Rwanda Summer Program

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Announcements

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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] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 53 [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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    [post_content] => We have been heartened by the recent trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the US, we’ve seen a steady decline in numbers likely due to a combination of preventative measures, vaccination, and broader immunity in the population. Globally, travel restrictions have started to soften and countries are intentionally reopening their borders to travelers again. We are not out of the woods yet, but it does feel like we’re headed in the right direction!

That said, if we’ve learned one thing from this past year it is to expect the unexpected. For this reason, we’re balancing our growing optimism for a return to international Dragons programs in 2021 with a healthy dose of cautiousness and very thorough assessments of each area we plan to visit. In addition to safety considerations for our students, we need to feel confident that we will not pose a COVID risk to local communities. For more on the factors we’re considering, please visit our COVID-19 FAQs page.


Fall 2021 Program Status as of 5/28/21

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 Likely To Run 

Guatemala • Bolivia • Peru • Senegal

As it stands today, we have four countries in our Green Tier assessment which means that we feel confident that we could run a Dragons course there under current conditions: Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, and Senegal. For these countries, travel restrictions and public conditions are already at a place, or close to it, that would allow us to run a summer course with limited modifications. Although we are hiring our instructors and moving forward with our course preparations, we are also still actively vetting conditions in host communities and specific locations we plan to visit before finalizing all commitments. [We did not include the United States in this assessment as we are currently successfully running student programs domestically and plan to offer our United States fall courses as scheduled.]

 To Be Determined 

Canada • Morocco • Nepal • Bhutan • China • Cambodia • Indonesia • Thailand

In our Yellow Tier assessment, we have Canada, Morocco, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand. These are places that currently have travel restrictions that would not allow for a Dragons program at the present time. We are in more of a holding pattern with our Yellow Tier countries mostly due to restrictive entry requirements that involve things like mandatory 14-day hotel quarantines upon arrival, which would either not be compatible with a Dragons semester or require significant itinerary modifications. That said, we’ve also not moved these programs to our Red Tier (cancellation) category yet because there are some indications that travel conditions could improve enough before the fall to allow for us to run a Dragons course.

 Cancelled 

Nicaragua • Madagascar • India • Myanmar • Laos

We have already closed several fall programs in countries that we do not feel will be ready to reliably receive a Dragons group this fall due to forecast travel restrictions or on-the-ground conditions. These cancelled programs fell under our Red Tier assessment level. For programs that remain open, we are in the process of vetting each site with an eye towards our September start dates.
Our Yellow and Green Tier programs remain fully open for fall enrollment and we anticipate being able to run Dragons Semesters in the majority of places we travel come September. We are preparing for a return to international programs over the summer with Dragons groups and expect that conditions will only continue to improve before the fall. We wanted to transparently share our assessments and outlook for the fall. Overall, we are confident and optimistic that we will be able to offer select international programs this fall, which is very exciting! We will continue to send you updates as more information becomes available and plan to start moving forward with flight bookings and logistics in June for programs in our Green Tier, which could include additional locations over the coming weeks as countries continue to open up travel opportunities. On a final note, we want to commend you for your commitment to remain an active participant in this global community and we want you to know that you’re not alone in that choice. Students and families are actively expressing their support and enthusiasm for our international programming. We are receiving a very steady influx of applications from new students for summer & fall 2021 courses, and remain optimistic that we’ll be in an even better place over the coming months.

Looking to spend part of your summer break gaining an in-field perspective of the world through cultural immersion, wilderness exploration, and language study? Learn more about our unfiltered and immersive summer programs in Asia, Africa, and the Americas here.

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View post

Fall 2021 International Travel Outlook

Posted On

05/28/21

Author

Aaron Slosberg, Director of Student Programming

Description
Heartened by the recent trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re balancing our growing optimism for a return to international fall semester programming in 2021 with a healthy dose of cautiousness. Read More
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    [post_content] => We have been heartened by the recent trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the US, we’ve seen a steady decline in numbers likely due to a combination of preventative measures, vaccination, and broader immunity in the population. Globally, international travel restrictions have started to soften and countries are intentionally reopening their borders to travelers again. We are not out of the woods yet, but it does feel like we’re headed in the right direction!

That said, if we’ve learned one thing from this past year it is to expect the unexpected. For this reason, we’re balancing our growing optimism for a return to international Dragons programs this summer with a healthy dose of cautiousness coupled with very thorough assessments of each area we plan to visit. In addition to safety considerations for our students, we need to feel confident that we will not pose a COVID risk to local communities. For more on the factors we’re considering, please visit our COVID-19 FAQs page.


Summer 2021 Program Status as of 3/20/21

Loading...

Loading...

 Likely to Run 

Guatemala • Bolivia • Peru • Nepal

As it stands today, we have four countries in our Green Tier assessment which means that we feel confident that we could run a Dragons course there under current conditions: Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, and Nepal. For these countries, travel restrictions and public conditions are already at a place, or close to it, that would allow us to run a summer course with limited modifications. Although we are hiring our instructors and moving forward with our course preparations, we are also still actively vetting conditions in host communities and specific locations we plan to visit before finalizing all commitments. [We did not include the United States in this assessment as we are currently successfully running student programs domestically and plan to offer our United States summer courses as scheduled.]

