Photo of the Week
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    [post_date] => 2008-10-15 00:00:00
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Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons' “Vietnam: Pearl of Asia"summer program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course's Yak board for additional itinerary-related postings and updates.

Week One:

Orientation in LA,fly to Hanoi: Begin language and history lessons; bike tour; visit historic and cultural sites; SOS Village orphanage project; visit Children's Palace; lesson on Vietnamese traditional art, followed by a visit to the Vietnam National Gallery; begin Independent Study Projects; meet with government officials and directors of various non-governmental agencies.

Week Two:

Halong Bay excursion: Boating and open-water kayaking in the bay, followed by 4 days of jungle trekking; rural village-stay and introduction to Vietnam's ethnic minority cultures.

Weeks Three-Four:

Hue: Service projects; focused study on religions of Vietnam; internships with artists, development workers, historians, or Buddhist scholars. Visit sites along the DMZ (DemilitarizedZone)and survey the role of the US in the Vietnam War.

Weeks Five-Six:

In and around Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon): Work with the Ho Chi Minh City Youth League's "Green Summer Campaign" on environmental projects; dormitory-style home-stays with Youth League students; work at Thi Nghe's Center for Handicapped Children and Children's Cultural Institute's orphanage project; Independent Study Projectpresentations and program debrief.

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Vietnam, Summer 2008

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Vietnam: Sample Itinerary

Dragons Administration,Vietnam, Summer 2008

Description

Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons’ “Vietnam: Pearl of Asia"summer program. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course’s Yak board for additional itinerary-related […]

Posted On

10/15/08

Author

Dragons Administration

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2008-08-28 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Hello!

Below you'll find an exchange of notes that helped one student resolve her issues connecting to the FTP. If you're unable to connect, read this:

Q: Hey Ryan! I've downloaded everything and reopened a port to access the project, but It won't let me connect. Do you know if there are any other glitches that may be making it hard for me, and how I can fix it?

Thanks!

A: Hi! By "reopened a port" do you mean that you went into your Control Panel or System Preferences to make sure that your Firewall settings aren't blocking the port? In addition to disabling Firewall settings that may be blocking Port 21, it's also important to make sure that FileZilla "enters Passive Mode" when trying to make the connection. Try going into the Edit menu of the FileZilla program (along the top bar). Click on Settings. In there, under Connection>FTP, you'll see 3 options listed: Active Mode, Passive Mode, and FTP Proxy. Double-click on Passive Mode and make sure that the "Use the server's external IP address instead" button is selected. If that doesn't work, the only other thing I can think of is that you've entered some of the log in information incorrectly. Again, the correct log in information is: HOST: siteground187.com, USERNAME: whereth1, PASSWORD: photos, PORT: 21. I think this is all case-sensitive.

Best,

Ryan

Changing it to passive mode fixed it, all is up and running smoothly now. Thanks for the help!

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Vietnam, Summer 2008

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Having trouble connecting to the FTP for photo contest submissions?

Dragons Admin,Vietnam, Summer 2008

Description

Hello! Below you’ll find an exchange of notes that helped one student resolve her issues connecting to the FTP. If you’re unable to connect, read this: Q: Hey Ryan! I’ve downloaded everything and reopened a port to access the project, but It won’t let me connect. Do you know if there are any other glitches […]

Posted On

08/28/08

Author

Dragons Admin

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2008-08-26 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Hi everyone!

I received this email from someone at Friends of Hue, and I hope that you all can help him out. We are given so much by the people we meet and places we visit, and this is a wonderful opportunity to give back.

Dear Ms. Dybwad,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Friends of Hue Foundation, and our children at the shelter in Hue City, I would like to thank you and your student volunteers for their visit, hard work and generosity. There Will Be Dragon’s volunteer spirit and gift means a great deal to our children and touches our hearts as well.

If your students have any writings, impressions or thoughts on their visit at the shelter we would love to share them with our children, staff, board and other supporters with your permission.

A heartfelt thank you from all of us.

Arthur Bao
Vice Chairman, Board of Directors

Friends of Hue Foundation

Anything you send me I will forward onto Mr. Bao. I think that pictures, especially, would be wonderful to share if you don't have time (in the midst of starting school) to write something. Again, if we have pictures of those adorable kids, it's fair for them to have some us, too! If you need more time but would like Mr. Bao's email, send me a note and I'll pass it along. Thanks for all of your help, I'm happy we have this opportunity to continue to be of service.

Love,

Katy

katydybwad@gmail.com

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Vietnam, Summer 2008

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Friends of Hue Foundation

Katy,Vietnam, Summer 2008

Description

Hi everyone! I received this email from someone at Friends of Hue, and I hope that you all can help him out. We are given so much by the people we meet and places we visit, and this is a wonderful opportunity to give back. Dear Ms. Dybwad, On behalf of the Board of Directors […]

Posted On

08/26/08

Author

Katy

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    [post_date] => 2008-08-14 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Heyyyyy

Just thought I should get to reflectin'.

