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Sebaidee!

Checking in after a year and a half--over Skype! Jordan, Sarah B., Sarah E, James, Marguerite, Jesse, and I enjoyed catching up (most of us hadn't talked since last May). We will be organizing our second annual holiday gift exchange soon, and have already begun planning our reunion hopefully early next summer (potentially in Santa Barbara to watch Jordan graduate this coming June whoop whoop!!). People are all doing well, and already thinking about study abroad again...Jordan is currently in Macedonia!

Missed our Skype? No worries! We will be video chatting again on the day of our 2 year anniversary: February 8th. Join us then!

Love,

Jordan, Sarah B, James, and Elise

Cambrodians, Laost Boys, and Yunanicorns

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Hello!!!

Elise Emil, Sarah Brodsky, James Brady, Jordan Steinberg,Life Along the Mekong Semester, Spring 2013

Description

  Sebaidee! Checking in after a year and a half–over Skype! Jordan, Sarah B., Sarah E, James, Marguerite, Jesse, and I enjoyed catching up (most of us hadn’t talked since last May). We will be organizing our second annual holiday gift exchange soon, and have already begun planning our reunion hopefully early next summer (potentially in […]

Posted On

11/30/14

Author

Elise Emil, Sarah Brodsky, James Brady, Jordan Steinberg

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It's hard to say goodbye to someone who doesn't know I exist, someone who has made such an impact on my life yet doesn't care one way or another whether I was there. Someone who has pushed me along my journey, led the way through uncertainty, made me smile when I was sad, introduced me to some of the people I love most and carried me home so many times. What do I say to that person when it's my last chance to be with her, if not forever then at the very least for a long while? How do I express my gratitude when she rushes by me, going about her daily routine, being the force of nature that I know her as? How can I get her to understand all that she has done for me and all that she means to me? I had my last conversation with Mother Mekong yesterday afternoon. Standing knee deep in her frigid, rushing waters, I was lost. She was my guiding force for so long, paving the way for me in these overwhelming, emotianally exhausting lands. She helped me keep my feet on the ground, in her waters. I didn't know how to part ways with her. I couldn't simply turn my back on her after all she had done for me. I had to take her with me, one way or another. I needed a reminder of the lessons that she and the people along her banks taught me these last few months. I wanted to keep her churning waters within me, in my heart and mind, even when we are a world apart. I pulled my hair out of its ponytail and plunged my head into the current. What better way to encapsulate the lessons she taught me than by bathing my mind in her one more time? "'If there is magic in this world, it is in water,'" Marguerite said to us on the banks as the group spent a few last minutes remembering our mother river together. In that one moment, my head engulfed in the frigidity, I soaked up the magic. I sent every thought I had to the river, thanking her and letting her know I would never forget every moment I shared with her. How grateful I am for her, and how I will forever fight to protect her. To protect my river. But she is not my river. She protected me throughout my journey, looked after me as a mother does, pushed me through challenges like only a mother can. She carried me through as no one else could. I am hers, and forever will be. "To stick your hands into the river is to feel the cords that bind the earth together in one piece." -Barry Lopez [post_title] => Water, Magic [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => water-magic [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-08 16:17:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-08 23:17:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wp.wheretherebedragons.com/?p=82326 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 36 [name] => Best Notes From The Field [slug] => best-notes-from-the-field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 36 [taxonomy] => category [description] => These pieces of travel writing are reflections by students and instructors traveling all over the world. They exemplify the open-minded spirit of exploration and self-discovery on a Dragons course. [parent] => 0 [count] => 503 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 0 [cat_ID] => 36 [category_count] => 503 [category_description] => These pieces of travel writing are reflections by students and instructors traveling all over the world. They exemplify the open-minded spirit of exploration and self-discovery on a Dragons course. [cat_name] => Best Notes From The Field [category_nicename] => best-notes-from-the-field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/best-notes-from-the-field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 147 [name] => Life Along the Mekong Semester, Spring 2013 [slug] => life-along-the-mekong-semester-spring-2013 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 147 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 241 [count] => 163 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 13.1 [cat_ID] => 147 [category_count] => 163 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Life Along the Mekong Semester, Spring 2013 [category_nicename] => life-along-the-mekong-semester-spring-2013 [category_parent] => 241 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2013/life-along-the-mekong-semester-spring-2013/ ) ) [category_links] => Best Notes From The Field, Life Along the Mekong Semester, Spring 2013 )