 To Be Determined 

Canada • Bhutan • Cambodia • Indonesia • Thailand

In our Yellow Tier assessment, we have Canada, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand. These are places that currently have travel restrictions that would not allow for a Dragons program at the present time. We are in more of a holding pattern with our Yellow Tier countries mostly due to restrictive entry requirements that involve things like mandatory 14-day hotel quarantines upon arrival, which would not be compatible with a Dragons summer course. However, we’ve also not moved these programs to our Red Tier (cancellation) category yet because there are some indications that travel conditions could improve enough before the summer to allow for us to run a Dragons course.

 Cancelled 

Nicaragua • Senegal • Morocco • Madagascar • India • China • Myanmar • Laos

We have already closed several summer programs in countries that we do not feel will be ready to reliably receive a Dragons group this summer due to forecast travel restrictions or on-the-ground conditions. These cancelled programs fell under our Red Tier assessment level. For programs that remain open, we are in the process of vetting each site with an eye towards our July 1st start date.
We wanted to transparently share our assessments and outlook for the summer. Overall, we are confident and optimistic that we will be able to offer select international programs this summer, which is very exciting! We will continue to send you updates as more information becomes available and will start moving forward with flight bookings and logistics in April for programs in our Green Tier, which could include additional locations over the coming weeks as countries continue to open up travel opportunities. If you are currently enrolled on a Yellow Tier program and are interested in switching to a Dragons Green Tier program/country (Nepal, Bolivia, Guatemala, Peru, United States) for added confidence, please email our admissions team; you do not have to reapply, we can switch you over to another program option as long as space is available. On a final note, we want to commend you for your commitment to remain an active participant in this global community and we want you to know that you’re not alone in that choice. Students and families are actively expressing their support and enthusiasm for our international programming. We are receiving a very steady influx of applications from new students for summer & fall 2021 courses, and remain optimistic that we’ll be in an even better place over the coming months.

Looking to spend more than a few weeks gaining an in-field perspective of the world through cultural immersion, wilderness exploration, and language study? Learn more about our unfiltered and immersive Gap Year programs in Asia, Africa, and the Americas here.

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    [post_content] => Across cultures stories are told about a hero’s journey to distant lands, only to find that what they seek is where the journey began: home. 

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot, 4 Quartets


On December 28th I embarked on a personal journey, a journey that resembled my first foray into the American West after graduating from college two decades ago. Last week I hugged my family goodbye and hopped into my van. Outfitted with warm layers, sleeping bags, food, and podcasts, I headed toward the “Four Corners” region, where CO, UT, AZ, and NM meet. I had no idea how far I’d get or where I’d sleep, other than knowing I’d be in the back of my van, somewhere. For a week I meandered. I roamed Bears Ears and Cedar Mesa, their dried canyon river bottoms blanketed in snow; I sat on the edge of the Grand Canyon, confused by the deafening silence and overwhelmed by the full nighttime galaxy, unadulterated by city lights; I descended the Colorado plateau into the great Sonoran Desert, and felt its soft winter warmth. After a challenging year, reconnecting with the American West, and my twenty-year old self, was like drinking from a well after a long period of thirst. I felt a deep gratitude for my post-college journeys into these landscapes, which were closer to the surface of my consciousness than I had ever realized. For nearly three decades Dragons has taken participants on journeys to discover the world and, in the end, themselves. When the pandemic closed down the world, Dragons turned inward to North America. This fall we offered two outstanding domestic Gap experiences: the Rio Grande Semester and the Colorado River Basin Semester. Because of their success, we are excited to announce that this new programming will extend into the 2021/2022 season and will continue to  be an important core of our work.

Keep an eye out for our new 2021 domestic program announcement!

The confluence of COVID-19, a heightened awareness and reckoning of racial injustice, and vast political divide in the United States has increased the need for domestic programming and specifically for a Dragons-style education. Our domestic programs strive to understand the complexity that arises when diverse peoples inhabit a land, looking closely at settler colonialism, power and privilege, and racial, social, and environmental justice issues. We examine how people have changed landscapes, for better and worse, and how those landscapes have in turn shaped our present realities. At a time when connection is hard to come by, the Dragons experience seeks to connect us to each other, our natural world, our collective and shared histories and, in the end, ourselves. Like all of our programs, our domestic courses help students confront important realities and understand their agency in shaping our collective futures. As we slowly return to the soulful international programming that has always been the hallmark of a Dragons experience, we’re moving into 2021 with increased self-awareness of our home here in North America. That rediscovery will weave itself into our global tapestry, augmenting even more depth and breadth to our programming.
After college I moved to New Mexico, and then California. I spent my time guiding wilderness trips for youth. It led me to Dragons, and in my late 20’s I found myself on the Tibetan Plateau, leading a Dragons group from Lhasa to Mount Kailash, a sacred pilgrimage route for Buddhists and Hindus. I was struck then by how much the Tibetan Plateau reminded me of the Colorado Plateau and the vast American West. And now as I travel and live in the southwest, I’m reminded of Tibet. Future Dragons students will now share the rediscovery of a place many people call home, and come to know it for the first time with new eyes and understanding. As you start thinking of your plans for 2021, I hope our domestic programming is something you will consider. And if you decide to join us, I hope your experiences in the American West will always be with you, right beneath the surface, waiting to reawaken you, as it did for me this past week. With hope for the future,
Reed Harwood, Executive Director
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    [post_content] => Join us for a series of free webinars in the coming weeks with Dragons Director of Admissions, Eva Vanek, who will help answer your questions about summer, gap year, and college credit travel planning for 2021.

