Rwanda Summer Program

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    [post_date] => 2021-03-18 15:27:43
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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 3/20/21

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 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 fall courses as scheduled.]

 To Be Determined 

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

In our Yellow Tier assessment, we have Canada, Morocco, Senegal, 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

03/18/21

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_date] => 2021-03-18 11:30:46
    [post_date_gmt] => 2021-03-18 17:30:46
    [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_date] => 2021-01-12 14:56:01
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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] => 2020-07-06 10:23:43
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    [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
 
PS. WANT DRAGONS BLOG UPDATES SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX? ONE EMAIL A WEEK. NOTHING MARKETY. UNSUBSCRIBE ANY TIME. SUBSCRIBE TO DRAGONS BLOG AND STAY CONNECTED TO THE COMMUNITY. ❤️
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    [post_content] => 

ARE YOU CONSIDERING A GAP YEAR?

If you're between the ages of 17-22 and are weighing the pros and cons of taking a break between high school and college, we've developed a free Gap Year Guide & Starter Kit to help you understand whether a Gap Year is right for you. Download for Free  

HOW WILL THE DRAGONS GAP YEAR GUIDE & STARTER KIT HELP ME?

If your Gap Year ambitions include gaining experience in wilderness exploration, language study, community engagement, activism, and/or cultural immersion, this guide highlights how a custom-crafted Dragons semester in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, can support your educational goals. It’s also equipped with statistics, guiding questions, student testimonials, links to resources, and interactive activities that will help you determine if taking time off the typical academic path will better prepare you for your future.  

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE INTERACTIVE PLANNING ACTIVITIES?

Download the PDF to engage with the following interactive features:
  • Guiding Questions
  • Links to relevant blogs and resources
  • Goal Setting Visioning Activity
  • Average Perfect Day + Best Day Ever (Ad Lib)
  • Timeline Activity
  • How to Choose a Dragons Program
 
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[post_title] => Free Gap Year Guide & Starter Kit [post_excerpt] => Committing to a Gap Year is a big decision. We developed the Gap Year Guide & Starter Kit to help you understand whether a Gap Year is right for you. The guide comes equipped with statistics, guiding questions, quotes from students, links to resources, and interactive activities. You can download it and view it in a PDF viewer to get started. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => free-gap-year-guide-starter-kit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-07-09 13:08:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-07-09 19:08:11 [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] => 700 [name] => For Parents [slug] => for_parents [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 700 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [parent] => 0 [count] => 48 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 48 [category_description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [cat_name] => For Parents [category_nicename] => for_parents [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/for_parents/ ) [1] => 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] => 52 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 13 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 52 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/mixed_media/ ) [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] => 64 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 15 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 64 [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] => For Parents, Mixed Media ... )
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