Best Notes From The Field, Life Along the Mekong Semester, Spring 2013

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Water, Magic

Katherine Krey,Best Notes From The Field, Life Along the Mekong Semester, Spring 2013

Description

It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who doesn’t know I exist, someone who has made such an impact on my life yet doesn’t care one way or another whether I was there. Someone who has pushed me along my journey, led the way through uncertainty, made me smile when I was sad, introduced me […]

Posted On

05/16/13

Author

Katherine Krey

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A heartfelt Namaste from the crisp and clear winter of the Himalayas.

 

My name is Claire, I am originally from the UK although I have for many years called Kathmandu home, and I have the great privilege of being one of your instructors for the coming semester in Nepal. I am so excited that we will be embarking on this journey together and that I will get the chance to experience the transformative power of this country again through new eyes.

 

I have had a very special relationship with Nepal, and for me it started at the age of 19, which is probably around the age that many of you are now. That was in 2001, a challenging and eventful time for Nepal, the year when the royal family were massacred amid speculation and intrigue. Those first few months I spent in Nepal were not easy. I was challenged, I reassessed my values, and ultimately I became disillusioned with many things from my previous life. However through that disillusionment I somehow became empowered too. Many of my assumptions about my values, worldview and identity had been smashed, and it was down to Nepal.

 

I learned so much from the country and many people in it. I experienced the extremes of sorrow and joy, of despair and hope, of death and rebirth. Many of the guidebooks will tell you that Nepal is a beautiful country, of majestic peaks and subtropical jungle, the people humble and smiling. I would say that these qualities are meaningless unless you open yourself up and reflect on your deepest values of your authentic self. This is what I hope we can all learn and rediscover through this trip.

 

After falling in love with Nepal, in the most literal sense, the first time I came here, I have spent my life finding ways to meaningfully return. My deep bonds with the Nepali people I know found me spending increasing amounts of time in this country, to the point where I consider it home. In 2005 I became a founder member of an NGO, ‘PHASE Nepal’, www.phasenepal.org an organisation working towards the empowerment of some of Nepal’s (and the world’s) most remote and isolated communities.

 

I have spent most of my life working in the field of international development, with all the richness, frustration and complexity that accompanies that. In Nepal I worked with several organizations before founding PHASE, and I also spent several years working in remote Cambodia, another place close to my heart. Back in the UK I spent some time working with young people taking action on global issues in their home communities. My unswerving belief in positive social change, coupled with my faith in the transformative power of education and the inspiration I draw from working with young people, found a perfect synergy when I discovered Dragons. Every experience I have with Dragons is magical. Every experience changes the world.

 

I want to thank you for making the choice to come on this program; you have already won my deepest admiration for that. This trip will challenge you to step outside your comfort zone in a way that nothing ever has, and if you embrace it, you are likely to have the most profound learning encounters of your life.

 

I can’t wait to meet you in a few short weeks, to discuss our hopes and goals and views of the world over a hot cup of ‘chiya’ (something that the British and the Nepalese have in common – the cultural significance of TEA!)

 

With excitement for the trip ahead,

 

Claire

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Instructor Introduction – Claire

Claire Bennett,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

A heartfelt Namaste from the crisp and clear winter of the Himalayas.   My name is Claire, I am originally from the UK although I have for many years called Kathmandu home, and I have the great privilege of being one of your instructors for the coming semester in Nepal. I am so excited that […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Claire Bennett

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    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:14
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    [post_content] => 

Namaste!

 

I am looking forward to meeting you and sharing in this extraordinary journey that we have ahead this spring.  I am sure that you are excited and maybe a little nervous too. 

