5:00am wake ups are easier when these mountains call for you to get out of your tent. Photo by Cecelia Palmquist (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest, 1st Place), Nepal Semester.


Where There Be Dragons

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We're celebrating our 10th year of the Global Speaker Series! Each year our best teachers—with years of international education experience—speak in classrooms  across the United States to share their perspectives and insights with students ready to engage with critical and compelling global questions. While we used to do this for schools only, this year we're really excited to offer these talks to anyone who would like to join. Our 2021/2022 virtual global speaker series includes a range of talks focusing on topics such as climate change, advocacy through story, and learning service.

Select one (or many!) of our free 60-min global talks (free talks are listed below) that are funded by Dragons and offer the opportunity to engage with critical global conversations. If you're an educator interested in booking a talk for your classroom, you can do that here. Again, these are talks are open to anyone (general public) who is interested in learning more about one of these topics.

Please note that most of these talks are on Tuesdays at 5pm MST, but some deviate from that schedule to accommodate speakers' time zones and availability.

2021/2022 Global Speaker Series Schedule

November 2nd, 5pm MSTTruth and Existence: Buddhism in Practice  November 9th, 5pm MSTDrinking Water: Stories from Mining Community of the Bolivian Andes November 10th, 10am MST — Advocating Through Story November 16th, 5pm MSTThe Marriage Between Two Communist Countries: China and Cuba November 23rd, 6pm MSTModern Perspectives from an Ancient City  November 30th, 5pm MST The Roots of Migration from Central America December 7th, 5pm MSTClimate Change's Cultural Side December 14th, 5pm MSTThe White Saviour Complex: Does Voluntourism Do More Harm than Good? January 4th, 5pm MSTThe Forbidden Fire: Community-Based Fire Management in the Peruvian Andes January 11th, 5pm MSTEmpathy and Travel January 11, 5pm MSTThe Roots of Migration from Central America January 18th, 5pm MSTSaving Seed & Saving Self January 18th, 6pm MSTModern Perspectives from an Ancient City January 20th, 10am MST — Advocating Through Story  January 25th, 5pm MSTHistoric Memory: Antidotes for a Struggling Planet February 1st, 5pm MSTThe Marriage Between Two Communist Countries: China and Cuba February 8th, 5pm MSTClimate Change's Cultural Side February 15th, 5pm MSTTraditional to Contemporary: Guqin to China-Style Pop Music Phenomenon February 22nd, 5pm MSTHistoric Memory: Antidotes for a Struggling Planet March 1st, 6pm MSTThe White Saviour Complex: Does Voluntourism Do More Harm than Good? March 8th, 5pm MSTRich Brown, The Roots of Migration from Central America March 15th, 5pm MSTTruth and Existence: Buddhism in Practice  March 22nd, 5pm MSTHistoric Memory: Antidotes for a Struggling Planet March 29th, 6pm MST — Modern Perspectives from an Ancient City April 5th, 5pm MSTSaving Seed & Saving Self April 12th, 5pm MST — The Forbidden Fire: Community-Based Fire Management in the Peruvian Andes April 19th, 5pm MST — The Roots of Migration from Central America April 26th, 6pm MST — Modern Perspectives from an Ancient City May 31st, 5pm MSTTraditional to Contemporary: From Guqin to China-Style Pop Music Phenomenon  

