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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011


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Hello intrepid travelers! My name is Stew and I am writing to you from Dunhuang, Gansu, China where I am currently directing the China Comprehensive summer course. When I am not bouncing around on Dragons courses I live in Kunming, China. I spend my time studying Mandarin, cycling around Southeast Asia, working for local environmental NGOs in Yunnan, and eating my way through China.

As I begin to wrap up my summer program in Northeast China, India is gradually taking over my thoughts and imagination. Dunhuang is a famous nexus for cultural exchange on the silk road and holds some of the most well preserved Buddhist art in the world. We visited a cave complex today with over 400 caves that were established during various Chinese dynasties, some dating back around 1,500 years ago. The take home point for me was the exchange of ideas. The interior of the caves held Tibetan, Mongolian, Uyghur, and Mandarin script. Although the transmission of information came in many different tongues, the messages all hoped to convey the monumental teachings that were coming out of India at the time and being shaped by as the information spread across the silk road. The cave art depicts many Buddhas with Indian features and artistic motifs. I stood before them and stared at the churning blend of India and China, and reflected the same waves of exchange building in myself and in my future journey with all of you this fall.

I have led over six course with Dragons, but I am more excited about the upcoming India semester than any previous program. I cannot wait for India to rearrange my perspectives, change my taste buds, and challenge my beliefs. I want to explore India with you, connect with Benaras, and learn as much as I can from Bantu. I can't wait to meet all of you and to share this journey in the most dynamic country on the planet. I am reading River Sutra, downloading Bollywood flics, working on my head bobble, and not so patiently waiting to get this adventure going. Please post questions, photos, quotes, reading suggestions, etc.. to the yak board. Looking forward to hearing from you!


Stew Motta

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

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Greetings All

Stew Motta,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

Description

Hello intrepid travelers! My name is Stew and I am writing to you from Dunhuang, Gansu, China where I am currently directing the China Comprehensive summer course. When I am not bouncing around on Dragons courses I live in Kunming, China. I spend my time studying Mandarin, cycling around Southeast Asia, working for local environmental […]

Posted On

07/31/11

Author

Stew Motta

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Hi everyone! My name is Meagan and I'm so excited to get to India! I am 19 and just finished my first year of college at the University of Kansas, but i am originally from Boulder, CO. I decided to take a year off of formal schooling and explore other ways of learning - and India seems like a great place to do that!

Like Felicia, I'm interested in so many things!-especially my own spirituality and the spirituality of others. Yoga is my passion (I'm almost done with my 200hr teacher certification!!) and I can't wait to delve even deeper into the philosophy of all the yogic sciences in the land they were created so many years ago.

After the program i hope to continue traveling and discovering India-how often do we get the opportunity to see this part of the world! I can't wait to meet all of you and share some incredible experiences !!!

Namaste :)

Meagan

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

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Hello Everyone!

Meagan Mahaffy,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

Description

Hi everyone! My name is Meagan and I’m so excited to get to India! I am 19 and just finished my first year of college at the University of Kansas, but i am originally from Boulder, CO. I decided to take a year off of formal schooling and explore other ways of learning – and […]

Posted On

07/26/11

Author

Meagan Mahaffy

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Hello Everyone! My name is Felicia, which means happiness. I think it's a pretty accurate description of me, as I am happy about 99.9% of the time :)

I don't think I'm very inept at writing intro's, but i'll give it my best shot! (This will probably come out like word vomit, so bear with me)

I've lived in Sebastopol, CA my whole life. It's a little town about an hour north of San Francsico and 20 minutes from the ocean, we are known for an abundance of gravenstein apples and marijuana...it's an awesome place to live, you can't be in the downtown square for more than 10 minutes without recieving reiki or a psychic reading from a stranger.

This past year has been the most change-ridden, spiritual, transformative year of my life...I can't even imagine how exciting this coming year will be! I recently dropped out of school and it was the best decision I could have made at this time in my life. School is not for everyone, and after drowning in busywork and future-oriented stress I woke up and realized the time is NOW. I have grown so much from this realization, and at present a formal education is the farthest thing from my mind. There are so many other ways to learn!