 

In thinking of what I could say in the way of preparing you for Nepal, I am reminded of my impressions on my first trip, a week after having graduated from Middlebury College.  I could not believe that such a different world existed on the same planet that I grew up on.  I was confronted with bewildering paradoxes which overwhelmed my senses and left me feeling that every day was more full than I ever thought possible.  I don't think it is assuming too much to say that your experiences this spring will change the way you see the world and your place in it.

 

I have lived in Nepal and India for most of the past 12 years and find that the longer I stay, the more I realize how much there is to learn from people who are connected to ancient cultures with deep wisdom traditions.  After college I spent several years in Nepal studying Buddhism, teaching English, leading summer travel programs, learning to sculpt stone Buddhas with a master Nepali sculptor, and trekking into the high Himalayas as often as I could.  Nine years ago I began leading semester abroad programs in India, Nepal and Tibet and feel incredibly fortunate to continue to have the opportunity to grow and learn and teach in such an extraordinary environment. 

 

I will be brief as nothing I could write, nothing you could read or watch, and nothing anyone could say could truly prepare you for what is in store for you.  My recommendation is to come light in expectations and in luggage and open to what is to come.  Of all that you bring with you, your open receptivity, flexibility and humor will be the most essential.   

 

Having said that, I am sure you will have a lot of questions emerge as the departure date approaches. Please don't hesitate to post a yak if you think we can help in answering any of them.  Please continue to check the yak board as we will be posting packing tips and other useful info in the coming weeks. 

 

I look forward to meeting you all and to sharing this journey with you!

 

Namaste!

Adrian

 

 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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A letter of introduction

Adrian Smith,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Namaste!   I am looking forward to meeting you and sharing in this extraordinary journey that we have ahead this spring.  I am sure that you are excited and maybe a little nervous too.    In thinking of what I could say in the way of preparing you for Nepal, I am reminded of my […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Adrian Smith

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Namaste my soon to be fellow travelers! My name is Sweta and I am very excited to be a part of this Himalayan Semester this Spring!

 

I am Nepali and call Kathmandu Valley my hometown. Born and raised in the Valley, I worked for one of the oldest adventure sports company in the country as an International Trip Coordinator after college. The work involved extensive traveling within the country, which cultivated a strong desire to continue exploring the rural areas and learn more about my own people and their lifestyle. 

 


Traveling puts us in many circumstances and situations when we cannot have answers to our questions instantly. It is a great test of letting go and embracing what is in front of you for what it really is, and let the answer to our curiosities manifest in the future. It is a physical journey taken to come closer to our spiritual-self and allow it to empower us. But the tricky part for people from this part of the world is maintaining that fine balance of independent traveling of self-discovery and keeping the family and community values intact. It is this complexity of one’s role that many women and men in this part of the world either gracefully straddle (or aspire to) that you, my courageous fellow travelers, will get to experience in the days to come. I feel honored to be a translator of this beautiful complexity for you. 

 â€¨I will be looking forward to seeing you all in Nepal in few months and beginning our journey together. In the meantime, please do take advantage of this Yak board to post your questions, concerns, interest etc., which will hugely benefit our Himalayan Semester Fall '13 community.  And before I sign off for now, I would like to welcome everyone aboard on the Dragon’s adventure boat and congratulate each one of you for choosing to come and travel with us. You are one of the very few lucky ones to have such special opportunity to explore Nepal the way we are going to. So, get excited!!! Thank your friends and family for making this happen, and also thank them for encouraging and supporting you in this brave endeavor. Enjoy packing and have a safe journey over to Nepal!

 

Dhanyabaad (Thank You!)

Sweta  

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Namaste!

Sweta Gurung,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Namaste my soon to be fellow travelers! My name is Sweta and I am very excited to be a part of this Himalayan Semester this Spring!   I am Nepali and call Kathmandu Valley my hometown. Born and raised in the Valley, I worked for one of the oldest adventure sports company in the country as an International Trip Coordinator […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Sweta Gurung

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    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:14
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    [post_content] => 

Hello instructors and travel-mates! 