Global Speaker Series — Talk Descriptions  

The White Saviour Complex: Does Voluntourism Do More Harm than Good? Synopsis: Voluntourism is a booming and growing industry. Pre-pandemic, it was estimated at $2.6 billion globally and with at least 10 million travelers, and marketed as an accessible way to learn about and contribute to the world. It is such a popular activity for young people that it is almost becoming a rite of passage. However the practice has come under increased criticism for perpetuating neo-colonial ideas and "white saviorism," as well as being rife with corrupt practices that cause harm to both the community and the students themselves. This workshop offers a new concept “learning service” as a way to think through and resolve some of these ethical tensions, by putting learning at the heart of the service we offer. Speaker: Claire Bennet, M.A. History, University of Cambridge. Current field instructor in Senegal, Nepal, and Cambodia.   Advocating Through Story Synopsis: Stories can change the course of history. We all have them and are often touched and influenced by the tales of others. From advocacy to entertainment, stories have the power to influence, amuse and evoke an emotional response within the listener. This workshop looks at the social and economic impact of selection of stories, explores ways to structure a story for engagement and impact, and gives participants the opportunity for practice. Drawing on the concepts of global citizenship and leadership, we will reflect on the impact individuals wish to have on the planet and the role story can play in advocating for this. Speaker: Steve Roberts, BSocSci (Economics & Film), MA (Education and International Development), MA (Digital Technologies, Communication and Education)   Drinking Water: Stories from Mining Community of the Bolivian Andes Synopsis: Water is a sacred commodity that many people take for granted since it’s easy to turn on the tap instead of walking many miles to get potable water. In Bolivia, where the National Constitution says, “La Tierra es del quien la trabaja” (The land is for the one that works in it), this mantra does not apply to many of it’s mining communities. For centuries, Bolivian miners, who are most often Andean indigenous people, have suffered greatly from their work in the mining industry. This workshop offers a critical look at mining and its effects on people and the environment. Alan will examine issues that miners face just to survive and illustrate many of the challenges of the industry through access to clean, potable water.   Speaker: Alan Condori Flores, B.A. Tourism, Culture, and Languages; San Francisco Xavier of Chuquisaca ***Available in Spanish    Modern Perspectives from an Ancient City: Heritage of the Past, Ambitions of the Future Synopsis: How do cities live and organize themselves over time? This talk will highlight the challenges and opportunities of urban sustainability while encouraging students to draw parallel conversations in their own home town/cities. The concepts will draw on public spaces, belonging, local economy, beliefs and rituals, and evaluate grassroots engagement through city councils and governments. In this talk, Jason will draw experiences from his hometown Patan - an ancient Newar city in Nepal - to evaluate similar concerns of students' home-cities.The focus topics can shift to include: urban transportation, green spaces, citizen activism, waste management, and youth participation. Speaker: Jason Shah, BA, International Studies – Diplomacy and International Organizations.    Traditional Toward Contemporary: From Guqin to China-Style Pop Music Phenomenon  Guqin, is the oldest authentic Chinese musical instrument. Pei’s talk will introduce students to the unique and subtle sounds of the Guqin that have influenced all aspects of China culture. We will trace the use of the Guqin from the story of Confucious learning the instrument to 1977 when Nasa used its sounds as a gift to the galaxy in the Voyager spacecraft mission. Pei will explore how music is an amazing medium for understanding China - from traditional to contemporary life and values.  Speaker: Pei Yuen, B.Des. in Communications Design from Shih Chien University, Taiwan ***Available in Mandarin    The Marriage Between Two Communist Countries: China and Cuba Synopsis: Tindy, a Chinese woman married to a Cuban man, will share her personal stories and accounts of China and Cuba. China is known for its 5,000 year history, traditional medicine, and Confucious culture — where the people are considered hard-working and serious. Cuba is famous for its paradise-like beaches, their own traditional medicine, salsa dancing, and mojitos. The people are passionate, and they call everyone on the streets mi amor. China has been a Communist Party for 72 years and Cuba for 56 — it’s easy to make conclusions about those two in comparison to politics and economy, but Tindy is more excited to talk about the cultural influence, lifestyle, beliefs, as well as differences and similarities in day-to-day life between the two.  Speaker: Tindy Chen, Bachelor of Art study in Guangdong Ocean university    The Forbidden Fire and the Role of Community-Based Fire Management in the Peruvian Andes Synopsis: The need for agricultural expansion has increased fire use throughout the tropics, aggravating local people’s vulnerability to the changing climate. Fire management has been historically addressed from a top-down conservationist approach, when use of agricultural fires should also be integrated into discussions of rural development. This shift would emphasize strengthening local and traditional institutions for adequate fire prevention and control and provide a better fit to the local context of the actors implementing them. In this talk, Vanessa will share her doctoral research in the Tropical Andes, where almost nothing is known regarding the local institutions for fire management and how these rules are adapted to fit changing socio environmental contexts.  Speaker: Vanessa Luna, PhD student in Interdisciplinary Ecology, University of Florida (in progress) B.A. in Biology, Agraria La Molina University, Peru    Climate Change's Cultural Side Synopsis: Even with 100% renewable electricity and a complete shift to electric cars, the United States would still produce more greenhouse gases per capita than China or any Western European country. The average U.S. resident emits double the average German. Throughout human history, sustainable practices have been primarily cultural, not technological. Out of necessity, communities all over the world develop lifeways that match the landscapes and ecosystems they are a part of. This talk is a tour of cultures in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Amazon, and the Mekong River Basin asking what the modern Western world might learn about solving environmental problems from communities that live more in touch with the natural world. Speaker: Jeff Wagner, B.A. Environmental Studies, Western American Studies, and Geography – University of Colorado   The Fairy Creek Blockades: Frontline Activism and Ecologies of Change Synopsis: The Fairy Creek Blockades were Canada's largest act of civil disobedience in history, with over 1000 people arrested for blocking the logging of endangered ancient forests on South Vancouver Island, deliberately violating a Supreme Court injunction in the process. The grassroots intersectional movement brought together the people, causes and spirits of Indigenous Sovereignty as well as radical non-violent settler environmentalism, encountering numerous political challenges and tensions in the context of truth and reconciliation following the genocide and resurgence of Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island (North America). 'Come for the trees, stay for the decolonization' emerged as more than a catch-phrase. In this presentation and discussion, join Arvin as he recounts experiences and perspectives from the frontlines. Speaker: Arvin Singh, MA University of Oxford   Saving Seed & Saving Self When considering the causes, as well as the potential solutions to many of the universal crises we find ourselves now facing, it is hard to underestimate the importance of seeds. Seeds not only provide us with food, medicine, clothing, materials for shelter, and more, but throughout history they have helped civilizations all over the world define what it ultimately means to be human. In this talk we will look at how one community (eco-village) in Northern Thailand is regenerating this timeless relationship between human and seed and consider its implications on a wider, more global level. Speaker: Greg Pettys, B.A. Sociology and Environmental Studies, Western Colorado University. Oceania & Asia Global Ecovillage Network. Ecoversities. WTBD Field instructor in Nepal, China, India, Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia Speaker:  Ramphai Noikaew, B.A. in Business English from Uttaradit Rajabhat University ***Available in Thai   The Roots of Migration from Central America ​​Every month, thousands of people from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador embark on a perilous journey to reach the United States. Rich draws on five years of work as a reporter based in Central America to explore why people come to the US, the dangers they face along the way, and the social, economic, and historical factors that have led to recent waves of migration. He shares original interviews with community leaders, academics, and participants in the October 2018 migrant caravan.  Speaker: Rich Brown, B.A., Anthropology – Columbia University, 2010 ***Available in Spanish    Truth & Existence: Buddhism in Practice  We can use the benefit of leisure time that we have during the pandemic to understand the truth of our existence in Theravada Buddhist doctrines, Somsanid will guide you thoroughly what he learnt as a lay Buddhist monk and his practice in South East Asia.  The talk will consist of the Dharma (the Teaching of Nature) that the Buddha frequently taught and we will learn some meditation theory/techniques purposefully to be aware and detach our mind from clinging on Dhukha (Suffering).  Speaker: Somsanid Inthongdsai, ​​M.A. Graduate Degree. Saimouane Economy College, Khammouane, Laos: English language study. BBA. Khamsavad college, Khammouane, Laos: Bachelor of Business AdministrationDates: October - May 2022    Empathy and Travel Synopsis: Travel is lauded as a noble pursuit, but what specifically is it about travel that broadens one’s horizons? Arguably, empathy may be one of the greatest tangible benefits of travel.  This talk will examine the connections between empathy and travel, highlighting the latest research into empathy and what it actually is, as well as discussion of “ethical travel,” globalization, and Colleen’s own personal experiences throughout her last seven years of global travel. Speaker: Colleen Dougherty, MSW, The George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, BA Spanish Language and Literature, BS Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Ohio University    Historic Memory: Antidotes for a Struggling Planet From severe climate crises, to global pandemics and widespread unrest. We are living in unprecedented and troubled times. Yet not all is doomed. The planet’s evolutionary past has gifted us a cultural heritage full of valuable lessons and viable alternatives to address some of the most pressing issues affecting the health of the planet and everything in it. This talk is an invitation to take a deep dive into personal and collective histories to uncover useful antidotes to help a struggling planet. Speaker: Este Migoya, B.A. in Anthropology & Latin American Studies, Honours – University of Toronto, International Studies Diploma – Sciences Po Paris ***Available in Spanish  [post_title] => Announcing our 2021/2022 Public Global Speaker Series Talks [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => announcing-the-global-speaker-series-for-2021-2022 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-11-01 09:28:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-11-01 15:28:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 651 [name] => Announcements [slug] => announcements [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 651 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. 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Featured Post

