5:00am wake ups are easier when these mountains call for you to get out of your tent. Photo by Cecelia Palmquist (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest, 1st Place), Nepal Semester.

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Where There Be Dragons

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Waking up
to a different ceiling and scent
is at first a little disorienting.
How can I be 6,000 miles away from yesterday?
How are these people so unaware of the world out there?
Perhaps airports are portals that transport us too quickly,
causing E-motion sickness,
making my stomach feel the loneliness
and longing for what was once in our hands just a few hours ago.
Now, the sand is shaking off the pockets of my daypack,
scent of tea seeping out through my stuff sacks,
the odor of Tide in my hand-washed T-shirts,
red soil continues to penetrate in my boots and skirts,
and memories begin to unpack itself as I emptied my backpack.
 
Poem by Anna Apilado, Summer 2017 Alumni of the Morocco Program
[post_title] => First Night Home: A Poem, by Anna Apilado [post_excerpt] => A lovely poem shared with us by Anna Apilado, Alumnus of the Morocco Summer 2017 Program...  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => first-night-home-a-poem-by-anna-apilado [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-07 08:26:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-07 15:26:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [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] => 646 [name] => Alumni Spotlight [slug] => alumni_spotlight [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 646 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [parent] => 0 [count] => 47 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 47 [category_description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [cat_name] => Alumni Spotlight [category_nicename] => alumni_spotlight [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/alumni_spotlight/ ) [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] => Continued Education, Alumni Spotlight ... )
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FIRST PLACE: LUISA ROJO

North India: Roof of the World (4-week)

"Innocence and tradition. Kids playing in the prayer wheel in Takmachik, India."

SECOND PLACE: ELIZABETH SHOUP

China: The Silk Road

"Prayer wheels at a Buddhist monastery in Yushu."

 

TIED FOR THIRD PLACE: JENNA SMITH

Peru: Sacred Mountains (4-week)

"Expensive phone calls from the mountains."

TIED FOR THIRD PLACE: MADDY GRIFFIN

Myanmar: Development Studies & Social Transformation

"A huge statue located at the top of a pagoda in Mandalay."

Visit the WTBD Facebook page to view photos and captions from all of our finalists. [post_title] => 2017 SUMMER PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED [post_excerpt] => Selected by peers, family, friends and strangers via Facebook...we're proud to announce the winners... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => s17-photo-contest [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-07 08:27:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-07 15:27:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => 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 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/mixed_media/ ) ) [category_links] => Mixed Media )
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    [post_content] => Teachers, alumni, students: Did you know you can bring a Dragons Instructor right into your classroom for engaging conversations on critical global issues? This might be one of the best things we do. We call it our Global Speaker Series. (And ps. it's free.)

Class Topics with our Guest Teachers Include:
  • The Forces Behind Migration from Central America
  • Introduction to Islam
  • Good Intentions with Complicated Outcomes
  • Urbanization in China
  • Structural Violence
  • Seeds of Culture
  • The Flow of River and Wealth
  • Woven Stories
At Dragons we see exceptional beauty in diversity. And we believe that the experience of connecting with unfamiliar cultures has something to teach everyone. We are dedicated to cross-cultural learning because we know that future leaders will be required to think beyond borders. Part of our educational mission is to bring what we’ve learned from remote corners of the world back home to share. With this mission in mind, each year we send our best teachers to schools across the United States to share their experiences, perspectives, and insights from years living abroad with students ready to engage with critical and compelling global questions. We invite you to look at some of the conversations our staff are facilitating in classrooms around the country. Whether you are a teacher of Language Studies, Geography, Science, History, Social Studies, Religion, or Art, we hope to have a topic of interest to you. If one of the following class titles piques your curiosity, please get in touch. We’d be happy to coordinate a visit from one of our teachers to speak to your class on the subject. And if there’s a topic you would like to address that’s not on this list, let us know. It’s exactly this type of question-based collaboration with students, schools, and educators that inspires us. The Global Speaker Series is sponsored by the Dragons Global Education Fund, in partnership with The Futurity Foundation 501(c)-3. PLEASE SHARE THIS BOOKLET with your teacher or school or call us to have one sent to you. Or just get directly in touch to learn more about our Global Speaker Series: 1800.982.9203
 
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Dragons Global Speaker Series (GSS)

Posted On

10/18/17

Author

Dragons HQ

Description
Teachers, alumni, students: Did you know you can bring a Dragons Instructor right into your classroom for engaging conversations on critical global issues? This might be one of the best things… Read More
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    [post_content] => Loving this shot shared with us by Ellie Happel from the South America, Andes & Amazon Semester...

