Posts Tagged:

Alumni

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    [ID] => 156245
    [post_author] => 1530
    [post_date] => 2020-02-10 11:19:44
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-02-10 18:19:44
    [post_content] => 

Alumni, Emma Freund, authored this piece for Colby College's HerCampus blog. Read on for this reflection on Emma's time in Myanmar.

Take a chance on life, on you, and on the world being bigger and better once you get to know it.
As college students, we’d like to think we understand what life is and what our role is in it. In the words of Steve Jobs, “When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life.” Jobs goes on to describe how “life can be much broader” when you realize that you have the power to change the world. Life can be much broader when you realize how much the world has the power to change you. Summer Abroad Myanmar Where There Be Dragons This past summer, I went on an educational, immersive, rugged travel experience throughout Myanmar with a company called Where There Be Dragons. Dragons, according to its “Mission & Values” page on its website, is an “environmentally conscientious, culturally self-aware,” travel company that is “focused on developing mutually meaningful connections with local communities” with a goal to “to build empathy and foster a feeling of shared responsibility for our collective future” as citizens of the world.
Some would assume that I came back to 'reality' with a taste of a different world. On the contrary, I came back to a different space within a broader reality that I hadn’t known existed.
My experience with Dragons is one that changed my life in a way I don’t believe can ever be undone. Some would assume that I came back to “reality” with a taste of a different world. On the contrary, I came back to a different space within a broader reality that I hadn’t known existed. I gained the feeling that I know little to nothing about life, that I have so much more of life to explore. I looked fondly at my bug bites, chacos foot tan, notebook flowing with journal entries that perfume of sandalwood, and Myanmar milk tea that I drink when I yearn for that mystical other land. For when the world around me here at Colby makes me feel anxious or bored, these things are evidence to me that all of it was even real. I did fly halfway across the world to a place called Myanmar and felt my heart alive. I did. I took a chance and left my bubble to explore new edges of what seems like a different world but, in reality, exists inside mine without me ever knowing it before. Summer Abroad Myanmar Where There Be Dragons Fishing Summer Abroad Myanmar Where There Be Dragons
these things are evidence to me that all of it was even real. I did fly halfway across the world to a place called Myanmar and felt my heart alive. I did. I took a chance and left my bubble to explore new edges of what seems like a different world but, in reality, exists inside mine without me ever knowing it before.
So I say to you, take a chance on bamboo shoots and catfish soup, on taking a picture with a random little boy on the street because he wants to see your digital camera. Take a chance on climbing a 777-step mountain while sneaky monkeys grabbed at your purse, and taking a bucket shower in the middle of the village for all to see. Take a chance on planting rice at 4 am in the mud fields, and on cooking freshly slaughtered chicken over an open fire stove. Take a chance on abandoning toilet-paper and living for days off of only the woods. Take a chance on life, on you, and on the world being bigger and better once you get to know it. Homestay Summer Abroad Myanmar Where There Be Dragons Temple Summer Abroad Myanmar Where There Be Dragons I wouldn’t give back what Dragons gave me for anything in the world. So, I implore you, as a fellow college student who once thought she knew all that life had to offer her, take a chance and explore the world while you can because the world is beautiful. Just when we think we’ve seen it all—we haven’t. So take a train to a city you’ve never been to before, start writing to a pen pal in Bali. Watch documentaries about faraway lands. There’s so much to experience, whether you’re there in person or there in heart. Because once you bash your walls down a little bit, you will realize that life is only as small as you make it. So take the leap, see what else is out there. I can’t say it’ll be easy, but you’ll live. Summer Abroad Myanmar Where There Be Dragons Architecture Summer Abroad Myanmar Where There Be Dragons   About Emma:
Emma Freund is a passionate creative writer with special interest in culture, wellness, beauty, and lifestyle. She is an avid movie geek and loves to read romance and sci-fi novels. She pursues philosophy as background for her creative writing and could spend all day reading Plato's Republic if only given enough time. She is a fun gal who loves what she does, and she hopes you enjoy reading her work as much as she enjoys writing it!  
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[post_title] => From The Field: How My Experience in Myanmar with Dragons Expanded My Life [post_excerpt] => Dragons alumni, Emma Freund, authored this piece for Colby College's HerCampus blog. Read on for this reflection on Emma's time in Myanmar. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => from-the-field-how-my-experience-in-myanmar-with-where-there-be-dragons-expanded-my-life [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-06-21 17:52:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-06-21 23:52:25 [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] => 37 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 37 [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] => 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] => 17 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 11 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 17 [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] => 18 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 13 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 18 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Alumni Spotlight ... )
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    [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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    [post_date] => 2019-12-16 11:58:55
    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-16 18:58:55
    [post_content] => 