Announcing our 2021/2022 Public Global Speaker...

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Alex Biddle

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We’re celebrating our 10th year of the Global Speaker Series! Each year our best teachers—with years of international education experience—speak in classrooms  across the United States to share their perspectives and insights with students ready to engage with critical and compelling global questions. While we used to do this for schools only, this year we’re really excited to offer these talks to anyone who would like to join. Our 2021/2022 virtual global speaker series includes a range of talks focusing on topics such as climate change, advocacy through story, and learning service. Select one (or many!) of our free 60-min... Read More
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    [post_content] => We travel to have meaningful experiences: to explore, learn, be inspired, and grow. Traveling with depth has always been a top priority on Dragons programs, and since the pandemic hit, we’ve been asking ourselves how do we continue to have meaningful experiences in this new climate. Sidenote: before traveling anytime, we always asked ourselves, “Can we travel safely and responsibly?” 

While most international borders remained closed in 2020 and early 2021, we focused our energies on domestic travel. We ran programs that offered new opportunities to engage with the beautiful landscapes of the Western US while learning about pressing issues such as immigration, climate change, food sovereignty, and indigenous rights. 

We learned that students had so much to learn from domestic travel programs, which ended up being one of Dragons silver linings from the struggles of the pandemic. In 202, we began to travel internationally again, and the feedback we received from students confirmed our belief that we can still create meaningful ways to travel, even during uncertain times. 

Three 2021 Student Alumni shared their reflections with us on how their travel experiences this past year were meaningful for them. Check out their stories here: 

Sally Thomas, Rio Grande Semester, Spring 2021:

[caption id="attachment_158354" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Photo credit: Sally Thomas[/caption] After nearly a year in quarantine and virtual learning, I enrolled in the Rio Grande Semester for the Spring of 2021 to find a safe way to pursue a hands-on learning experience. Within days of arriving in El Paso for orientation, it became clear that I had made a decision that would not only introduce me to truly incredible people and places but also that would entirely change my way of looking at the world and my place within it.  On the final day of orientation before the departure for our first trek, our instructor led us in a Ko’a, a traditional Bolivian ceremony performed on the first Friday of each month. By presenting offerings over a fire, participants demonstrate their appreciation for the earth and thank it for its continual support and ability to sustain our lives. During the ceremony, I looked around the campfire at my fellow students and instructors, complete strangers to me merely four days before, now all united by our commitment to restoring our relationship to land and our curiosity about what would come next for us. Days later, after we set up our tents above a wash in Big Bend Ranch State Park, we received our negative COVID test results, and standing in one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever seen, I finally hugged my new friends.  In the following nine weeks, our semester reminded me daily of the sacred nature of the human relationship with others and with land. During the pandemic, we collectively realized the vitality of connection in our lives when it was no longer available to us. This realization made each conversation, each hug, and each mile on our treks significantly more meaningful. My deeper appreciation for the interdependence of all life — and my understanding of how much sweeter life is in the presence of others — is the greatest gift my semester gave me.  

Julia Bourque, Colorado River Basin, Summer 2021:

[caption id="attachment_158378" align="alignnone" width="2560"] Photo credit: Julia Borque[/caption] In July of 2021 I traveled with Where There Be Dragons on the Colorado River Basin trip. That was probably one of the best things that has happened to me, and I believe that it was more impactful because the world is in the middle of the COVID- 19 pandemic. For starters, it was very refreshing to be someplace new than within my hometown. Second, once I warmed up to everyone, and got to know everyone pretty well, it was amazing to meet other people from all over the country, especially since I’d been in a little bubble for so long. Interacting with people had been tough during the school year because of virtual learning, so it felt good to interact with people in person once again.  All of my group was vaccinated, so we were able to interact with each other without masks. When we were interacting with other people, or if we went inside, we were always instructed to have a mask with us for when we would need it. But for most of the time, we were outside with just the group, so it wasn’t really necessary. Because of that, it made it feel like everything was “normal” for once, and I was very happy on this trip.  

