Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Instructor.

Posts Categorized:

Global Community

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    [ID] => 156821
    [post_author] => 1530
    [post_date] => 2020-05-26 11:49:52
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-26 17:49:52
    [post_content] => 

Director of Student Programming, Aaron Slosberg, was interviewed on Dr. Heidi Forbes Öste's podcast, Global Nomad Hacks.

global nomad hacks podcast where there be dragonsIn the interview, Aaron and Heidi Discuss:
  • How Aaron’s love of learning has brought him to over 30 countries around the globe as a student, teacher, and traveler.
  • His experience as the Program Coordinator for UCLA Outdoor Adventures.
  • His experiences in Guatemala and Indonesia that led him to get involved with Dragons.
  • Dragons travel philosophy and immersive programming.
       
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[post_title] => DRAGONS FEATURED ON GLOBAL NOMAD HACKS PODCAST [post_excerpt] => Dragons Director of Student Programming, Aaron Slosberg, was interviewed on Dr. Heidi Forbes Öeste's podcast, Global Nomad Hacks.  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dragons-featured-on-global-nomad-hacks-podcast [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-26 12:03:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-26 18:03:07 [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] => 40 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 40 [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] => 46 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 46 [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] => 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] => 50 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 50 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Global Community, About Dragons ... )
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    [ID] => 156805
    [post_author] => 1530
    [post_date] => 2020-05-21 12:23:06
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-21 18:23:06
    [post_content] => 

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention,

How to fall down into the grass,

How to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed,

How to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

-Excerpt from The Summer Day, by Mary Oliver.

[caption id="attachment_131040" align="aligncenter" width="676"]Student reflects near a temple Mekong Travel Abroad Photo by Eva Ramey, Student.[/caption] We had just finished dinner in my homestay, and were still sitting on the mat in the center of the main room. The communal bowl of sticky rice had been returned to the kitchen, as well as the bowls of delicately cooked mushrooms and vegetables, and the chicken stew. As I sat, eating a banana and attempting to chat with my host mother, I noticed the two little boys – my host nephews – running around outside with large headlamps flopping up and down on their heads. My host sister seemed to be wandering the house collecting empty water bottles, and her husband, too, seemed to be up to something. I made some hand gestures to my host mom, attempting to gather what they might be up to, and she responded in turn with hand gestures of her own – a motion with her hands and arms, as if to catch something, and a finger pointed in the direction of the rice fields. Kaohi bpai dai boah? Can I go? I asked. She nodded, shooing me towards my host sister, who was now standing outside of the door with a headlamp around her head, her two boys by her side. I hurried to find my own headlamp.

*          *          *

My host sister, her husband, and her two boys, Alek, 8 years old, and Alak, 3 years old, take the lead on this evening expedition; they are joined by my host cousin, a sullen 16-year old, two local girls, both 10 or 12 years old, and me. Each of us is equipped with a headlamp and an empty plastic water bottle. We emerge from a narrow path between houses onto the rice fields, and disperse, headlamps trained to the ground. I follow my sister, trying to figure out what we are looking for. The rice fields are dry this time of year, the mud and earth cracked and the rice grasses chopped short, golden, flat and bent. The dry paddies are still marked by their mounded earth boundaries, roughly delineated squares of varying size. I see tiny frogs, smaller than the size of my pinky nail, leaping among the dry grasses, and spiders whose green eyes glisten in the light of my headlamp. But no one seems to pay any attention to these creatures. What are they looking for instead? I watch my sister’s circle of light rather than my own, trying to see what she sees. Finally, she points, squats, deftly and silently snaps her hand over a flash of black. A cricket. She squeezes it from the earth and into the palm of her hand, slides open the cap of her water bottle, and tips it inside. We are hunting for crickets.
Equipped with the knowledge of what I should be looking for, I spread out. The swell of the uncaught cricket’s chatter fills the night, accompanied by the lilting babble of little Alak, my 3-year old nephew. The evening sky glows purple in the light from neighboring Thailand as our small circles of headlamp light spread across the cracked fields. Orion hangs in the sky above us.
The crickets are nimble and wily. They prance among the grasses, and nestle into the cracks that have spread across the earth, or delve into holes in the paddy mounds, carved by other insects and animals. I know what a cricket looks like by daylight, but that’s not what I’m looking for – in the dim light of a headlamp at night, a cricket looks black, a black dash glinting among the dry mud and grass. I catch one, and then another. My host cousin’s water bottle is half-full already, the crickets piled atop one another, squirming and chattering. But I am learning to look. I follow the low mounds that delineate the paddy borders, and catch a few more. I pluck them by their hind legs, and slide them into Alek’s water bottle, or Alak’s, sharing my goodies; they share theirs, too. I’m learning, from Alek and Alak, from the young girls, and from my once-sullen, now lively 16-year old cousin, how to pay attention – to the night, to the earth, to the grasses, to the crickets, to each other. Tell me, what else should I have done?
Over the course of our travels along the Mekong, I’ve been reminded, as I hope my students have also been reminded, how to pay attention. How to notice the small and curious details in the world around us – the black crickets in the grass; the white porcelain Virgin Mary statue perched atop a red and gold Buddhist shrine; my host father’s arm, tenderly wrapped around his grandson as they watch cartoons together.
How to pay attention to one another – to notice each person in their sorrow, and in joy. How to care for each other. And how to care for ourselves: paying attention to our minds, noticing our thoughts. These are things that no classroom, professor, or textbook can teach us. These are things we learn from a host mother, brother, or nephew, or from the earth, the grass, and the crickets. They are things we learn from each other, and from the world around us. If the Mekong River, if Cambodia, Laos, and China, if the communities that host us, love us, teach us, can leave us with anything, I hope that it might be this –  

