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West Africa
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    [post_date] => 2014-08-18 16:17:22
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-18 22:17:22
    [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.
WASHINGTON, DC - DULLES West Africa For Students Arriving by Air : When you arrive at the Dulles International 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 South African Airways, ticketing counter 3. For Students Arriving by Car : Please meet your group at the Departures & Ticketing level at South African Airways, ticketing counter 3, no later than 1pm on September 6, 2014. IMPORTANT NOTE: No Dragons staff will be present in Washington, DC.  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 from Washington, DC, to greet your instructors, who will be awaiting your touchdown in country. For the send off, we have appointment student leaders to guide your group through the international flight check in. For your travel day please be sure to wear your Dragons t-shirt to easily identify each other.  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-11 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-08-18 16:17:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-08-18 22:17:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=108106 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 132 [name] => West Africa [slug] => west-africa [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 132 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 239 [count] => 75 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7.1 [cat_ID] => 132 [category_count] => 75 [category_description] => [cat_name] => West Africa [category_nicename] => west-africa [category_parent] => 239 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2014/west-africa/ ) ) [category_links] => West Africa )

West Africa

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Important Final Departure Information

Dragons Administration,West Africa

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

Dragons Administration

Category

West Africa

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-12 17:54:52
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    [post_content] => 
Dear Senegal Semester students and families,
As you have likely seen in the news, the Ebola virus has been affecting communities in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. We have been closely monitoring any potential risks the Ebola outbreak might have on our semester programming in Senegal. Our administrative staff has been in touch with expert medical advisors at International SOS, CDC, WHO, and Peace Corps, among other organizations. Dragons has an "Ebola Preparedness Plan" which is available upon request. Based upon all current information, we expect no major programmatic changes for the West Africa semester. Safety is our top priority and if new information emerges which changes our risk assessment, Dragons will modify its Senegal programming accordingly. We are continually monitoring developments in the region and if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to be in touch with us.
Sincerely,
Dragons Administrative Staff
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West Africa

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Addressing concerns about Ebola

Dragons Administration,West Africa

Description

Dear Senegal Semester students and families, As you have likely seen in the news, the Ebola virus has been affecting communities in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. We have been closely monitoring any potential risks the Ebola outbreak might have on our semester programming in Senegal. Our administrative staff has been in touch with […]

Posted On

08/12/14

Author

Dragons Administration

Category

West Africa

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2014-08-01 15:40:54
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-01 21:40:54
    [post_content] => 
Dear Dragons, I’d like to start by expressing my inspiration and gratitude: I’m inspired by your courage to leap into the wild journey that awaits you just around the bend, and grateful to the unique set of circumstances that is bringing each of you to Dragons and to West Africa this fall. I hope that wherever you are now, you are peering into the weeks ahead with excitement and curiosity. I first moved to West Africa (to Guinea) in 2005, where the flat and dry landscape dotted with majestic baobabs bore little resemblance to the rolling green hills and corn fields of my upbringing in rural Iowa, though both places feel equally like home to me now. In Guinea, I felt myself settle naturally into a completely different rhythm of life. Eating rice and sauce out of a communal bowl, stopping for singsong Pulaar greetings with neighbors, friends, and strangers, taking the time each day to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, exploring the landscape and sprawling markets and punctuating my days with the melodic calls to prayer floating out of the neighborhood mosques’ minarets – I loved every bit of it. Now I have spent more than two years in this corner of the continent, as a teacher-trainer in Guinea, instructing Dragons West Africa semester, Senegal, and Rwanda summer courses since 2008, and as the On-Site Director for the 2012-13 Senegal Bridge Year Program, a nine-month long gap year program that Dragons runs for Princeton University. In addition to my time in West Africa, over the past decade I have spent time as a teacher in Europe, as an international development consultant in Washington DC, as a Fulbright Fellow researching rural primary education in Bangladesh, and as a student for a Master’s in International Education and Development in the UK. Throughout these diverse experiences, I have been consistently drawn to Dragons as a means of authentically and deeply engaging with places that I love so dearly and which have taught me so much; I love sharing West Africa with groups of intelligent and curious young people as a means of manifesting global citizenship and satisfying my desire to meld education and development to bring Africa back home to the US in a meaningful way. By stepping out of your comfort zone and surrendering to a completely different rhythm, you will be richly rewarded in compassion, knowledge, friendship, perspective, and humility. The instructors that will be guiding your journey this summer are a special and talented group with years of experience working with young people in Africa, and I am humbled by the opportunity to facilitate your semester program alongside this talented team. As your Program Director, I will be supporting you and your instructors throughout the journey. The Yak Yak board is a great resource in the days leading up to your departure. Please post an introduction to yourself (with a photo if you like) so that you can start to get to know each other. The Yak board is also the best place to address pre-course packing or logistical questions or other concerns, as it’s likely that other students may have the same ones. In the coming days your instructors will be posting more information on the itinerary and other important pre-course materials, so please stay tuned. Once in Senegal, you will be using the Yak board as your primary means of communication with friends and family back home. Again, welcome to Dragons and to West Africa. Bismillah. I’m so looking forward to following your journey this fall. With gratitude, Christy Sommers Africa & Middle East Program Director christy@wheretherebedragons.com [post_title] => An Introduction from your Program Director [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => introduction-program-director [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-08-01 15:40:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-08-01 21:40:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=107527 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 132 [name] => West Africa [slug] => west-africa [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 132 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 239 [count] => 75 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7.1 [cat_ID] => 132 [category_count] => 75 [category_description] => [cat_name] => West Africa [category_nicename] => west-africa [category_parent] => 239 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2014/west-africa/ ) ) [category_links] => West Africa )

West Africa

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An Introduction from your Program Director

Christy Sommers,West Africa

Description

Dear Dragons, I’d like to start by expressing my inspiration and gratitude: I’m inspired by your courage to leap into the wild journey that awaits you just around the bend, and grateful to the unique set of circumstances that is bringing each of you to Dragons and to West Africa this fall. I hope that […]

Posted On

08/1/14

Author

Christy Sommers

Category

West Africa

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    [post_author] => 26
    [post_date] => 2014-08-01 15:33:40
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-01 21:33:40
    [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_date] => 2014-08-01 15:31:19
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-01 21:31:19
    [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
    [post_title] => Welcome to your Yak Board!
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    [category_links] => Andes and Amazon A, Andes and Amazon B  ... 
)
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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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