I have a thousand interests and hobbies which I have been able to delve into much more deeply since dropping out...some of which include singing, dancing, painting and drawing, reading, dream interpretation, yoga (all forms), comparative religion, natural foods, chakra healing, being conscious, spirituality, spreading positive energy, adventuring, mind altering and life changing experiences, creativity (in any and all forms), meeting new people (including all of you!!!), loving life, and most recently making dream catchers!

I guess the last thing to mention is that I'm going to India because its straight CALLING TO ME. I know that I have to go, it must be my dharma or something...

After the program ends I plan on continuing to travel in India, and then to Thailand, and then wherever else the wind takes me, or until I run out of money...

I'm excited to meet and journey with you all!!!

Blessings,

-Felicia

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

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Student Intro-Felicia

Felicia Malone,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

Description

Hello Everyone! My name is Felicia, which means happiness. I think it’s a pretty accurate description of me, as I am happy about 99.9% of the time 🙂 I don’t think I’m very inept at writing intro’s, but i’ll give it my best shot! (This will probably come out like word vomit, so bear with […]

Posted On

07/24/11

Author

Felicia Malone

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It's time to get excited about India!

First, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Liam O'Leary and I will be one of your instructors on the Visions of India Semester program. You can see me in front of the Taj Mahal photograph. Just add a beard and that's me!

I have been in and out of India over the last decade and I have to say it is my favourite travel destination in the world. India never fails to excite the adventurous traveler and welcome them with open arms. On that note, I wanted to show you some of my favourite places in one of my favourite cities, Delhi.

Those big bags of chillies are from the Spice Market in Old Delhi which is Asia’s largest. There is a lot to be seen here! Farmers and vendors come from across India to sell their spices with business men who haggle over prices. The air is thick with the smell of cardamom and cloves, and sometimes it is so strong that it tickles the back of your throat. From on top of a building, you can view the busy streets below congested with traffic and bodies, and the interior of a peaceful mosque that was constructed by the Mogul Shah Jahan in the 1600s. Back on the streets, you can sample some of Delhi’s finest and most inexpensive treats such as parathas and cole batura, and then wash it down with a lassi. That is my favourite part.

The other photograph is from Lodhi gardens in central Delhi. This is a peaceful oasis where many families come for a picnic, where runners go for exercise, and where lovers meet for a date. Throughout the gardens you will find colourful 15th century tombs and mosques, with beautiful birds flying in and out of them. After a busy day in the old city, this is the perfect place to come to unwind, throw a Frisbee around and take in the rich history of the Lodhi period in this peaceful paradise.

I hope you are as excited as I am!

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

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Time to Get Excited!

Liam O'Leary,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

Description

It’s time to get excited about India! First, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Liam O’Leary and I will be one of your instructors on the Visions of India Semester program. You can see me in front of the Taj Mahal photograph. Just add a beard and that’s me! I have been […]

Posted On

07/22/11

Author

Liam O'Leary

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Hello Friends!

I got access to some of my picture files and thought I would post a few of myself and also tantalizing photos of the Visions of India Trek in Spring 2011. Enjoy!!

Four Winds,

Yoli

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

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A Few Pics

Yoli Maya Yeh,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

Description

Hello Friends! I got access to some of my picture files and thought I would post a few of myself and also tantalizing photos of the Visions of India Trek in Spring 2011. Enjoy!! Four Winds, Yoli

Posted On

07/15/11

Author

Yoli Maya Yeh

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Namaste Friends!

My name is Yoli, my middle name, and I hail originally from Chicago, IL. I grew up in a multi-cultural, multi-religious family and got to spend lots of time in Jamaica as a child climbing coconut trees and stuffing my face with mangos and jerk chicken. My name originates from my Mother’s Native American tradition where we get another name at age thirteen. Sometimes confusing, my parents slapped my new name in the middle, so my full name is France Yoli Maya Yeh Joseph.

The first time I headed to the Indian sub-continent was in 1997 as a sophomore college student and just couldn’t get enough! I have spent twelve years living in India and Nepal most particularly in a mountain hamlet to the east of Nepal called Sikkim. My interest was comparing the philosophical and cultural traditional of indigenous Peoples around the world especially Native American and Tibetan (also Nepali) traditions. My journey has led me to the most fascinating people and places and I cannot wait to share this wonder and amazement with you too!