Mariner Headrick, Spirit of the Andes, Summer 2021

[caption id="attachment_158379" align="alignnone" width="2048"] Photo credit: Mariner Headrick[/caption] Yes, I have traveled during the pandemic yet never during the true height of it. I was living in Madrid, Spain when the first wave hit and it hit pretty hard in Europe. The borders were shut down along with any and all flights to different countries. This wasn’t originally a Spain mandated quarantine however all the neighboring countries or popular tourist destinations all shut down for Spaniards or those coming from Spain so my family and I were trapped. However, after 100+ days stuck in an apartment, my sister and I got the first flight back to the states and stayed with my grandparents until my mom and brother could leave. It was an interesting experience traveling alone in an empty airport but I can’t say it was a bad experience. After all my family arrived in Minnesota, we traveled quite a bit around the US since the quarantine and restrictions were much more relaxed there. My original Dragon's trip was to Nepal, but the pandemic prevented it. However, I did get to travel around the states and this summer I got to go to Bolivia, which is still somewhat restricted due to the pandemic.  Being a kid living in a foreign country, my family values travel a lot and believes that experiencing is the best way to learn. I think more than ever before it is meaningful to travel since now we are able to see not only the impact tourism has on places around the world but we also get to experience a much more exciting reception. People are now more intrigued to find out and explore after being prevented for so long, that drive and pursuit of knowledge will only strengthen the world since strength and acceptance will only come through learning and understanding different cultures, traditions and methods of thinking. Despite being in a pandemic, there are still safe ways to travel and be respectful of other countries’ wishes.  For more travel stories like this, check out The Yak Board. If you’re ready to start planning your next adventure, head here to explore Summer and Gap Year Programs [post_title] => How to Have a Meaningful Travel Experience [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-have-a-meaningful-travel-experience [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-12-02 12:29:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-12-02 19:29:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 18 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 18 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/uncategorized/ ) ) [category_links] => Uncategorized )
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How to Have a Meaningful Travel Experience

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Alex Biddle

We travel to have meaningful experiences: to explore, learn, be inspired, and grow. Traveling with depth has always been a top priority on Dragons programs, and since the pandemic hit,… Read More
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    [post_content] => While we're not out of the pandemic yet, we are still able to find meaningful ways to travel. How do we ensure that we are running safe, meaningful, and responsible travel programs in the current climate? Read on to find out how and why we've returned to travel and where we go from here. 

[caption id="attachment_158289" align="aligncenter" width="638"] Mario and Celestino, community leaders in the Parque de la Papa community in Peru.[/caption]

Para nosotros es como nuestros hijos y bueno hermano, tú nos enviaste tus hijos para cuidar y para compartir nuestra cultura de parque de la papa y nuestros ancestros de todo lo que vivencias de nuestra comunidad. Las puertas están abiertas y cuando usted puede enviarnos los hijos, estamos a la espera. –Mario, Parque de la Papa, Perú.

For us, it's like our own children and well, brother, you sent us your children to care for and to share in our culture from Parque de la Papa, from our ancestors, and all the ways of life here in our community. Our doors are open and when you can send us your children, we are eagerly waiting. – Mario, Parque de la Papa, Peru


On a Sunday afternoon in July, my phone beeped with a video message from Luis Reyes, our Latin America Program Director, who was visiting a Dragons student group in the Peruvian Andes. Like a nervous parent answering a call in the middle of the night, I held my breath until I could be sure all was well. As soon as I opened this message though, two familiar faces reassuringly greeted me. 

Mario and Celestino, longstanding homestay parents and community leaders in Parque de la Papa, were dressed in their technicolored traditional ponchos and chullos (beaded hats). It had been a year and a half since Dragons students had been able to visit their community and even longer since I’d been there in-person. 

After so many months of navigating mercurial pandemic conditions, of meticulously mapping a responsible return to international travel, of thinking through the myriad ethical and safety questions, the sincerity and simplicity of Mario and Celestino’s message finally brought it all home: we can travel again. And, we can do it with integrity.

While no one needs a detailed play-by-play of the pandemic, we can all stand to learn from the unique challenges of the past two years and what they can teach us about creating safe, responsible, engaging, and original travel experiences in this new global reality. What I hope to offer to you is two fold:
  1. How did we get here? Let’s briefly revisit the sudden shutdown and incremental reopening of international travel so we can better understand what the future holds.
  2. How can we travel again with integrity? As an organization, Dragons has tried to intentionally learn from our successes and failures over the past three decades. Let us share some of what we’ve learned firsthand over this pandemic.  

How did we get here?

In February 2020, Dragons had student groups traveling in 14 countries across Latin America, Africa, and Asia. As COVID-19 rapidly escalated from a regional epidemic to a global pandemic, we worked around the clock to safely bring our students home as international borders and flights shut down with unprecedented haste. If you, or anyone you know was involved with international travel during that time, I offer you a heartfelt handshake and hug! Those were stressful times to navigate and perhaps a story for another day! By the end of March 2020, we had officially entered a new global reality in which once easily passable international borders had hardened into a seemingly ever-growing wall of COVID travel restrictions. By May, the US State Department would change the entire basis of its travel advisory system due to COVID concerns, essentially throwing 80% of countries into an alarming red “Do Not Travel” category. The cliché that the ‘only certainty is uncertainty’ had never felt so true. As the pandemic tragically surged at home in the US, remote work and virtual learning became the new norm. An emergent mental health epidemic swept across the nation, particularly affecting our youth, with dramatic increases in anxiety, depression, and other mental health struggles. The Dragons mission to “cultivate meaningful connections through immersive and responsible travel” felt impossible to embody amidst a global pandemic. The virtual classroom was embraced out of necessity. While it's nothing short of a technological miracle, in the long run, we all know that screens can never substitute for real face-to-face human connection, especially when it comes to travel and experiential learning.

How can we travel again with integrity?

Dragons spent the summer months of 2020 collaborating with other travel providers and educational institutions to develop program protocols in-line with public health guidance. With the unpredictability of international travel, as well as the ethical responsibility to the places we visit, Dragons focused our energies on developing US domestic programming rather than rushing to return to travel abroad. Over Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, Dragons was able to safely bring together student groups for our new Rio Grande and Colorado River Basin Gap Semesters In order to return to in-person programming at a time when nearly all school campuses remained closed, we took extensive precautions to prevent the transmission of COVID while still allowing for genuine community engagement and values based education. To highlight a few of these risk mitigation tools we implemented:
  • Students kept a daily health log prior to arrival, submitted a pre-travel PCR test, and agreed to adhere to our COVID Participant Agreement that outlined our expectations and best practices for prevention.
  • We offered pre-travel webinars openly sharing the risks, protocols, and need for adaptability under changing circumstances.
  • We designed COVID conscious itineraries to mitigate exposure risks by prioritizing outdoor spaces, minimizing time in urban areas, and considering COVID risks for each activity. 
  • Once together, student groups went through a multi-day “Pod Formation” phase before undergoing additional PCR testing and finally being able to relax protocols amongst group members.  
  • Throughout the program, our instructors were trained to uphold our detailed COVID In-Field Protocols & Management Manual, which in addition to common sense safety measures outlined a plethora of contingency plans.
For Dragons, these US domestic programs were an unexpected silver lining in the ongoing pandemic thunderstorm. At a time when experiential education seemed like only a remote possibility, we were able to safely bring together students, turn off our screens, and dive into an immersive travel experience.

