Madeleine Colvin

China & Mekong Instructor

B.A. – International Relations, Pomona College

Madeleine grew up near Seattle, Washington and feels most at home in a light drizzle. Her parents are from Taiwan and Texas, so she was exposed to two very different cultures from a young age, though she never imagined she would one day find herself living in China.

Madeleine first visited China in 2011 and has been returning ever since. In 2016, she received a Fulbright grant to conduct anthropological research in ethnic minority tourist villages on China’s borders with Myanmar and Laos. She spent several months living with Jinuo (as well as Dai and Wa) families, during which time she learned not only about the impacts of tourism, but also about the importance of community, the life cycle of rubber trees, and how to sharpen a pencil with a machete. She presented her research on the changing geographies of these tourist villages at the inaugural Critical Tourism Studies – Asia Pacific conference.

Living in tourist villages led Madeleine to become interested in the field of educational travel, as she is passionate about helping people engage with local communities in a responsible and respectful way. After living in Yunnan, she began working for a cultural exchange center in Beijing, facilitating school programs within the city and throughout China.

Madeleine came upon Dragons through serendipity – she bumped into a group of Dragons students at a Kindergarten in Kunming – and she soon found herself organizing village homestays for Dragons semester programs. Impressed by the curious, adventurous spirit of the students and instructors she met, she decided to become a Dragons instructor herself.

Madeleine is a certified Wilderness First Responder. In addition to responsible travel, Madeleine is enthusiastic about bike-sharing, knitting, mountains, listening to old people’s stories, and trying new foods.