Um so I miss you guys too much, how much do you hate home right now?

No I'm kidding, but it's weird, and I'm pretty sure I'd rather be in Vietnam.

So a girl from our sign language class emailed me. It was pretty sweet. So I decided to email all the people who gave me their email addresses, but only Trung has responded yet. I emailed him some pictures, and then he sent me some back! Super exciting. I'll post them on the book.

Plus I'm going to my Vietnamese nail place today. Should be pretty interesting. Wish me luck.

Anyway, for all those people who don't have facebook, I mean Katy, if you could post your contacts maybe, email, number, address, it would be cool.

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Vietnam, Summer 2008

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Hey guys

Aubrey King,Vietnam, Summer 2008

Description

Heyyyyy Just thought I should get to reflectin’. Um so I miss you guys too much, how much do you hate home right now? No I’m kidding, but it’s weird, and I’m pretty sure I’d rather be in Vietnam. So a girl from our sign language class emailed me. It was pretty sweet. So I […]

Posted On

08/14/08

Author

Aubrey King

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As I impatientlyawait Christian's homecoming, I have been doing some reflecting of my own in anticipation of his arrival. Initially, I was anxious to learn how this experience had changed or transformed my son. As I read through the posts and his emails again, it occured to me that before this transformation could occur, something else had happened ---- revelation. Specifically, self-revelation. Through thesepast six weeks of experiences that were at once both challenging andawe-inspiring, it seems as though this group hasbeen given the gift of self-knowledge;learning who theytruly are as individuals and what they are capable of, as well as in a larger context....who they are in relation to others, and how they can apply this newfound knowledge to effect change, both within themselves and in their surroundings.

Thank you, Dragons....thank you, group.....thank you, Vietnam. You have given my son not just an amazing transformative trip, but you have also given him the truly awesome gift of himself. As a parent, I am truly grateful.

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Vietnam, Summer 2008

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Revelation & Transformation

Anne Heyd,Vietnam, Summer 2008

Description

As I impatientlyawait Christian’s homecoming, I have been doing some reflecting of my own in anticipation of his arrival. Initially, I was anxious to learn how this experience had changed or transformed my son. As I read through the posts and his emails again, it occured to me that before this transformation could occur, something […]

Posted On

08/8/08

Author

Anne Heyd

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    [post_date] => 2008-08-07 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Dear Self,

Don't expect anything. Don't be sure of anything beforehand, and don't try to imagine what your next 6 weeks will be like. You won't be correct. The begining of the trip may be difficult for you, as you struggle to rememeber everyones' names, and you try to make a good impression. The first few days in Hanoi will feel a really long time, and your time until the end of the trip willl seem like forever. You will sit down and think "40 days left" after it feels like it has already been so long. But that all changes. Next thing you know, when you sit down, you will think "I guess I have 20 days left", and then "What! Only 10 more days!?" The last week will fly, and as excited as you may be to see your family and friends back home, it will feel like the time has gone too, too fast. Just as your trip is coming to a close, you will finally feel 100% at home when you get back to your guesthouse in the afternoon, and you will feel 100% comfortable when you are with your friends. You won't want to leave them, because finally you will have become a family, and you have shared some of the most valuable memories you will ever have.

As for your experience with the country itself, don't expect anything beforehand either. There is no way that you can possibly imagine what it's like to bike alone through the thousands of motorcycles in Hue, and still feel safe. You won't be able to grasp the idea of getting on a bus in Ho Chi Minh City all alone in the morning, and being able to communicate where you want to go to people who you think are being seperated from you by a 100 foot tall unbreakable language barrier. You will get to where you want to go on time, you will say goodbye to the new friends you have made on the bus, and you will hop off the "Xe Buyt" (bus) like this experience has always been part of your daily life. You cannot imagine yet what a beautiful country this is, and how amazing every single person you meet here will be. At times you may feel frustration towards an old woman at the market for not understanding you, but once you leave you will miss that old woman, and everything else that surrounded her.

Just know now that you will come back to this place, and no matter how difficult some things may seem during the process of them, they will make your entire experience 100 times better and more valuable to you. Know that by the end of the trip, you will already be planning your return, because you haven't been able to get enough of what is here. In the begining, you feel like you will get to know thiscountry fartoo well, but in the end you will feel like your introduction has been brief, and no matter how many questions you can try to fit into one single day, you will end up leaving with one thousand more.

Love,

Your current self.

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Vietnam, Summer 2008

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Letter to myself 6 weeks ago.

