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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008


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Greetings from Israel!

Sorry for the delay in writing, I’ve been on a heavy travel schedule the past few months, but I am delighted to have this opportunity to introduce myself to you all. Currently I am in Israel with my parents celebrating my mothers’ 65 birthday. I have spent most of my adult life in and out of South and Southeast Asia but have never visited my own roots, so this small vacation is a very special opportunity for me to visit my history as an American Jewish woman living in diaspora.

Deep thoughts aside, our journey together will be to visit a unique culture from which I have had the good fortune to learn from and work with for many years, the Tibetans. I am very excited to share what I know about the Tibetan people’s rich cultural history with you and hopefully you will walk away with experiences that touch your life and inspire you to delve deeper into learning about your own history as well as explore the similarities and differences between ourselves as Westerners and our friends in other parts of the world.

We are about to embark on a fantastic journey together. Some you it might be your first experience out of the country, or maybe some of you immigrated to this country or have traveled often but either way this experience will be like no other. I had traveled quite a bit as a kid with my parents and even lived abroad before I traveled in a student group, but I felt like my life began when I took on my first study abroad experience.

I grew up in Los Angeles and went straight into the work force after high school. I was good with numbers and loved math, so I dreamed of working as a tour accountant for my favorite rock bands in the music industry but I became a bookkeeper a modeling agency instead. I ended up staying with them for over 9 years. Four years into my job, my boss bought another agency in Sydney, Australia and sent me there to train the staff. I was meant to stay 9 months and ended up extending for 2 years. After traveling all over Australia and a lot of Southeast Asia I was certain that I was ready to return to America and go to college. I wanted to go to University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and study Aboriginal folklore. I enrolled in classes at community college determined to get into Berkeley after completing my general education requirements. I was told it was a long shot but I took every general education plus social science class available and continued to work full time at my bookkeeping job. After a year and a half and after all my hard work and good grades, I was accepted to Berkeley.

After a semester of folklore as my focus I realized that my true desire was to travel and work with people in their daily lives to document their oral histories and cultural norms. I signed up for the study abroad program and chose to go to Indonesia. Two weeks before departing the Indonesian government was overthrown and all foreigners were expelled from the country. My new options were Thailand or Denmark. I had a great experience a few years earlier in Thailand so that became my choice. I spent the next 8 months studying Thai language and history in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. After the study abroad program was over I took a year off college and stayed on to work with an Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) that supported Burmese artisans, particularly women textile weavers. I volunteered in the refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border for a half year and then continued on to India to work with Tibetan refugee nuns to establish an income generation program to promote self-sufficiency in their nunneries. After a year I went back to Berkeley to finish up my BA and head off into graduate school.

My first graduate degree began at the School for International Training. I completed an MA in International and Intercultural Management. My research was on anti-caste education in India. I spent 6 months in southern India at a school for low caste children. On return to the US I continued on in the PhD program in Anthropology at Brandeis University in Boston. However, while I was teaching and researching at Brandeis I really missed being in the field and working directly with the people I was writing about.

After completing another MA I took a position back at UC Berkeley with the Tibetan Nuns Project and worked in collaboration with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s sister-in-law, RInchen Khando Choegyal, to raise funds and establish infrastructure to support over 700 refugee Buddhist nuns living in exile in India. For the past 6 years I worked in the US office planning events and raising money. In addition, I traveled to India to organized the bi-annually leading tours. We would visit the nuns and experience the Tibetan culture in exile. We eventually worked with the nuns to develop their own handicraft income generation project.

My original interest was in supporting traditional artisans in creating self-sustaining projects with their crafts and art. I started an importing business. I now live in Seattle and am running full time my fair trade wholesaling business. I work with toy carving castes in southern India, bamboo artisans in Vietnam, Burmese women textile weavers, Tibetan brass artisans and of course my nuns in prayer bead and prayer flag production.

I can only continue to make a difference by sharing my knowledge and experiences and with you all and piquing your interest in life “out there”.

I am very much looking forward to learning where your knowledge and interests lie and help shape your academic and life goals through experiencing the world together.

The best advice I can give you in your preparations right now is to keep an open mind and be ready to work as a team. You must suspend all notions of “me” and “I” as an individual for just for a short while. We are going to experience a life changing adventure that we will never forget!

Please feel free to call me or email anytime, I am very excited to get to know you all and to answer your (and your parents’) questions.


See you very soon.

