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Central America A
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    [post_content] => Dear Instructors/Admin:

As the parent of one of the students, I was wondering if we would receive an itinerary of Central America A prior to the students departure?  I know that there is a sample itinerary for last year on the website.  Will receive a tentative travel plan?

Sincerely,

Ann Cromie
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Central America A

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Mrs.

Ann Cromie,Central America A

Description

Dear Instructors/Admin: As the parent of one of the students, I was wondering if we would receive an itinerary of Central America A prior to the students departure?  I know that there is a sample itinerary for last year on the website.  Will receive a tentative travel plan? Sincerely, Ann Cromie

Posted On

08/19/14

Author

Ann Cromie

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    [post_content] => ¡Buenas Dragones!

Summer is coming to an end, which usually marks the start to a new school year. When I was your age, this meant that long, warm weekends spent in the ocean would be traded in for classes and the bustle of university life. Some of you would normally be preparing to head back to college, while others of you have just finished high school … but all of you will forego fall leaves and crisp weather for the challenges and adventures that await in Central America!

Just a few weeks ago, I returned from Guatemala, where I led a group of young Dragons on a journey through highlands and rainforest, and I can attest that all of us were moved by the landscape, the people and the reality to which we are all inextricably linked. Before this summer, I had only been to Guatemala once, but even before leaving this time around, I was eager to return – to be pushed, to learn more and to continue to come alive. Life has a funny way of taking us exactly where we’re supposed to go, exactly when we are supposed to be there.

At the end of 2006, I began a serious relationship with Brasil, a country that has become the heart of my growth as an educator, a budding permacultor and a person. Since 2011 and up through this summer, I’ve been living in Fortaleza, the capital city of Ceará, a northeastern state known for its expansive coastline filled with turquoise water beaches (with great waves) and an incredible potential for wind energy; forró music and dancing; the tastiest and most abundant supply of castanhas de caju; comedy shows and endlessly sunny days. I’ve been coordinating and working on Projeto Ecológico de Esgoto, a sanitation initiative to remove dirty water from the streets of the community of Morro de Sandras – water which contaminates not only the streets but the water supply – and to re-direct it to edible gardens. I’ve fallen in love with permaculture in Brasil and am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and practice these techniques in an urban setting where sanitation is seriously lacking. I eventually want to build my own home, complete with an awesome dry toilet and walls made of hiperadobe and perhaps plastic bottles, too! I’ve also fallen in love with the community and with the amazing team with whom I spent my days, so I’m pleased to report that the work carries on. :)

I’ve shared Brasil with two groups of summer Dragons students, who had Bahia and the Amazon as the scenic context for their introduction to permaculture and to learning about how to conserve, valorize and connect with our incredible natural world. And now, our own journey in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua will give us the chance to intimately connect not only with breathtaking landscapes – highlands, coast, deep river valleys, volcanic mountains and banana plantations – but also with the people who are dependent upon and deeply bonded to their land. They’ve struggled for years to plant, grow and live on their land, never giving up their fight to preserve and care for life-giving land and water resources. We’ll have the unique opportunity to understand how NGOs, families and community leaders lead this movement, guided in Guatemala by a distinctly Mayan philosophy of Cosmovisión, which views the universe as a living, conscious entity and inspired in Nicaragua and El Salvador through grassroots movements and radical activism.

I’m thrilled for you to be exposed to this, to stay with families who will open their hearts and homes to you, to trek to places that will blow your minds, to learn and practice to speak Spanish, to build new friendships… but mainly to have the privilege of travel! I commend you for your adventurous spirit that draws you to this experience, and I imagine that our shared purpose for being in these places at this point in time is indicative of the bonds and friendships that we’ll form over the next few months.

¡Saludos entonces, y hasta pronto!
    [post_title] => ¡ Emocionada y los saludo desde California!
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Central America A

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¡ Emocionada y los saludo desde California!

Hanna Jacobsen,Central America A

Description

¡Buenas Dragones! Summer is coming to an end, which usually marks the start to a new school year. When I was your age, this meant that long, warm weekends spent in the ocean would be traded in for classes and the bustle of university life. Some of you would normally be preparing to head back […]

Posted On

08/19/14

Author

Hanna Jacobsen

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    [post_content] => Dear Students and Parents,

Your journey is right around the corner! Last week, we sent you a final mailer with all sorts of important reminders, emergency contact info, and airport instructions for meeting up with your group. You should receive it sometime this week, but if for some reason it doesn't arrive, below you’ll find highlights of the most important things to remember before your course.

