Photo by Parker Pflaum, Mekong Semester.

Posts Tagged:

Students

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 154272
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2019-01-22 10:49:57
    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-22 17:49:57
    [post_content] => 

Where There Be Dragons has been selected for a Community Choice Award as one of the Top Gap Year Providers of 2018 in the category of Housing by GoOverseas.com.

Winners were named by the community of travelers at GoOverseas where Dragons has 109 participant reviews, 21 interviews, and a 98% average review grade.
 
GoOverseas says: 
We're thrilled to recognize Where There Be Dragons as one of the best travel organizations in 2018 through this merit-based award.

Thanks for the award GoOverseas!

[post_title] => GoOverseas.com Community Selects Dragons as Top Gap Year Providers of 2018 [post_excerpt] => Winners were named by the community of travelers at GoOverseas where Dragons has 108+ participant reviews, 21 interviews, and a 98% average review grade. GoOverseas says: "We're thrilled to recognize Where There Be Dragons as one of the best travel organizations in 2018 through this merit-based award."  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => gooverseas-community-selects-dragons-as-top-gap-year-providers-of-2018 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-01-22 10:59:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-22 17:59:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 700 [name] => For Parents [slug] => for_parents [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 700 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [parent] => 0 [count] => 30 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 30 [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] => 24 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 9 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 24 [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/ ) ) [category_links] => For Parents, About Dragons )
WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 153591
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-08-23 09:46:37
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-23 15:46:37
    [post_content] => 

If you missed it, or needed a reminder, we're hosting a 1-minute Visual Story contest for our Summer Programs 2018 Community.

#DragonsVisualStory submissions are due Sept. 1st and here's all the guidelines and details! The following submission, from Elliott Bloom, is from the North India: Roof the The World 4-Week Summer Program.

Ps. Here's a link for those wanting to know more about the North India: Roof the The Word program!

[post_title] => 1-Minute Visual Story (from Ladakh, India) by Elliott Bloom [post_excerpt] => We're hosting a 1-minute Visual Story contest for our Summer Programs 2018 Community. The following video, from Elliott Bloom, offers a beautiful glimpse of her experience on the North India Summer Program...   [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 1-minute-visual-story-from-ladakh-india-by-elliott-bloom [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-09-06 10:04:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-09-06 16:04:03 [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] => 42 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 42 [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] => 23 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 23 [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] => 32 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 32 [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 ... )
WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 153547
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-08-16 10:56:40
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-16 16:56:40
    [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] => 2018-08-16 11:03:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-16 17:03:29 [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] => 42 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 42 [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 )
WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 153383
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-07-26 12:11:20
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-07-26 18:11:20
    [post_content] => 

We LOVE IT when we get news (and photos) of Alumni student groups re-uniting in new locations.

Here's a photo and caption from Jennie Adler (Madagascar/Senegal Semester Fall 2017) in which seven of the original nine students in the group were able to meet up in Amsterdam for a 10-day reunion. She says the best part was just...
...being able to go to sleep and wake up to seeing each others faces once again like we did on our Dragons trip. Dragons Student Group Reunion in Netherlands
"When we said goodbye in the DC airport no one anticipated that just we were just 7 weeks from the majority of us meeting again at the Schiphol airport in the Netherlands to spend 10 days with each other and explore the city of Amsterdam. People arrived at the airport over the span of three days and as the greeting party increased so did our celebration each time one more of our friends walked through the gates and into our arms. Amsterdam is a great city, with roads that let you wander without getting bored and without feeling that you're lost even though you’ve come to a dead end twice and have no idea where the bus station is. But the highlight of our trip was not the museums or the canals, (though it might have been biking for Grace); the whole trip was ultimately about being able to go to sleep and wake up to seeing each others faces once again like we did on our Dragons trip. We all went our separate ways when we left, to different states and even different countries, and couldn’t help but wonder if things would be the same upon our reunion. But our time together is a testament to the bond you create on a Dragons program. All together again, our trip was filled with smiles and laughter, as though no time had passed.  This isn’t our last reunion, and I can’t wait to have all of us to be together again by a fire laughing over stories from Temanto Samba and Ranomofana, and to keep that part of ourselves we left in those two countries very much alive."

Have YOU had a post-course reunion? Send us a photo and caption! We'd love to share it.

[post_title] => 2017 Semester Group Reunites in the Netherlands in 2018 [post_excerpt] => Here's a photo and update from Jennie Adler (Madagascar/Senegal Semester Fall 2017) in which seven of the original nine students in the group were able to meet up in Amsterdam for a 10-day reunion. She says the best part was, "being able to go to sleep and wake up to seeing each others faces once again..." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 2017-semester-group-reunites-in-the-netherlands-in-2018 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-26 12:24:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-26 18:24:50 [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] => 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] => 23 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 23 [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/ ) ) [category_links] => Alumni Spotlight )
WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 153156
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-05-23 11:23:47
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-23 17:23:47
    [post_content] => 

Will LeVan (Alumni of Dragons Peru Summer Program) decided to pursue a Gap Year in 2018-19. And he was kind enough to answer some questions we posed of his decision making process. Take a look...

Q: How did you come to the decision to take a Gap Year? Was it an intuitive or calculated choice?