How to fall down into the grass,

How to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed,

How to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

 
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[post_title] => FEATURED YAK: HOW TO PAY ATTENTION [post_excerpt] => Dragons Instructor, Angelica Calabrese, wrote this yak while leading a Mekong Gap Year semester. Over the course of our travels along the Mekong, I’ve been reminded, as I hope my students have also been reminded, how to pay attention. How to notice the small and curious details in the world around us – the black crickets in the grass; the white porcelain Virgin Mary statue perched atop a red and gold Buddhist shrine; my host father’s arm, tenderly wrapped around his grandson as they watch cartoons together. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => featured-yak-how-to-pay-attention [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-22 10:11:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-22 16:11:23 [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] => 71 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 71 [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] => 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] => 40 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 40 [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] => 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] => 35 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8 [cat_ID] => 640 [category_count] => 35 [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 ) [3] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 9 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 9 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community ... )
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    [ID] => 156776
    [post_author] => 1530
    [post_date] => 2020-05-18 10:22:02
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-18 16:22:02
    [post_content] => Dragons instructor and journalist, Kristen Gianaris, wrote an article for Morocco World News comparing western perspectives on toilet paper and the benefits of switching to a more sustainable solution such as water—the way many communities around the world have done for centuries. 

 

toilet paper challenge instagram Morocco World NewsIn The Article Gianaris Mentions:

  • Statistics such as the fact that somewhere between 70 and 75% of people worldwide use some alternative to toilet paper and that the World Wildlife Foundation estimates that people flush 27,000 trees a day down the toilet.
  • The historical, cultural, and environmental elements present in the discussion around "bathroom business".
  • The way that Dragons immersive curriculum encourages students to challenge their perspectives.
   
Preferring the road less traveled by tourists, WTBD designs educational courses in a way that encourages students to do as locals do. In many of the countries where the organization operates, water is the primary method to take care of bathroom business.
  [caption id="attachment_156784" align="alignright" width="376"]toilet paper challenge instagram Morocco World News An alumni response to a prompt on Instagram to share a lesson from the field that is helping them cope under the pressures of COVID-19[/caption]

Dragons instructors were quoted on the topic:

"TP is perhaps one of the best examples of ‘leaving home behind.’ So much of the world lives without toilet paper, how did/do humans do without it? Exploring this brings us closer to understanding who we are as humans. In addition, breaking open our judgments of what constitutes ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ can help break down stereotypes.” —Tim Hare, Director of Risk Management. “I am doing the #notpchallenge [no toilet paper challenge] with Where There Be Dragons...once you start, there’s no turning back.” —Greg Pettys, Instructor. “Our students are uniquely situated to help build practices on this continent … that are more resource-use-aware...we have to instruct on the use of water to cleanse oneself. And the students, of course, in the first week, students find it hilarious and unsettling, and then by the end, many of them actually like it better than using toilet paper.” — Charis Boke, Instructor.  
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WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 1530
    [post_date] => 2020-05-15 11:58:11
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-15 17:58:11
    [post_content] => 

Frances McMillan, a participant on a West Africa semester program, made the following video to reflect the transformative impact of the close friendship she formed with her homestay brother, Moussa.