Returning to International Student Travel

A successful return to domestic travel was also an important step for honing our COVID safety practices for a reopening of international student travel, which would happen in July 2021. As public health guidance and global travel restrictions evolved, we were able to adapt our extensive domestic travel protocols and response plans to an international context. For example, we added even more in-field testing throughout the program, extensive COVID safety briefings for community contacts and host families, and protocols specific to each cultural context.  We also went through a rigorous country-by-country assessment for each of our destinations, developing a COVID Country Risk Assessment Matrix that accounted for the following key considerations:
  • COVID case numbers, testing, positivity rates, and trends 
  • Travel restrictions and COVID specific entry requirements such as testing, quarantine measures, etc. 
  • Availability and access to general medical care as impacted by any increases in hospitalizations 
  • Restrictions and community norms related to social distancing, mask wearing, perceptions of foreigners, and public health practices
  • Activity limitations and modifications to program components such as homestays, transportation, independent time, etc. 
Drawing on a variety of resources--both objective metrics and more informal conversations with people on the ground--we grouped our travel destinations into Red, Yellow, and Green tiers. Importantly, we continued to revisit those assessments as travel start dates approached, and due to COVID surges in certain regions, we even had to downgrade and cancel some programs based on new or unpredictable information. Having solid evaluative criteria and the adaptability to respond to changing circumstances have proven key to a safe and responsible return to travel. 

In Conclusion

Based on our assessments as of November 2021, we are able to bring Dragons students to Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, Senegal, and Nepal. You can read about how those trips went in the words of students and instructors on our Yak Board. While we’re not out of the pandemic yet, we are continuing to monitor program locations based on the criteria outlined above informed by a multitude of information channels. We’re excited to return to more places that we’ve visited for years before the suspension of travel in 2020 and again introduce travelers to the many communities we hold close to our hearts and our responsible travel practices.  **** Aaron Slosberg has been working with Where There Be Dragons since 2008 and is the current Director of Student Programming.  [post_title] => Is It Safe To Travel Internationally Again? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => is-it-safe-to-travel-internationally-right-now [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-11-30 13:07:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-11-30 20:07:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 697 [name] => Dragons Travel Guide [slug] => dragons-travel-guide [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 697 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 27 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 697 [category_count] => 27 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Dragons Travel Guide [category_nicename] => dragons-travel-guide [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/dragons-travel-guide/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 18 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 18 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/uncategorized/ ) ) [category_links] => Dragons Travel Guide, Uncategorized )
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    [post_content] => Christy Sommers saw her first sweatered goat (yes, you read that correctly) in 2010 during her time as a Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh. It was on a weekend trip to the countryside that she first saw and photographed a baby goat sporting a little pink dress and, in Christy’s words she was “the most elated.” 

[caption id="attachment_158293" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Christy sees her first sweatered goat in Bangladesh, photo from Christy Sommers[/caption]

She soon learned that when the temperatures drop into the 50s or 60s (Fahrenheit) across Northern India and Bangladesh, people put their hand-me-downs on  goats to keep them warm during the winter months. Christy has been documenting this adorable phenomenon for the past decade, and has been creating calendars with her photos since 2013.

Christy worked supporting Princeton University's Bridge Year program in Varanasi, India from 2014 to 2017, and during this time she discovered the Varanasi is home to a veritable treasure trove of adorable sweatered livestock.We recently interviewed Christy, a Dragons instructor and administrator, to hear more about the story behind her Goats in Sweaters calendars. Here is what she has to say:

[caption id="attachment_158294" align="aligncenter" width="2112"] Photo by Christy Sommers[/caption]

A Calendar is Born 

Demand is what inspired Christy to create her first Goats in Sweaters calendar. In 2013 she printed 15 calendars and gave them as holiday gifts to family and friends. After a lot of encouragement from her community, Christy started printing more and more calendars each year. In 2018, the goats caught the attention of NPR’s Goats and Soda: Stories of Life in a Changing World. That article helped her further spread the word and now Christy sells  around 2000 calendars each year.

Giving Back 

Once she started selling the calendars, Christy has always wanted the project to support the communities where the goats come from. Christy gave all of the proceeds from the 2016 and 2017 calendars to Guria, a grassroots organization in Varanasi, India that fights to end human trafficking and exploitation in Varanasi’s red light district and across India.  [caption id="attachment_158302" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Photo by Christy Sommers[/caption] She shifted and began supporting Asha Deep Vidyashram with the 2018 calendar. Asha Deep is a K-8 school serving a marginalized population in Varanasi;  Asha Deep’s students are first generation learners and the whole school environment is designed to support poor students with illiterate parents.The donations from the calendar sales are able to fully support the operations of Asha Deep for three to four months on average.  Christy expressed a passion for giving back to the communities that “taught me so much and are home to where I took these photos.” She is excited to continue supporting Asha Deep, and is delighted that the graphic designer for the 2022 calendar  is an Asha Deep graduate! [caption id="attachment_158298" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Photo by Christy Sommers[/caption]

What are the logistics for creating a sweated-goat-calendar every year?

