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Central America Semester, Fall 2012


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DearMiddle EastSemester Students,

Regarding Arrival inNew York

If you haven’t done so already, please submit your connecting flight itinerary.

My Dragons:my.wheretherebedragons.com/my.php/Fax: 303-413-0857 e-mail:info@wheretherebedragons.com. It is important that we know students’ airline, flight number, arrival date and arrival time. If unable to fax or e-mail a copy of the itinerary, please phone in this information.

Please review these instructions and ensure that they are packed along with you.For your convenience we have printed this same information on wallet-sized cards (that are included in your final mailer) and we recommend that you carry them with you.

IMPORTANT NOTE: No Dragons’ staff will be present inNew York.We consider you to be a mature group of semester students who have already shown a great deal of independence and maturity in our communication. We trust you to be able to travel safely fromNew Yorkto greet your instructors, who will be awaiting your touchdown in country.For your travel day please be sure to wear your Dragons t-shirt to easily identify each other.

Dragons staff has been in communication with one student from your group to assign special student leadership tasks.Please respect your student leaderas this role will rotate through the course of the program and every student will have opportunities to take on group leadership.

Students Flying toNew Yorkon September 6th (day of departure):
Upon landing inNew York, proceed to baggage claim and gather your bags. Go directly to the international check-in counter of Royal Jordanian (Terminal 4). You will meet your group there.


Students Driving toNew Yorkon September 6th
(day of departure):
Please meet your group at the Royal Jordanian international check-in counter (Terminal 4) by 5:00pm

·If there are any problems on the day of travel- delays, missed flights, etc., pleasecallour office 800-982-9203.Dragons admin will be on-call and will help with any complications.If you get our voicemail, please leave a message on ext. 30

·Wear your Dragons shirtfor easy identification!Dragons staff can also be identified by their Dragons t-shirts.

Regarding Arriving in Country:

JORDAN:The only thing you will need for yourJordanvisa is your passport – DO NOT SEND YOURPASSPORT TO US.Please also bring about $100 for yourJordanvisa (you will need to pay$50 when you arrive inJordanand then another $50 for your second entry intoJordan).

EGYPT:A Sinai travel permit will be issued upon entry toU.S.citizens

ISRAEL:You will need to pay $40 exit tax when leavingIsrael.

Regarding Communication with Students:

Throughout the course of the program, each group will continue to post notes on their “Yak Yak” bulletin board located on our website. Often communication can be tough because of travel days, time trekking, and the fickle nature of the developing world’s tele-communication infrastructure.Instructors and Boulder Administration will work to post yaks as often as possible.To read group updates, click the “Yak Yak” icon on our web page:

/yakyak.php

During different parts of their course, Dragons students at times will have fairly regular access to telephones and to e-mail. Per the notes in yourCourse Preparation ManualandParent Support Kit, we remind students that Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail accounts can be among the most easily accessed accounts while traveling overseas.

Parents:Please read theParent Support Kitsent to you with earlier material as it has many more detailed notes on the nature of communication while your student is traveling abroad, your role and relationship to Dragons, and an overview of your child’s experience as well as advice from past parents and answers to parents’ mostpopular questions.

Regarding Itinerary:

A basic part of Dragons pedagogy is to maintain flexible and dynamic itineraries so that students and instructors can take advantage of special opportunities that come along, and when necessary, respond to varying levels of group fitness and health.Program itineraries, though fairly well mapped out, will changethroughout the course of the program.Course instructors communicate changes in the itinerary with our office.Instructors on all programs will contact us if there is an emergency, which the office admin will, in turn, promptly report to you.

Regarding Parent Vacation Details:

If parents intend to travelduring the program, please email or fax us a copy of the itinerarywith phone numbers for emergency contact. Our fax # is 303-413-0857. Please also note that if you are overseas you will not be able to use our #800. From overseas call 001-303-413-0822.