I have been guiding and lecturing for study abroad learners in India and Nepal since 2001. I spent the last four years lecturing in Comparative Religions, Cultural Studies, and Global Studies in India, Jordan and Chicago for high school and undergraduate students. I am also a Yoga Therapist, Massage Therapist, professional musician (percussion especially African and Afro-Caribbean), a Doula (natural childbirth assistant) and a circus performer. Lively!

I look forward to meeting all of you in Delhi and I can’t wait for our adventures in one of the most amazing places in the world, India!!. I believe experiential cross-cultural educational experiences are critically important engagements for our global future and I am very excited to be a part of the change. I hope you are too!

Please use this Yak Board as a means to communicate with us, your I-team, and ask questions and such. There is no such thing as a stupid question!!!

Four Winds,

Yoli

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

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Greetings Friends!!

Yoli Maya Yeh,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

Description

Namaste Friends! My name is Yoli, my middle name, and I hail originally from Chicago, IL. I grew up in a multi-cultural, multi-religious family and got to spend lots of time in Jamaica as a child climbing coconut trees and stuffing my face with mangos and jerk chicken. My name originates from my Mother’s Native […]

Posted On

07/14/11

Author

Yoli Maya Yeh

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Namaste Visions of India Semester Students,


In roughly 8 weeks you will embark on a life changing journey. Sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. In my experience, some people are pulled to India, and once they step onto her rich soil, they are hooked for life. I remember my first cab ride from the Kolkata airport. It was midnight and the air was hot and thick, and had a unique smell that I can only now describe as India: a dense brew of cow dung, spices, sweat, asphalt and incense. This may not sound enticing, but I assure that you will be forever taken by this breath of India. The moon was distorted by haze, and the city was dark and asleep, but I could feel a pulse of life beneath its slumber. It made my blood pump. As we careened from wide streets to narrow alley ways, India captured my heart, and I’ve been committed ever since.


So, needless to say, I am very much envious of you all; however, I will be living vicariously through your experiences from the Boulder Admin office. I am the Program Director for your semester, which means if you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to call me at the office. I LOVE talking about India. I have traveled throughout India since my first trip in 2000, and led the Visions of India semester program in 2007, and know it intimately. Even now from my office, I can see the snow capped Himalaya peaks and tiny hillside villages that you will travel through. My mind can travel into the Taj Mahal and its massive white marble, with sacred Arabic Quran verses carved in relief, and then onto Banaras, the most sacred city in India, and feel the Ganga Ji (Ganges River) sliding by since time immemorial, containing unfathomable wisdom. I source great meaning from my experiences in India, and the memories that are vividly alive in me.


Your four instructors are amazing people and educators, and you can find their official bios on you’re MyDragons account or on our website’s main staffing pages. I will briefly introduce them now.

Bantu Pandey lives in Banaras where you will be spending most of your time, and has instructed this semester for roughly 15 years. Bantu is a deeply spiritual man who has a passion for sharing his home and culture with Dragons’ students. He loves music, is a tabla palyer himself, and will show you India like no other.

France Yoli Maya Yeh Joseph, or “Yoli,” has lived in India for a decade. She has lived in ashrams, led experiential education courses for college students, run Yoga and healing courses, and has a deep passion for India’s religious and spiritual traditions. She led the Himalayan Studies course in the Fall of 2010, and supported the Visions of India semester this past spring on their trek and meditation retreat.

Stew Motta has led half a dozen Dragons’ courses, mostly in China, Laos and Cambodia. He has professional experience in the development world, specifically on water management. His acute insight on China as a merging global actor will contribute a unique perspective on India and how these gigantic economies are emerging and with what kinds of consequences.

Liam O’Leary has been in and out of India over the past decade. Most recently he worked in Delhi with a variety of NGOs dedicated to urban youth. He has an incredible perspective on the “underbelly of Delhi” and will introduce you to things unseen by most tourists. He will be supporting the course through the Himalayas, Delhi, and on into the first week of Banaras.