See more photos on Dragons Instagram feed. Updated weekly.
    [post_title] => Featured Instagram Photo From Ellie Happel
    [post_excerpt] => Loving this shot shared with us by Ellie Happel from the South America, Andes & Amazon Semester.
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    [post_content] => 

Dragons Community Grant Fund

In an effort to give back to our incredible community partners, Where There Be Dragons manages Community Grant Fund. This fund awards grants to community organizations based on a comprehensive application process. Ultimately, the goal of the fund is to provide community organizations with financial support for local projects and to provide a mechanism for Dragons administration, instructors, and students to give back to the places that so generously welcome Dragons participants. All applications are reviewed by a Community Grant Fund Committee and awarded on an annual basis. The Dragons Community Grant Fund is supported by under-budget funds from student programming. At the end of each term, 100% of seasonal total under budget funds will be designated to support the Dragons Community Grant Fund.

Grant Proposal Guidelines

Giving Philosophy

Through community grants Where There Be Dragons hopes to help address needs and opportunities in the communities in which we work, and thereby better fulfill our organization’s mission statement and core values. Emphasis is placed on supporting projects that will have many beneficiaries, are community-oriented, and will have a continuing benefit to the community.

Funding

Grants range from $500-$5,000 per applicant. Dragons reserves the right to adjust the amount awarded to grantees at their discretion.

Eligibility Criteria:

Grants are available to any community member or community organization that meets all of the following criteria:
  • Applications may be submitted either directly by a community member/organization, or by a Dragons instructor, alumni instructor, or former student on behalf of a community member/organization.
  • The individual/organization must demonstrate a recent (within the last 2 years) or ongoing relationship with Dragons as an organization.
  • If an applicant is a current member of Dragons administrative staff or a member of the staff’s immediate family, then the administrative staff may not serve on the the Community Grant Committee for the funding cycle when that application will be considered.  
  • The objectives of the project and projected cost must be shared in the application process.
  • Applications must be submitted online using the stated format, unless otherwise requested in writing.
  • An individual/organization must submit a completed grant proposal by the stated deadline.

Review Criteria:

Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:
  • the potential impact on a local community - including the number beneficiaries and the potential for continuing benefit to the community;
  • clarity of the project plan, including the viability of the objectives and the proposed timeline, and the clarity of the cost structure;
  • the amount of community involvement in design, implementation, and leadership of the project; strength of applicant’s relationship with Dragons; and
  • thoroughness of the application.

How To Apply:

All applications must be completed using this form (unless otherwise requested in writing): Dragons Community Grant Fund Application Additional supporting documents can be submitted via email to [email protected] with the subject “Community Grant Fund Additional Documents - XXX Project.” Please note that Dragons will primarily communicate with the applicant via email so the email address provided in the application should be checked regularly.

Application Deadlines:

Applications open on February 1 and close on June 1, annually. Applications are reviewed in June and award announcements are made in June-July. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. A maximum of 2 applications per individual/organization is permitted per year. Submitting a proposal does not guarantee funding. Any requests for information should be emailed to [email protected].

Restrictions:

The Dragons Community Grant Fund does *not provide funding for:
  • Academic research
  • Individual scholarships
  • Fundraising events, sponsorships, or advertising
  • International travel for applicant
  • Endowment or memorial campaigns
  • Government agencies
* Note: If a need is identified within the above categories, please reach out directly to the Program Director of that region to begin a conversation of how Dragons might be able to support.