Summer Travel Webinar

Nov 25th at 5pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 3rd at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 9th at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >>    

Gap Year Travel Webinar

Nov 25th at 5pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 3rd at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 9th at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >>    

College Summer Abroad Webinar

Nov 25th at 5pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 3rd at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >> Dec 9th at 5 pm MST | Learn More/Register >>    

PRESENTED BY:

Eva Vanek, B.A. with honors in International Development, minor in Anthropology, McGill University. Growing up canoeing and camping Eva found her way to Dragons in 2009 where she led a Guatemala program and later, a couple Andes and Amazon Semesters. Presently, Eva is thrilled to be working as the Dragons Admissions Director and in her spare time enjoys volunteering at the Boulder homeless shelter, touring on her bike and passing quality time in the garden.

____

Interested in gaining your own in-field perspective of the world through cultural immersion, wilderness exploration, and language study? Learn more about our unfiltered and immersive Summer and Gap Year programs in Asia, Africa, and the Americas here.

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    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-06 16:23:43
    [post_content] => Dear Dragons Alum Families and Community,

Today is July 1st: Week one of our summer courses. In normal times, students would be getting to know their instructors and peers, tasting and smelling new cuisines, and beginning their Dragons experience. These are clearly not normal times, and this year we are feeling what many of you experienced when your child left home: the empty nest. Until international borders reopen, the majority of our customary work is put on hold; as temporary empty nesters, we are afforded the time and space to look at ourselves in new ways. These past months of crisis have helped us to ask old questions with renewed urgency, expand our vision, and deepen our purpose. I'd like to share these developments with you:
 

Bringing our work closer to home

At our core, Where There Be Dragons is about discovery of and connection to self, others, and our shared planet through immersive and responsible travel. With international travel on pause, we want to expand our mission to meet new realities. Over the past several months we've developed new domestic programs for our SummerGap and Adult participants. We've long wanted to bring our work "closer to home." These courses do just that, allowing us to bring participants in contact with critical issues and impactful experiences in the US.  

Supporting communities

  • While we know Dragons will get through this and be stronger for it, the slowdown has acutely impacted many of our overseas staff and partner communities. In response, The Dragons Fund (a 501c3 program of the COMMON Foundation) started a
  • Community Relief Fund to help provide small grants to affected communities in the places we visit. These communities have always been the bedrock of a Dragons education. We are continually inspired by their creativity, strength, and resilience. They continue to teach us how to navigate this complex world.
  • Julianne Chandler, our Latin America Program Director, recently wrote a beautiful blog post about how one of these communities in Bolivia has been impacted by the pandemic and responded in creative ways.
 

Deepening our work towards justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion

Over the past few years we've made tangible strides in more fully articulating and realizing our mission, vision, and values. We hope our actions loudly reflect our words. And yet, as with all things aspirational, the journey is endless. COVID-19's unequal impact on vulnerable communities and movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter remind us of how far we have to go-as an organization, as a country, and as a global community-to actuate meaningful and systemic change. International travel, and Dragons programming, are fundamentally entangled with legacies of colonialism and contain deep inequities. We are using our "empty nest" to develop a long-term strategic plan for deepening our work toward justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, which we look forward to sharing in the coming months.
  Dragons will always seek to provide profound and unfiltered experiences that expose us to the beautiful and painful complexities of our world. Through our shared learning, we can step beyond our cultural and self-imposed limitations, awakening to who we want to be for ourselves and our communities.
Thank you for all your support in the recent months, and over the decades. We look forward to updating you on our programming as it returns.
 
Reed Harwood
Executive Director
 
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[post_title] => The Empty Nest and What Comes Next for Dragons [post_excerpt] => Today is July 1st: Week one of our summer courses. In normal times, students would be getting to know their instructors and peers, tasting and smelling new cuisines, and beginning their Dragons experience. These are clearly not normal times, and this year we are feeling what many of you experienced when your child left home: the empty nest. Until international borders reopen, the majority of our customary work is put on hold; as temporary empty nesters, we are afforded the time and space to look at ourselves in new ways. These past months of crisis have helped us to ask old questions with renewed urgency, expand our vision, and deepen our purpose. I'd like to share these developments with you: [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-empty-nest-and-what-comes-next-for-dragons [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-07-06 10:47:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-07-06 16:47:09 [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] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 53 [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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