Regarding Emergency Response Protocol:

Over the course of the program, Dragons Administrative staff will be on-call 24/7 to respond to emergencies or evacuation needs and will be available to respond to any parent’s emergency need to communicate with a student. Field staff will be able to contact Dragons US staff at all hours. Parents needing any emergency assistance are asked to contact our office. If no one is available when parents call our office, please leave a message at extension 30, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

To Call Dragons Office: 303-413-0822 / 800-982-9203 x 30

To E-mail Dragons Office:info@wheretherebedragons.com

Regarding Packing:

· BRING YOUR PASSPORT WITH YOU & All THE VISA REQUIREMENTS!

· Please pack your Lonely Planet guide book, Phrase Book and Program Reader (unless otherwise directed by your instructors).

·As listed in the equipment list, we generally recommend students $50-$75 of spending money a week.Travelers’ checks are not recommended. For more details on the specifics of your program packing list, please refer to yourCourse Preparation Manual.

·Be sure to visit your Yak Yak board where instructors have posted introduction letters and will use this message board to post additional advice regarding clothing and equipment.

·All students are reminded to bring some photos from home to share with home-stay families and friends they make along the way.

Regarding Dragons Red Rules and the use of Alcohol and Drugs:

The use of alcohol and drugs is strictly prohibited on all Dragons programs. Dragons’ insurance policies, including our evacuation and medical coverage, will not honor claims if drugs and/or alcohol are involved. We cannot accept risks presented by students’ consumption of drugs and/or alcohol.Taking part in these activities are grounds for dismissal from the program if drugs and/or alcohol are consumed at any time during the program, from arrival to JKF through the return to JFK at the end of the program.If a student is asked to return home under these circumstances, the student and his/her family will absorb all costs of early departurewhich will likely include a new plane ticket and all costs incurred by the instructor team in safely returning the student home.

Parents: Thank you for the support you've given your child in making this opportunity available.

Students: Thank you for stepping out and joining us; we’re so excited to meet you in person!

Best Wishes,

DragonsBoulderAdmin



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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Final Airport Arrival Information

Dragons Administration,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

DearMiddle EastSemester Students, Regarding Arrival inNew York If you haven’t done so already, please submit your connecting flight itinerary. My Dragons:my.wheretherebedragons.com/my.php/Fax: 303-413-0857 e-mail:info@wheretherebedragons.com. It is important that we know students’ airline, flight number, arrival date and arrival time. If unable to fax or e-mail a copy of the itinerary, please phone in this information. Please […]

Posted On

08/24/12

Author

Dragons Administration

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Hi everyone!

I was just reading through the course itinerary and thought that I would introduce myself. I'm Alexandra but I go by Oli, which is a nickname I have had since I was little. I am from Washington, D.C. and graduated from the National Cathedral School this past June. I deferred my admission to the University of Pennsylvania for one year because I wanted the opportunity to do some travelling, speak Spanish, and learn more about the world before heading to college. I can't wait to start the trip and meet everyone!

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Student introduction

Alexandra Gurley,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hi everyone! I was just reading through the course itinerary and thought that I would introduce myself. I’m Alexandra but I go by Oli, which is a nickname I have had since I was little. I am from Washington, D.C. and graduated from the National Cathedral School this past June. I deferred my admission to […]

Posted On

08/23/12

Author

Alexandra Gurley

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Hola Estudiantes!

As you all know we will be missing the November election. For some of you this may be your first opportunity to vote in an election! Just a reminder that if you are planning on voting, you will need to request an absentee ballot before you leave the country. I have lots of practice with being gone for elections, and what works best for me is have my ballot sent to my parent's house, and when it arrives tell them over the phone how to fill it out for me. Let me know if you have any qustions about this.

Hope all your summers are going fantastic and look forward to seeing you in Nicaragua!!!!

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Voting in November!

Ariel,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hola Estudiantes! As you all know we will be missing the November election. For some of you this may be your first opportunity to vote in an election! Just a reminder that if you are planning on voting, you will need to request an absentee ballot before you leave the country. I have lots of […]

Posted On

08/20/12

Author

Ariel

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Hola estudiantes!