All the best,


Debi Goldman
debi@playfairtrading.com
206-724-7778

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

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Greetings!

Debi Goldman,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

Description

Greetings from Israel! Sorry for the delay in writing, I’ve been on a heavy travel schedule the past few months, but I am delighted to have this opportunity to introduce myself to you all. Currently I am in Israel with my parents celebrating my mothers’ 65 birthday. I have spent most of my adult life […]

Posted On

05/15/08

Author

Debi Goldman

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Hey,

I'm Suzy Bertsche and I am 18 and a senior at Hellgate High School is Missoula, Montana. It is great to hear from everyone, and I can't wait to start this adventure. I am taking a gap year and will probably go to either Lewis and Clark College or Beloit College in '09 where I hope to major in English with a creative writing emphasis. Some of my interests are soccer, viola, African dance, hiking and reading. I'm excited to expereince Tibetan culture with everyone.

See you all June 27th.

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

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Hi

Suzy Bertsche,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

Description

Hey, I’m Suzy Bertsche and I am 18 and a senior at Hellgate High School is Missoula, Montana. It is great to hear from everyone, and I can’t wait to start this adventure. I am taking a gap year and will probably go to either Lewis and Clark College or Beloit College in ’09 where […]

Posted On

05/15/08

Author

Suzy Bertsche

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    [post_content] => Hey guys, my name is Henry and I'm from Birmingham, Alabama. I'm 18 and I'm currently finishing up my senior year (the senioritis is pretty bad but I'm hanging in there). Next year I'll be attending Trinity University in San Antonio, which was a last-minute change of plans from my original college choice, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. I pretty much like anything outdoors (mountain biking, trekking, running, football, basketball, etc.), and I'm especially looking forward to the physical challenges of this trip, as well as the intensive cultural studies. Last summer I was a student on Dragons' China Language Intensive Program and it was a truly AMAZING experience. Needless to say, I enjoyed it enough to want to come back for a second year! Anyway, I can't wait to meet you guys in LA and get to know more about you. Is anyone else a returning student??
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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

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Hey everyone!

Henry Branscomb Joe,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

Description

Hey guys, my name is Henry and I’m from Birmingham, Alabama. I’m 18 and I’m currently finishing up my senior year (the senioritis is pretty bad but I’m hanging in there). Next year I’ll be attending Trinity University in San Antonio, which was a last-minute change of plans from my original college choice, the U.S. […]

Posted On

05/14/08

Author

Henry Branscomb Joe

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Hello Tibet students,

After much consideration, we have decided to remove the personal photos from the "Prep" thread of your Yak board. Photo posting is a wonderful feature ofYak Yak, and one thatwe hope you will usewhenout in the field this summer. Photos do speak thousands of words; and although your chances to upload photos from remote corners of North Indiamay be few and far between, the few that you are able to get up as a group will shed incredible light on your adventure -giving your friends and family at home the chance toSEE what you are up to!

Our reason for deleting the personal photos is simple, and understandable, we hope: in line with our motivations to discourage pre-course social networking, we feel that the posting of personal photos conflicts with our goal to welcome you all to Los Angeles for the start of the course, free of judgments and preconceptions. Your six weeks together will provide PLENTY of face time! Wepromise.

So, embrace the unknown! And please continue to share your questions and thoughts. Your enthusiasm excites us.

Sincerely,

Dragons Administration

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

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Embrace the Unknown

Dragons Admin,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

Description

Hello Tibet students, After much consideration, we have decided to remove the personal photos from the "Prep" thread of your Yak board. Photo posting is a wonderful feature ofYak Yak, and one thatwe hope you will usewhenout in the field this summer. Photos do speak thousands of words; and although your chances to upload photos […]

Posted On

05/14/08

Author

Dragons Admin

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    [post_content] => Hi, I'm George from Rockport, Maine. I'm 17 and a junior at aboarding school in Rhode Island called St. George's. I'm very excited to meet all you guys. I think this is going to be a really cool trip. Right now I'm busy doing school work and getting ready for the summer. Hope to meet you guys soon!
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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

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Hey

George Williams,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

Description

Hi, I’m George from Rockport, Maine. I’m 17 and a junior at aboarding school in Rhode Island called St. George’s. I’m very excited to meet all you guys. I think this is going to be a really cool trip. Right now I’m busy doing school work and getting ready for the summer. Hope to meet […]