Dragons Podcast

You asked for it. And here it is:

THE DRAGONS PODCAST

hosted by Alum Student Bub Vernon

  • EP. 6 PEPY's Executive Director Sarakk Rith on hope and struggle for education in Cambodia.
  • EP. 5 Dragons Executive Director, Reed Harwood, on the role of Dragons in the lives of students and communities.
  • EP. 4 Two Dragons fund students on "ah ha" moments and advice for future students.
  • EP. 3 Veteran Instructor Rich Brown on the realities of immigration across the southern US border.
  • EP. 2 Veteran Instructor Claire Bennett on "voluntourism" and an alternative approach to service.
  • EP. 1 A mother & daughter who EACH did Dragons programs on their unique yet similar experiences.
  Dragons is committed to cross-cultural education as a tool for breaking down barriers. Tune in to our podcast and hear for yourself how we can all make a difference.

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. ❤️
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    [post_date] => 2019-03-06 10:49:44
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    [post_content] => If you did not get your 2019 issue of The Dragons Journal in the mail, we've got a digital version for you!

The Dragons Journal

Community I Stories I Perspectives

The Dragons Journal is a compilation of stories and images that reflect the perspectives, ideas, and experiences of our participants, educators, and international colleagues and communities. It’s a publication of Where There Be Dragons, an experiential education organization dedicated to nurturing meaningful intercultural relationships through immersive travel.

Excerpts are below, or feel free to jump fully in....

Page Six | 6 |
 SENEGAL
-------
Princeton Bridge Year: I'm (not) Writing About My Family
BY FERNANDA ROMO, STUDENT
"Mungi dox literally translates to, 'it walks.' In conversation, however, one might use it to mean "it's going," "it's fine," or "it works. When I set out to write this piece, with the prompt of mungi dox in mind, I immediately thought about my family. After all, I'm living in a homestay with a total of nineteen people (I think), including three married couples and twelve kids of various ages. This is naturally bound to be a bit chaotic and might seem like a headache for people more habituated to smaller "nuclear family" living arrangements. For this reason, writing about how my household functions, how everyone pitches in, and how living in these big families actually works was sure to be a crowd pleaser. Wouldn't everyone love to hear the conclusions I'd drawn about African family structures from my experience living with the Mbayes? Regrettably, as appealing as that piece might sound, I'm not writing it. Mainly, because I can't. The more I've thought about it, the more I've realized that the chances of me being able to provide a fair analysis of this family's dynamics are about as high as those of snowfall in Dakar."
Page Seven | 7 |
 GLOBAL
-------
Dealing with Being a Privileged Foreigner
BY DANIELA PAPI-THORNTON & CLAIRE BENNETT,
INSTRUCTORS
"Volunteers must avoid assuming that a stint as a volunteer learning from and supporting the communities in which they work enables them to truly understand the challenges faced by people in those communities. You may be able to gain awareness, get angry about the root causes of poverty, and cultivate empathy, but that umbilical cord, which acts as a safety net, means you will not be able to experience the effects of such problems in the same way. Andrea Foster, who volunteered in Guyana says, "Our economic background makes it hard for us to understand the degree of financial struggle most people in developing nations endure. Volunteers eventually come to realize how fortunate we are and usually how spoiled we are." The most important advice we have about the umbilical cord of privilege is to be aware it exists and realize others can see it, even when you cannot."
Page Twenty | 20 |
 CHINA
-------
When Things Go Wrong
BY JODY SEGAR, CHINA PROGRAM DIRECTOR
"Kiri also had concrete survival skills as a result of the time he spent escaping war in the wilderness. One day, Kiri came with my family for a walk in the woods and he and I went down to a stream below the path. I watched him pull a live fish, about six inches long, out of the stream with his bare hands. From that moment on, I did everything I could to emulate Kiri. Kiri had a habit of carrying photos around with him inside his t-shirt, "close to the heart." One was of his parents. Another was of a tank. After he showed me the photos, I asked my parents for some photos to put inside my t-shirt."
Page Twenty Four | 24 |
 NEPAL
-------
How to: Walk
BY AUSTIN SCHMIDT, STUDENT
"THE SUSPENSION BRIDGE: Some of the bridges here contribute to moments of intense stress. You take the first step onto the wooden planks, alone because the bridge can support only one person (or maybe you're just the group guinea pig). The bridge is long and narrow and hundreds of feet above a river rushing down valley. The bridge swings with every step and the wooden planks creak and seem just about ready to collapse. You grasp the side of the bridge, knuckles turning white, and walk slowly, hoping your feet don't slip off the side. You wonder how it seems that you have been on this bridge forever yet you aren't even halfway across. For a second, you look up and all the fear leaves. In its place, comes amazement of your small presence among the tallest mountains in the world."