As a first step in preparing ourselves for our upcoming journey, we’d like to offer you this tentative itinerary for our Central America Semester. This itinerary represents our ideas and hopes for the semester, but it’s important to note that it is subject to change beforehand and during the course. As we refine the program and schedule we will be posting more Yaks with additions or changes to this itinerary. Central America has so much to offer that it’s hard to choose, but we try very hard to provide profound off-the-beaten-path experiences that facilitate the adventure and learning that a Dragons’ course is all about. Please feel free to comment to us via the Yak board with your thoughts, questions, concerns and excitements regarding our proposed course itinerary. We are so excited for our upcoming journey and we hope that these descriptions get you excited too! So without further ado, adelante, amigos!

When you arrive at the Managua airport, you will be greeted by your three co-instructors at the airport, we will spend the night in Managua before a morning journey by way of the Pan-American Highway to a natural reserve, El Tisey-La Estanzuela, about 15km south of the city of Esteli. The tiny but picturesque town of La Garnacha, where we will be staying for your student orientation, is well known for its efforts to strengthen its own economy through community work, diversification of crops, and its highly specialized production of milk and cheese. We will spend our time setting collective and individual goals, learning about travel and about our host country, bonding as a group, and acclimating ourselves to this new place and new pace.

Departing from Esteli again, this time on foot, we will be trekking to our next destination, El Lagartillo. This town, which was tragically affected during the civil war, is filled with charismatic, radical individuals who are excited to welcome us into their homes and share their lives, stories, and ideas with us. They have a history of international solidarity work and have started a local association that runs a small Spanish school where you will be studying Spanish for three weeks while living with families. On the weekends we may have the opportunity to take a water adventure, travelling north to the Somoto Canyon, and visit one of Nicaragua’s proudest cities, Leon, which you’ll find full of university students. You’ll have a chance to explore the city and its museums before we begin an overnight trek that promises breathtaking views.

After saying goodbye to our wonderful hosts in El Lagartillo, we travel south to San Marcos, Carazo, where the inspiring workers of Los Quinchos meet us. Los Quinchos is an organization that works with the kids who live in La Chureca, the largest city dump in Central America. They have three sites where kids are moved through a progression where they learn self-esteem and self-love, community integration, and finally skills for employment. We will visit the sites, hang out with the youth, and learn about the unique history and hope of this organization.

The next stage of our journey will take us to the country of El Salvador, although El Salvador is the smallest country geographically in Central America, it has a big history and a lot of importance for our course. It was here that the civil wars fought in the 80’s and the subsequent economic policies imposed in this region had some of their most obvious lasting impacts. We will visit the community of La Cinquera, a town whose history is inseparable from the history of those troubled times. We will hear testimonies from the residents of La Cinquera as well as see how El Salvador has progressed and moved on since the end of the war. There will also be opportunities to visit some of El Salvador’s abundant natural wonders. From here we will move into our final destination, the Mayan kingdom of Guatemala.

Our time in Guatemala will start in Todos Santos, a small community located in the Cuchumatanes Mountains. We will spend a few days in this mostly indigenous community talking about The Civil War and Immigration. From here we will do a 4 day trek through the mountains to the Ixil Triangle, which is an area that was heavily affected by the Civil War. We’ll spend some time in Nebaj and then travel to Cotzal where we will be working with a local women’s weaving co-op. We will learn from them about the war, help plants beans, as well as support them in the construction on their community building.

From Cotzal we will make our way to Pachaj, a small community outside of Xela, where we will take Spanish classes and work with the Chico Mendes Reforestation Project. Our next stop is the beautiful Lake Atitlan, where we will be spending time at IMAP, a permaculture center based around traditional Mayan knowledge. We may be able to attend a 10 day permaculture course given by the founder of IMAP. The final stage of our course where the students take more ownership over the experience will take place in Guatemala, but the exact location is yet to be determined. Our final days on course will be spent on Lake Atitlan, where we will revisit what we have learned on the trip and talk about how to take it all home with us.