As always, please feel free to call us in the office with any questions that come up as you finish your preparations: 303-413-0822. The Yak board is also a great forum to post any pre-course questions that you may have.

Please take the time to thoroughly read your Course Preparation Manual and Parent Support Kit as well as the pre-departure information included in the final mailer you should have recently received (and highlighted below).

Important Details:
  • CARRY YOUR PASSPORT WITH YOU (unless we have your passport). Also, please make sure you have 3 photocopies of your passport (front page only) packed separately in both your checked and carry-on baggage. Your instructors will hold onto one copy on course; you will be responsible for the other two.
  • Pack your Lonely Planet guide book and digital Course Reader (unless otherwise directed by your instructors).
  • We generally recommend students bring cash or an ATM card with access to $50-$75 a week for the duration of the trip. Please do NOT bring Traveler’s Checks. For more details on the specifics of your program packing list, please refer to your Course Preparation Manual.
  • Please bring a credit card (VISA is the most widely accepted credit card) for emergencies only.
  • We also recommend that students bring a couple photos from home or small gifts to share with their home-stay families and future friends.
  • Visit Dragons’ YakYak board to double check for last-minute packing instructions/advice from your instructors. The YakYak board can be accessed at my.wheretherebedragons.com/yak-yak
Review Dragons’ Drugs and Alcohol Policy In short, the use of alcohol and drugs is strictly prohibited on all Dragons programs. Dragons’ insurance policies, including our evacuation coverage, will not honor claims if drugs and/or alcohol are involved. We cannot accept the risks presented by students’ consumption of drugs and/or alcohol and will terminate a student’s participation if drugs and/or alcohol are consumed at any time during the program, from arrival at the student’s international point of departure to his or her return to the international point of arrival at the end of the program. If a student is asked to return home under these circumstances, the student and his or her family will be responsible for all costs incurred by the student’s early departure, which will likely include a new plane ticket and all logistics required to safely return the student home. Review Connecting Travel Instructions
  • CARRY YOUR PASSPORT WITH YOU(unless we have your passport).
  • LOCATE THE PASSPORT-SIZED INFO CARD WITH CONNECTING TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS, and pack it with your passport/boarding pass so that the information is easily accessible.
  • WEAR YOUR DRAGONS T-SHIRT FOR EASY IDENTIFICATION!  Dragons staff can also be identified by their Dragons t-shirts.
  • Before deplaning from your connecting flight, be sure your passport is with you.
MIAMI Central America For Students Arriving by Air : When you arrive at the Miami Airport, please proceed to Baggage Claim and gather your bags. Once you have retrieved your bags, please walk to the Departures & Ticketing level. Once you arrive, look for the rest of your group by American Airlines ticketing counter in concourse D. For Students Arriving by Car : Please meet your group at the Departures & Ticketing level at the American Airlines ticketing counter in terminal D, no later than 2pm on September 6, 2014. When you arrive at the airport, there will be a small orientation starting at 2pm. Dragons staff and your fellow group members will be wearing their Dragons T-shirts. Should you have trouble locating the rest of the group, please call our central Boulder office at 3 0 3 . 4 1 3 . 0 8 2 2 during business hours (M-F 8:30am-5:30pm (MT).  If it is after hours, please call 303.921.6078 We will be on call to help you connect with the group.   Emergency Response Protocol Dragons administrative staff will be on-call 24/7 to respond to emergencies or evacuation needs from the field. Our instructors will be able to contact Dragons’ US staff at all hours. Parents seeking emergency assistance are asked to contact our office. If no one is available, or if you call outside of regular office hours (8:30-5:30 MST), please leave a message on ext. 130 and we will return your call as soon as possible. To Call the Dragons Office: 303.413.0822 / 800.982.9203 x 130 To E-mail the Dragons Office: info@wheretherebedragons.com If parents intend to travel during the program, please email or fax us a copy of your itinerary with 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.   Parents, thank you for the support you have given your child in making this opportunity available. Students, thank you for stepping out and joining us; we are so excited to meet you in person! We can’t wait to see your introductions on our Yak Board! Have a great month. Best, The Boulder Admin Team [post_title] => Important Final Departure Information [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => important-final-departure-information-8 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-08-18 16:02:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-08-18 22:02:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=108097 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 128 [name] => Central America A [slug] => central-america-a [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 128 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 239 [count] => 148 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7.1 [cat_ID] => 128 [category_count] => 148 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Central America A [category_nicename] => central-america-a [category_parent] => 239 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2014/central-america-a/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 129 [name] => Central America B [slug] => central-america-b [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 129 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 239 [count] => 175 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7.1 [cat_ID] => 129 [category_count] => 175 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Central America B [category_nicename] => central-america-b [category_parent] => 239 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2014/central-america-b/ ) ) [category_links] => Central America A, Central America B )

Central America A, Central America B

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Important Final Departure Information

Eva Vanek,Central America A, Central America B

Description

Dear Students and Parents, Your journey is right around the corner! Last week, we sent you a final mailer with all sorts of important reminders, emergency contact info, and airport instructions for meeting up with your group. You should receive it sometime this week, but if for some reason it doesn’t arrive, below you’ll find […]

Posted On

08/18/14

Author

Eva Vanek

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-18 08:53:47
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    [post_content] => Erick Torres
Instructor

Hola a todos !