Posted On

05/13/08

Author

George Williams

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    [post_content] => Hello fellow adventurers, I'm really looking forward to meeting all of you. I can't quite explain how ready I am to set out on this journey. I see this as an incredible opportunity to experience the cultural crossroads that is prevalent in North India. I'm sure this trip will be filled with wonderful experiences for all of us. I've been preparing myself for travel both mentally and physically and I'm confident you all are doing the same. Right now I'm finishing a book called The Life of Pi, it's not on the recommended reading list but I'm sure it qualifies as worthy reading material. After this I finish this book I'm either going to pick up The Tibetan Book of the Dead or On the Road by Jack Kerouac, but I'm open to suggestions. Photography is another hobby of mine and I'm really looking forward to using my camera over there as well. I hope all is well with each of you and I look forward to meeting you shortly.
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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

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tashi delek

John Felice,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

Description

Hello fellow adventurers, I’m really looking forward to meeting all of you. I can’t quite explain how ready I am to set out on this journey. I see this as an incredible opportunity to experience the cultural crossroads that is prevalent in North India. I’m sure this trip will be filled with wonderful experiences for […]

Posted On

05/11/08

Author

John Felice

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Hi everyone!

Ok. here goes.... I'm not very good at posting things online, they always get messed up......

My name is Molly and I am so excited to be going on this trip with you! I'm from Oakland, California, I am 18, and I am a senior at Skyline High School. I'll be attending Global College of LIU in the fall, so I'll be in Costa Rica.

I am the oldest of four children, my sister is 16, and my adorable brothers are 7 and 9. I will certainly miss them a lot on the trip!

This will be my first independent trip, as in I don't already know any of you. Last year I traveled to Mali, West Africa (with a group of kids, including my teacher and my boyfriend), and have had the travel bug ever since.

I like sunshine, fruit, comedy CDs, foreign films, camping, and music.

I am open to just about everything.

as a side note, there are two huge flies buzzing around in my room, and one just landed on the windowsill and kicked up a lot of dust! I suppose I need to clean....

Tell me everything! Who are the rest of you?

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

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Hey!

Molly Dutton-Kenny,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

Description

Hi everyone! Ok. here goes…. I’m not very good at posting things online, they always get messed up…… My name is Molly and I am so excited to be going on this trip with you! I’m from Oakland, California, I am 18, and I am a senior at Skyline High School. I’ll be attending Global […]

Posted On

05/9/08

Author

Molly Dutton-Kenny

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Hey Everyone!

I'm Rachel Fiddelman, I'm 17 and I live in Westchester, New York. I'm a senior at Mamaroneck High School, and am going to Colgate University in the fall.

I'm soo excited for this summer! I can't wait to meet you guys and go on this crazy adventure! Feel free to get in touch.

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

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Hi Everyone!

Rachel Fiddelman,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

Description

Hey Everyone! I’m Rachel Fiddelman, I’m 17 and I live in Westchester, New York. I’m a senior at Mamaroneck High School, and am going to Colgate University in the fall. I’m soo excited for this summer! I can’t wait to meet you guys and go on this crazy adventure! Feel free to get in touch.

Posted On

05/8/08

Author

Rachel Fiddelman

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    [post_content] => Hi Guys. My name is Brieze Levy (like the wind...lol) and I live in the Florida Keys. I'm 18 and going to Bard College next year (maybe Wesleyan, should I get off the waitlist). I dance a lot, have no idea what I'll be majoring in, and love new experiences. I'm more than ready for a change in my life and just so excited to have this trip be the start. I can't wait to meet you all!!!! I'm so psyched...and also very nervous. Can't wait to hear from you all.
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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

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Hey Everyone!

Brieze Levy,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

Description

Hi Guys. My name is Brieze Levy (like the wind…lol) and I live in the Florida Keys. I’m 18 and going to Bard College next year (maybe Wesleyan, should I get off the waitlist). I dance a lot, have no idea what I’ll be majoring in, and love new experiences. I’m more than ready for […]

Posted On

05/7/08

Author

Brieze Levy

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Hi, my name is PC Peterson and I am from New York City. I just want to see and hear about everyone coming on the trip. I am 18 and a senior at a high school in NYC.

Id love to hear from everyone else.

See you all soon

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

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Hello

PC Peterson,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2008

Description

Hi, my name is PC Peterson and I am from New York City. I just want to see and hear about everyone coming on the trip. I am 18 and a senior at a high school in NYC. Id love to hear from everyone else. See you all soon

Posted On

05/7/08

Author

PC Peterson

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