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.

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Where There Be Dragons

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    [post_content] => On my Bolivia course this past summer, one of my students posed the question “Why should we care about diversity?” (thank you Rebecca!). Initially, I had a knee-jerk reaction to the query, thinking about the myriad and strikingly apparent reasons why diversity is something that we inherently want to value. But the more I considered Rebecca’s sincere and honest inquiry, I found myself increasingly tongue-tied. My efforts to produce an eloquent and comprehensive response to what seemed a self-evident human truism tugged at the very core of my being and values as an individual and as an educator. Rebecca’s question has remained ever-present in my mind these past months, and I have come to realize that it speaks to the fundamental nature of the work that we do as educators.

Over the past four years, I have spent approximately 610 days in the field as an instructor with Dragons. That works out to be just over 40% of my life in that period, not counting the additional days and weeks that I’ve spent preparing for courses, pouring over paperwork, doing administrative work at the office in Boulder, scouting new program areas, staffing instructors, liaising with potential students and families, outreaching with our local contacts, and participating in Dragons orientations and trainings. I think I can safely speak for our wide community of instructors and administrators when I say that we do this work for reasons that drive us spiritually, emotionally, and intuitively as human beings. We work long hours, late nights, we get sick and exhausted, we travel and sweat and sometimes pull off feats of theatrical and improvisational educational acrobatics in rugged cross-cultural settings. And we love what we do.
The ethnosphere, a notion perhaps best defined as the sum total of all thoughts, beliefs, myths and intuitions made manifest today by the myriad cultures of the world. The ethnosphere is humanity’s greatest legacy. It is the product of our dreams, the embodiment of our hopes, the symbol of all that we are and all that we have created as a wildly inquisitive and astonishingly adaptive species. -Wade Davis, Light at the Edge of the World
Over the course my years as an instructor, my work with Dragons has poured over into other elements of my life, influencing my relationships and community, driving my schedule, and molding in significant ways the manner in which I perceive and interact with the world around me. My husband would say that I live and breath Dragons and, in that regard, I am very much not alone. There are many of us, some much more devoted than I, who are dedicating their professional lives to living against the grain, jumping from course to course and continent to continent, traversing cultural and conventional boundaries and redefining, every single day, the potential of experiential education and meaningful cross-cultural engagement to touch and (hopefully!) transform the lives of young people. Every single one of us is engaged in this work because we believe that it has the power to break down prejudice, to connect the sometimes seemingly disconnected threads of our planet, to redefine the contours of our human relationships and global interactions in ways that are more compassionate, meaningful, and productive for humanity and the planet that cradles us. I know that for me personally, my early travels left a profound mark on my identity and life trajectory, and contributed in countless ways to the path that led me to my home in Bolivia. As instructors, we do not claim to change lives, but we believe that placing young people in situations of inter-cultural dialogue, reflection, and exposure to the planet’s mind-numbing diversity – and vulnerability – can do just that. We are motivated by living a life of intention, constant exploration, boundless curiosity, and a profound respect for difference. As instructors, educators, mentors, guides, teachers, friends, and cultural translators we work ceaselessly, improvise daily, and demand incredible resiliency from ourselves and from our students. The work of an instructor with Dragons is an incredible leap of faith. Each student arrives to our programs with different life experiences, perspectives, expectations, world-views and ways of absorbing and making sense of new experiences. Over the course of our programs, we consciously and intentionally challenge those world-views and push our students out of their fields of physical, mental and emotional comfort. In return, we hope the places and experiences they encounter will plant a small seed of understanding that may in some way influence their future attitudes, decisions, and interactions with the world around them. On a basic and aspirational level, the seeds that I would like to scatter into this world have one elemental goal: respect for diversity, both human and natural, and the right of all beings to dance, to dream, to flourish in ways that cherish the magical and dizzying colors and variations of our