Photo by Ryan Gasper, Student.

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For Parents

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    [post_date] => 2020-03-18 15:35:26
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-18 21:35:26
    [post_content] => 

We want to share this note from Aaron Slosberg, Director of Student Programming, about the importance of the transference process for our students and instructors returning home and for all those adjusting to the current state of the world.

Dear Spring Semester Students, Instructors, and Dragons Community,

What initially started as an emergent epidemic in China, soon morphed into the global pandemic that is sadly bringing an early end to your semester this week. Dragons has gone through public health scares in the past, but none as far reaching as COVID-19. The scope of the pandemic is crossing and closing international borders in ways that are truly unprecedented because we are living in an unprecedentedly interconnected world. Fear can breed distance from the unfamiliar, which may be self-protecting and necessary in some cases, but also the roots of xenophobia and isolation in others. And we are living in fearful times with real problems to face.

COVID-19 is not a scarecrow threat. The potential health impacts are real and overwhelming in scope. Communities are struggling to mitigate the disease’s reach, and in doing so, are being faced with tough questions about the fabric of our society and values. Are public health and healthy economies at odds? Can we self-manage our response to the pandemic or do governments need to curtail personal freedoms in pursuit of a common good? Can we maintain open borders and movement or do nations need to close themselves off?  These are not abstract dilemmas; in fact, they have already personally impacted all of us and will continue to color conversations well into the future.

Being on a Dragons program can be paradoxically connecting and disconnecting experience. Connecting because you are so actively engaged with your surroundings, and the local & global themes manifested there, without the filter of screens or media. Relationships can feel uniquely alive and immediate. Disconnecting because you are apart from your community back home and from the technological waterfall of information available at your fingertips. We’ve heard that many  students this semester were only abstractly aware of COVID-19 because it just wasn’t a part of your daily realities. Although we know you each have already felt its influence, we also want to prepare you for the new reality you’re returning to…

You will feel the presence of COVID-19 everywhere you go in the coming weeks. Social distancing practices have shuttered schools, restaurants, and myriad public spaces. Once bustling areas are eerily quiet. Businesses and workers are struggling mightily to find a footing in this novel economy, Dragons included. The coronavirus is on center stage in all forms of media. People are scared and anxious about what the future holds.

Most travelers already feel overwhelmed returning from abroad. Re-entry culture shock and separation from your Dragons group can result in a rollercoaster of emotions. We want you to know that whatever feelings come up for you in the coming days have most likely been (or are being) experienced by Dragons students and instructors around the world. What is unique to your return experience is the added layer of coming back to a society in the midst of some tectonic shifts. We often say that a common disconnect in returning home is that the traveler can feel so different inside, filled with new experiences and perspectives, but their old surroundings still seem the same. You may find that just as you have changed, so has the context of your home.

And in those changes, we encourage you to practice caution, patience, and compassion with your loved ones.

Caution because these circumstances absolutely demand it. Follow health protocols not only for your own safety, but also for the safety of your community. You may not be in a high risk demographic; however, your behaviors can determine the level of risk posed to those around you. Don’t take it personally if loved ones are intentionally distant from you, or even a bit scared of the risk you may pose as a newly returned traveler; everyone is doing their best to navigate this situation. Keep up with the sanitation and safety guidelines from your course, and heed the established advice of health experts.

Patience because your transition back home will take time. Don’t expect for everything to immediately feel the same. Don’t expect for everyone around you to readily understand your experiences and emotions. And know that with time and patience, you will form newly familiar routines and norms. Your experiences abroad, and the expression of them, will gain clarity and traction in your life at home.

Compassion because your experience is uniquely yours. Your family and friends back home have not been exposed to the same realities, perspectives, and insights. Don’t let that difference become a barrier to connection or a cause for judgment. Compassion because we have the power to turn this moment into something other than a cause for fear of people and places different from us. Compassion because we are all doing our best to cope with a world often beyond our control, and while we can’t always change what’s outside of us, we can choose to respond with kindness.

I want you to know that even though your Dragons semester is coming to a close, you are forever a part of this community. We are here for you now, and always. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us whether that’s in a week, or years down the road.

Wishing you all the best in your return home.

Aaron Slosberg

Director of Student Programming

P.S. 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_date] => 2020-02-27 08:44:42
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-02-27 15:44:42
    [post_content] =>  

Did you catch this episode of Dragons podcast featuring Dragons Instructor Claire Bennett on the subject of  Learning Service?

Bub Vernon (Dragons Indonesia Semester Alumni) and Claire Bennett discuss:
  • What is Learning Service?
  • How can we most sensibly do good abroad?
  • What’s wrong with "voluntourism?"
  • How do personal motivations affect volunteering?
 

LISTEN NOW on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.

