Latin America as a young girl, when she accompanied her mother on extended visits to Mexico and Central America. In college she studied Human Rights and Multiculturalism in Valparaíso, lived in a tiny village in the Atacama Desert, and backpacked up the spine of the Andes. These formative experiences incited her passion for helping to preserve the environmental and cultural patrimony of indigenous populations in the Americas. After completing her Masters research in Sri Lanka, Julianne moved to Bolivia permanently in 2009. She has led many Dragons courses in Bolivia and Peru, and has been a Program Director for the region since 2012. She lives outside of Cochabamba with her husband and their 2 young daughters.
Paola was born in Potosí, Bolivia – one of the highest cities in the world. Paola has always felt very close to the earth and very grateful for everything the land can give her. With an interest in human behavior, Paola studies psychology. Through practical living she realized there is no formula and that human beings are unique individuals. She’s passionate about discovering, knowing, trying to understand, and above all, accept each person as unique.
Paola was part of BiblioWorks, a non-profit organization where she researched reading habits. Through this work, she confirmed how important education is for developing countries like Bolivia. Another important experience for Paola has been working with women and children who were victims of violence. She worked with a multidisciplinary team to counsel and give free psychological, social, and legal support, as well as promote and protect the rights of women and children against violence.
Donna is a visionary healer, systems thinker, and trauma therapist, who since college dreamed of helping women. As a family therapist in private practice for 27 years, she has offered yoga, women’s groups and mindfulness training in her practice. She is a certified IFS (Internal Family Systems) Therapist, teaching this trauma healing roadmap in many settings. After finding herself in difficult personal challenges in midlife, she pursued a deeper spiritual path to engaged mindfulness and trauma healing accentuated by treks for women in Africa and Nepal. These outdoor experiences led her to guiding women into hiking and rafting, while teaching the tools of transformation she devised in a healing path called “The Midlife Voyage to Transformation,” now documented in her memoir. She currently teaches and guides women’s retreats for personal and global healing.
Nepal: Ashrams & Artisans
Shannon was first drawn to Nepal as a college student. During that time, she felt a connection with the Nepali people, spiritual traditions, and landscapes, impacting her so deeply she settled in the Kathmandu Valley for fourteen years. She worked as an Instructor and Program Director with Dragons in Nepal, Tibet, and India developing systems and curriculum to maximize student engagement and learning outcomes. Following her time in the field, Shannon helped to steward Dragons accredited college programs and spearhead our adult programming. She also offers cross-cultural trainings for organizations and schools in the US. Her roots with Dragons run 20 years deep. Shannon is a home schooling mom, a certified yoga instructor, a nature connection mentor, and an aspiring facilitator of the Work That Reconnects. She believes in living close to the earth and is a lover of all things wild.
Sharon was born and raised in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas. She received her BA in Literature from an international university in Kolkata and while completing her final paper for her MA, she decided to move to Boulder Colorado, where she lived for 10 years. During this time she wanted to understand more in depth the cultural aspects of the East and the West and the ways it could inform raising a cross cultural son. She relocated back to India in 2013 to run a trek company and farm, working to raise the awareness among local farmers about fair trade and organic sustainable farming. Sharon believes strongly in the idea that every human has the right to basic healthcare, shelter and food. This passion has resulted in her working with the Mayal Lyang Lepcha Development Board, Kalimpong, conducting surveys in remote villages and providing assistance. Sharon has been running programs in Nepal for Dragons participants since 2015.
Guatemala: Land & Spirit
Juan Salvador Galich
Proud of being the son of artists and a nature lover, ‘Juancho’ has worked as a professional guide and educator in Guatemala for over 10 years. When he is not climbing volcanoes or guiding film crews on adventures, he is collaborating on musical projects with local and international artists. Juancho discovered the beauty of Guatemala through his passion for mountain biking and outdoor adventures and was inspired to work as a local activist campaigning to support communities as they endeavored to preserve nature and improve their lives. Juancho believes that we are all part of this Universe and that we should endeavor to live in harmony with it, and so he has pursued a vocation that helps others foster a more profound relationship to nature and to self. Over the past decade he has been involved in ecotourism and ecological projects, supporting and helping national parks develop, building homes and efficiency stoves for communities and making friends everywhere he goes.
B.A. Language Studies and Linguistics, University of California, Santa Cruz
Liz knew when she was growing up in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California that she had to travel. It began with trips in the vibrant melting pot of Honolulu and the sunny surf of Southern California, then broadened to Italy, India, Guatemala, Senegal and beyond. Liz discovered Dragons over a decade ago and has worked in many capacities, from admissions and outreach, to teaching in the field. As Partnership Programs Coordinator, Liz is enthusiastic about introducing Dragons to a wider audience and interacting with participants who are equally passionate about meaningful travel. Liz is a perinatal massage therapist, food enthusiast, and ardent outdoorswoman. Recently, she has been focusing her travels on farm-to-table projects and education. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her son, spending most of her time in the kitchen, the mountains, or peering under rocks searching for lizards.
China: Field, Kitchen, Table
Joseph (Jody) Segar
M.A. Anthroplogy (Ph.D. ABD) Stanford University
B.A. East Asian Studies, Oberlin College
Jody grew up in the woods of New England but woke up one day to find that massive Chinese cities had come to feel just as familiar. Since his first visit in 1996, Jody has spend more than a decade living, working, studying, conducting research, and keeping up with many friends all over China. Jody has worked as a teacher, a financial reporter, the host of the Chinese television program, Chongqing Today, a guide on the Yangtze River, a musician, an advertising designer, a writer and editor, and most recently, in the field of Study Abroad. Before joining Dragons, Jody spent several years conducting doctoral field research in the city of Chongqing. He is fluent in Mandarin and the local version of Sichuan dialect.