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China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009


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Dear China Comprehensive Students, Parents and Friends,

I am writing to you from Mammoth Lakes, CA, where we are in the midst of running our annual WTBDinstructor training. The entire Dragons community will spend the next ten days camping out in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains participating in a variety of training workshops, including workshops on experiential education, mentoring adolescents, risk management and Wilderness First Aid. We're all SO excited about our upcoming summer programs and we're working hard to ensure that we provide all of our students with safe and inspiring learning adventures in thedeveloping worldthis summer.

I wanted to let you all know that we have decided to make a change to the "China: A Comprehensive Survey" instructor team. Tyler Dillon will no longer be on this instructor team.ReturningWTBD China instructor Matt Flynn will take Tyler's place. Sheila Sun and Emma Kaplan willwork together with Matt.

Matt Flynn is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Columbia University. He has an M.A. in International Affairs with a concentration in Development Economics. Matt speaks Mandarin and has 3+ years of work experience in China, mainly with international development organizations. This will be Matt's second time instructing our "China: A Comprehensive Survey" program. I co-instructed this program with Matt, so Ican assure you that heis a mature and compassionate instructor and a wonderful mentor for youth. Bringing Matt on board to work with Emma and Sheila will ensure that our "China: A Comprehensive Survey" program students who are interested in business, economics and development issues will get the educational experience that they desire. We are VERY excited to be working with Matt again and we know that Matt, Sheila and Emma will make a GREAT team.

Although Sheila, Emma and Matt may decide to make some slight changes to the "China: A Comprehensive Survey" programitinerary in order to take advantage of Matt's unique experience and in-country contacts, we do not anticipate that this instructor switch will result in any major itinerary changes. There certainly will not be any changes to the itinerary that would require students to get additional innoculations, bring different medications or deviate from packing list.

So that students and parents can learn more about Matt, I will posthis bio and photo on our staffing pages shortly. I will also post a letter of introductionfrom Matt on the Yak board. Please feel free to email me with any questions about this change. I hope that you are all getting excited for the program and I wish you the best of luck with your packing and preparations!

Sincerely,

Katie Hagel

China Program Director

katie@wheretherebedragons.com

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China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

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Introducing Matt Flynn, New “China: A Comprehensive Survey” Program Instructor

Katie Hagel,China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

Description

Dear China Comprehensive Students, Parents and Friends, I am writing to you from Mammoth Lakes, CA, where we are in the midst of running our annual WTBDinstructor training. The entire Dragons community will spend the next ten days camping out in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains participating in a variety of training workshops, including workshops […]

Posted On

06/16/09

Author

Katie Hagel

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    [post_date] => 2009-06-12 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Hey,

I'm Hayden. I live in LA and finished my last day of school yesterday. It feels great to be on summer vacation. I'm 17 and although school is pretty stressful I spend my free time playing tennis, basketball, surfing, or hanging out with friends. I'm excited to see you all on the 28th.

-Hayden Cook

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China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

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Hey

Hayden Cook,China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

Description

Hey, I’m Hayden. I live in LA and finished my last day of school yesterday. It feels great to be on summer vacation. I’m 17 and although school is pretty stressful I spend my free time playing tennis, basketball, surfing, or hanging out with friends. I’m excited to see you all on the 28th. -Hayden […]

Posted On

06/12/09

Author

Hayden Cook

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    [post_date] => 2009-06-08 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Dear China Parents, Students and Friends,

The State Department has recently posted a travel advisory for China. The travel advisory mentions that the Chinese government has recommended that travelers from countries with reported cases of 2009-H1N1 influenza quarantine themselves for seven days upon arrival to China. Please note that this is a recommendation, not a requirement. The advisory also mentions that some school groups from countries with reported cases of H1N1 influenza have been denied China visas. Finally, the advisory mentions that foreign visitors to China will be required to fill out a health declaration card upon arrival in China and that there will be temperature screenings for passengers arriving on international flights. If there is one or more suspected case of H1N1 on a particular flight, all passengers on the flight could be quarantined for up to seven days.

Where There Be Dragons is not anticipating that this travel advisory will affect our summer programming in any way. We have already successfully processed China visas for all of our China summer students and staff. Our home-stays, service projects and all other program activities are all set to run as planned. Because we are always ready to implement a “plan B” in the event that weather issues or government restrictions affect our plans, already have back-up plans in place for important program components.