planet. More often than not, we have no idea if those seeds will ever take root, if the experience will stay alive and resonate out into the world or be swallowed by other forces beyond our reach. It is impossible to measure the impact of our work, to quantify our accomplishments, and at times, the meaning of this journey may only manifest months or years down the line. But that leap of faith keeps us going in forests and villages, on buses and riverboats and across mountains and deserts around the globe. It is a daunting and sometimes terrifying task. We seek to build moral characters while knowing full well that we are flawed and fallible individuals ourselves. We teach to and probe some of the fundamental questions around human nature and difference. We challenge conventions around privilege and prejudice, legacies of violence and oppression, and our role and responsibility as engaged human beings in a fragile and complex natural and socio-economic landscape. And we ask ourselves, at every turn, how we can be better teachers and educators and more compassionate human beings. It is a constant dance of perpetual planning, experimentation, big questions, and the winds of spontaneity. Was I patient enough? Did I ask the right questions? Are my students being awakened by the beauty and tragedy at every turn? These themes were thrown into stark relief this past week during our excursion into the Amazon, a place where the myth of our isolated human experience is lifted at every turn. There is perhaps nowhere on the planet where you are more immersed in diversity and fragility, where the minute interconnectedness of our natural biosphere washes over us, where the delicate threads that make up the texture and brilliance and intricate quilt of our world wrap around us in a suffocating and at once liberating embrace. The Amazon rainforest is the apothecary of our world, the source of so many of our remedies and resources, while also posing exhilarating threats. It is a place where the fate of the planet and our place within it stands on a precarious and unfathomable precipice. As young people in the face of unprecedented challenges, it is our lives in this ultimately miniscule moment in time that may determine the winds of that scale. The healers of the Amazon forest claim to be intermediaries between our species and the secrets of the animal and plant world. They unlock the healing properties of the forest while reminding us of our beautiful and fragile condition as humans. Traditionally, those healers have navigated and in some ways maintained that intricate and invisible balance – between humans and the natural world, and between the spiritual and physical realms of being. If you ask an Amazonian healer how they learned of the healing properties of the forest, he or she will tell you that the plants spoke to them, that ultimately we are an integral part of the forest and it will speak to us if we only know how to listen. On one of our last days in the jungle, the sky opened up and we were relieved, for a time, from the oppressive heat and insects. A group of us found ourselves out on an excursion to a nearby lake, and we were swallowed up by a torrent unlike anything we’d ever experienced. Engulfed by the depths of the tropical rainforest, we were humbled and overwhelmed by this majestic force of nature. We stripped off the layers that were nominally protecting us from the insects, and allowed the water to wash over us. I was struck by the sensation of feeling like a tiny, insignificant drop of rain on this infinite and multi-chromatic planet. I think that all of us that day also felt connected, awakened, involved in something beautiful and fleeting and altogether significant. It was a moment that cannot be planned or scripted, when forces beyond our control come together overwhelmingly to remind us to be grateful, to dance in the joy of a magical and unrepeateable moment, to revel in the abundance and diversity around us. A moment when feeling small also means feeling a part of something greater. As the strength of the storm diminished and the rain settled into a steady rhythm, the six of us trudged through the jungle soaked to the bone, knee deep in water, but also with a bounce to our step. Nothing significant was said, but we all knew in our silence that something special had passed between us. And I realized that those magical, unplanned, irresistible moments are the real joys and lessons in this life, the seeds that we hope to plant but sometimes just fall over us like water from the sky. We were cleansed, invigorated, exhilarated by the storm, by the majesty of the jungle, and by our utter gratitude at being here, together, on this altogether mundane and extraordinary day in the Amazon. Nature spoke, and for an ephemeral moment in space and time, we listened.   [post_title] => Confessions of a Dragons Instructor [post_excerpt] => We work long hours, late nights, we get sick and exhausted, we travel and sweat and sometimes pull off feats of theatrical and improvisational educational acrobatics in rugged cross-cultural settings. And we love what we do... 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Featured Post

