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To our illustrious Fall Semester Students,


Thank you for being the reason that I get to turn around and go back to Indonesia in 3 weeks. I left the archipelago 2 days ago, and I am already missing it- as a place on this planet that, 1 year ago, had just appeared on the radar screen of my future, and now, after working last Fall Semester, the Spring season for a Bali-based company, and the Dragon's Summer program, I feel deeply connected to and strongly compelled towards.


After spending 9 months of this last year there, I am just scratching the surface of the incredible diversity, disparity, and complexity of this country. In fact, it is quite something that these 17,000 islands masquarade as one nation state in the first place. Indonesia is an intricate kaleidoscope, ever changing and revealing itself depending on the light and the lens of the looker.


I am fortified and humbled by the tenacity, kindness and depth of the people that we encounter. I feel Ioved by them and love for them. I am nourished and made calm by the extraordinary beauty of the seas, the jungles and the mountains. I am compelled toward the power which I feel expressing itself and existing below the surface in most moments there- in the site of Mt. Merapi at dawn, in the unbroken and weathered silence of an old fisherman in Sampela, of the soundless and calculated footsteps Pace and Soni in the jungle in Masihulan. I am compelled towards the mystical and spiritual traditions and customs that articulate this underlying power so uniquely. I am compelled towards that which is left unsaid and unspoken, and that which can never really be articulated in words, only in experience.


Our presence as a group will matter to the people we encounter. This adventure is not only for ourselves, but as, if not more importantly, is for the communities we visit and the topics that we choose to engage. This mutuality in our encounters is vital and is the very ink that will write the story of our semester in words worth reading.


Just as we are going to Indonesia to discover what she is, she herself is in the midst of decades of answering this same question for herself and her people. This question only begets more questions and opens into well of 240 million people and their unique and diverse histories and lives on this archipelago.


Indonesia awaits you....


A bit about me:


I was born and raised in Denver, CO and graduated from the University of Colorado in 2000 with a BA in Anthropology. For me, anthropology was an inquiry into being a human on planet earth. It highlighted a fundamental way of seeing and engaging in life that was at the core of my own personal ethic. It beckoned the effort to understand people, to respect their values and ways of life, and to rest in the primary sameness of our humanity. My longing to meet the people I was reading about in books led me to Semester at Sea during my sophomore yea of college. We voyaged to 9 countries in South America, Africa and Asia in 3 short months... and so began my intense love of travel and the profound learning that occurs when we depart from our concepts and defer to our direct experience. It was this little seed of global inspiration that grew into the landscape of my life.


Upon graduating from CU, I extended my great love of learning and people to a professional path as an educator and facilitator in this great realm of “experience”. I began work as a field staff in a clinically therapeutic wilderness program for at-risk teens in Utah. Beyond the proof I had in my own life, It was here that I first saw the power and potential of the wilderness and experiential education to facilitate profound transformation and empowerment.


In 2004, I was inspired to expand my education and knowledge of healing and transformation to include the somatic approach of body based healing. I completed a 2 year/1200 hour certification program at a school in Northern California in the healing modalities of shiatsu, massage, craniosacral therapy, watsu and waterdance (2 aquatic modalities).


For me, the marriage of wilderness/experiential education + body awareness/healing and presence offered incredible opportunities for my students and clients to engage in transformation, applied education and leadership empowerment. In the decade that followed, I continued to work as both an instructor/facilitator with programs in Utah, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, and as a bodywork practitioner.


In 2011, I had the strong desire to be both challenged and inspired to new levels as an educator, and to work with an organization in which I could further synthesize my passions, collaborate with rock-star colleagues, and contribute to a meaningful evolution for students. I found my way to Where There Be Dragons, and ce'st la vie. In 2011, I was an instructor on the Sikkim Summer and the Indonesia Fall Semester Programs just finished the Indo Summer program for 2012.


Aaron, Kelli and look forward to our convergence in Java along with countless people from communities in Indonesia who are anxiously awaiting our arrival into their villages.


Until then, my advice to you is to arrive feeling prepared (with all of the gear that you need), healthy, rested and with loose ends at home tied up so that you have the space to be present for this experience.


Stay tuned for important updates on the Yak board all the way up until your departure from the US.


Until then, all my best and see you soon,


Sarah Byrden















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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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Hello from Sarah

Sarah Byrden,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

To our illustrious Fall Semester Students, Thank you for being the reason that I get to turn around and go back to Indonesia in 3 weeks. I left the archipelago 2 days ago, and I am already missing it- as a place on this planet that, 1 year ago, had just appeared on the radar […]

Posted On

08/11/12

Author

Sarah Byrden

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Hi! I'm Lyda, from Arlington, MA. I just finished four long years at Arlington High and plan to start at Maryland Institute College of Artin fall 2013.I love running, singing, dancing, backpacking, and art of all kinds. Aside from two week-long service trips taken with my youth group (to New Orleans and Tuba City, Arizona), I've never done anything like what this trip is going to be. I'm excited but also really nervous! I can't wait to meet all of you, because you're probably awesome.

