Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Instructor.

Posts Tagged:

South Asia

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    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_151415" align="alignnone" width="849"] "A group member stands beneath fluttering prayer flags at Namobuddha, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Nepal."[/caption]
    [post_title] => Featured Instagram Photo From Nepal by T. Whelan
    [post_excerpt] => Captioned: "A group member stands beneath fluttering prayer flags at Namobuddha, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Nepal."
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    [post_date] => 2017-08-11 16:11:12
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    [post_content] => The first thing I noticed about Ritu was the rhythm that she seems to move to. When Ritu milks the buffalo in the morning, there is a calculated pattern to the way she tugs and switches her hands. When she tailors clothes on an old-fashioned sewing machine, she swings the fabric this way and that with ease. Even when Ritu speaks to me in Nepali, she says her words slow and deliberately, like she is speaking to a beat. Other people have commented as well on the fluidity that Ritu does her daily tasks with, the way she seems to float through the day.

Ritu is somewhat of a Jack-of-all-trades. Some days, she goes into the jungle and brings back grasses for the buffalo to eat. Other days, she is in the field, harvesting potatoes for her family and for her neighbors. But Ritu’s favorite thing to do is weave on her loom. Ritu lets me help sometimes (even though it would be much quicker if she did it on her own), but I think I prefer watching her weave. The machine has so many moving parts, but Ritu has control over all of them. Her feet press the pedals in time with her hands, pulling and pushing and swinging to create a little song that sounds like “thud tha thud tha thud tha thud…”
Even when Ritu speaks to me in Nepali, she says her words slow and deliberately, like she is speaking to a beat.
Ritu is truly one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. She does whatever chore is at hand with a jolly readiness. She is extremely giving and nurturing. She loves sharing anything and everything with me, whether it is pictures and stories, words in Nepali, clothing, berries, tea, or even some of her chores. But my favorite thing about Ritu is that she loves being an older sister. Whenever I call her “Didi”, her face lights up. When I follow her around in the morning to watch her work on her loom or milk the buffalo, she loves the company and will repeatedly say “Maya Didi madat!” (Maya helps her big sister). Sometimes, we don’t say anything at all, but just smile at each other and share the time together. The more time I spend with Ritu, the more clearly I am able to see the smooth rhythm she follows throughout the days. With her constant positivity and beaming smile, it seems as if Ritu is dancing through life. It seems only appropriate that Ritu, in Sanskrit, means rhythm. [post_title] => Yak Of The Week: Rhythm [post_excerpt] => "When Ritu milks the buffalo in the morning, there is a calculated pattern to the way she tugs and switches her hands. When she tailors clothes on an old-fashioned sewing machine, she swings the fabric this way and that with ease. Even when Ritu speaks to me in Nepali, she says her words slow and deliberately, like she is speaking to a beat." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => yak-of-the-week-rhythm [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-11 16:13:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-11 22:13:08 [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] => 78 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 78 [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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    [post_date] => 2017-07-17 14:13:18
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    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_151452" align="alignnone" width="4592"] Photo by Christina Rivera Cogswell, Princeton Bridge Year, Ladakh India.[/caption]

HERE ARE THE MOST COMMON REASONS WHY STUDENTS CONSIDER TAKING A GAP YEAR:

  • To get hands-on life experience
  • In search of relief from the pressures of high school
  • To find out more about themselves
  • To gain language fluency via cultural immersion
  • To clarify personal interests and possibly hone in on a course of studies or career path to pursue
  • To gain exposure to different worldviews
  • To practice professional and personal development skills through experience
  • To slow down and find time for personal reflection
  • To adventure in the mountains, open spaces, and wilderness
  • To learn about service and/or apprentice with a problem in the world of personal importance
  • To build meaningful (and offline) friendship and relationships
  • To try something new, daring, and challenging

HERE ARE MORE REASONS, BASED ON THE LATEST RESEARCH, WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER TAKING THE LEAP WITH A GAP YEAR OR SEMESTER ABROAD EXPERIENCE…

Research shows that students who take a Gap Year graduate with higher GPAs than their peers and are more satisfied with their careers. This advantage held when controlling for socioeconomic background or academic performance in high school. Clagett, 2011.