Award Process:

Designated Community Grant Fund Committee members will review grant proposals to select which, if any, projects to fund. Applicants will be notified via e-mail about the decision related to their proposal after application review is complete. Awards will typically be made in *June of each year. *Note: At the Committee’s discretion, time-sensitive proposals may be reviewed on a rolling basis. Note that all applicants agree that if a grant is awarded the individual and/or organization will be asked to acknowledge Dragons as a sponsor of their project and are also asked for permission to publish or reproduce any materials provided during the application and/or reporting processes. [post_title] => Dragons Community Grant Fund [post_excerpt] => In an effort to give back to our incredible community partners, Where There Be Dragons has created a Community Grant Fund. This fund awards grants to community organizations based on a comprehensive application process. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dragons-community-grant-fund [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-02-09 17:02:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-02-10 00:02:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [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] => 41 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 41 [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] => 48 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 48 [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] => 669 [name] => Engage [slug] => engage [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 669 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [parent] => 0 [count] => 23 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 13 [cat_ID] => 669 [category_count] => 23 [category_description] => Activism, Advocacy, Leadership & Organizing. [cat_name] => Engage [category_nicename] => engage [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Global Community, About Dragons ... )
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    [post_date] => 2017-09-18 14:23:38
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    [post_content] => On my Bolivia course this past summer, one of my students posed the question “Why should we care about diversity?” (thank you Rebecca!). Initially, I had a knee-jerk reaction to the query, thinking about the myriad and strikingly apparent reasons why diversity is something that we inherently want to value. But the more I considered Rebecca’s sincere and honest inquiry, I found myself increasingly tongue-tied. My efforts to produce an eloquent and comprehensive response to what seemed a self-evident human truism tugged at the very core of my being and values as an individual and as an educator. Rebecca’s question has remained ever-present in my mind these past months, and I have come to realize that it speaks to the fundamental nature of the work that we do as educators.

