Where There Be Dragons is the leader in cross-cultural education, fostering leadership, self-exploration and global citizenship since 1993.
WHO WE ARE
WE ARE AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
Dragons is a global community representing 6 continents, over 30 countries, and countless languages, villages, NGOs, religions, host families, perspectives, and stories. We are united by a mission of nurturing empathy and understanding across borders through authentic cultural exchange. Dragons offers summer and semester programs in 19 countries, each one custom-crafted by instructor teams who bring their unique vision and expertise to the course design. Our goal is to help participants develop the self-awareness and cross-cultural competencies to be active participants in the world.
WE ARE ALL STUDENTS
We take delight in getting dirty for the sake of discovery. We seek participants who are excited by the prospect of exploring the road less-travelled and intrigued by the questions encountered along the way. As we journey, we ask reflective questions about who we are, where we come from, and how those inherent perspectives and power dynamics weave us together. We support our students as they lean into challenge. And as instructors, we ask ourselves, at every turn, how we can be better teachers and more compassionate human beings. We carefully observe, collectively explore, and partner with students in a process of discovery.
WE ARE BOLD EDUCATORS
Our staff speak in local dialects and bring deep cultural fluency and expert facilitation skills to our programs. When not guiding with Dragons, our instructors are graduate students, returned Peace Corps Volunteers, U.N. development professionals, veteran wilderness guides, and career teachers. We believe that future leaders will be required to think beyond borders in order to cultivate a more inclusive, collaborative, and just future. We are fueled by a mission to create positive change and pull off feats of educational acrobatics in remote cross-cultural settings because we love what we do.
LEADING THE WAY FOR 25+ YEARS
Dragons has over 25 years of experience guiding groups and managing risk in the context of international education. In addition to a history of partnerships with over 50 esteemed schools and universities, our staff have facilitated international and domestic training programs specifically for teachers and faculty for almost a decade. We’ve established crucial risk management relationships with International SOS, key locally-based safety and security officials, and a global network of reputable health care professionals and hospitals.For more facts on our institutional reputation and integrity, please visit the Risk Management section of our website.
WHAT WE DO
AND HOW WE DO IT DIFFERENTLY
On course, we learn by doing. We travel like locals, live with families, apprentice with artists, and learn from scholars, factory workers, sages, and community leaders alike. Our goal is to connect participants to a direct experience of a different place through hands-on and meaningful engagement. We value language learning and homestays for their essential roles in opening doors to experiences in which students can listen, empathize, and learn. We embrace a leadership model of leading-from-behind, such that participants follow their own questions and curiosity.
Dynamic Itinerary Design
Dragons itineraries are flexible to create space for unscripted, serendipitous, and candid moments of surprise and discovery. The world is constantly changing and we believe our programs should too. Each program has an intentionally crafted structure, yet a dynamic itinerary allows the group to be responsive to unique realities and opportunities as they arise. Backpacks, not roller bags, are on the packing list because it’s a novel combination of gravel roads, local transportation, and dirt paths that make each program an original adventure.
Responsible travel is environmentally conscientious, culturally self-aware, and focused on developing mutually meaningful connections with local communities. We approach each program component and host community with respect and the humility to listen first. We advocate for longer-term programming and smaller groups to reduce our ecological and cultural footprints. And we don’t shy away from—but actively engage with—the complex themes of learning service, neocolonialism, and global citizenship that arise in a group dynamic that encourages critical reflection.
Small Groups & Professional Instructors
Mentorship matters. A typical Dragons group consists of 12 students and 3 instructors. This 4:1 student-to-instructor ratio ensures that each participant receives individual support and personalized challenge. The intimate group dynamic of a small cohort fosters deep dialogue and an inclusive group spirit that builds alumni friendships that last a lifetime. We work with the best international guides and educators in the industry. Our instructors are carefully selected based on their group facilitation skills, local language fluency, regional experience in the country, and their connections with our host communities. To see the range of unique professional life experiences and academic educations that make our community of international instructors so exceptional, please peruse our instructor profiles.