Photo by Ryan Gasper, Andes and Amazon

Posts Categorized:

For Parents

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    [post_date] => 2018-10-25 10:15:36
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-25 16:15:36
    [post_content] => Our Alumni Ambassadors are an integral part of the Dragons community and work alongside the Boulder Admin Team to reinvigorate our alumni network and help brainstorm and offer feedback on the direction of Dragons development initiatives.

Congratulations to our 2019 team of Ambassadors! We're so excited to collaborate with you. And even more excited to HOST you this month at our HQ in Boulder!
PS. Rumor has it our Ambassadors might take over Dragons Instagram feed during their Ambassador Retreat from Nov. 2nd - 5th. So keep your eye out more from these faces...

"I live in Boulder, Colorado, and while I love waking up to the sight of the Rocky Mountains every morning, this summer I was given the opportunity to trade my mountains with the rolling green hills, covered with tea plants, of northeast India."

SOPHIE REEVESEASTERN HIMALAYAS: WEST BENGAL TO SIKKIM

 

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"I am Lithuanian, Russian, and American. Traveling, discovering new places, and adapting has defined my life since I moved to a new country when I was 10 and dived into the unknown."

ANNA DUDINA,  BOLIVIA: SPIRIT OF THE ANDES

 

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"Be afraid, it’s normal. Be nervous and worry about things that might go wrong, it’s normal. But be yourself, it’s all you can wholeheartedly be, and before you know it the things that once made you uncomfortable, will be your favorite stories to tell."

IVAN GARCIABOLIVA: SPIRIT OF THE ANDES

 

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"I didn’t realize how much I would learn beyond improving my language. I was amazed by the generosity of my host families, and there was never a moment I wasn’t learning something new from my group of awesome students and instructors."

LILLIAN ELLISCHINA: MANDARIN LANGUAGE INTENSIVE

 

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"Being an artist, I have been trying to figure out ways to merge my love for creating with my desire to bring awareness on global issues to my friends and family at home. Therefore, as part of my senior art show, I am dedicating my time to making a piece that tells the story of the different hardships and struggles facing our world today."

VANESSA PAYNEGUATEMALA: SPANISH LANGAUGE INTENSIVE

 

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"I currently live in San Francisco, am a senior at Redwood High School in the Bay Area, and have been fortunate enough to go on two trips with Dragons. One to Peru for 6 weeks at age 14, and another to China along the Silk Road at age 16. I’m a strong believer in the idea that the most growth an individual can do is outside of their comfort zone."

TIM KOENCHINA: SILK ROAD & PERU: SACRED MOUNTAIN

 

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"I would like to leave you with a simple, but significant saying that one of my instructors often said to our group: “La vida es loca y todo puede pasar.” That is, life is crazy, and anything can happen, so please do not mute the voice inside you and instead embark on a journey that connects you to a world beyond the one you now know."

LINDSEY O'NEILLGUATEMALA: SPANISH LANGAUGE INTENSIVE

 

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"Personally, when I venture into the unknown I like to turn up the introspection and challenge my brain to see the bigger, more global picture. I’ve often found that I discover myself only when I am “lost.”

EMMA BAILEYPERU: SACRED MOUNTAIN & INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, AND CONSERVATION

 

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"To me, nothing can compare to the thrill of discovering the unknown, then diving deep into it, and learning all I can from it.  Why should I reuse my old habits when new ones are far more exciting?"

SETH FISHER-OLVERAGUATEMALA: SPANISH LANGAUGE INTENSIVE

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Again, look for more from our 2019 Student Ambassadors via their Instagram Takeover Nov. 2nd - 5th!

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    [post_date] => 2018-10-04 09:30:02
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-04 15:30:02
    [post_content] => It was extremely hard for the committee to choose only three winners, but we've posted the 1-minute videos selected as our three top #dragonsvisualstory contest winners on Instagram this week.

You can watch the videos on instagram by clicking on the videos below...

[caption id="attachment_153754" align="aligncenter" width="460"] 1-minute visual story video by Katherine Marcus of Dragons Guatemala: Community in Action program.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_153752" align="aligncenter" width="460"] 1-minute visual story video made by Jenna Einhorn, a student on Dragons Summer 2018 Nepal - Traditions of the Himalayas Program.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_153753" align="aligncenter" width="459"] 1-minute video from Vanessa Payne with imagery and sounds from this summer’s Guatemala Spanish Language Intensive 4-week course.[/caption]

Congratulations Vanessa, Jenna, and Katherine!