 
 
Upon arriving in Senegal, I was petrified. How would I form a meaningful relationship with my host family when we didn't speak the same language? When we came from two different worlds? Would I be able to adapt to their way of life, while still holding onto my own identity?
 
I soon realized I had nothing to be worried about. Yes, it was hard at first. Like, really really hard. Was there deafening silence coupled with awkwardness and anxiety for the first few days? 100%. But as time passed, I felt like I had known my family forever. Their routines became mine. After dinner, I cleaned with my sister, then we settled down to some Senegalese soap operas with my grandma and I always laughed when they laughed (even though I could barely understand a word of the rapid-fire Wolof), and then it was tea time.
 
Moussa and I sipped hot, bittersweet attaya from tiny glass cups while popping fresh peanuts into our mouths in the courtyard under the stars. We exchanged sarcastic comments and inside jokes like old friends. I remember I never wanted to go to sleep because I could talk with Moussa forever. He made me feel like I had a second home I could always return to.
 
I hope this short documentary stirs something inside you. Whether it's an urge to travel, an urge to get outside your comfort zone, or maybe just a feeling of admiration for the man who I was lucky enough to spend every day with for a month. Thank you Dragons for making our connection possible and thank you Moussa, you are a force to be reckoned with and I can't wait to see what you achieve in the future.
 
Love your friend and mentee,
Khadidja (Frances)
 
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    [post_date] => 2020-05-11 18:10:24
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-12 00:10:24
    [post_content] => Buddha Bhutan Summer Abroad

To keep advancing our mission to foster a more compassionate, just, and inclusive world, we're bringing you more FREE Dragons talks to keep sharing the things we're passionate about. We hope you'll join us and learn something new!

Register now. Space is limited. Missed a session? Watch the recorded webinar on YouTube.    

Intro to Ayurveda: Self Healing in The Time of Covid-19

An introduction to this 5,000-year-old system of understanding how our bodies and minds interact with nature and society with simple techniques to remain balanced in times of stress and uncertainty. Presented by: Jenny Wagner, Dragons Princeton Bridge Year Program Director. Jenny shares her passion for Ayurveda drawing on her experience as a Dragons instructor, Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), and life coach. May 13th, 10am MST | Learn More/Register >>

 

Resume Building 101: Planning for Your Future Career

Feel empowered and productive with Ellery's guidance on resume building best practices to show that you're qualified, stand out, and translate nuanced experiences to paper. Presented by: Ellery Rosin, Dragons Staffing Director. Ellery's coveted tips are rooted in her behind-the-scenes knowledge of the hiring process and experience as a field-educator and Peace Corps volunteer. May 15th, 4pm EST | Learn More/Register >>

 

Packing 101: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Travel Packing

We may not be able to travel yet, but why not keep the travel stoke alive by practicing your packing skills? Ellery will walk you through best practices in packing for extended travel experiences. Presented by: Ellery Rosin, Dragons Staffing Director. Ellery shares her packing expertise learned during her time as an international experiential education leader and Peace Corps volunteer. May 18th, 4pm EST | Learn More/Register >>

 

Urbanization in China and the Biggest City You've Never Heard Of

Drawing on life experience and a passion for Chongqing's local history and economic transformation, Jody will introduce students to this city of 12 million and discuss migration and urbanization in China today. Presented by: Jody Segar, Dragons College Program Director, draws upon his experience living and working in China for 11 years as a teacher, a financial reporter, the host of the Chinese television program, a guide on the Yangtze River, a musician, an advertising designer, a writer and editor, and China program director. May 20th, 4pm EST | Learn More/Register >>

 

Foreign Friends, Foreign Devils

What is it like to live in China long-term as a "foreigner"? Jody will engage attendees in thinking about how being perceived as a foreigner can change and shape the way they might perceive themselves and others, in China and in the US. Presented by: Jody Segar, Dragons College Program Director, draws upon his experience living and working in China for 11 years as a teacher, a financial reporter, the host of the Chinese television program, a guide on the Yangtze River, a musician, an advertising designer, a writer and editor, and China program director. May 27th, 4pm EST | Learn More/Register >>

 

A Coup or Not a Coup? The Fall of Evo Morales and Political Transformation in Bolivia