We hope that this provides you with some insight into the upcoming semester. Many of the places and people we will be visiting are old friends, always welcoming and ready with a story and a cup of coffee for any visitor who passes by. We three could not be more excited to take you into these often overlooked, yet extremely important and powerful places and histories. While much of the subject matter we cover is heavy, there is always space for lots of laughter, group time, games, outdoor adventures and fun on our courses as well. We look forward to meeting each of you very soon and embarking on this adventure. Hasta pronto!

Ariel, Dhyana and Luis

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Central America Itinerary

Instructors,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hola estudiantes! As a first step in preparing ourselves for our upcoming journey, we’d like to offer you this tentative itinerary for our Central America Semester. This itinerary represents our ideas and hopes for the semester, but it’s important to note that it is subject to change beforehand and during the course. As we refine […]

Posted On

08/15/12

Author

Instructors

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Saludos a todos—hello all you who, in one short month, will be here in Nicaragua! Ah, where to begin...perhaps I’ll begin at the airport on your arrival day, by pointing out a larger-than-life painting of Sandino, the very man Managua’s airport is named after—the one with the wide brimmed hat and a history so significant you’ll find he’s in the heart of every Nicaraguan. But before you meet any one else and before we get to any of that, you’ll meet us: that’s me, Dhyana, I’m already here, and I’ll be joined by my beloved co-instructors Ariel and Luis, who arrive to Nicaragua late August. You’ll recognize us when you see us jumping up in the crowd, waving at you from the other side of a glass wall as you move through the line at customs. When you've joined us we’ll stand there together forming a group for the first time, in the Augusto C. Sandino airport, in Nicaragua, in Central America. There our learning will begin...

You’ll have your first step into a country I call home, a place students have experienced as having an unmistakable sense of pride emanating from its people. Later on in our trip and thereafter, it will seem curious to us to look back on this arrival day as the day it all started to change, a day that happened before you knew anything of what was to come. Your first day in Nicaragua…before the dark green leaves of coffee plants whisper to you their story of Green Gold, before you come to know any of these complicated histories, the kind that determine a country’s future, before you’re met with the unbreakable spirit of this nation and others…These stories are not mine to tell, and certainly not now. When you get here you’ll find this land and its people speak well for themselves. Ours will be to listen.

What I’ll tell you about now, however, is about me. It’s my story, about a girl who started out, not exactly in Central America’s jungle, but instead in New York’s. At the time of her arrival to Nicaragua, she had no idea that the narrow escape from that one jungle which only landed her in another, meant she had traveled far to find what was near. While what had formerly been known as the War Against Poverty in New York had essentially turned into a War Against The Poor, all the while those same politics had been propping up oligarchies in Latin America then building and financing a military machine to quiet those who were dissatisfied.

I can tell you there were parts of the coming into this knowledge which rocked the very foundations of me, and may cause the ground you stand on to shake some as well. The fact that we are living in a time when increased technology enables us to have a look into nearly every crevice of the globe doesn’t necessarily make us realize that we are also involved in about as much of it as we can see. But you’ll realize it when you visit Central America. You’ll realize that, and you’ll think about HOW we are involved, and ask yourself if that may still, in some ways, be for us to determine. So as you’ll find out after that first day, it will be important to be here, to learn here, to listen, to ponder our role in the world. Nicaragua’s history of rebellion and continuing struggle against injustice instills both heartbreak and hope. It gets in you and stays with you, something irreversible.

For now, all you need to keep in mind is that you cannot possibly know what this experience will mean for you. All the anticipations and speculations we make beforehand, there is nothing that will bring us any closer to what it means to find ourselves where we’ve never been before. So I thank you and I congratulate you for the step you’ve taken towards the unknown, especially when there exists a tendency to want choices that are standard and familiar, those that have been thoroughly and mechanically mapped out for us. Instead, you have chosen to come to Central America. Here Nicaragua, The Land of Lakes and Volcanos, invites you to NOT know what comes next, and so do I.