And thank you to ALL those who put love into their beautiful video contest submissions. They were an honor to watch! Sincerely, Dragons HQ [post_title] => Announcing our Three 1-minute "Visual Story" Video Contest Winners! [post_excerpt] => It was extremely hard for the committee to choose only three, but we're thrilled to announce and share with you the top three 1-minute videos selected as the #dragonsvisualstory contest winners... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => announcing-our-three-1-minute-visual-story-video-contest-winners [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-10-18 12:18:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-18 18:18:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 2 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 39 [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] => 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] => 28 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 28 [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/ ) [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] => 29 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 29 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 ) [3] => 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] => 31 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 31 [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] => From the Field, For Parents ... )
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    [post_date] => 2018-07-19 11:50:06
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-07-19 17:50:06
    [post_content] => 

Experiential Education involves the use of hands-on exercises that engage multiple senses and learning styles.

For a fun example of what this looks like on a Dragons course, check out this "Metacognition" exercise in action on Dragons China: The Yangtze River summer program, subtitled, "Games to Visualize our Thinking" as facilitated by Zack Siddall and described by Tingting Xu...

Er Fo Temple is famous for its Chan Buddhist sculptures. Before leaving the temple, Zack organized a game with the intention of guiding students towards more awareness of their thinking and decision making processes – an important step before entering a mega city, like Chongqing, after a quiet and peaceful time at Er Fo Temple. The process of “sculpting each other” was a lot of fun for the group and helped them get to know each other even better as the journey continues. Hope you enjoy the video as much as we (instructors) enjoyed watching! – Tingting

[video width="640" height="360" mp4="https://yak.wheretherebedragons.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/meta-1.mp4"][/video] [video width="640" height="360" mp4="https://yak.wheretherebedragons.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/meta-2.mp4"][/video] [post_title] => Experiential Education in Action: "Sculpting" Videos made at Er Fo Temple, China [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => experiential-education-in-action-sculpting-videos-made-at-er-fo-temple-china [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-19 11:52:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-19 17:52:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 2 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 39 [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] => 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] => 28 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 28 [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/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 640 [name] => Dragons Instructors [slug] => dragons_instructors [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 640 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featuring the words, projects, guidance and vision of the community of incredible staff that make Dragons what it is. [parent] => 0 [count] => 19 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 640 [category_count] => 19 [category_description] => Featuring the words, projects, guidance and vision of the community of incredible staff that make Dragons what it is. [cat_name] => Dragons Instructors [category_nicename] => dragons_instructors [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, For Parents ... )
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    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-06-14 09:34:19
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-14 15:34:19
    [post_content] => 
...for many students, the fundamental shift in perspective and personality does not take place right away.

Dear Parents of Team India Students,

I am writing with a note of gratitude. Perhaps it is unconventional in nature, but I hope you are able to enjoy a cup of chai as you read these words written from a small village in the Indian Himalayas. I am sitting looking at a mosaic of words that your child and their peers wrote during our mid-course reflection earlier in March. In front of me sits over thirty small slips of paper that share anonymously written fears & excitements, challenges faced and lessons learned:

I am excited for breathing in clean mountain air, star gazing, looking out train windows. I am afraid of leaving India without a clearer sense of who I am. I’ve learned that health and cleanliness are very important. I am nervous about time going by too quickly or too slowly. I have learned I love taking my time. It has been a challenge for me to open up in a way that I am most comfortable with, so that I am not bottling up my emotions. I fear that I won’t be able to do everything I want to over the next month. It has been challenging being sick in such a new environment. I learned that life at home continues when you’re away and that’s okay. It is most challenging for me to be present. I have learned that there are more Indias that the one I am witnessing.