With the sudden ousting of longtime indigenous president and incumbent Evo Morales, Bolivia was already in a major political crisis when Covid-19 took hold. Presented by: Julianne Chandler, Dragons Latin America Program Director, shares her experience living in Bolivia during dual crises of pandemic and coup d'etat. May 29th, 4pm EST | Learn More/Register >>
 
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[post_title] => Self Healing, Coups, Foreign Devils, Resume Building + more! New Online Virtual Global Speaker Series Webinars [post_excerpt] => To keep advancing our mission to foster a more compassionate, just, and inclusive world, we're bringing you more FREE Dragons talks to keep sharing the things we're passionate about. We hope you'll join us and learn something new! Register now. Space is Limited. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => self-healing-coups-foreign-devils-resume-building-more-new-online-virtual-global-speaker-series-webinars [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-14 16:25:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-14 22:25:21 [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] => 655 [name] => Continued Education [slug] => continued_education [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 655 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Continued Education, Webinars, Curriculum, Transference. [parent] => 0 [count] => 14 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 655 [category_count] => 14 [category_description] => Continued Education, Webinars, Curriculum, Transference. [cat_name] => Continued Education [category_nicename] => continued_education [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/continued_education/ ) [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] => 40 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 40 [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] => 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] => 35 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8 [cat_ID] => 640 [category_count] => 35 [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 ) [3] => 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] => 50 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 50 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 ) [4] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 9 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 9 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Continued Education, Global Community ... )
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Self Healing, Coups, Foreign Devils, Resume Building + more! New Online Virtual Global Speaker Series Webinars

Posted On

05/11/20

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Dragons HQ

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To keep advancing our mission to foster a more compassionate, just, and inclusive world, we're bringing you more FREE Dragons talks to keep sharing the things we're passionate about. We… Read More
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    [ID] => 156752
    [post_author] => 1530
    [post_date] => 2020-05-10 12:32:31
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-10 18:32:31
    [post_content] => Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers and mother figures out there. Today, we pay a special tribute to our homestay mothers for the warmth and inspiration that they bring to our community. We are thinking of and sending extra love to our homestay families during this time as many communities are being hit hard by COVID-19 especially those who look forward to hosting students through programs such as ours. The Dragons Community Relief Fund is doing amazing work to provide resources to our global community. Learn more about how they are showing up for Dragons global community. 

In the spirit of celebration, here are three student Yaks paying tribute to their homestay mothers:

Bhutan Summer 2019 Homestay

My Homestay by Jack Greene, Bhutan.

"I started out my homestay by being greeted by an old lady who spoke no English. I would later know her as angay, which is the Dzongkhan word for grandma. Now that the week is complete, I can confidently say that in my opinion, I had by far the best homestay. The first reason for this was that I didn’t have any younger siblings. I was initially disappointed about this but am now eternally grateful. This is simply because kids can be annoying, and having them follow you around for an entire week can be frustrating. So I avoided this downside of having little siblings who lived with me while still getting to have nieces and nephews who lived on the same property as me and would hang out with me from time to time. My favorite story about my nephew is a weird one. Some context is that throughout the week, my nephew and several other kids in the village would like to hold my hand and rub it on their face because of how soft it was (which they weren’t used to because it was a farming village and their hands were calloused). So one day, my nephew told the other kids that I didn’t want them to walk me to my house, which was his attempt to not have competition to hold my hand. There are more stories like this involving kids who would push others away from me and run at each other from behind so that they could have one of my hands all to themselves. Homestay food Bhutan summer abroad Another reason my homestay was the best was that I had angay, with whom I formed a close bond despite the fact that the only English she knew was “sit down” (which she used so that I wouldn’t help her to make meals). This was best exemplified one day when I was at my house with some friends drinking tea. Angay came into the room with a little girl from the village who spoke pretty good English and translated that I needed to eat lunch out that day because angay was going to the cows. I then had her tell angay that she was the best homestay grandma and a few other things that I can’t quite remember. Angay’s eyes started to water and she gave me a hug while having the translator tell me that I was the best grandson too. This is just one reason for how great angay was. Some more reasons are how she made the best milk tea I’ve had the whole trip and she would fill my water bottle with it every morning before I left so that I would have some for the day, she wasn’t strict and let me go to my friend’s houses whenever I wanted to, she made awesome food and even taught me how to fold momos so that they looked like proper momos, she would always let me play with her cat (ghi lli in Dzongkhan), she helped make hot water for me so that I could shower every couple of days, she would let me sleep and wouldn’t wake me up extremely early like other families did, and she always had snacks and candy that she would give to me whenever I came home. And these are just the most memorable of reasons for why I had the best homestay, there are countless others that I could write about for pages and pages. Also, on the final day when we threw a party for the homestay families, most adults couldn’t come because they were at the monastery, but angay left for the monastery early so that she could make it back for the party (which ended up being a dance battle between the girls and the boys who lived in the village). At this party, I gave angay a note that I had asked someone to write down for me in Dzongkhan that said the following: Homestay letter Bhutan Summer Abroad
Dear angay, Thank you so much for letting me stay with you. You have been the best homestay. Everyone always wants to come over because I tell them how great you are and how you make the best milk tea. Then they say they want you as their homestay. Also, your food is awesome and I especially loved your momos and bato (a stew that contains beef and fried dough – photo attached). You are so sweet and made this week great. Best, Jack (Jigme) Greene
On the morning when I left, angay and I said our goodbyes and took two photos (attached). She then made her way down the road to her house and I waved tama che gae (goodbye) as she vanished around the curve in the road."