Confessions of a Dragons Instructor

Posted on

09/18/17

Author

Julianne Chandler

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We work long hours, late nights, we get sick and exhausted, we travel and sweat and sometimes pull off feats of theatrical and improvisational educational acrobatics in rugged cross-cultural settings. And we love what we do...
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    [post_content] => Loving this shot shared with us by Ellie Happel from the South America, Andes & Amazon Semester...

See more photos on Dragons Instagram feed. Updated weekly.
    [post_title] => Featured Instagram Photo From Ellie Happel
    [post_excerpt] => Loving this shot shared with us by Ellie Happel from the South America, Andes & Amazon Semester.
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    [post_content] => 

Dragons Community Grant Fund

In an effort to give back to our incredible community partners, Where There Be Dragons has created a Community Grant Fund. This fund awards grants to community organizations based on a comprehensive application process. Ultimately, the goal of the fund is to provide community organizations with financial support for local projects and to provide a mechanism for Dragons administration, instructors, and students to give back to the places that so generously welcome Dragons participants. All applications are reviewed by a committee and awarded on an annual basis. The Dragons Community Grant Fund is supported by under-budget funds from student programming. At the end of each term, 100% of seasonal total under budget funds will be designated to support the Dragons Community Grant Fund.

Community Grant Committee

Each year, 3-6 members of the Dragons community will be designated by the Executive Director to serve on the Dragons Community Grant Fund Committee. At least two of these members must be full-time administrative staff. The committee will be responsible for: » Messaging Community Grant opportunities on the website, social media, newsletter, and other venues. » Managing how awarded grants/projects are highlighted and shared with the Dragons community (e.g. on the website or blog). » Reviewing the Grant Proposal Guidelines on an annual basis and updating as appropriate. Reviewing grant applications one time per year, unless special circumstances merit an alternative award schedule:

1. Prior to application review, the Executive Director will inform the committee members of the total available funds that may be awarded in the current cycle.

2. Committee members will review all current grant applications and provide feedback to other committee members.

3. Committee members will review submitted materials to ensure that applicants meet all criteria. In addition, applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

• applicant’s relationship with Dragons;

• the potential impact on a local community - including the number beneficiaries, the community-oriented nature/leadership of a project, and the potential for continuing benefit to the community;

• clarity of application and project plan.

4. Committee funding decisions will be made using a consensus decision making model and if consensus cannot be reached, the Executive Director may make a final decision on awards.

5. The committee may decide to award all, some, or none of the available Community Grant Funds in any given year.

6. Unused funds will be rolled over to and be made available for future community grant applications.

» Messaging Notifying all applicants via email of committee decisions related to applications. » Monitoring fund distribution. » Monitoring project follow-up for all awardees and developing a mechanism to share updates with the Dragons community. » Providing the Executive Director with accurate accounting of all grants awarded.

Giving Philosophy

Through these grants Where There Be Dragons hopes to help address needs and opportunities in the communities in which we work, and thereby better fulfill our organization’s mission statement and core values. Emphasis is placed on supporting projects that will have many beneficiaries, are community-oriented, and will have a continuing benefit to the community.

Funding

Grants range from $500-$5,000 per applicant. Dragons reserves the right to adjust the amount awarded to grantees at their discretion.

Eligibility

Grants range from $500-$5,000 per applicant. Dragons reserves the right to adjust the amount awarded to grantees at their discretion. » An individual/organization must submit a completed grant proposal by the stated deadline. Applications may be submitted on behalf of an organization by non-affiliated individuals. » The individual/organization must demonstrate recent (within the last 2 years) and/or ongoing interaction/relationship with Dragons as an organization. » If an applicant is a current member of Dragons administrative staff or a member of the staff’s immediate family, then the administrative staff may not serve on the the Community Grant Committee for the funding cycle when that application will be considered. » The proposal request must be for a discrete project or a specific phase of an ongoing program, where the start and projected end date are determined. » The objectives of the project and projected cost must be shared in the application process. The review process will assess the viability of the objectives and the clarity of the cost structure. » Applicants agree that if a grant is awarded the individual and/or organization will acknowledge Dragons as a sponsor of their project.

Application Deadlines

Proposals and/or requests for information should be emailed to hr@wheretherebedragons.com. Applications are due by February 1 of each year for consideration of awards to be reviewed in February and awarded in May. Applications may be submitted at any time during the funding cycle. A maximum of 2 applications per individual/organization is permitted per year. Submitting a proposal does not guarantee funding. RESTRICTIONS The Dragons Community Grant Fund does not provide funding for: » Academic research » Individual scholarships » Fundraising events, sponsorships, or advertising » International travel for applicant » Endowment or memorial campaigns » Government agencies NOTE: If a need is identified within the above categories, please reach out directly to the Program Director of that region to begin a conversation of how Dragons might be able to support.