You can read more essays from past issues of the The Dragons Journal (formerly known as The Map's Edge) or even submit a piece to be featured in our next issue by sending an email to [email protected]s.com.

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    [post_date] => 2018-08-16 10:56:40
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    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_152682" align="aligncenter" width="431"]Guatemala Program Photo by Sydney Yang, Guatemala Summer Program.[/caption]

A lovely landing-home reflection from Guatemala Summer Student, Rose Fitzgerald:

As my final flight touches down, the bump of the wheels shudders through me and I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding.
It’s over. It’s all over. I’m home.
I step off the plane, down through the airport and into the waiting arms of my family. Pressed against my mother’s chest, I cry unashamedly. In a flurry of moments, we’re picking up my bags, walking out of the airport, piling into cars- real cars! – and driving away. In the New York night, surrounded by air conditioning and English, Guatemala feels like some sort of fantastic and hazy dream. I can’t quite tell what is fiction and what is fact, like maybe I made it all up in my head. At home, I stumble into the apartment and promptly dump everything into the washing machine. I shuck off my clothes, reeking of travel and sweat, and once I remember how to turn it on the shower feels like being reborn. In the hot water, I lather up my hair and body with soap and shampoo, caring for my countless cuts and bug bites and cleaning the last remnants of dirt from under each nail. Curled up on the shower floor, I silently wonder if my host mother from Cotzal has ever had a shower like this. I think of the square-meter shack of a bucket shower, laundry soap and a torn curtain hung so low I’d had to crouch. I have to keep myself from crying a second time. When I emerge from the shower, dripping wet and gloriously not-dirty, I pass the mirror in my room and have to stop and stare. I do not at first recognise the person staring out at me. While the changes are minor, they are changes all the same, and my eyes gobble them up, reading differences like a book. There are new scars on my body- long thin scrapes up my leg from a fall while swimming, now-permanent rub marks on my ankle from when I was too stubborn to tie my boot right, a single line on my right arm- a burn from an iron, the very first night in the Miami airport. Along my stomach, thighs and back, hundreds of fading bites dot my skin and I grimace, remembering the flea fiasco in Cotzal. And all over my body is the patchy, uneven tan that comes with wearing a strange mixture of swimsuits and hiking pants every day. The final thing I notice is that the way I hold myself has changed. I can picture the me of a month ago, probably stooped beneath the weight of a bag, wringing her hands and talking everyone’s ear off from nerves. Now, my back is straight, and when I squeeze my thigh I feel muscle, most likely from carrying that same heavy bag every single day. I feel stronger than I’ve ever been. My family ushers me to the table, eager to hear my stories and force food down my throat, regardless of the late hour. On the table in front of me they lay out toast, corn flakes, cookies, tea, a slice of cold cheese pizza- a veritable American feast. They grill me for details, asking about my host families, the food, the other students, the trek, on and on and on. It’s nearly one A.M. by the time I go to bed. I am wrapped up in clean clothes and cozy blankets and surrounded by everything that I love and I am so deeply exhausted but I cannot seem to sleep. I am startlingly aware of the ridiculous excess I find myself drowning in. There is wi-fi at my constant disposal, and a phone and a computer and a TV to use whenever I like. Our kitchen if stuffed to the brim with food, food and more food, some of which we will never eat. I own more than twenty different products, lipsticks and concealers and eyeshadows and liners that I can press over freckles and dark circles, to hide my face away, and I own more clothes than I could possibly need. Again, I am reminded of my family in Cotzal, who I did not see change their clothes once during my visit. I am disgusted with myself. In the dark of my room, my mattress soft and springy beneath me, the night is eerily quiet. Even the ever-present hum of the AC cannot replace the trucks and wagons and barking I expect to hear in the street below. It feels like there is a hole in my chest, aching and raw. Where there once were butterflies, nervous and bright in my chest there is now an empty ache. I want to feel them again, fluttering against my ribcage, their wings whispering adventure and yes.
I am still Rose. I am still that same person, silly and impulsive and alive.
But in my heart, I know that everything has changed. ~Fin

Read more featured student reflections on our Yak of the Week board.

[post_title] => At The End Of It All - Yak of the Week [post_excerpt] => "As my final flight touches down, the bump of the wheels shudders through me and I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. It’s over. It’s all over. I’m home." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => at-the-end-of-it-all-yak-of-the-week [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-04-23 16:39:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-04-23 22:39:02 [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] => 37 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 37 [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/ ) ) [category_links] => From the Field )
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