Mothers of China by Carolina, Faith, and Isa. China South of the Clouds.

"(Carolina) My first homestay mother was called Zhouma.  When she first welcomed us into her home she seemed beautiful in a quiet, unobtrusive type of way.  It wasn’t until the next morning, when she dragged us out of bed to milk the yaks that I realized how wrong I had been about her.  I watched this delicate looking lady overpower yak calves twice her weight, throw stones at intruding dogs, and punch a fully grown yak in the butt when it was annoying her.  By the end of the homestay she had forced everybody in my group to cultivate a healthy respect (and fear) of her.  She was crazy strong but you would never have known that at first glance.  She taught me to pitfalls of making assumptions and underestimating people, because this delicate lady was one of the most powerful people I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.

(Faith) In the first homestay, we were greeted by the friendliest woman with a sweet crooked smile. She lived alone since her father passed away last year, and still managed to do everything flawlessly for herself and her seventeen year old daughter. Every morning, she milked and herded the yaks, made cheese, dried yak poop for manure, and made us a delicious breakfast. She figured out that I couldn’t eat the food with gluten and proceeded to give me heaping bowls of green zucchini, yak meat and rice. She would smile us as we ate and bring us our favorite yak yogurt after every single meal no matter how full we said we were. More than anything, we had the most fun laughing with our host mom. She would constantly speak to us in Tibetan and we would speak English, but you would never know that there was a language barrier from the amount of fun that we had. At night, as we attempted to speak Tibetan and our host mom was laughing hysterically, I reflected on the simplicity of her hospitality and sweetness. It was such a highlight to spend days with just our homestay mom by the warmth of the stove on the kang in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains.

(Isa) I was nervous and excited to meet my host mother from the first homestay. I admit that at the beginning I felt like an invader who arrived from the unknown and took place in their lovely home. After the homestay was up I realized I was wrong, these 3 foreign people that were totally strangers at the beginning, were now a sweet family to me. I spent most of the time with the mother, and with the passing of days I was impressed by how much energy she had.  She had to wake up everyday, probably to a temperature of 3C, with a smile on her face to make breakfast for you from the yaks that she just milked an hour ago.

(All 3 of us) Seeing that smile in the morning, made me feel like a needed to get more of those precious smiles, so I helped with the needs of the house. I spent a lot of time with the mother doing work I would never think someone could actually do alone. I was so impressed to see how the mother had built her home from the hard work she does everyday, and this just shows me how powerful and strong women can be, all these things made more conscious about setting goals and purposes for my life.

I can say that the mother from my homestay taught me that if your want to get something you have to wake up early.  For breakfast you have to milk the yaks, you need to do it by yourself and you need to make it happen. This sounds silly, but if you think about this image you can relate these lessons with your real life and you can start setting goals you can achieve and start to fight for them everyday.