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. ❤️
[post_title] => Dragons Podcast: Interview with Claire Bennet on the topic of Service Learning vs. Learning Service [post_excerpt] => Bub Vernon (Dragons Indonesia Semester Alumni) and Claire Bennet discuss: What is Learning Service? How can we most sensibly do good abroad? What’s wrong with "voluntourism?" How do personal motivations affect volunteering? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dragons-podcast-interview-with-claire-bennet-on-the-topic-of-service-learning-vs-learning-service [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-02 17:51:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-03 00:51:02 [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] => 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] => 42 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 42 [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] => 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] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 25 [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/ ) [2] => 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] => 42 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 42 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => For Parents, Global Community ... )
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    [ID] => 156317
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2020-02-21 12:56:25
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-02-21 19:56:25
    [post_content] => 

Hey Dragons Community!

Did you know Dragons has a nonprofit, the Dragons Fund, that provides scholarships so students from under-resourced communities can participate in Dragons programs?

Last year, Dragons Fund raised $51,000 from within the Dragons alumni and instructor community, surpassing its year-end goal. The success in the "Ten in 2020" campaign means there's enough to provide scholarships to at least ten students who otherwise would not have access to a Dragons program. A huge thank you goes out to the amazing donors who made this possible!

Want to learn more? Check out Dragons Fund's Gratitude Report, its annual report for the 2019 fiscal year. And stay tuned for more developments - the Fund is growing quickly and we couldn't be more excited. It's all part of Dragons' efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion on all programs. We want to see students from all backgrounds experience a transformational global education.

To learn more about Dragons Fund, the application process, and to read the 2019 Gratitude Report, visit www.dragonsfund.org.

Thank you again for your support!

The Dragons Fund Team

Dragons Fund is a program of the COMMON Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.


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. ❤️
[post_title] => Dragons Fund 2019 Gratitude Report [post_excerpt] => Last year, Dragons Fund raised $51,000 from within the Dragons alumni and instructor community, surpassing its year-end goal. It's all part of Dragons' efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion on all programs... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dragons-fund-2019-gratitude-report [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-02 10:47:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-02 17:47:12 [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] => 42 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 42 [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] => 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] => 42 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 42 [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] => 56 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 14 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 56 [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, About Dragons ... )
WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 156301
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2020-02-17 11:56:56
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-02-17 18:56:56
    [post_content] => Duke Gap Year Program

Dragons is excited to partner with the Duke Gap Year Program (DGYP) in the shared mission of increasing access to Dragons Gap Semesters for Duke  students.

Dragons and DGYP have a strong alignment in mission and values and we look forward to making our programs available to a greater number of DGYP students each year, especially those with financial need.

The Duke and Dragons partnership will increase access to highly impactful and intentional Gap Year experiences for Duke students.

Head over to the Duke Gap Year Program website to learn more!

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    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2020-01-30 07:59:54
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-30 14:59:54
    [post_content] => 

The inaugural Tufts Civic Semester cohort recently returned home!

Dragons is thrilled to partner with Tisch College in organizing Civic Semester and we are so happy to read these profound reflections from recent students on their experiences in Peru. Here's a snippet from the article, but head over to Tufts to read the full feature!

Yong Quan Tan, a Civic Semester fellow, was placed at Eco Huella, a family-owned farm focused on sustainable indigenous agriculture. His work involved daily farming duties, building greenhouses for high-altitude Andean communities and facilitating visits from local and international organizations.

“It was a time for me to understand the challenges faced by frontline communities … and the urgency for them to adjust and to change the way they work and they live their lives in order to confront [climate change],” Tan, a first-year, said.

Through his time at Eco Huella, Tan has learned more about the actions that can be taken against climate change.

“[I am] being more environmentally conscious … not just of our consumption habits … but also of a greater need for pushing back against factors that are contributing to climate change, and the power of us consumers [who] can decide what kind of choices companies can make to benefit the climate,” he said.

Read the full feature: Inaugural Tufts Civic Semester cohort returns from Peru by SEAN ONG

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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WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 156140
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2020-01-16 07:03:18
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-16 14:03:18
    [post_content] => 

We LOVE seeing our alumni featured in the press, and this piece spotlighting Blake Myers (Dragons Nepal Semester) is so fresh and thorough.

We've included a few of our favorite excerpts below. Head over to Buzz Magazines to read the full feature!

"Blake graduated from the Emery/Weiner School and was accepted to colleges, including Boston University, but he decided to put his formal education on hold. “I didn’t feel ready to go back to school again,” he said. Blake’s mom, Lisa, suggested looking into a gap year. She says Blake is an extremely good student and hard worker, but he was worn out and tired of school by the time he graduated. “We would rather buy a year of growing-up time so he can be excited about college than him going and maybe not having a great year,” she said." 

Alumni Magazine Feature

"Lisa says she is not surprised at all that her son chose such an unusual adventure. “We travel a lot as a family, and Blake always loved it more than the other kids,” she said. Blake spent his junior-year summer in Guatemala, where he became fluent in Spanish, and the experience reinforced his interest in learning about other cultures. “The change in him has been huge. He’s more mature with a broader view and appreciation of things,” Lisa said. “Travel has given him a whole different perspective. Living in Nepal piqued his curiosity to learn more about different Eastern religions, and he’s much more interesting and worldly.”

Read the full article, Bridging the Gap, online at Buzz Magazines.

 

Also, if you are alumni and were featured in any press after your Dragons program, please let us know!

 
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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