I cannot express my excitement for the beginning of this journey! It has been made very clear that it will be an eye-opening, life-changing opportunity and i look forward to getting to share the experience with you all!

 

A little bit about myself:

My name is Malena Pennycook, i am 17 and a student in Austin, Texas. I am originally from Canada, and i also have a lot of family in Argentina. I grew up in Texas mostly and i must say i have always been a little dissapointed by the lack of mountains around here, so hopefully the Himalayas will make for a nice change in scenery (and weather)!

I have been on several Adventure Treks trips, a sort of teen version of dragons with the same focus on community and the outdoors, and the trips rocked my young world. I fell in love with the unkown (people, places, experiences), and then somehow found myself here with Dragons.

 

I have yearned for a change in routine before going off to college and so I decided to graduate a early from high school to embark on this journey with you lovely strangers! I have spent lot of this year stressing about college apps and i feel this adventure will remind me of what's really important before heading off to college next year. Next year, i hope to major in theatre and minor in a social science somewhere up north (NYU, Boston, Canada). In the next month i will be graduating from high school, flying to New York to do all my theatre auditions, and packing! 

 

The things i am most nervous about for this trip are probably the homestays, and just the fear of being away from home for so long. I am most excited about the trekking and the service projects. I am fascinated by the religion and culture of Nepal, and cannot wait to learn more over this next semester. I am certainly anxious about many elements, but i also know that i am absolutely in the right place! I cannot wait to learn, explore and grow with you all. 

 

Good luck with all you have to take care of this next month, i so look foward to getting to know each of you beginning Feb. 10! 

See you soon!

Malena Pennycook 

 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Hi Friends!

Malena Pennycook,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Hello instructors and travel-mates!  I cannot express my excitement for the beginning of this journey! It has been made very clear that it will be an eye-opening, life-changing opportunity and i look forward to getting to share the experience with you all!   A little bit about myself: My name is Malena Pennycook, i am […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Malena Pennycook

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    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:14
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:14
    [post_content] => 

Hi everyone! My name is Hanna Cook. I am 18, from Bend, Oregon and I just graduated from boarding school in December. I have since been home spending time with my family and friends and preparing for our adventure in Nepal. I've always been drawn to the culture and belief systems surrounding such seemingly peaceful religions, and I'm excited to learn first hand about them.

 

I've been getting ready for this trip by reading books and hiking in the mountains that are pretty much in my backyard. I've also been working on wrapping up my college interviews, tours, and applications and I am really excited to be on the last stretch of getting everything together to leave for Nepal. I'm both excited and nervous for the next 3 months and I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and sharing this experience with you all!

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Hello!

Hanna Cook,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Hi everyone! My name is Hanna Cook. I am 18, from Bend, Oregon and I just graduated from boarding school in December. I have since been home spending time with my family and friends and preparing for our adventure in Nepal. I’ve always been drawn to the culture and belief systems surrounding such seemingly peaceful […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Hanna Cook

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    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:13
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:13
    [post_content] => 

As you prepare to begin your journey to Nepal, here are few questions to help you start learning about the country that will be your home away from home for a semester. We hope this works to spark your curiosity and that you have fun thinking of creative ways to find answers to these questions. We will share the knowledge and stories when we all finally meet in Kathmandu. HAVE FUN!!!           

 

Who is Nandi?

 

What is Nepal’s staple food?

 

Who is Siddhartha Gautama?

 

What is a stupa?

 

Who is the current Prime Minister of Nepal?

 

Who are Gurkhas?

 

How high is Mount Everest? What is its Nepali name?

 

What is the population of Nepal?

 

What are the 5 largest cities in Nepal?

 

Who are the Sherpas?

 

How many ethnic groups are in Nepal?

 

Who is Prithvi Narayan Shah?

 

Which countries border Nepal?

 

What is the political system in Nepal?

 

Who is Kumari?

 

What festivals will occur during your semester?

 

What gods are in the Hindu trinity?

