Kristen Gianaris

China Instructor

M.A. Anthropology and Sociology of Development, The Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland/The American University in Cairo, Egypt
B.A. Sociology/Anthropology and Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies, Illinois State University

Kristen has been leading trips with different organizations over the past few years and is excited to lead her first course with Where There Be Dragons this fall in China.

Kristen’s love for exploring began several years ago when she committed herself to diversifying her education and set off to study Chinese and Anthropology for a year in Taiwan. She was quickly absorbed by a nomadic lifestyle and continued on to conduct research on criminal justice systems and informal women’s courts in India, led groups of international volunteers in Vermont and Maine, and worked on an organic farm in Illinois. Her continued interest in Asia led her to return in 2014 to teach English in China for about six months. Related to China, Kristen has focused on studying topics related to education, tea, and concepts of culture. In 2014 she began working as a trip leader with Becket Chimney Corners YMCA with whom she has spent the past three summers instructing groups in Yellowstone National Park, China, and Peru.

Kristen spent the first year of her master’s degree in Geneva, Switzerland serving on the board of the student initiative on Asia, running the local food cooperative, and organizing a Chinese conversation club. The second year of her master’s was spent in Cairo, Egypt where she was conducting anthropological field research, learning Arabic, often riding horses in the desert, and doing photography. Kristen participated in a Where There Be Dragon’s Global Educator course in Jordan this past March and had the opportunity to collaborate with a group of teachers who were equally interested in contemporary issues in the Middle East.

When Kristen isn’t leading trips or doing research, she can be found swing dancing, reading a good book, or enjoying the outdoors.