A: During junior year I began to consider taking a gap year.  I was fatigued from a challenging high school education and hoped that a gap year would revitalize and re-inspire my education.  However, my decision was quickly made after my six-week Dragons trip to Peru. After the trip, I realized that traveling and working abroad as I did in Peru would teach me in ways that a classroom no longer could.  Additionally, the opportunity to increase my Spanish proficiency and enter college with work and service experience abroad were integral in making my decision.

Q: What were/was your biggest questions going into the process? How did you get them answered?

A: Would it be affordable?  Could I find programs that would make it meaningful?  What would I do? These were my biggest questions going into my gap year.  Through a lot of research, and I mean a lot, I scanned through dozens of programs. The trips ranged from three weeks to eight months and included volunteer work in Philly, education aboard sailboats in the Pacific, and hiking the Camino in Spain. By skimming these programs, a picture of my gap year manifested, including a Where There Be Dragons Semester program in Nepal, volunteering on a sustainable farm in Spain, helping build converted vans in Washington state, and hiking the Camino de Santiago. Websites like WWOOF and Helpstay were very helpful in my search.

Q: Did you have any regrets after making the decision?

A: I only wish I could do more.

Q: Do you know anyone else that's taking a Gap Year? Do you ever feel lonely in the decision?

A: I have a few friends who are considering it, but never have I felt lonely in the decision because others have been so supportive, and sometimes envious, of my choice and plans.  

Q: How did your parents respond to your decision?

A: They were very supportive.

Q: Is it hard to stay committed to your Gap Year vision when all your friends are talking about their fall school plans?

A: Not really.  Since I applied to college during this school year and have deferred my enrollment, I’m not too jealous about my friends’ fall plans at college because I’ll know that I’ll have those experiences eventually and don’t have to worry about the stresses of college applications in the meantime.

Q: Do you have any fears regarding your Gap Year?

A: Part of me is worried that I’ll enter college behind in my studies.  I think this is a common fear among students. However, I’m confident that I won’t be too far behind and can make it back up quickly.  Additionally, I think the lessons I learn over my gap year will be just as valuable, it not more, than anything I can learn in the classroom.

Q: Did you already know where you wanted to go for your Gap Year?

A: I really had no idea where I wanted to go.  I did a lot of research and looked at places like Chile, Jordan, Madagascar, South Africa, the Galapagos, Australia, and eventually ended up on Nepal in the fall and Spain for the spring.  How did I decide on these places? First off, I love to hike and the opportunities to hike in the Himalayas and along the Camino in Europe are hard to pass up. Additionally, the ability to study Spanish in Spain was a big pull for me.

Q: What do you hope to learn from your Gap Year that you couldn't learn in school?

A: How to live independently, work with others from different backgrounds, and be more aware and conscious of the world around me.

Q: Did language study play a role in your Gap Year decision?

A: Yes it did.  After my Dragons summer experience in Peru, I knew that I wanted to experience more Spanish immersion in a non-classroom setting.  I also believe that going into college and feeling more confident in my Spanish proficiency will only be beneficial. Therefore, I plan on volunteering and interning in Spain in the spring of my gap year and then hiking El Camino de Santiago in Spain to cap off my year.

Q: Will you be pursuing any type of internship or particular study of craft during your gap year?

A: Due to busy summer schedules throughout high school, I haven’t had many job experiences.  This in part played into my gap year decision because I wanted to have more work experience before college.  There isn’t a specific type of craft I’ll be pursuing, but instead just volunteer and work experiences in general.  To fulfill this, I plan on working on an organic or sustainable farm in Spain.

Q: What would you say to someone on the fence on if they will pursue a gap year or not? A: There are very times in life when you will be able to shed responsibilities for a year and just go travel and learn. A Gap Year is one of those opportunities. Additionally, the experiences you have and lessons will be long-lasting. If you can design a Gap Year that will be productive and constructive, I think it’ll be an amazing experience that you won’t regret. Thank you Will!

Are YOU going to do a Gap Year in 2018-2019? If so, we encourage you to share the news of your plans via a social post with the tag #gapyeardecisionday. If you'll be a Dragons students next year, include the tag #wheretherebedragons so that we can find and potentially feature you!

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WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 153036
    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2018-05-02 11:39:51
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-02 17:39:51
    [post_content] => 
We are loving this video created by an India Gap Year Program student as part of her ISP (Independent Study Project) this fall. Here's a few words from the creator, Sarah Soucek:
"Traveling in India this past fall gave me many things -- a sense of direction, perspective, new aspirations, and a chance to learn from many different people. Learning from Uttara and Anandi was easy... I've never been so eager to hear the answers to a few questions from a pair of people. I'm incredibly grateful for their time and effort put into the interviews. I hope you enjoy watching this film as much as I've enjoyed creating it." 
Her India from Sarah Adeline Soucek on Vimeo.
[post_title] => India Semester Student ISP Video by Sarah Soucek [post_excerpt] => From the video creator, Sarah Soucek: "Traveling in India this past fall gave me many things -- a sense of direction, perspective, new aspirations, and a chance to learn from many different people. I hope you enjoy watching this film as much as I've enjoyed creating it."  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => india-semester-student-isp-video-sarah-soucek [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-07 09:28:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-07 15:28:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 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] => 23 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 23 [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/ ) [1] => 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] => 32 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 32 [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] => Alumni Spotlight, Mixed Media )
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