I would like to introduce myself and say hello ! I’m native from Guatemala city, I have been living in various Departments of Guatemala for the past 7 years, studying and working with communities, farmers, local woman and teenagers.  I have dedicated my time to working in environmental, recycling and Permaculture projects. I found my passion in the animals, trees and plants, Permaculture and ancestral knowledge. I’m glad to the opportunity of be one of you instructors in this coming trip, together with Hanna and Zack, two amazing people. but I’m most excited to have the chance TO know each other as a human beings , friends and travelers.

I’m here, in the heart of a little and calm town at the north side of Atitlan Lake, hearing the birds talk, the dogs barking some blocks away and in front of me, the lake dancing with the wind, making impossible sounds. The magic of this town is the same in many small communities around Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and other places around Mesoamerica. This region (Mesoamerica) is one of the 9 regions with the most biodiversity in the world; it is  full of fruits, vegetables, seeds, animals, trees. This region is the house of the cacao, a sacred beverage for the Mayans and the sacred Maiz, that make possible the life and culture in those lands and around the world.

I’m so excited right now with the idea of start a new journey in those 3 countries of Mesoamerica with you guys, 12 students and 2 instructors full of energy to learn, share, explore and … live. During 3 months we will share a lot, and we will become a family, a family who is looking for new experiences, we will be receive by people who is living their life following their beliefs, respecting the natural principles and cycles, trying to improve the world where we live, doing local efforts to have global results. I like to call them ordinary people making extraordinary things. I’m sure that every one of you have much to share to with the communities and countries to make real the experience of inter cultural exchange; the exchange of ideas and beliefs, to explore yourself through the observation and interaction with other cultures and belief systems.

Prepare you backpacks, open your heart and mind,
see you in Mesoamerica !

 

Erick
    [post_title] => Hola a todos !
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View post

Hola a todos !

Erick Torres,Central America A

Description

Erick Torres Instructor Hola a todos ! I would like to introduce myself and say hello ! I’m native from Guatemala city, I have been living in various Departments of Guatemala for the past 7 years, studying and working with communities, farmers, local woman and teenagers.  I have dedicated my time to working in environmental, […]

Posted On

08/18/14

Author

Erick Torres

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-12 10:33:57
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-12 16:33:57
    [post_content] => It is with great pleasure and excitement that I write to you all today. My name is Zack Siddall and I have the best job on earth. I, along with the help of my insanely qualified co-instructors Erick Torres and Hanna Jacobsen, will get to take 12 amazing young adults on a 3 month educational adventure through Central America. We'll explore sleepy little towns and bustling city centers. We'll hike across beautiful landscapes and immerse ourselves in the natural world. We'll learn about environmental issues, permaculture and most importantly we'll learn about ourselves.

As I write this letter of introduction I'm still feeling the effects of 22 hours in a plane coming from Kigali, Rwanda. For the past two years I have run the Dragons summer program in Rwanda. After completing last year's course in Rwanda I realized I had found my life calling but I needed more language skills. I knew if I wanted to make a life of experiential education work I needed to learn a more universally spoken language than Kinyarwanda (the native language of Rwanda that I learned while serving in the US Peace Corps). So I found a teaching job in Guatemala. All I knew how to say in Spanish was "hola" and "gracias" but when I look back I realize that life is really only about Hola and Gracias. If you approach life with a sense of invitation and gratitude the rest will fall into place. I planned to stay in Guatemala for just a couple months to learn the language but something happened that made me stay for 8 months. I fell in love. I fell in love with the mountains and lush forests. I fell in love with the history and culture. And I fell in love with the people of Guatemala. And you will too.

I feel so privileged to be working with such experienced educators. Hanna Jacobsen's remarkable knowledge of permaculture partnered with her years of working for Dragons is a priceless asset. Erick Torres, an impressive teacher with extensive local knowledge on a wide range of environmental issues, will make your experience this fall life changing.