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Introducing myself, and the Land of Lakes and Volcanos

Dhyana Kuhl,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Saludos a todos—hello all you who, in one short month, will be here in Nicaragua! Ah, where to begin…perhaps I’ll begin at the airport on your arrival day, by pointing out a larger-than-life painting of Sandino, the very man Managua’s airport is named after—the one with the wide brimmed hat and a history so significant […]

Posted On

08/8/12

Author

Dhyana Kuhl

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    [post_date] => 2012-07-31 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Dear Semester Students and Parents:

We would like to call your attention to the rabies pre-exposure inoculation. Please reference page 14 of the Parent Support Kit for the following response:

Question: Should we get the pre-exposure for rabies?

Answer: Ask a professional physician. (That’s our answer for most inoculation-related questions.) We can tell you, however, that Rabies is a uniformly fatal disease transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal. In the developing world, dogs are the most common carriers of rabies. Rabies pre-exposure vaccine exists and is effective, but even with these vaccines, exposure to rabies requires follow-up therapy. The pre-exposure vaccination does not eliminate the need for additional therapy after a rabies exposure; however, it simplifies therapy by eliminating the need for human rabies immune globulin (HRIG). HRIG, suggested by the CDC as part of the post-exposure treatment, is NOT AVAILABLE in many developing countries, and families who wish to treat potential exposure with HRIG may have to evacuate to a country where HRIG is available. Students who have been inoculated with pre-exposure vaccine will not need to evacuate if bitten. Students who have not been inoculated with pre-exposure vaccine and who require evacuation will incur evacuation costs not covered by Dragons.


Our experiences in Latin America have shown that dogs are a prevalent risk that we actively mitigate through training and other proactive measures. However, we have also learned that in the case of a dog bite, HRIG is not readily available in most Latin American countries. Therefore, depending on the circumstances of the bite, students without the rabies pre-exposure inoculations would likely need to be evacuated to the US where HRIG is available. This can cost would not be covered by Dragons evacuation insurance, and it could compromise a student’s ability to finish the program. On the other hand, students who already have rabies pre-exposure inoculations would not need a HRIG treatment in the event of a dog bite; instead, students with pre-exposure vaccination can safely rely on the available in-country post-exposure treatment.

While Dragons cannot formally recommend any inoculation, we want to clearly communicate the benefits of the pre-exposure vaccine, available through any travel clinic and through most family physician, since in the rare event of an animal bite it may allow a student to remain in-country without program disruption and additional expense.

Sincerely,
Dragons Administration

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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IMPORTANT Rabies Inoculation

Administration,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Dear Semester Students and Parents: We would like to call your attention to the rabies pre-exposure inoculation. Please reference page 14 of the Parent Support Kit for the following response: Question: Should we get the pre-exposure for rabies? Answer: Ask a professional physician. (That’s our answer for most inoculation-related questions.) We can tell you, however, […]

Posted On

07/31/12

Author

Administration

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Hi Barton,
This is a great use of the Yak board! We encourage everyone to post pre-course questions on the Yak board and we really appreciate you setting a good tone with your question.
As for the glasses vs. contact lenses question, it really depends the individual's comfort. There are times when glasses may be more usefull but if your son is used to contact lenses than those may be more appropriate. The main issue with contact lenses is using clean hands to put them in. Although we'll be in the developing world, there will always be opportunites to wash our hands and we'll have access to clean water at all times. We have never had problems with students using contact lenses on course. Whichever method you guys decide to go with, we really recommend bringing a backup just in case something happens.
We hope this helps with your desicion and please feel free to respind if there's anything else we can help with.
Thanks,
Team Central America
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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Response to Question about Contacts

Instructor Team,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hi Barton, This is a great use of the Yak board! We encourage everyone to post pre-course questions on the Yak board and we really appreciate you setting a good tone with your question. As for the glasses vs. contact lenses question, it really depends the individual’s comfort. There are times when glasses may be […]

Posted On

07/12/12

Author

Instructor Team

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Hola mis queridos estudiantes!