So much variety in such a small group. An accurate representation of the diversity of thought, need, and lifestyle within our community. I am not a parent in the sense that I do not have a child who depends on me regularly for emotional or financial support. I have not witnessed my child’s first breath or tracked him/her/them through the phases of life: crawling, walking, talking, fighting, pushing boundaries, experiencing heartbreak, developing strengths, acknowledging weaknesses, discovering their identities in this fast-moving world. I can imagine it is a slow, beautiful, complicated, process to witness and be a part of. I look forward to when that is my reality. For months of each year, though, I do have the opportunity to be in loco parentis; to act and react as a parent may, to advise and counsel, to listen and hear, to inspire and frustrate, to discipline and let go of. Thank you, for giving me the chance to act and live in this way. I could not do it without you–truly and literally. Witnessing your child’s tears when she/he/they came home from school having been wronged by a classmate during the day; experiencing utter joy at watching them play in mud puddles, their fascination with the–what to us adults may be–seemingly mundane; sharing moments of vulnerability as you offer stories of your own high school hardships: I bet that each of these moments offered to you powerful insight into parenthood and its complexity. While not comparable, I have experienced many of these same emotions over these past three months. I have felt fiercely protective when my students have felt discomfort in crowded situations; I have laughed to the point of tears listening to stories about misunderstandings in how to use squat toilets; I have been frustrated by their lack of punctuality; I have felt tenderness in listening to tearful worries and concerns. I have lay in my bed, late into the night, wondering: are my students (read: children) healthy? Safe? Motivated? Happy? Sleeping well? Scared? Excited? Confused? If this is not parenthood, I am not sure what is. The timeframe post-high school is a fragile, complicated period. Young adults are told by our American and Canadian societies that after living 18 years on this earth they can vote in elections, purchase and smoke cigarettes, enlist in the military, give consent to marry another, drive a vehicle, work a full-time salaried position, and gamble away their money. They have legal freedom, if they choose to take it. Yet many, upon ending high school, do not have a sense of awareness for the future: they are unsure if they want to go to college, or more realistically why they want to go to college. With newfound privileges and real legal rights, these newly deemed adults have, in a sense, ultimate opportunities. But how to navigate the multiplicity of paths that are lain before them, to tease apart the meaning of a high-school education, to understand the next path that presents itself is neither a straightforward nor an enviable task. You, as parents, have experienced this time. You know the nights fraught with anxiety and confusion. The pull between wanting to do what your peers do, wanting to please your family, and wanting to understand a little more fully who you are and what your purpose on this planet is. Taking a Gap Year is a more recent phenomenon that is gaining popularity. This year away from formal academics does not mean a year away from learning; quite the contrary. I have only had the privilege of knowing your sons and daughters for 70 days, however I have witnessed them learn skills valuable for living: from technical skills like how to cook meals and clean clothes to interpersonal skills like how to provide feedback to a peer and self-advocate for personal needs. While I do not yet have a system in place to check, I would bet that if I spoke to each of these students in five years, they will not be able to remember significant dates from the US Civil War–excepting they become a US historian–or apply the Pythagorean theorem to an every-day life problem. Engrained within them, though, they may have the lived knowledge of how to have their basic needs met when in an unfamiliar place or how to have a hard conversation with someone they care about. That is my hope, at least. Critics of Gap Years think this time away traveling has merely been an experience of being transported from one hotel to another, eating at restaurants, and shopping. I would be lying if I said we have not partaken in these activities. But below the surface of these statements lies an experience that is not as easily shown: like when your hotel is actually a guesthouse that sits at 11,000 feet and took five hours to walk to, and you share a room with seven others, all of you sleeping on the floor, hugging waterbottles of boiled water– that you used your broken Ladakhi to ask for–so that you can stay warm while sleeping. Or when shopping means buying enough food for a group of fifteen so they have sustenance on their 24 hour travel day, 15 of those hours are confined to a moving train, which has the potential to be delayed for an unspecified amount of time. Sure, we partake in consumer culture, but there is intentionality behind it. The critics can look at this time and make assumptions, but they cannot know the worth of these experiences. Even you may not recognize the value of them, but for many students, the fundamental shift in perspective and personality does not take place right away. As your children physically re-enter your lives they will appear the same. But there will also be differences. They have had experiences that they will not be able to explain because they have not yet had the chance to make meaning of them. There will be moments of excitement to see old friends, sleep in their beds, and eat comfort foods. But there will be moments of sadness and confusion as well, as awarenesses begin to surface and take root, and newly acquired values are applied to old spaces. For some this time-frame may take days, others months, many years. Even I, at 27, am still discovering the immense value my Gap Year–which I took ten years ago– played in shifting my identity as a woman in this world. Just as you have done before, do again: be patient. Give space. Ask questions. Give hugs. That is, really, all I have been trying to do during our three months together. In moments of confusion or uncertainty, your children have had the answers within themselves; they have just needed the time and space to discover what those answers are. They will continue to live out the answers, especially to questions they have not even discovered yet. So, all of this to say: thank you. Thank you for trusting your daughters and sons to listen to their needs. Thank you for trusting me to be a witness of their transition into adulthood and to offer guidance, when it has been solicited and when it has not. I am merely a small piece of the puzzle in their life’s tale, as they are in mine, however there is a symbiosis to this experience that is bigger and more significant than our defined period of time together. I would not be able to exist as I do without your support of your children’s well being. I would not be able to live life as a learner and educator, both existing at once, every day. I am grateful for your generosity, your support, your willingness to raise engaged, aware children. In the first few days of our course I shared these words of Ranier Marie Rilke with your sons and daughters:
I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
Their decision to take a Gap Year has only helped launch them into the abyss of living everything. I feel immense privilege at sharing in that experience, and I wish you all the best in helping to facilitate the next phase of this journey. With the most sincere of intentions, thank you, dhanyavad, jullay. With gratitude, Anna G. Stevens [post_title] => To Parents: A Gratitude - Featured Yak [post_excerpt] => Even I, at 27, am still discovering the immense value my Gap Year–which I took ten years ago– played in shifting my identity as a woman in this world. Just as you have done before, do again: be patient. Give space. Ask questions. Give hugs. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => to-parents-a-gratitude-a-featured-yak-by-anna-g-stevens [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-06-14 15:23:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-06-14 21:23:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 2 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 39 [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] => 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] => 28 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 28 [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/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 640 [name] => Dragons Instructors [slug] => dragons_instructors [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 640 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featuring the words, projects, guidance and vision of the community of incredible staff that make Dragons what it is. [parent] => 0 [count] => 19 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 640 [category_count] => 19 [category_description] => Featuring the words, projects, guidance and vision of the community of incredible staff that make Dragons what it is. [cat_name] => Dragons Instructors [category_nicename] => dragons_instructors [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, For Parents ... )
WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 153244
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-06-06 13:16:22
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-06 19:16:22
    [post_content] => 