 

What is the national flower of Nepal?

 

Draw a Nepali flag.

 

What is a sadhu or a baba-ji?

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Nepal Knowledge Hunt

Sweta, Adrian and Claire,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

As you prepare to begin your journey to Nepal, here are few questions to help you start learning about the country that will be your home away from home for a semester. We hope this works to spark your curiosity and that you have fun thinking of creative ways to find answers to these questions. […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Sweta, Adrian and Claire

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 The only real voyage of discovery consists not only in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes, in seeing the universe with the eyes of another, in hundreds of others, in seeing the hundreds of other universes that each of them sees.’   Marcel Proust

 

Namaste and warmest wishes from your Instructor Team

 

The time of your departure for the Himalayas is drawing near, and we hope you are enjoying the time at home with family and friends and looking forward to your upcoming journey. Whilst all the logistical preparations such as packing and vaccinations are important, we know that at this point they can be exhausting and seem to engulf your whole life. In this post, we request that you take some time out to reflect on how to make the most of the learning opportunities presented by the adventure that lies ahead.

 

As we are sure you’re familiar with, Dragons programs are structured around our core curriculum: ‘GAL’ (Global Citizenship, Awareness of Self, and Leadership and Skill-Building). We will be exploring these multilayered and interconnected areas in some depth, and they will be woven into the fabric of the course and itinerary. Although not all students are taking these courses for credit, you will all be involved in all the educational components as they unfold; from fieldtrips, to lectures, to discussions, to reflections, to the general sharing of your enthusiasm, struggles and insights with the group as you settle deeper into the culture.

 

As a way to embark upon this journey we invite you to familiarise yourself with and reflect upon articles in the Himalayan Studies Semester Reader, which you should have all received. This is an amazing resource that provides a great introduction to the topics we will be covering over the duration of the course. We also request that you complete the following assignment, handwritten or typed, to be submitted upon your arrival to Kathmandu.

 

Please choose one of the prompts below and write at least 500 words: 

 


1.    What does ‘Quality of Life’ mean to you? What factors are important in having a high quality of life? Is it possible to have a high quality of life without having many material possessions? Is it possible to have a high quality of life without some basic needs being met or if you lack certain human rights? Is global development contributing to a higher quality of life for all, and who defines that? Do you feel you have a high quality of life? Why/why not?

 


2.      We all come from very different backgrounds with different belief systems, adding color and diverse viewpoints to our group experience. Before encountering the "unknown", first take the opportunity to understand where you, as an individual, are coming from. This is a chance to reflect on, examine and explore your personal values and beliefs as the first step to cultivating a truly open mind. Reflect upon the following prompts:

o   To what extent am I aware of my values and motivations?

o   What are the larger contexts of which I am part (family, community, ethnicity, class, language, religion, gender) and how does this influence me?

o   What are my gifts?

o   What are my challenges?

o   What gives meaning and lasting happiness to myself and others?

 


3.      Think of someone who has been an inspiration or rolemodel in your life. This could be someone famous or someone who you know personally. What particular qualities have they demonstrated that you admire? Throughout our course, envision how you will deal with embracing challenge and exploring the spaces beyond your comfort zone. What qualities will you need and how will you cultivate them? How do you want to be remembered by your peers, your instructors, and your new friends in Nepal at the end of the course?

 

 

As this is a reflective exercise, there are no right or wrong answers. We only ask that you take some space to think deeply and truly explore your own values, thoughts and reactions. Have fun with it!

 

Looking forward to speaking with you in the next few days, and remember to use the yak board to introduce yourself and post up any last minute questions.

 

With blessings

 

Adrian, Sweta and Claire, your Himalayan I-team

 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Pre-course assignment

Adrian, Sweta and Claire,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

 ‘The only real voyage of discovery consists not only in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes, in seeing the universe with the eyes of another, in hundreds of others, in seeing the hundreds of other universes that each of them sees.’   –  Marcel Proust   Namaste and warmest wishes from your Instructor Team […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Adrian, Sweta and Claire

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