  • 98% of colleges and universities accept deferrals for planned Gap Years. In fact, Harvard, Princeton, University of North Carolina, Colorado College (to name a few) encourage it because students enter more focused, mature, and passionate.
  • A majority of students now take five or more years to complete their college educations, while a majority of Gap Year students graduate in four years. If you think a Gap Year is expensive, try six years of college tuition.
  • Gap Years are serious endeavors and, in our experience, it’s often the most ambitious, curious, and motivated students that are called to them. A high quality Gap Year program is holistic and experiential; students learn about place and global issues, but more significantly they gain clarity on who they are, what they believe in, and what they’re capable of achieving.
  • More than 90% of students who do a structured Gap Year program enroll in university within one year of their time-off. When researchers tried to identify what major factors distinguished facilitated programs from unstructured time-off, they discovered that a significant homestay experience in another culture and excellent mentorship were two factors critical to making the Gap Year a transformative experience.
  • Many more interesting Gap Year facts can be found at: WWW.GAPYEARASSOCIATION.ORG/DATA-BENEFITS.PHP

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?

The best way to learn more about Gap Year programs is to connect with other students who’ve done them. If you’d like to speak to any of our alumni personally, please give us a call and we’ll put you in touch with some! In the meantime, here are a few student quotes from past Dragons Gap Year students.

“My semester with Dragons in Indonesia ignited a passion for environmental and social justice causing me to choose my specific majors and minors at school. It gave me so much direction for who I want to be. Even three years later, I think about my homestays, instructors, and friends from the trip all the time. ”

–CRISSY McCARTHY, INDONESIA SEMESTER

“The Ladakhi guides, the Buddhist monks and nuns, my language teacher, my host family —all these friendships opened my eyes to how diverse the world can be and how many lifestyles one might find to suit them.”

–CHARLIE SANTOS, INDIA SEMESTER

“ I am leaving with a foundation on how to travel, learn, expand my worldview , and connect with people on a deeper level.”

–GRACE POWELL, SOUTH AMERICA SEMESTER

“This will be the most profound experience of your life. It will be educational, exciting, beautiful, challenging, deep , and raw. The hardest moments will teach you just as much as, if not more than, the magical ones.”

–CLAIRE LINDSAY, AFRICA SEMESTER

“My biggest goal was to leave the trip more present, curious, and inspired. I came alive on this trip. I am excited to continue to push myself when I return home.”

–EL WILLIAMS, SOUTH AMERICA SEMESTER

HOW TO TAKE A GAP YEAR:

1. CONSIDER APPLYING TO COLLEGE FIRST. Most students prepare for college admissions as usual. When admitted, they then request a deferral, which 98% of colleges will grant if presented with legitimate Gap Year plans.

2. PLAN AHEAD WITH CLEAR GOALS. What do you want to learn? How do you want to be challenged? Spend some time sorting out your motivations as the more you invest in a vision for your Gap Year, the more confident you (and your family) will feel in your plans. Plus, the stage of dreaming and anticipation is fun!

3. GO ALONE OR GO WITH A GROUP? Do both. Educational consultants recommend that students start with something more structured in the Fall followed by a more independent experience.. For example, Michael Gellman spent the fall on Dragons Central America Semester. As a Dragons student, Michael learned to construct composting toilets while working with a Guatemala-based community organization. He stayed in Central America after his three-month Dragons program—where he spent four months applying his new skills to other community projects.

4. PREPARE TO MAKE THE INVESTMENT. A Gap Year can be a significant investment, but is well worth the cost. Investing in a Gap Year allows students to start college with greater focus and a stronger idea of what they want to achieve. This can help them connect their studies to potential career paths. Think of this year between high school and college as a bridge, not a gap.

5. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Compare and assess Gap Year programs based on safety, access to meaningful experiences, and the quality of mentorship. Ensure that your experience is with others who share your values and who are committed to the well-being of participants, but also to the well-being of local communities. You can visit Dragons Blog for a full list of questions that we recommend students ask when researching different Gap Year programs.


Here’s a PDF version of Dragons Position Paper on Why Take a Gap Year? that’s printer-friendly if needed.
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    [post_date] => 2017-05-26 15:44:39
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    [post_content] => "Students share images from a day in the life of a Bridge Year participant in Varanasi, India. From early morning cultural enrichment activities to the daily commute to evening time with host family members, this video captures many of the subtler moments that comprise the Bridge Year experience."

Visit the Princeton Bridge Year site to view the video!

(Or see all the Bridge Year updates from 2016-2017).


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