Although it certainly IS possible that one of our group flights to China could be quarantined upon arrival if one or more passengers on the plane is a suspected case of H1N1, we feel that this is quite unlikely. Hundreds of international flights land in China every day and there have been very few instances in which an entire flight or entire tour group has been quarantined. In the few, highly-publicized cases in which an entire plane load of people have been quarantined (including one American student group), passengers report being treated extremely well by the Chinese authorities during the period of quarantine. Also, please note that the temperature screening is a thermal screening and does not involve touching the passengers in any way.

China parents and students should rest assured that Where There Be Dragons Administration monitors the news media and State Department website daily and will inform students and parents of any new developments that could affect our programming in China. Parents and students should also note that the travel advisory mentioned above is a travel advisory, not a more serious travel warning or a travel alert.

Please feel free to contact me via email: katie@wheretherebedragons.com or call our Boulder office: 1-800-982-9203 if you have any questions or concerns about this.

Sincerely,
Katie Hagel
China Program Director

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China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

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A Note to Students and Parents About H1N1 Influenza

Katie Hagel,China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

Description

Dear China Parents, Students and Friends, The State Department has recently posted a travel advisory for China. The travel advisory mentions that the Chinese government has recommended that travelers from countries with reported cases of 2009-H1N1 influenza quarantine themselves for seven days upon arrival to China. Please note that this is a recommendation, not a […]

Posted On

06/8/09

Author

Katie Hagel

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    [post_content] => Hi all! 

Attached is thetentative itinerary for China Comprehensive 2009. As we get to know all of you, we will encourage you to take ownership of your course by sharing your interests, vision and goals.

Instructors will be making individual phone calls to each of you in the next week or two to discuss your questions and expectations; in the meantime, we invite you all to make use of this board, or to email us with any urgent concerns. See you soon!Sheila, Tyler, and Emma [post_title] => Tentative Itinerary [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => tentative-itinerary-40 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2009-06-05 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=51662 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 423 [name] => China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009 [slug] => china-comprehensive-survey-summer-2009 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 423 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 249 [count] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 25.1 [cat_ID] => 423 [category_count] => 53 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009 [category_nicename] => china-comprehensive-survey-summer-2009 [category_parent] => 249 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2009/china-comprehensive-survey-summer-2009/ ) ) [category_links] => China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009 )

China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

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Tentative Itinerary

Emma Kaplan,China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

Description

Hi all! Attached is thetentative itinerary for China Comprehensive 2009. As we get to know all of you, we will encourage you to take ownership of your course by sharing your interests, vision and goals. Instructors will be making individual phone calls to each of you in the next week or two to discuss your […]

Posted On

06/5/09

Author

Emma Kaplan

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    [post_content] => Hi everyone my name's Sam and I really can't wait for June 27th when we get this started. I guess I'll introduce myself by saying I'm a sophomore at John Jay High school in New York (about 45 minutes from the city). I'm on my school's football and wrestling teams, and I'm also a musician. I can't wait to meet all of you guys and see China. See you guys in a month! 
-Sam

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China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

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hi guys

Sam Budoff,China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

Description

Hi everyone my name’s Sam and I really can’t wait for June 27th when we get this started. I guess I’ll introduce myself by saying I’m a sophomore at John Jay High school in New York (about 45 minutes from the city). I’m on my school’s football and wrestling teams, and I’m also a musician. […]

Posted On

05/31/09

Author

Sam Budoff

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    [post_content] => Ni hao! Wo jiao Eddie. Wo shi cong California lai de. 

For those with no experience in Mandarin that's Hi! My name is Eddie. I am from California.

I went to China last summer with Dragons for 6 weeks and enjoyed it to the point where...I wish I could go AGAIN!!! Although you guys have different instructors, or better yet future friends, than I did be rest assured they will be around to help you and push you.

China will be an amazing experience and you will learn a great deal linguistically, culturally, and personally. There will be times where you'll be at a huge high point, but there will be times where you will be frustrated whether it's during a homestay, traveling, or whatever it may be. So do go in with an open mind and learn and be as active as much you can! And be prepared to as I would say...suck it up...at certain moments, because trust me you'll appreciate every single bit in the long run. As my instructor Justin Bedard said there's Fun "A", which is fun immediately and Fun "B", which is the fun comes after you complete it. In my case an example of Fun "B" was a 12 Hour Standing Train ride, which is a fun story to tell people and recall with my group members who I still keep a great deal of contact with or climbing Tai shan (a Daoist mountain) which was long and tiring but well worth it. Don't worry Fun "B" isn't all dreadful, it's basically anything that will challenge you to come out of your comfort zone. It's well worth it.