I know we don't know each other yet but you all already have so much in common. It takes great courage to sign up for one of these programs. You all have made a conscious choice to spend 3 months in a foreign place learning how to become a global citizen. Get excited. We're going to have an amazingly powerful time together.

Let's get to know each other a bit, eh? Post an introduction here on our Yak Board. Tell us who you are, what you're passionate about, what makes you tick. And if you have any questions about the course feel free to post them on the Yak as well or email me at zsiddall@gmail.com. Hanna, Erick and I can't wait to meet you.
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View post

Instructor Introduction

Zack Siddall,Central America A

Description

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I write to you all today. My name is Zack Siddall and I have the best job on earth. I, along with the help of my insanely qualified co-instructors Erick Torres and Hanna Jacobsen, will get to take 12 amazing young adults on a 3 month educational […]

Posted On

08/12/14

Author

Zack Siddall

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2014-08-04 14:04:42
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-04 20:04:42
    [post_content] => Dear Central America Semester Student,

Congratulations on joining an inspiring and diverse community of travelers, educators, students, and cultural ambassadors! Though the fall semester is still a month away, we’re excited to initiate our relationship with you and your family to help you ease into the BIG experience that is Dragons. Our hope in facilitating this early connection is to help with all of your pre-course concerns, and to collaboratively foster an open and supportive relationship that allows us to work together throughout the spring.

I joined Dragons 4 years ago, right as I finished my Masters Degree in Contemporary Hispanic Studies. During my years in graduate school I did a lot of work and research in intercultural education, and recognized my passion for exploring and learning from diverse epistemologies, and ways of knowing the world. From experience I knew that traveling not only taught me about other worldviews, but ultimately helped me better understand my own. After finishing my degree, I was certain that I wanted to be a part of this type of learning in young people’s lives. I truly believe that the holistic learning experiences that Dragon’s courses facilitate go far beyond what we can attain in a classroom.

I have spent the majority of my time at Dragons working as both a summer and semester instructor in Central America, and continue to be humbled by what I learn on every single course. Central America is a culture very much rooted in the land, it is the source of life, and communities come together around it. This course will take you on a voyage; weaving the histories of these three countries with the present day realities of the people you will meet and work with along the way. Central America has faced many hardships and tragedy in the past decades, but many individuals and communities are responding to these difficulties in innovative and inspirational ways. You will travel through Central America, taking in the magnificent volcanoes and lakes, while also becoming acquainted with a beautiful culture that provides insight into a different way of being in this world. I hope that you will be as inspired by the region as I have been.

As the fall course nears, you will have more contact with your instructors about course preparation. In the mean time, please consider me a resource for any program-specific questions you may have. In the coming weeks, you’ll find that there are many others who are in this with you: other members of Dragons’ administrative staff, your course instructors, and, of course, your fellow students. By August, everyone will be in touch – sharing stories of where they’re from, what inspires them, and what aspirations and anxieties they have in preparing for this incredible opportunity.

I’ve been through the cycles of international travel many times as both a student, and instructor, and I am eager to chat with you more about what the adventure entails. While many of the logistical questions can be answered by anyone here in our office, I am your primary contact for questions relating specifically to programming in Central America.

As we’re in touch throughout the summer months, we hope that you’ll continue to see that Dragons programs are designed with intention, heart, and exceptional care. We also hope that you’ll continue to let your excitement build! You have so much to look forward to!

Sincerely,

 

Ariel Storch

Central America Program Director

800-982-9203

ariel@wheretherebedragons.com
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Central America A

View post

Program Director Intro

Ariel Storch,Central America A

Description

Dear Central America Semester Student, Congratulations on joining an inspiring and diverse community of travelers, educators, students, and cultural ambassadors! Though the fall semester is still a month away, we’re excited to initiate our relationship with you and your family to help you ease into the BIG experience that is Dragons. Our hope in facilitating […]

Posted On

08/4/14

Author

Ariel Storch

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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 20 years, we have learned 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, 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 Dragons Admin
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View post

Social Networking: A Request from WTBD

Dragons Administration,Andes and Amazon A, Andes and Amazon B, Central America A, Central America B, China, Himalaya A, Himalaya B, Himalaya C, India, Indonesia, Mekong, Southeast Asia, West Africa

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

08/1/14

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 your course, 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 months 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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View post

Welcome to your Yak Board!

Dragons Administration,Andes and Amazon A, Andes and Amazon B, Central America A, Central America B, China, Himalaya A, Himalaya B, Himalaya C, India, Indonesia, Mekong, Southeast Asia, West Africa

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 your course, this will be THE place to find important notices related to […]

Posted On

08/1/14

Author

Dragons Administration

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