Over the past four years, I have spent approximately 610 days in the field as an instructor with Dragons. That works out to be just over 40% of my life in that period, not counting the additional days and weeks that I’ve spent preparing for courses, pouring over paperwork, doing administrative work at the office in Boulder, scouting new program areas, staffing instructors, liaising with potential students and families, outreaching with our local contacts, and participating in Dragons orientations and trainings. I think I can safely speak for our wide community of instructors and administrators when I say that we do this work for reasons that drive us spiritually, emotionally, and intuitively as human beings. We work long hours, late nights, we get sick and exhausted, we travel and sweat and sometimes pull off feats of theatrical and improvisational educational acrobatics in rugged cross-cultural settings. And we love what we do.
The ethnosphere, a notion perhaps best defined as the sum total of all thoughts, beliefs, myths and intuitions made manifest today by the myriad cultures of the world. The ethnosphere is humanity’s greatest legacy. It is the product of our dreams, the embodiment of our hopes, the symbol of all that we are and all that we have created as a wildly inquisitive and astonishingly adaptive species. -Wade Davis, Light at the Edge of the World
Over the course my years as an instructor, my work with Dragons has poured over into other elements of my life, influencing my relationships and community, driving my schedule, and molding in significant ways the manner in which I perceive and interact with the world around me. My husband would say that I live and breath Dragons and, in that regard, I am very much not alone. There are many of us, some much more devoted than I, who are dedicating their professional lives to living against the grain, jumping from course to course and continent to continent, traversing cultural and conventional boundaries and redefining, every single day, the potential of experiential education and meaningful cross-cultural engagement to touch and (hopefully!) transform the lives of young people. Every single one of us is engaged in this work because we believe that it has the power to break down prejudice, to connect the sometimes seemingly disconnected threads of our planet, to redefine the contours of our human relationships and global interactions in ways that are more compassionate, meaningful, and productive for humanity and the planet that cradles us. I know that for me personally, my early travels left a profound mark on my identity and life trajectory, and contributed in countless ways to the path that led me to my home in Bolivia. As instructors, we do not claim to change lives, but we believe that placing young people in situations of inter-cultural dialogue, reflection, and exposure to the planet’s mind-numbing diversity – and vulnerability – can do just that. We are motivated by living a life of intention, constant exploration, boundless curiosity, and a profound respect for difference. As instructors, educators, mentors, guides, teachers, friends, and cultural translators we work ceaselessly, improvise daily, and demand incredible resiliency from ourselves and from our students. The work of an instructor with Dragons is an incredible leap of faith. Each student arrives to our programs with different life experiences, perspectives, expectations, world-views and ways of absorbing and making sense of new experiences. Over the course of our programs, we consciously and intentionally challenge those world-views and push our students out of their fields of physical, mental and emotional comfort. In return, we hope the places and experiences they encounter will plant a small seed of understanding that may in some way influence their future attitudes, decisions, and interactions with the world around them. On a basic and aspirational level, the seeds that I would like to scatter into this world have one elemental goal: respect for diversity, both human and natural, and the right of all beings to dance, to dream, to flourish in ways that cherish the magical and dizzying colors and variations of our planet. More often than not, we have no idea if those seeds will ever take root, if the experience will stay alive and resonate out into the world or be swallowed by other forces beyond our reach. It is impossible to measure the impact of our work, to quantify our accomplishments, and at times, the meaning of this journey may only manifest months or years down the line. But that leap of faith keeps us going in forests and villages, on buses and riverboats and across mountains and deserts around the globe. It is a daunting and sometimes terrifying task. We seek to build moral characters while knowing full well that we are flawed and fallible individuals ourselves. We teach to and probe some of the fundamental questions around human nature and difference. We challenge conventions around privilege and prejudice, legacies of violence and oppression, and our role and responsibility as engaged human beings in a fragile and complex natural and socio-economic landscape. And we ask ourselves, at every turn, how we can be better teachers and educators and more compassionate human beings. It is a constant dance of perpetual planning, experimentation, big questions, and the winds of spontaneity. Was I patient enough? Did I ask the right questions? Are my students being awakened by the beauty and tragedy at every turn? These themes were thrown into stark relief this past week during our excursion into the Amazon, a place where the myth of our isolated human experience is lifted at every turn. There is perhaps nowhere on the planet where you are more immersed in diversity and fragility, where the minute interconnectedness of our natural biosphere washes over us, where the delicate threads that make up the texture and brilliance and intricate quilt of our world wrap around us in a suffocating and at once liberating embrace. The Amazon rainforest is the apothecary of our world, the source of so many of our remedies and resources, while also posing exhilarating threats. It is a place where the fate of the planet and our place within it stands on a precarious and unfathomable precipice. As young people in the face of unprecedented challenges, it is our lives in this ultimately miniscule moment in time that may determine the winds of that scale. The healers of the Amazon forest claim to be intermediaries between our species and the secrets of the animal and plant world. They unlock the healing properties of the forest while reminding us of our beautiful and fragile condition as humans. Traditionally, those healers have navigated and in some ways maintained that intricate and invisible balance – between humans and the natural world, and between the spiritual and physical realms of being. If you ask an Amazonian healer how they learned of the healing properties of the forest, he or she will tell you that the plants spoke to them, that ultimately we are an integral part of the forest and it will speak to us if we only know how to listen. On one of our last days in the jungle, the sky opened up and we were relieved, for a time, from the oppressive heat and insects. A group of us found ourselves out on an excursion to a nearby lake, and we were swallowed up by a torrent unlike anything we’d ever experienced. Engulfed by the depths of the tropical rainforest, we were humbled and overwhelmed by this majestic force of nature. We stripped off the layers that were nominally protecting us from the insects, and allowed the water to wash over us. I was struck by the sensation of feeling like a tiny, insignificant drop of rain on this infinite and multi-chromatic planet. I think that all of us that day also felt connected, awakened, involved in something beautiful and fleeting and altogether significant. It was a moment that cannot be planned or scripted, when forces beyond our control come together overwhelmingly to remind us to be grateful, to dance in the joy of a magical and unrepeateable moment, to revel in the abundance and diversity around us. A moment when feeling small also means feeling a part of something greater. As the strength of the storm diminished and the rain settled into a steady rhythm, the six of us trudged through the jungle soaked to the bone, knee deep in water, but also with a bounce to our step. Nothing significant was said, but we all knew in our silence that something special had passed between us. And I realized that those magical, unplanned, irresistible moments are the real joys and lessons in this life, the seeds that we hope to plant but sometimes just fall over us like water from the sky. We were cleansed, invigorated, exhilarated by the storm, by the majesty of the jungle, and by our utter gratitude at being here, together, on this altogether mundane and extraordinary day in the Amazon. Nature spoke, and for an ephemeral moment in space and time, we listened.   [post_title] => Confessions of a Dragons Instructor [post_excerpt] => We work long hours, late nights, we get sick and exhausted, we travel and sweat and sometimes pull off feats of theatrical and improvisational educational acrobatics in rugged cross-cultural settings. And we love what we do... 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[parent] => 0 [count] => 46 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 46 [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] => 48 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 48 [category_description] => Press, Essays from Admin, and Behind-the-Scenes HQ. 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