Christy says that people frequently misunderstand the photos and think that she is the one who is putting the sweaters on the goats. She clarifies, “In India, I just photograph them as I find them. Only once have I put sweaters on goats myself, and it was to dress my dad’s five goats in style for my sister’s wedding!” Christy took a trip to Northern India in February 2020, right before the pandemic restricted travel. Beyond reconnecting with the Asha Deep students and staff, she also took hundreds more fashionable goat photos - more than enough for several more years of calendar models. “Goats do what they want, so capturing them in decent light and an amazing sweater is not easy.” Christy uses a Canon Powershot SX740 camera—a relatively high quality point and shoot that also fulfills her requirement of fitting in her pants pocket.  Christy smiles, and ends our conversation with, “I have to say, I don't consider myself a creative person, and it feels so vulnerable to put this out into the world. I'm nervous every year —is it still gonna work?” We’re confident Christy’s project will continue to work—bringing a slice of joy to nearly 2000 homes every year. You can buy Christy's calendar on Etsy for $15, or if you'd like to add a small donation to your order, you can do so directly through this google form. [caption id="attachment_158299" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Photo by Christy Sommers[/caption]  
More Information about Asha Deep from Christy
As in years past, more than 50% of the proceeds of the 2022 Sweatered Goat calendar will benefit Asha Deep Vidyashram, a school serving over 200 K-8th grade students in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood in Varanasi, India. All of Asha Deep's students are the children of illiterate parents. The school is determined to give these children a quality education that combines academic success with additional focuses on students' self-esteem, promoting compassion and gender equality, and teaching healthy conflict resolution and environmental awareness. They also provide a school lunch and run an after-school program so that students have a healthy and fun way to spend their evenings. We are proud to support Asha Deep's important work and give back to the goats' local community in Varanasi. Here are links to the Asha Deep website and Facebook page. Asha Deep's exciting news this year is that they have purchased a piece of land where they will build their own school, allowing them to serve a new community. They are running their own fundraiser to raise funds for this project, and would appreciate any additional donations toward this important aim.
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    [post_content] => Homesickness is a natural part of traveling far from home and even seasoned travelers can get homesick. It’s important that you don’t let this prevent you from getting the most out of your experience, or participating in an extended travel program. While there isn’t one standard cure for homesickness, we have some ideas on how to help after 30+ years in the field.

Moving Past Homesickness

Dragons programs were created to support you through the inevitable ups and downs of traveling far from home. Here are a few ways that our program can help you move past homesickness and get the most out of your immersive travel experience:
  • On your Summer or Gap Year Program, you will be with a small group of 12 students and 3 instructors. Your cohort will become like a family, and you’ll build deeper connections and meaning through shared experiences on your program.
  • Don’t forget you’ll be connecting with your peers and a group of people who have similar interests — you all chose this program for a reason and can connect over your shared curiosity and goals.
  • The Independent Study Project program component helps you bring your interests to life through your day-to-day travels. Students do all kinds of independent study projects such as jewelry making, learning about local healing practices, drumming, weaving, ceramics, meditation, language studies, and more!
  • Spend time with your homestay family. Get to know them, ask questions, engage with the local language, etc — because the families bring Dragons’ students into their homes not as a visitor but as a member of the family. Hearing their stories and learning more about their lives can help you be more present.
  • You will be learning the local language through lessons, speaking with your host family, and interacting with local communities. Focusing on the local language can help you make new connections with people and engage more deeply with where you are.

A few more helpful tips

  • Take a break from social media - no need to compare your current situation with others and, no FOMO!
  • Don’t count down the days. Live in the present moment.
  • Create a playlist with your favorite upbeat/pump up music and press play when you need a pick-me-up.
  • Start a journal to help you process your experience - this is also great to have for years to come. It will remind you of your adventures and how far you’ve come.
  It may not feel like it at the time, but know that it’s not just you who is experiencing homesickness. It’s very easy to find yourself not being present, which can later turn into regret that you didn't make the most of your time. Deciding to attend a longer term student travel program is a big decision, and homesickness can be part of it. If you use these tips and make an effort to stay positive, you will leave with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Not to mention all of the lifelong memories and friendships you will have created! If you’re ready to explore Summer & Gap Year Programs, click here to see a list of courses. For direct questions, please contact us. We look forward to exploring the world with you! (Photo by Hope Lane 2019) [post_title] => How to Deal With Homesickness During Your Student Travel Program Abroad [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-deal-with-homesickness-during-your-student-travel-program-abroad [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-11-05 11:53:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-11-05 17:53:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 697 [name] => Dragons Travel Guide [slug] => dragons-travel-guide [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 697 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 27 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 697 [category_count] => 27 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Dragons Travel Guide [category_nicename] => dragons-travel-guide [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/dragons-travel-guide/ ) ) [category_links] => Dragons Travel Guide )
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    [post_content] => This story is from the field and written by Jacquelyn Kovarik, a Dragons instructor who is currently leading a group of students from Tufts University through a semester in the Southwest (USA). Jac shares her story of the group's time in New Mexico, celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day. Her reflection speaks to the importance of traveling and seeking out lesser known realities in the United States.

Monday, October 11th, 2021 was an eventful day for the Southwest Tufts Civics Semester. It was our last day in northern New Mexico, which had been our program base for the first half of the semester. It was also Indigenous Peoples Day 2021, and the first year this day had been federally recognized by the so-called United States. As we began to say our goodbyes to the dramatic and recently snow-capped Tewa Kusempi peaks (the so-called Truchas Peaks), it felt fitting to head to a Tewa-led community celebration of Indigenous excellence in O’ga P’ogeh (so-called Santa Fe). We spent all day Sunday cleaning and packing so we could pile into the van and Jeep on Monday morning to head an hour south for the celebration. 

“Indigenous Peoples Day: Back to Our Roots - Celebrating Indigenous Excellence” was a community celebration put on by the Three Sisters Collective (3SC), a collective of Pueblo, Tewa, Diné, and other native women. Dr. Christine Castro, who also goes by “Dr. X”, is a founding member of the collective and first let us know about the celebration five weeks prior, when we met with her in so-called Santa Fe during our orientation week for a native-centered tour of the city. Dr. X is a tribal member of two Tewa Pueblos and has dedicated her life to educating her communities and the greater Santa Fe community about Tewa culture and the ongoing fight against neo-colonization and neo-colonialism. Seeing Dr. X that Monday afternoon, completely in her element and often being trailed by laughing native children, was so joyous—she was surrounded by her community of native and non-native friends and loved ones, and the day’s activities were dedicated to celebrating Indigenous excellence. This was radical joy in the face of colonization and violence. It was tangible and so so sweet. 