It’s my pleasure to introduce myself to you all here on the Yak board and begin our journey together. My name is Luis Alvarado and I am thrilled to be one of your instructors on the Central America semester program.

The countries of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala are places of great power and special meaning to me. Much like yourselves, as a college student I was drawn to explore these lands and try to understand the messages they had for me. I began my own journey in Mexico, after growing up in the US midwest I wanted to seek out my roots, the land of my father’s family in Mexico. I went to study at the University of Guadalajara, but the majority of my learning came from the experiences I had outside the classroom, discovering new realities and ways of being that called into question my own assumptions about life. Once I had a taste of this reality-breaking education I was hooked. I found Oliver Wendell Holmes statement that “ a mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions” to be very true. I needed to see more, I wanted to stretch my mental framework to it’s limits. It was in this mindset that I traveled to the small isthmus of land that unites North and South America.

Traveling by bus, train and foot I ended up in Guatemala. When crossing the border from Mexico into Guatemala I could instantly feel a shift. There was a deep feeling of ancient heaviness that lived in the cloud covered mountains that was palpable to me from the first moment, and even though I didn’t know what to call it or what it meant, it felt important. I began to hear stories, to learn about the depth of knowledge that the people of these lands had carried, and how that knowledge had been lost or hidden in a battle for survival. I learned that I was in the one of the last remaining strongholds of indigenous wisdom left in the hemisphere. I learned about loss and determination, pride and disenfranchisement and the power of family and community. My mind was truly stretched and I struggled to keep up with what I was learning. I spent the next several years finishing college and returning time and again to Guatemala, where my real education was taking place. After graduating college I returned to live and work in kakchiquel mayan communities on the south shore of Lake Atitlan. My education continued, in fact it has never stopped, as I worked with groups of volunteers on appropriate technology and permaculture projects in mayan communities.

My love for the outdoors and the unique peace of nature led me to explore the volcanoes, mountains and lakes of Central America. I began to work as a wilderness guide in Central America and had the privilege of exploring some of the most spectacular landscapes I have known.

It was in this that I discovered Dragons. I had spent several years developing a unique skill set, and I now had a place to use it. I knew that what I had learned from my travels had profoundly changed me, but I wasn’t aware that there was a whole community of like-minded people with similar stories and experiences dedicated to sharing their knowledge. I knew I had found a place for me. This coming course will mark my fifth Dragon’s program, it will be my third in Central America.

Dragons has given me the opportunity to expand my horizons even further. I am writing you now from Bolivia, the second stronghold of indigenous culture and wisdom in this hemisphere. My current path has brought me the fortune to learn from the people of the Andes and the surrounding regions. I have come to understand new and important ideas that I hope to share with you all. From my experience I can say confidently that each Dragon’s course is a profound and unique learning experience for everyone involved. In particular, Central America holds many truths and realities that I am so excited to share with you. I applaud your decision to seek out new ways and I am so honored to accompany you on this exploration. I look forward to meeting you soon and please feel free to contact me with any questions at alvarado.dragons@gmail.com.

Con mucha solidaridad,

luis

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Introduction from Luis

Luis Alvarado,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hola mis queridos estudiantes! It’s my pleasure to introduce myself to you all here on the Yak board and begin our journey together. My name is Luis Alvarado and I am thrilled to be one of your instructors on the Central America semester program. The countries of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala are places of […]

Posted On

07/12/12

Author

Luis Alvarado

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Contact lenses in developing world

Barton Gellman,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hoping this is an appropriate use of the Yak Yak forum: can anyone make recommendations or describe experience with contact lenses in the developing world? My son will be on theSeeds of Change Semester Abroad in Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador program. Are contacts ok (along with a pair of glasses) or would you suggest […]

Posted On

07/9/12

Author

Barton Gellman

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Hola a todos! 