Did you know Dragons is accredited by the Gap Year Association?

Where There Be Dragons Gap Year Association Certified What is the Gap Year Association? (From the AGA website:) "Accreditation by the Gap Year Association represents a commitment to the highest standards in safety, quality, and integrity. They have agreed to consistently abide by the Standards of the Gap Year Association, which typically means that a student can count on an experience with the highest caliber of field leadership, the best degree of office support, and the highest standards of safety. [...] The process involves both GYA staff and the powerful Board of Advisors to ensure the best in Gap Year education and the highest consistency in programming." "Founded in 2012, the Gap Year Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit accreditation and standards-setting organization for gap years that is recognized as such by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. We continue to advance the field of gap years because we have seen their profound benefits on students from all backgrounds, and believe an intentional gap year can be part of the welfare for us, our nation, our neighbors, and our fellow global citizens. The Association collaboratively pioneers research on its outcomes, as well as serves as an information and advocacy hub for university admissions personnel and educational counselors..." Read more. 

Learn more about Dragons approach to Risk ManagementCourse Design, Responsible Travel or What We Believe!

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Have you heard that we now offer Dragons experiences for adult travelers?

If there's someone in your life, who upon hearing about Dragons, has said, "I wish there were programs like that for adults..." please share this digital catalog with them! (Or request a catalog sent by mail.) The catalog below includes details on the adult travel programs we'll be offering in PeruNorth India, Senegal, Guatemala, Cambodia and Nepal in 2018-2019. (And if our catalog courses don't fit, we can always work with you to design a custom course!) On our adult excursions, you can expect the same caliber of expertly crafted small group travel that has made us the leaders in the field of cross-cultural education for the past two decades.
Ps. Those referred to Dragons by friends or family of past Dragons participants receive a 20% discount off tuition on our upcoming August Peru: Sacred Valley program if they sign up by July 1st, 2018. Just include the name of your reference in your application
Like many Dragons parents, we had always hoped to experience that intangible Dragons elixir of immersive and transformative cultural experience on a trip of our own. So glad we did; our family of Dragons at home now shares this fabulous spirit together. –MARK BAUHAUS, PARTICIPANT & ALUMNI PARENT
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