Eugenie Iseman,Vietnam, Summer 2008

Description

Dear Self, Don’t expect anything. Don’t be sure of anything beforehand, and don’t try to imagine what your next 6 weeks will be like. You won’t be correct. The begining of the trip may be difficult for you, as you struggle to rememeber everyones’ names, and you try to make a good impression. The first […]

Posted On

08/7/08

Author

Eugenie Iseman

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    [post_date] => 2008-08-06 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Dear Pre-Vietnam Self-

I am taking time now, on my last day in Vietnam, to prepare you for the way I have spent the last 6 weeks of my life. Whileit would be impossible forme toadequatelydictate my experiences to anyone, I will endeavor to share just a bit of what I have learned with you. First and foremost, I must tell you the importance of an open mind on this sort of journey. The challenging moments come frequently and without warning, and in the absense of an open mind and eager attitude, nothing will work to your advantage. I must urge you to remember all that you are cabable of doing, both alone and within a group, and to put these skills to use as soon as you arrive in Vietnam. This journey has not beenan easy one, but that has been the best part about it, and I promise that what may initially shock you and make you feel strangely uncomfortable will, by the end, put you at ease.

Let me also urge you to start growing and pushing yourself from the minute you leave home. While a six week trip may seem like it will last forever, the time truely disapears before your eyes so savor each and every moment. One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is to just believe in yourself, and to never forget what a capable young individual you are, no matter how confused or lost or nervous you may feel. I urge you also to throw yourself into the Vietnamese way of life as much and as soonas possible, because before you know it you'll be returning to a life of repitition and normalcy.

Finally, I urge you to write in your journal EVERY day, make lasting friendships with every member of the group, laugh frequently, cry when you need to, try new, even scary looking foods, trek well, be adventuresome, complain as little as possible, remain flexible, take solo time, act as a leader and a follower in the group, dream big, engage locals, speak vietnamese, remain a traveler NOT a tourist, make memories, take pictures, and above all have an AMAZING time!

Yours truely,

Callie (post-6 weeks in NAM)

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Vietnam, Summer 2008

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Letter to Self

Callie Strickland,Vietnam, Summer 2008

Description

Dear Pre-Vietnam Self- I am taking time now, on my last day in Vietnam, to prepare you for the way I have spent the last 6 weeks of my life. Whileit would be impossible forme toadequatelydictate my experiences to anyone, I will endeavor to share just a bit of what I have learned with you. […]

Posted On

08/6/08

Author

Callie Strickland

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    [post_date] => 2008-08-06 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

When I look back on the past 6 weeks I am filled with a blur of sights, smells, colors, people and places. It is with great remorse that I sit down to post my final yak-yak. It is my last day in Vietnam. How this happened I do not know; it seems like just yesterday I was arriving at our hotel in Hanoi.

As our final adventure, our group has been spread out individually throughout Ho Chi Minh City. Each person was given the name of a different market to navigate to, explore andcomplete a set of tasks in before navigating to ANOTHER market where we will meet up with the rest of the group. My market is the Cho Nhat Tao market in district 10. One task we were given was to write a letter about our experience to ourselves a few months ago when we were applying to dragons and post it in a yak.

Dear Lily,

At this point in time you could not possiblyhaveany idea how life-changing this experience will be. To explain it would be impossible; each place you go will be different -different smells, people, sounds, weather. You will learn something new about yourself and the world at each place you travel to and you will come out of this experience a changed person. Often you will not be able to explain what you learned, but as you leave each place on this journey you will feel the change in yourself. You will carrythe experience you gain in each place with you through the whole trip, you will feel yourself getting heavier not only with the delicious and plentifulfood youwill be fed but alsowith the knowledge you will gain every second of this trip.

First you will spend 2 weeks in Hanoi. This may seem too short a time to make yourself at home but believe me - when you return to Hanoi for your second week there after your 4 day trek you will never feel more comfortable and at home. Hanoi will go from being your learning zone to your comfort zone in a matter of days. Hanoi will teach you how to ask where the bathroom is and how to order anicedcoffee -the two phrases that will come into use the most over the following weeks.

Your stay in Hanoi will be interupted by a trek through the beautiful jungle terrain of Mai Chau. During your homestays with ethnic minority families you will gain a new perspective on the world - it will teach you not only about other people's lifestyles but also about your own. You will open your eyes to the life of excess that you live in and it will show you the challenges these people face that Americans try to desperately to avoid.