As I sit in a small town in Guatemala while my students are in Spanish class, I cannot help but think about and anticipate the next step; our trip through Central America this Fall. It is a step we will all be taking together. As we prepare to leave our respective lives behind for three months, we can count on the fact that none of us will be alone in this adventure. I commend you all for taking the initiative and being brave enough to embark on this journey with us. Not everyone has the curiosity or the courage to actively challenge his or her comfort zones in order to become a more aware individual. The challenges we will face together may be filled with many emotions, and each one of us will learn not only about Central America and its people, but also about ourselves. Before leaving home I hope you will take a moment to think about who you are, what you believe, and what you value. Oftentimes when we leave our community, much of this can be challenged. I encourage you to come ready to face the challenges with an open mind. A also hope that you will come with a smile on your face, as laughter is universal.

 



The education experience you are about to be a part of is, I believe, the very definition of what learning should be. We will not be learning about the world from a book, but rather from real experience. Our teachers will not be traditional educators, but rather Guatemalans and Nicaraguans that have a great deal of knowledge based on different experiences and worldviews. My hope is that our students will be able to fully comprehend how much our perspective, the lens which we look through, influences the things we value and how we associate with the world around us. Through opening ourselves to other realities, perspectives and kinds of knowledge we

You will be learning Spanish by using it with your home stay families and other locals. You will study about the culture through firsthand experiences, and you will have a chance to really be present in the moment and experience this beautiful land through all 5 senses. Through service learning and other activities you will begin to understand how what you are learning is connected with the larger picture, how change starts with ourselves, and the power of grassroots organizations. One of my most respected professors once told me, “Ariel, education is a privilege, but with that privilege comes the responsibility to give back to your community”. This is why I am here, to invite my students to grow, and to realize their ability to impact the world in positive ways, by broadening their perspectives and becoming authentic and inclusive leaders. I hope that you will accept this invitation to dive deep into the way of life and issues in Central America, taking from it, in your heart, little pieces of the people we meet and the experiences we share along the way. My hope is that my students will go deep inside themselves and find a passion that will be with them for the rest of their lives. 

I will be reading through your applications before we meet in Central America, as well as talking with some of you. I would like for you to have the same opportunity to familiarize yourself with who I am before we meet; I was born and raised in small town in northern New Mexico, and currently live in Oregon. I studied biology for 3 years in college, but changed my major to Spanish immediately after a yearlong study abroad in Ecuador. I love traveling and learning about other worldviews because I believe it challenges me to be a better person. Since graduating I followed my love of teaching and became an educator. I have taught reading in a bilingual elementary school, skiing, English in Korea, and Spanish at Oregon State University. My passion for learning and my students stems from my own curiosity, and my belief that it is the most effective way to create positive change in the world. I recently completed a master’s degree in Contemporary Hispanic Studies in which I focused in traditional food, intercultural education, and social justice issues. 
Since then I have been working for Dragons, both in the field and the office.


A few other random tidbits about me: I love the outdoors, one of my favorite books is A Thousand Splendid Suns, if I could eat one meal for the rest of my life I would choose a burrito, my favorite game is bananagrams, I wish I knew how to sing, my hidden talent is Salsa dancing, my not-so-hidden talent is cooking, and I love to laugh… a lot!

 I really look forward to meeting, getting to know, and growing with each and every one of you. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions or concerns. 

¡Nos Vemos Pronto!



Ariel Storch

ariel.dragons@gmail.com

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Bienvenidos

Ariel Storch,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hola a todos! 
 
As I sit in a small town in Guatemala while my students are in Spanish class, I cannot help but think about and anticipate the next step; our trip through Central America this Fall. It is a step we will all be taking together. As we prepare to leave our respective […]

Posted On

07/9/12

Author

Ariel Storch

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