See you in LA!

Lyda

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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Intro

Lyda Langford,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hi! I’m Lyda, from Arlington, MA. I just finished four long years at Arlington High and plan to start at Maryland Institute College of Artin fall 2013.I love running, singing, dancing, backpacking, and art of all kinds. Aside from two week-long service trips taken with my youth group (to New Orleans and Tuba City, Arizona), […]

Posted On

08/4/12

Author

Lyda Langford

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    [post_date] => 2012-07-30 00:00:00
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Kursi=chair, kepala=head, guru=teacher, laut=ocean…The chalkboard was covered with a medley of words, no rhyme or reason to the disjointed phrases I had scribbled for the eager children in Nggodoro, Sumbawa. My self-taught Bahasa Indonesia was being put to the test by a classroom of4th graders. At the center of the smattering of English words was “Nama saya Aaron. Saya orang Amerika.” That was about the extent of my Indonesian at the time, but incredibly those simple words of introduction were enough to earn me the most heartwarming smiles and sincere hospitality I’d ever found in my travels. I soon left that first journey to Indonesia to begin work on a PhD in history, but Indonesia never really left me.

I started graduate school in the fall of 2008 with the intention of focusing on the relationship between the U.S. and Guatemala, a place where I’ve also led 3 Dragons courses. When I first enrolled in grad classes that fall, with Indonesia fresh in my mind, I discovered that UCLA actually offered Indonesian language courses! I signed up and over the next two years was able to cultivate my understanding of Indonesian language, history, and culture. Indonesia moved to the forefront of my interests and in my second year, I was awarded the Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) Fellowship to focus on Indonesian studies.

The second year of grad school was also when I decided that my heart was not in academia, or at least not for now. So, I left UCLA with a masters degree with summa cum laude honors and embarked on a different path of learning and exploration outside of the classroom. My love of history has always been fueled by the desire to better understand the world as it is today and my passion is to share that understanding with others. For the last 5 years, Dragons has provided a perfect vehicle to merge the theoretical with the experiential. One of my favorite aspects of Dragons is the emphasis on self-exploration vis-à-vis exploration of the world beyond our familiar communities and comforts. Travel can be an incredibly humbling and enlightening experience. And while solo travel is uniquely rewarding, I have come to find that my most meaningful and life changing adventuress have come through the collective experience of group travel. In each other’s eyes we will find the prisms to reflect and deepen our individual experiences just as the rays of the sun intensify through a magnifying glass.

A bit more about myself… I grew up in Pleasanton, CA, about an hour east of San Francisco, with my wonderful parents, Malik and Monika, and best friend/older brother, Gabriel. I led my first Dragons course in 2008 and have worked as an outdoor guide since 2004. I hold a Wilderness First Responder certification and have taught history, leadership, risk management, and outdoor skills courses to high school and college students. My passions are travel, surfing, history, the outdoors, and sharing whatever I happen to be excited about with others! I joined Dragons full-time at the end of 2010 as the Program Director for Latin America and Indonesia after leading our first ever course in Indonesia that fall. I have been based out of our Boulder, CO headquarters since then and have loved managing the many aspects of our programming. That said, my true passions are with you, the students, and I am bouncing with excitement to jump into our adventure this September.

Students often ask for advice on how to best prepare for the trip. On a practical level, pack basic and LIGHT WEIGHT (earth toned and quick-dry hiking clothes), read up on Indonesia as much you can whether in the news, books, movies, and prepare yourself mentally and physically for the experience of a lifetime. I highly recommend investing in some synthetic t-shirts, pants, and undergarments. Anyone who has gone backpacking before knows that "cotton kills" and in the humidity of Indonesia it's nice to have some clothes that will actually dry out when they inevitably get wet. Headlamps, rain gear, and a watch/alarm clock are all essential items that are harder to find in-country. Remember that we all be equally smelly and dirty after about, oh, 2 days in-country, so pack practical (and modest)! The packing list you have received is quite comprehensive, but we are always here to help with any questions. Just call me at our offices 303-413-0822x12. If you have the time, read Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey by Lawrence Blair to get excited for the kind of adventures in store….it’s a page turner!

On a more general level, whenever I step into a new and challenging adventure I feel this distinct anxiety about the uncertainty of a new experience. I used to dread that feeling and for a time even let it discourage me from trying out new things. But over time I've come to realize that that anxiety is a signpost for the boundaries of my comfort zone. And every time I've pushed through those fears and brought myself to enter a completely foreign experience, it has led to the most memorable and significant periods of growth in my life. That anxiety is still there for me, however, I now welcome it as an exciting sign of adventures and personal discovery to come. I encourage you all to face those anxieties, whatever they may be, and look forward to the profound personal growth they portend. We will all be challenged in our own unique ways this summer. How we confront and learn from those challenges is what will make these 3 months together last a lifetime. As cliche as it sounds, the more you sincerely open yourself up to Indonesia, to each other, and to yourself, the more you will get out of this experience. That process starts now, so start thinking about what you want to get out of the journey.