The celebration was hosted by Reunity Resources, a farm and community center in Agua Fría, Santa Fe. This was not our first time at Reunity—we had come first with Dr. X on that Sunday five weeks prior and had also returned in mid-September for their Fall Festival. Returning again for Indigenous Peoples Day really felt like we had become a part of the northern New Mexico community in a meaningful way, despite five weeks having flown by. The sun was shining and native vendors were selling their art and work in rows along the rows of corn and wildflowers. Solange Aguilar, a queer Apache/Yo’eme/Kalnga/Kapampangan artist, sold us stickers that said “My Queerness is Ancestral” and “Protect the Land with Me.” Students bought jewelry and handicrafts for their friends and loved ones back home. Sticky sweet paletas dripped down our forearms as we gathered in the performance space to listen to the Indigenous open mic. Everything felt so abundant, immediate, vital. 

Celebrating Indigenous Futurisms

[caption id="attachment_158251" align="alignnone" width="2049"] The student group attends an open mic for Indigenous Peoples' Day[/caption] The performances started off with a young native Japanese girl named Ishi. Her voice was breathtakingly beautiful and carried over the vendors and blooming crops: You cannot eat money, when the rivers are poisoned and the fields are barren you cannot eat money. What if we lived in a world that valued the earth and sustenance over monetary gain and capitalism? These are Indigenous futurisms and Ishi was generously giving us a taste.  Israel F. Haros Lopez was sitting nearby, beside his pregnant spouse. About a month prior we had gathered on this same farm with Israel to make art and commune with the earth. Israel is the founder and director of Alas de Agua, a grassroots art collective in so-called Santa Fe run by and for Chicanx, Latinx, Indigenous, queer/trans, immigrant, and BIPOC artists. I was surprised to see that Israel’s spouse had not yet given birth - when we met with him nearly a month prior he had said the baby was coming any day now. “Alas de Agua” translates to “Wings of Water” in English. Israel jumped up and walked to the open mic, a water glass in hand. He grabbed the mic: “Together we are going to call forth the names of our baby - multiple names because we have not decided on one yet. He is overdue and we so badly want him here with us.” His voice cracked and there were tears in his eyes, and he looked directly at his spouse and began to perform spoken word, calling on Water to deliver their baby. Water is our blood. Water is our bodies. The water we shared the first time we made love. The water that is holding our son now. The water that is our love. Water is our baby. Water is life. Let the Water break now. Israel was calling on Water to deliver their baby, sharing the glass of water with his spouse at the end. What if we lived in a world that valued water as our teacher, our lover, our elder? What if we lived in a world that revered water as a sentient being with personhood and rights? These are Indigenous futurisms and Israel was generously giving us a taste.  To the left of the stage were a group of people sitting in a circle and harvesting amaranth seed as they listened to the performances. Two people stood up, brushed the amaranth seeds off their laps, and headed to the mic - Beata Tsosie-Peña and Frayer of Tewa Women United. TWU is a collective based in Española that works to build the Tewa community and end violence against Indigenous women, girls, and Mother Earth. We had met Beata and Frayer a few weeks prior in Española, when we met with them for an afternoon at the Española Healing Gardens Oasis and learned about the intersections between seed sovereignty, Indigenous sovereignty, and reproductive/gender justice. In addition to working as the Environmental Health and Justice Coordinator at TWU, Beata also works as a doula and is a Pueblo representative for the New Mexico Governor’s task force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. That day we harvested beautiful purple and pink colored beans in the field, laughing with our hands in the dirt. Beata and Frayer took the mic for a spoken word duet: The elm tree did not ask to be planted along our Río Bravo shores. They were brought over without their consent, by white men who knew nothing about their seeds, their branches, their root systems. What if we lived in a world that treated seeds and plants as our elders? What would it mean to ask a plant for consent, to form a loving relationship with the ecologies around us? And what if we lived in a world where native women could give birth the way they wanted, and lived without fear of violence? These are Indigenous futurisms and Beata and Frayer were generously giving us a taste.  As the open mic came to a close, a DJ started mixing The Bee Gees and a dance party broke out. We hopped and stomped and spun around in the late afternoon sun with everyone else who had just witnessed all the beautiful wisdom of the Indigenous open mic, and as we moved our bodies there was an undeniable wave of irresistible joy.  The site and organizational visits we have been doing on this program are often heavy. From nuclear colonialism and the effect of Los Alamos and the Trinity Test Site atomic bomb testing on the immediate surrounding Indigenous communities and on the whole planet; to environmental racism and the incarceration of Black and Brown youth in underserved Albuquerque neighborhoods; to the struggles of immigrants to obtain legal protections in our country’s broken immigration system; to the violence that trans, non-binary and femmes migrants face while trying to cross the border for a better life - liberation for all often feels far from our current reality. Beata herself shared with us that the reason she got involved in environmental health and justice work was due to the daily realities of living next to a nuclear weapons complex. There is much healing to be done.  The celebration at Reunity Resources this Indigenous Peoples’ Day was a reminder of the power of radical hope and joy—the need for this in the healing process. Despite ongoing colonization and violence, we danced. We danced together, and together we witnessed —with our own eyes and ears and bodies—what Indigenous futurisms hold, for us all, if we are willing to listen and learn.