Application Procedures

Applications may be submitted either directly by a community member/organization, or by a Dragons instructor, alumni instructor, or former student on behalf of a community member/organization. Applications are more likely to receive funding if they are thorough and clearly-written, express and address a true community need, demonstrate a high level of community involvement and leadership of the project, and involve a continuing community benefit after the project has been completed. Individuals wishing to apply for an award through the Dragons Community Grant Fund should submit a written proposal, which includes all of the following points: 1. Applicant’s name and contact information, including email (note that email will be our primary means of communicating with applicants unless a different preference is indicated by the applicant) 2. Description of the eligibility of the applicant and/or project stakeholders (i.e. history of affiliation with Dragons) Note: If the applications is being submitted by an instructor or student on behalf of a community organization or individual, the applicant must indicate both their and the organization’s affiliation with Dragons and also provide an outline of how the parties will work together to administer the project if a grant is awarded. 3. Name and contact information of two stakeholders involved with the project in the local community 4. Location of the project country and specific site where the project will take place 5. Project scope and objectives, including:

• Project start and end dates

• Overall description of the project

• An outline and description of the stakeholders involved with the project (e.g. the community organization, individuals, or institutions involved in the project and their relevant experience related to the project)

• Specific goals and anticipated outcomes of the project, including the number of beneficiaries

• Description of how the project is relevant to the community’s needs, how those needs were identified, and how the project directly benefits the local community

• Performance measures (how the project’s success will be determined/measured)

• Description of the overall sustainability of the project

6. Schedule (plan of action and time frame) 7. Budget

• Include the overall cost and specific expenses

• Indicate any community contribution (in-kind and/or financial)

• Indicate any amount requested from other sources (if any)

• Indicate the total amount requested from Dragons in USD.

8. Any potential conflicts of interest the applicant may have if grant is approved 9. A list of other donors or project contributors (if applicable) 10. Detailed explanation of how to transfer money for the project

Award Process

Designated Community Grant Fund Committee members will review grant proposals each February to select which, if any, projects to fund. Applicants will be notified via e-mail about the decision related to their proposal after application review is complete. Awards will typically be made in May of each year. NOTE: At the Committee’s discretion, time-sensitive proposals may be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Reporting Process

Award recipient(s) are expected to: 1. Send an email to hr@wheretherebedragons.com on a monthly basis with a short paragraph update on the project until the project is completed. • Upon completion, the award recipient will submit: • A two-page final report upon completion of the project detailing accomplishments and any challenges that might have affected the project • A detailed expense report • Several photos of the project site and project stakeholders [post_title] => Dragons Community Grant Fund [post_excerpt] => In an effort to give back to our incredible community partners, Where There Be Dragons has created a Community Grant Fund. This fund awards grants to community organizations based on a comprehensive application process. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dragons_community_grant_fund [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-26 12:34:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-26 18:34:06 [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] => 6 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 6 [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] => 669 [name] => Engage [slug] => engage [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 669 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [parent] => 0 [count] => 6 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 669 [category_count] => 6 [category_description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [cat_name] => Engage [category_nicename] => engage [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/engage/ ) ) [category_links] => Global Community, Engage )
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    [post_content] => Even though Steven is a well-traveled photographer (it's his third time traveling to Africa) and an experienced film maker, he still doesn't feel like this fully represents the Madagascar he experienced.

He says:
The Madagascar I remember is filled with rice paddies, host families and times when we rested on each other’s shoulders during the long, painful Taxi Brousses ride, the time when we shared whatever we owned with each other, when we pulled pranks, told jokes, and acted funny, the time when we marched down the street of Morondava at the Baobab festival singing and dancing, and the time sitting on top of our camp, watching the earth forming beneath our feet.
Steven says that he hopes, "everyone should at least at one point of their lives, take a trip like this, travel as a traveler." We hope you enjoy his film as much as we did at Dragons HQ! [post_title] => A Short Film by Madagascar Student, Steven Gu [post_excerpt] => A short film made by one of our Madagascar summer abroad students. Steven GU created this video with the hope to share with everyone his 6-weeks in Madagascar... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-short-film-made-by-summer-madagascar-student-steven-gu [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-18 14:24:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 20:24:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [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] => 15 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 15 [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] => 646 [name] => Alumni Spotlight [slug] => alumni_spotlight [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 646 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [parent] => 0 [count] => 5 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 5 [category_description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [cat_name] => Alumni Spotlight [category_nicename] => alumni_spotlight [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/alumni_spotlight/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 654 [name] => Mixed Media [slug] => mixed_media [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 654 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [parent] => 0 [count] => 10 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 10 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Alumni Spotlight ... )
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    [post_content] => There's no better way to understand (or re-experience!) a Dragons program than a clickthrough of Dragons Yak Board. Our freshly re-designed forum features intimate, first-hand, perspective via stories, reflections, and images shared directly from the field.