Your instructors are currently either leading a Dragons’ summer course or some other leadership endeavor. They will be in excellent communication post August 15th. I am available any time at the Boulder Office (303-413-0822) or at reed@wheretherebedragons.com.

As your anticipation grows, peruse through the materials we have sent you. They are excellent resources to thoroughly prepare you both physically and mentally. Also, take advantage of this Yak Yak board! Share your excitements and anxieties; hopes and goals. It is a wonderful forum for us to get on the same page. We will use the Yak Yak board to communicate important information and updates, so bookmark it and check in regularly.

India may seem far away, but before you know it, you’ll be at her doorstep, waiting to absorb her infinite wisdom!


- Reed

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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

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India awaits you…

Reed Harwood,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

Description

Namaste Visions of India Semester Students, In roughly 8 weeks you will embark on a life changing journey. Sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. In my experience, some people are pulled to India, and once they step onto her rich soil, they are hooked for life. I remember my first cab ride from the […]

Posted On

07/8/11

Author

Reed Harwood

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    [post_content] => To all Participants:

It’s great to have the yak boards coming alive! This is a very exciting time of year for all of us, and while we know that you are anxious to meet your traveling companions, we have a request for you: please don’t direct your fellow travelers to social-networking sites before the course. Let us explain: our interest here at Dragons is in providing you with the best experience possible, and over the past 19 years, we have learned that that you will get the most out of your Dragons program if you’re able to make fresh introductions on the day that your course begins. We welcome you to introduce yourself here (without photos, please), and we hope that you will use this site to voice your goals and ideas for this course and to begin forming a group identity. But we’d like to avoid students forming any sort of “cliques” online before even departing on this program. We certainly know that you can all find each other on Facebook quite easily, and while we cannot (and don’t want to) forbid such networking, we encourage you to abstain from doing so and invite you to show up to meet your group without pre-judgment and with a willingness to expose yourself to everything new, different, wild and other. We wish you the best as you prepare for your adventure!

Sincerely,

The Boulder Admin
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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

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Social Networking: A Request from WTBD

Dragons' Administration,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

Description

To all Participants: It’s great to have the yak boards coming alive! This is a very exciting time of year for all of us, and while we know that you are anxious to meet your traveling companions, we have a request for you: please don’t direct your fellow travelers to social-networking sites before the course. […]

Posted On

07/7/11

Author

Dragons' Administration

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    [post_content] => Welcome to your Where There Be Dragons Yak Yak bulletin board! As you’ll soon discover, this board is a valuable forum for self-introductions, for building community, and for addressing any and all questions that arise during the upcoming months.

Until the start of yourcourse, this will be THE place to find important notices related to your course’s development and itinerary design. It’ll also be the place to learn about your fellow students and instructors. So please, post a personal introduction! It may reflect any number of things about you, like your interests, reasons for choosing Dragons, independent study considerations, or any other thought or inspiration. Please also consider posting your packing and prep-related questions here. Don’t be shy - if you have a question, it’s likely that someone else in your group has been wondering the same thing! Your instructors have a lot of experience and many, many tips that they’re excited to share with you. So please, ask away.

Setting up the Yak board, in many ways, marks the start of your course. It’s the first step in establishing the community that will support you throughout the journey that lies ahead. Together, you will learn to walk, dress, eat, talk and think in an entirely new way. You will see landscapes that will cause your jaw to drop, and meet people that will touch, change and inspire your life forever. Although your course’s official start date is still many weeks away, we would like to remind you that your adventure actually began the day you made the choice to join Dragons. Choosing to make your dream a reality took immense amounts of courage, and all of us congratulate you on taking that first, and most important, step.

Welcome to Dragons. We’re excited to share in your adventure!

Sincerely,

Dragons’ Administrative Staff
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Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

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Welcome to your Yak Board!

Dragons' Administration,Visions of India Semester, Fall 2011

Description

Welcome to your Where There Be Dragons Yak Yak bulletin board! As you’ll soon discover, this board is a valuable forum for self-introductions, for building community, and for addressing any and all questions that arise during the upcoming months. Until the start of yourcourse, this will be THE place to find important notices related to […]

Posted On

07/6/11

Author

Dragons' Administration