Next you will travel to Hue. Here you will gain more independance, more solo time to navigate alone and have experiences that are truly unique to you and no one else in your group. While biking along the perfume river you will be struck by how much you have grown on this trip. As you read thisI am surethe thought of biking alone around a developing country with only a map and a hotel card seems daunting if not impossible. But as I sit here now, I can promise you that will change. It will turn into a welcome adventure, opening the doors to you to shape your own experience. You will have the change to bike to a beautiful pagoda and learn about Buddhism from a monk who is one of the most amazing people you will meet on your trip. Take advantage of your new found freedom in Hue because if you do, you will grow more in Hue than in any other part of your trip. However, if youlet this freedom go to waste you will lose the opportunity of a lifetime to see and learn more than you can possibly imagine.

After Hue, you will be given an option to either stay in Hue or travel to a new place, Dom Hoi, and work with a fisherman. Take this opportunity to see more of the country. While you will be tempted to stay in the familiar Hue - take the chance and go to the fishing village. Here you will meet a fisherman who does the same thing everyday that his father did before him and his son with do after him. He will teach you how to weave a pattern out of bamboo and, after hours of observation and failure, you will master the weaving pattern. His cheers of "Numba One!!" will be reward enough for your hours of toil.

When you meet back up with the rest of the group in Da Long you will work at an orphanage. Take the risk and bike the extra 2 k to the second orphanage - you will make friend with a litte girl here who you will never forget. You will be overwhelmed by emotion when you have to leave this place of love and community.

Before your final stop in Ho Chi Minh you wil stay at a monastery for 2 days. here you will have time to reflect on your trip - all the things you learned will become illuminated to you and you will realize how much you have grown. You will learn to slow down, to stop running into the futuire but rather to enjoy the present because it is all that really matters. You cannot change the past or predict the future, what happens happens so you should live your life in appreciation of ever breath you take.

Finally you will arrive in Ho Chi Minh. Use this final week to try everything you have not had the chance to try yet. Whether it be a phrase you want to practice, food you want to try or a place you want to go- do it. You willl learn more than you can possibly imagine if you let yourself. Knowledge and experience here do not always come to you - go find them.

Sincerely,

Lily

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Vietnam, Summer 2008

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Reflection on Nam ’08

Lily Miller,Vietnam, Summer 2008

Description

When I look back on the past 6 weeks I am filled with a blur of sights, smells, colors, people and places. It is with great remorse that I sit down to post my final yak-yak. It is my last day in Vietnam. How this happened I do not know; it seems like just yesterday […]

Posted On

08/6/08

Author

Lily Miller

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If I could send a yak back in time, to the Aubrey that never would have come up with the idea ofgoing to Vietnam for six weeks, it would sound a little like this:

Dear Aubs,

With regards to your summer, go to Vietnam. Although I don't want to give it all away, I feel like you might want to know why I feel so strongly about this notion. First off, it's the best place you've ever been. The nicest people you've ever met, the best food is always under a dollar,making the tiniest fraction of a difference in a variety of places is so rewarding,and travelling with the sickest group of kids all along the way. You even learn to love kids (surprising I know), andspeak Vietnamese. You'll be able to handle maps, cockroaches, and all sorts of smells that you never thought you would. Watch out for you camera the day before you go to Halong Bay, it mysteriously breaks. Oh andmake sure to keep track of your moneyon the night of the fifth of August- you lose your wallet, good job. Anyway, please go, I can't imagine us without all these new experiences and perspective.

Later! (I think I'm so funny)

x

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Vietnam, Summer 2008

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If I could send a yak back in time…

Aubrey King,Vietnam, Summer 2008

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If I could send a yak back in time, to the Aubrey that never would have come up with the idea ofgoing to Vietnam for six weeks, it would sound a little like this: Dear Aubs, With regards to your summer, go to Vietnam. Although I don’t want to give it all away, I feel […]

Posted On

08/6/08

Author

Aubrey King

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Dear myself,

Prepare for one of the most interesting 6 weeks you will ever have. It may seem like a long time, but by four weeks you will not believe that some programs only last that long. You will see so many places and have such a wide variety of activity. Remember to live in the moment and to be glad for what you have here, because I haven't even left and I miss stuff in Vietnam. Try to take advantage of every opportunity, because not all of them will come up again. There may be some spots where not everything is going the way you would want, but remember to learn from that and take everything that you can from Vietnam, because even if you come back, it won't be like this at all. Reach out and interact with as many people as possible, because they are all so friendly and nice, even if you don't understand them and them you. Finally, try things early on, that way you will have time to appreciate them more later.

-Jake.

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Vietnam, Summer 2008

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Letter to self before trip

Jacob Carson,Vietnam, Summer 2008

Description

Dear myself, Prepare for one of the most interesting 6 weeks you will ever have. It may seem like a long time, but by four weeks you will not believe that some programs only last that long. You will see so many places and have such a wide variety of activity. Remember to live in […]

Posted On

08/6/08

Author

Jacob Carson

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