[caption id="attachment_151654" align="alignright" width="300"] Dragons Newly Remodeled Yak Board[/caption]

You can even sort the essays on our Yak Board by program element: Do you want to know what a homestay is really like? Visit our Homestay Yaks. Worried about the intensity of the trekking element? Read about student trekking experiences. Curious as to the challenges of "learning service" abroad? There's participant reflections on the themes of service learning too. Wondering about the end-goals of Dragons programs? Here are some essays in "Transference" (the act and art of applying newly learned skills and perspectives to life back at home).

Ready to dive in?

Here's some participant quotes and essays that might interest you. Just follow the links to read the full essay on the Yak Board:

 

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  "I will always remember what it feels like to be a part of a community that values loving one another above everything else. For the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about what home is and what that feels/looks like. I now understand the concept of home a little better and feel as though I have found that on the other side of the world." Anna Maguire on the TRANSFERENCE Yak Board.  

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"That struggle, one with vague political origins, has morphed into an undeniably human one, one in which the good side is determined not by unspeakable acts of evil but by where on a moral Venn Diagram some far-off policy maker sits as he asks himself if ensuring the health of the Indonesian republic by keeping Sampela a permanent Bajau community regardless of the toll it places on nearby reefs and its human inhabitants is worthwhile. Should the strictly protected reefs of this island chain be enlarged, risking a war but preserving an ecosystem that was here long before there were people in it? Should the elite few who may make those decisions be more concerned with a fisherman and his kin going hungry or with the loss of life from the most diverse ecosystem on the planet or, on a larger scale, does the wellness of a nation of over two hundred and fifty million people or uncountable oceanic animals matter more than the wellness of thousands of laughing, crying, feeling humans?" - Owen Yager on the DEVELOPMENT Yak Board  

****************

    "Personally my mind was the defining factor, I was never excited about hiking because I didn’t have faith in myself. I never felt accomplished, thinking "big deal" -- everyone else had made it up the mountain too. I viewed myself as a weak hiker, when in actuality there’s no such thing. We all arrive at the same destination in our own time, in our own way. Have faith in yourself, you can do it." - Lily Hobbs on the TREKKING Yak Board    

****************

  "Asalaamalekum mbok yi," This sentence could be the shortest description of who I am. It says ‘peace be with your family.’ The first word is of Arabic origin and was brought to Senegal centuries ago with Islam. Religion and the culture of peace and tolerance found in my country are one of the cornerstones of Senegalese culture. Almost all local language greetings ask how peaceful you have been. My father is a Sufi teacher and he has impacted my life in various and wonderful ways." - Babacar Mbaye on the COMPARATIVE RELIGION Yak Board  

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  "About 20 minutes before the top of the pass, Fabian stopped the ground and reached for a rock. He held it in his left hand and told us that this rock symbolizes the weight that each of us carries. I picked up my rock, a black heart shaped rock with white stripes, and thought about the weight that I carry. Is it the worry over registering for classes and rooming next semester? The distress of my friend group at school growing further apart? The uncertainty and sadness of my parents moving away from the community I grew up in? These thoughts and more moved up with me as I walked to the top of the pass." - Emily Smith on the WILDERNESS EXPLORATION Yak Board
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Or just head over to our Yak of the Week section for the best of the best!

[post_title] => Updated Yak Board Featuring Intimate, Firsthand, Perspectives [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => intimate-firsthand-perspectives-via-dragons-freshly-updated-yak-board [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-11 13:48:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-11 19:48:06 [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] => 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] => 13 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 1 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 13 [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/ ) [1] => 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] => 15 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 15 [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/ ) [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] => 13 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 11 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 13 [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] => About Dragons, From the Field ... )
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    [post_date] => 2017-08-25 09:38:49
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    [post_content] => Dragons offers an alternative approach to education, including for university-aged study abroad students.  Since 1993, Dragons has been running dynamic programs around the world. As part of that work, Dragons has been running programs which offer college level for-credit courses since 2001 on our semester programs.

CARA LANE-TOOMEY DIRECTOR OF STUDY ABROAD

Our approach to College Study Abroad Programs, which take place in China, India, Nepal, and South America (Bolivia/Peru), is to provide high-quality academic experiences in unconventional places. Unlike our gap semesters, the College Study Abroad Programs engage all students in a full-semester credit-load of academically rigorous courses, have visiting faculty members who bring their academic expertise to the experience, and provide a structure for participants to carry out individual research during a block of independent travel at the end of the program.