Indonesia is a magical, complex, and unforgettable place. On the surface, we’ll find all of the wonderful attributes of an exotic island paradise; however, to leave with such a romanticized view would be a huge disappointment. As we look beyond the elegant dances, lush forests, and idyllic beaches, we’ll find endless layers of meaning. We want to see Indonesia for all of its beauty and tragedy so that we can hear the depth of its story. I can´t wait to go there with you.

Kelli and Sarah are currently in their final week leading the Indonesia 6-week summer program, so you should hear from them soon! Thank you to Cassidy, Olivia, and Naya for getting the ball rolling with their first Yaks...Kelli, Sarah, and I would love to hear from the rest of you!

Best,

Aaron Slosberg

A world opens for the person who begins to look within himself; for it is not a little plot of ground he has to cultivate; he has a world to make of himself. Many think that life is not interesting because they make nothing, but they do not realize that they are making a world. If they make a world ignorantly, that world is their captivity; if they make a world wisely, that world is their paradise. -Hazrat Inayat Khan

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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Nama Saya Aaron

Aaron Slosberg,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Kursi=chair, kepala=head, guru=teacher, laut=ocean…The chalkboard was covered with a medley of words, no rhyme or reason to the disjointed phrases I had scribbled for the eager children in Nggodoro, Sumbawa. My self-taught Bahasa Indonesia was being put to the test by a classroom of4th graders. At the center of the smattering of English words was […]

Posted On

07/30/12

Author

Aaron Slosberg

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    [post_date] => 2012-07-26 00:00:00
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Hi Dragoners!

My name is Olivia and I am from New York City (although I just moved to the suburbs...shhhh). I just graduated from Riverdale and am taking a gap year before starting at Bard College in the fall of 2013. I'm so psyched to be hitting up indo with everyone. I was stalking previous indonesia Semester yaks pretty hard and it seems really awesome. I have never been on a dragons trip before, but have heard amazing things about it from my best friend who went with dragons to Cambodia last summer. My top five favorite things ever are my dogs, music, food, drawing, and reading. (And sometimes marine mammals. They're pretty chill).

I can't wait to meet everyone!

Olivia

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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Helllooooo Dragons.

Olivia Rothberg,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hi Dragoners! My name is Olivia and I am from New York City (although I just moved to the suburbs…shhhh). I just graduated from Riverdale and am taking a gap year before starting at Bard College in the fall of 2013. I’m so psyched to be hitting up indo with everyone. I was stalking previous […]

Posted On

07/26/12

Author

Olivia Rothberg

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    [post_date] => 2012-07-18 00:00:00
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Hello everyone!

I'm so excited to meet all of you and share our amazing adventure in just a few short months! My name is Cassidy Schultz, but you can call me Cass! I'm from Denver CO, I've just graduated from The Denver Waldorf School (yes Naya, I know the Matuszewicz family).

Last summer I spent six incredible weeks with Dragons in Tibet. That experience changed my life and opened my eyes in ways I never expected. And as soon as I arrived home I began planning for this semester. After Dragons (and hopefully service work in Latin America in the spring) I will attend Davidson College in NC in the fall of 2013.

Along with my ravenous travel bug I enjoy drawing, cooking, hiking, swimming, volleyball, and reading, to name a few.

I can't wait to meet you all! Let the count down begin!

Best Wishes,

Cass

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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Intro from Cass

Cassidy Schultz,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hello everyone! I’m so excited to meet all of you and share our amazing adventure in just a few short months! My name is Cassidy Schultz, but you can call me Cass! I’m from Denver CO, I’ve just graduated from The Denver Waldorf School (yes Naya, I know the Matuszewicz family). Last summer I spent […]

Posted On

07/18/12

Author

Cassidy Schultz

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    [post_date] => 2012-07-13 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Hey! My name is Naya and I couldn't be more amped for our upcoming semester. I'm from Boston, MA and will be starting Colorado College in the winter. In 2010, I participated in the 6-week summer course in Cambodia with Dragons, and it changed my life in so many positive ways. Seriously, we are in for an INCREDIBLE three months. I've been working on a farm for the past two summers since then to raise money for this semester, and decided to take some time off before starting school again.

As a quick introduction, I play soccer and frisbee among some other sports, and just did my first triathlon as a senior project. I also love photography, languages, and I eat a massive amount of kale on the reg.

Hope you all have an amazing rest of your summer!

Naya

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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intro

Naya Herman,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hey! My name is Naya and I couldn’t be more amped for our upcoming semester. I’m from Boston, MA and will be starting Colorado College in the winter. In 2010, I participated in the 6-week summer course in Cambodia with Dragons, and it changed my life in so many positive ways. Seriously, we are in […]

Posted On

07/13/12

Author

Naya Herman

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