In the most recent homestay, the three of us were placed together (let the shenanigans begin). Our sweet host mom welcomed us into her home which appeared to circulate the whole community. The mother and grandmother provided not only for their own three boys, but also seemingly hosted the whole neighborhood at some point for a meal or night of sleep. From the first late night that we arrived, we were welcomed with steaming rice bowls filled with potatoes, green zucchini and meat. At mealtime, our family watched us intently to make sure that we got enough food. Yesterday, we went on a long hike up the mountain across from our village. Our host mom and grandma packed us an entire industrial bucket full of rice and veggies, acted out that we needed walking sticks, and zipped our chopsticks into our bag. Our host mom also delicately braided each of our hair as she does her own. Not only were the women of our host family extremely caring and hospitable, but also astonishingly strong. In the mornings, we would spend hours picking beans, processing wheat, hauling bins of crops and plowing the soil. Our homestay mom and grandma would have the four of us hoist an entire machine on one of their backs and then carry the wheat processor down a tiny single wood ladder. It was absolutely insane to see how hard these ladies worked and how much they were always serving their family, the community and us as guests. It got us thinking a lot about our own moms!

(Faith) Mom, thank you so much for how much you sacrifice for our family. I admire your strength, resilience, hospitality and care. You are my role model and I miss seeing you in action every day! You have impacted me more than you know and have shown me what a confident, empowered and determined woman looks like.

(Isa) Ma no sabes la falta que me haces ahora mas que nunca. Después de haber tenido la oportunidad de estar en este hogar y ver a esta mama darlo todo por sus hijos, me hizo reflexionar acerca de todo el sacrificio y el amor con el que haces las cosas. Me siento muy feliz de tener como mama y espero poder seguir aprendiendo de ti todos los días, y te pueda seguir viendo como una luchadora que ha conseguido cumplir todas las metas que se propone. Te amo

(Carolina) Hi Mom!  I can’t thank you enough for shaping me into the person I am today.  You’re smart, charming, compassionate, kind, and the strongest woman I know.  I hope to one day live up to the example you set for me.  Since you don’t have a mom around to tell you this, I guess I have to: I am so proud of who you are and I love you so much!"

Two Mothers a World Apart by Macy Ryan, Nepal.

Nepal Homestay Summer Abroad "I miss my mom. I miss how she would give me sweaty hugs after she returned from a hike. Or how she has this one red, fleece sweater that is probably older than me but she still wears it all the time. She is confused by my childish love for sloppy joes but will still make them for me. I miss seeing her hard at work everyday, something that has always inspired me. One thing I’ve miss the most is the little moments we share together, like sharing a Chocolove bar with her while we sit on the couch after dinner. Here, I have a replacement mom. My Chokati mother is equally as amazing and hardworking as my biological mother. Over the past week I’ve noticed some comforting resemblances between the two. Last night, I gave my homestay mother the gifts I brought from home for her: Chocolove bars. She opened the Toffee & Almonds one (my mothers favorite) and insisted we share it. Sitting by the open fire in the kitchen of our small mud and stone house, we shared the chocolate bar. I savored every last crumb.
My homestay mother and I can barely communicate with each other, but this was a bonding moment. The gift of chocolate bringing a mother and daughter closer together. My homestay mother, from the moment I arrived in Chokati, took me in as her own. She has taught me how to work in the fields, cook daal bhaat, and do all the household chores. Just as my own mother would, she hands me a bucket of dishes to do after every meal. Or, when I’m feeling sick, she’ll make me some tea and let me lay in bed.
I wasn’t sure what to expect about the rural homestay; I was a bit nervous about the whole thing. One of the last things I expected was to get so close to my family within the ten short days. But now I’ve seen the sense of community in the whole of Chokati. It doesn’t matter if you’re blood-related to someone, you’re always a brother or sister or mother or father. We’ve been welcomed here with open arms and taken in as one of the family. And although I miss my family tremendously, I’ve been shown that no matter where I am, I can find comfort in a community of people acting as a supportive family."  
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] => A Tribute to Homestay Mothers [post_excerpt] => Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers and mother figures out there. Today, we pay a special tribute to our homestay mothers for the warmth and inspiration that they bring to our community. We are thinking of and sending extra love to our homestay families during this time as many communities are being hit hard by COVID-19 especially those who look forward to hosting students through programs such as ours. The Dragons Community Grant Fund is doing amazing work to provide resources to our global community. Learn more about how they are showing up for Dragons global community. In the spirit of celebration, here are three student Yaks paying tribute to their homestay mothers: [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-tribute-to-homestay-mothers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-10 12:41:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-10 18:41:42 [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] => 71 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 71 [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] => 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] => 40 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 40 [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] => 46 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 46 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. [cat_name] => About Dragons [category_nicename] => about_dragons [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community ... )
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