As with other Dragons programming, our instructors draw on language fluency, personal connections, and place-based expertise to give college students unparalleled engagement with communities. Dragons staff attend to program safety and quality, but are also deeply invested in establishing strong mentor relationships with students. This mentorship supports students as they make meaning out of experiences abroad and has a powerful impact on academic and personal growth.

Want to learn more? Visit our website or flip through our College Study Abroad Catalog below…

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    [post_date] => 2017-08-23 11:30:33
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    [post_content] => Dragons best source of inspiration and vision comes from the voices of past participants and our Alumni Ambassadors are an integral part of the Dragons community. Our Student Ambassadors work alongside the Boulder Admin Team on several development initiatives including everything from catalog consulting, to website development, to marketing campaigns. If you’re an alumni and you’d like to help us strengthen the Dragons community, this is your opportunity.

Want to be an Alumni Ambassador? Read more about the program and fill out our application. We’d love to hear from you!

Want to know more? Here's what some of last year's Alumni Ambassadors have to say about the program:

 
The weekend trip to Boulder is one of the best parts of the Ambassador Program! Meeting the other ambassadors and participating in workshops with staff members was amazing. Walking into the office for the first time and being greeted by hugs and travel tales was enchanting - I knew I had found "my people." I have a much better connection to Dragons knowing some of the most important behind-the-scenes staff members.
       
The best part of being an Alumni Ambassador is reconnecting with the Dragons community. After my trip I wasn't able to talk to or connect with people about my experiences abroad, but meeting all of the ambassadors gave me that opportunity. We had all had such similar experiences despite our different journeys, and it was comforting to know that I wasn't alone in my experience.
         
It is a great experience becoming an Ambassador. It was a chance for me to become more connected with an inspiring community and learn the marketing, presentation and leadership skills that keep Dragons running behind the scenes! It felt so rewarding to contribute back to a program that has given me so much.
       
I liked having a say in the website and brochure development. And I also liked getting involved with Dragons at my own school as well as outside of it. I think the outreach is very important because it lets you explain the trip to someone from one teen to the other.
         
Being an ambassador is a great way to give back to Dragons and try and make it possible for more students like you to find Dragons and be able to participate - through recruitment in your area and by contributing with feedback and helping Dragons effectively reach out to prospective students.
         
The best part of being a Dragons Ambassador has been connecting with prospective students, and assisting our incoming students with whatever challenges may come their way. For instance, who remembers how perplexed they were when they first saw their packing list in the CPM or on the yak board? And so, being able to assist students as an alum who has gone through the Dragons experience is something special.
         
To continue actively participating in the Dragons family; to feel inspired; to never cease being fueled by the longing of adventure; to connect with others that share this same passion. This, this is where the true beauty of being an Ambassador lies...

       
Where There Be Dragons was a life changing experience and being able to be part of the team made my experience even more fulfilling and valuable. I credit much of who I am today from my trip and from being an ambassador, and I am forever thankful. 
       
Being an Alumni Ambassador and representing Dragons in my community has been an amazing experience. After an incredible summit in Boulder, I felt I was able to continue my connection with Dragons’ global reach through sharing my experiences with others. I was also able to make lifelong friends and meet other amazing alumni all over the country. - Benjamin Renton
   
The Where There be Dragons Ambassadorship program is an incredible opportunity to learn and acquire new skills. At the same time you help give back to the office that enabled you to go on your chosen program. It is also a chance to reconnect with the Dragon's community after your program and help improve all programs as much as you can. I highly recommend signing up and you might just be chosen to be a part of an amazing team.

Ready to apply? Here's the application.

We look forward to hearing from you!   Sincerely, Dragons HQ   [post_title] => Now Accepting Applications for Alumni Ambassadors [post_excerpt] => Our biggest source of inspiration comes from the voices of past participants. Our Alumni Ambassadors are an integral part of the Dragons community and work alongside the Boulder Admin Team on several development initiatives including everything from catalog consulting, to website development, to marketing campaigns. If you’re an alumni and you’d like to help us strengthen the Dragons community, this is your opportunity. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => now-accepting-applications-for-student-alumni-ambassadors [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-05 12:37:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-05 18:37:58 [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] => 646 [name] => Alumni Spotlight [slug] => alumni_spotlight [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 646 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [parent] => 0 [count] => 5 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 5 [category_description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [cat_name] => Alumni Spotlight [category_nicename] => alumni_spotlight [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/alumni_spotlight/ ) [1] => 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] => 13 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 11 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 13 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/announcements/ ) ) [category_links] => Alumni Spotlight, Announcements )
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