Hear what students had to say about the celebration

[caption id="attachment_158247" align="aligncenter" width="2049"] Students from the Tufts Civic Semester celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day in New Mexico[/caption] Lily Feng, 18, Farmington, Connecticut: “There was a moment where we were in the courtyard listening to the open mic, and I looked around and saw all the diversity of people there, and it struck me that we were taking part in something revolutionary. It was the first time Indigenous People’s Day had been recognized by the Biden administration, and it was the first time the Three Sisters Collective had put on this celebration, and it felt powerful. It also felt like our first portion of the trip had come full circle - all the Indigenous people who we had met while in northern New Mexico were there, and it felt like we had created longterm and meaningful relationships. We were able to participate in these radical Indigenous futurisms, as Dr. X said, and that is powerful.”  Caroline Bewley, 18, Willamette, Illinois: “What made this day particularly memorable was that it was our last day in northern New Mexico so it was a day that was already filled with so much emotion. We got to go for an Indigenous People's Day celebration at the farm that we went to on our first day, so going back really was a full circle moment and felt like the perfect way to end this chapter of the program. We also got to listen to spoken word poetry, music, and singing from Indigenous creatives which I really enjoyed. Additionally, at the celebration we got to say goodbye to some of the people that had taken the time to meet with us and teach us more about what they do and how they are contributing to the betterment of their communities.”  Biani Ebie, 18, Lagos, Nigeria and Boston, Massachusetts: “I really enjoyed the celebration. Just being able to witness Indigenous excellence was something special. Seeing Dr. X and Israel and Beata and Frayer again, it felt like a full circle moment and felt like the best way to end our time in northern New Mexico. It felt cyclical in the best way possible.”  Ben Chisam, 18, Atlanta, Georgia: “It was really powerful because Dr. X shared about how the particular Indigenous community that was coming together for the day’s celebration was a new community. It was powerful to see that space being created. We witnessed a lot of the colonialism of Santa Fe as a city during our time in northern New Mexico, and it felt powerful to see a decolonial space created by Indigenous people and for Indigenous people. It was also a testament to the fact that Indigenous people are not just a figment of the past, but are very much a force of the present and will be in the future as well. It was a safe and radically inclusive space to be in.”  Learn more about our domestic Summer Programs and Gap Year Semesters for the 2022 season. The program most closely related to this story is the Rio Grande Semester, offered next in Fall 2022.  [post_title] => Indigenous People's Day in O'ga P'ogeh: Celebrating Indigenous Futurisms  [post_excerpt] => Learn how the Dragons - Tufts Civic Semester group celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day in northern New Mexico. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => indigenous-peoples-day-in-oga-pogeh-celebrating-indigenous-futurisms [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-10-21 22:47:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-10-22 04:47:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 79 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 79 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 54 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 54 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community )
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[caption id="attachment_158047" align="aligncenter" width="762"]Lake Superior: The Good Life  A group photo from Dragons' Lake Superior: The Good Life program — Summer 2021.[/caption]

To better support students coming from all backgrounds and identities, we’re excited to share two resources: Allyship Abroad & “Traveling as You: A Guide for Specific Identities”.  It’s our hope to create a culture and community that supports each participant to travel as their fullest self. These resources, and pedagogical approach, help all participants learn more about themselves, and how to be better allies in the world. 

We walk through the world carrying our experiences and histories. Some aspects of ourselves are visible, but much goes unseen, to us and others. When we travel, we gain more understanding of all that we are, and all that we are not. We begin to learn that while there is certainly a shared human experience, we’re also individuals that have unique and nuanced identities. Although we leave home, we still carry these identities with us when we travel. 

Diversity, Inclusion, and Allyship Abroad: Fostering a more just, compassionate and inclusive world.

The Allyship Abroad webpage is full of information on how to support individuals with specific identities and general resources for diversity and inclusion. It’s broken down into these five sections: 
  • For families: Discover why it’s important to talk through your family values and be aware that we facilitate and welcome conversations around these topics on our programs. 
  • Glossary of terms: A helpful tool for defining the key words related to diversity, equity, and inclusion work. 
  • Identity and you: Through a series of questions, you’ll be guided through defining your identity and why it’s so important for everyone, even people from dominant identities who might not have reflected on this much before. 
  • Skillbuilding for allyship abroad and at home: Discover the tools that will help you become a better ally through podcasts, online resources, books and articles, and more guided questions from our team. 
  • Identity related risks and travel: All travel involves risks and challenges, and some participants might have different challenges abroad based on factors such as gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and ability. This section is designed so you can equip yourself with helpful skills and resources to stay safe, informed, and thriving on your Dragons program.

Traveling as You: a Guide for Specific Identities

The goal of Traveling as You is to serve as a resource for allyship. The webpage walks you through different identities and explains what might come up for each specific identity while on a Dragons or student travel program. It goes more into depth for the following identities:  
  • Race, Ethnicity, Nationality 
  • Sexual Orientation (LGBTQ+)
  • Gender 
  • Religion 
  • Political Ideology 
  • Disability 
  • Body Size 
  • Low Income and First Generation Students
For each identity, the guide provides example scenarios of situations that may come up on your Dragons program, and reflection questions to get you thinking about how to prepare. Of course this is helpful for your own identity and for being aware of all the identities around you, especially those on your program.  And no Dragons guide would be complete without providing extra resources — which can be found at the bottom of this webpage. This list was designed to be your one-stop as a quick place to get an overview of the amazing and comprehensive resources out there to support diversity abroad. Whether you’re eager to learn how you can become a better ally at home and while traveling on a program, or you want to know more about your identity in the world, then these resources are here to help. We hope to continue fostering a more just, compassionate, and inclusive world, one student and one program at a time.  [post_title] => How to Become a Better Ally, at Home and Abroad [post_excerpt] => At Where There Be Dragons, we’re always striving to improve diversity and inclusion within our student body and travel programs. That’s why our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee created two resources for becoming a better ally as well as a guide to traveling as you. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-become-a-better-ally-at-home-and-abroad [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-09-17 16:28:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-09-17 22:28:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 54 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 54 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 641 [name] => About Dragons [slug] => about_dragons [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 641 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [parent] => 0 [count] => 55 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 55 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/about_dragons/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 651 [name] => Announcements [slug] => announcements [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 651 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [parent] => 0 [count] => 65 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 15 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 65 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Global Community, About Dragons ... )
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