Feel Free To Contact Me with questions or anything that my experience from last year could possible help you with at...
Fernandez.Eduardo3@gmail.com

and once again...Thank You WTBD for a summer that's going to be way too difficult to top! [post_title] => A Few Words from a Dragon Alumnus [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-few-words-from-a-dragon-alumnus [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2009-05-25 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=51764 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 423 [name] => China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009 [slug] => china-comprehensive-survey-summer-2009 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 423 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 249 [count] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 25.1 [cat_ID] => 423 [category_count] => 53 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009 [category_nicename] => china-comprehensive-survey-summer-2009 [category_parent] => 249 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2009/china-comprehensive-survey-summer-2009/ ) ) [category_links] => China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009 )

China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

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A Few Words from a Dragon Alumnus

Eduardo "Eddie" Fernandez,China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

Description

Ni hao! Wo jiao Eddie. Wo shi cong California lai de. For those with no experience in Mandarin that’s Hi! My name is Eddie. I am from California. I went to China last summer with Dragons for 6 weeks and enjoyed it to the point where…I wish I could go AGAIN!!! Although you guys have […]

Posted On

05/25/09

Author

Eduardo "Eddie" Fernandez

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    [post_content] => 

Hello travelers!!

I hope you are getting prepared for the summer trip in China!! My name is Sheila Sun and I will work as a intructor in the China Comprehensive Program this Summer. I am really looking forward to my first trip working for Dragons and more excited about meeting all of you guys and having some amazing experiences together. It’s definitely gonna be great!!

Well, here is something about myself. I come from a small village in Sichuan province. I lived there for all my childhood, and I spent all my time there playing in the field, watching ducks swim, doing net-fishing, tubing in summer, making animals with dirt, planting vegetables with my mom, obviouserving sunrise and sunset and moom and stars... If it does sound interesting, we hopefully will be going there this summer. I will be able to arrange home-stay and find teachers to teach you guys how to grow crops, how to do bamboo weaving, etc.

I moved to a small city by myself for high school when I was 14 years old, and I graduated from Sichuan university located in Chengdu (where we might go to this Summer as well) majoring in The Teaching of Chinese as a Foreign Language. Then I moved to Nanjing last year and I’m currently working as a Chinese teacher in Nanjing.

I like reading, hiking, playing badminton, hanging out with friends, taking care of my dog... I love cooking and hopefully I will be teaching you guys cook Chinese dishes. But the first thing we are going to do is starting a a crash Mandarin lesson when you arrive so you will be able to use your new language to communicate with Chinese people, buy some stuff, find your way around and even make some Chinese friends!

Well, I can’t wait to see you all and starting our fantastic trip, please don’t hesitate to contact me for any questions or advice.

Zai Jian,

Sheila

sheila.k3@gmail.com

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China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

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Ni Hao from China

Sheila Sun,China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

Description

Hello travelers!! I hope you are getting prepared for the summer trip in China!! My name is Sheila Sun and I will work as a intructor in the China Comprehensive Program this Summer. I am really looking forward to my first trip working for Dragons and more excited about meeting all of you guys and […]

Posted On

05/24/09

Author

Sheila Sun

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    [post_date] => 2009-05-20 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Hey guys!
My name's Jessica, and I'm so excited to be going to China with you this summer! I'm from Teaneck, New Jersey, but I go to school in New York City. I've travelled all over the world - Egypt, Italy, Holland, Czech Republic, and a whole bunch of Carribean islands, among others - and I'm really excited to see someplace new. I'm not gonna lie, I've never learned the language before, but I'm sure the summer will be great, even if all I only learn how to say a few words.

I'm a junior in high school, so that's unfortunatly pretty life consuming. Otherwise, I spend my time dancing, listening to music, watching movies, and hanging out with my friends.

I can't wait to meet you all!

Jess

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China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

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Hi everyone!

Jessica Appelbaum,China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

Description

Hey guys!My name’s Jessica, and I’m so excited to be going to China with you this summer! I’m from Teaneck, New Jersey, but I go to school in New York City. I’ve travelled all over the world – Egypt, Italy, Holland, Czech Republic, and a whole bunch of Carribean islands, among others – and I’m […]

Posted On

05/20/09

Author

Jessica Appelbaum

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    [post_date] => 2009-05-20 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Hey All!

My name is Erica Haybron and I'm really excited to be participating in the China trip this summer. I thought I'd share a little bit about myself. I'm from Pittsburgh, PA, and I'm a sophomore at Quaker Valley High School. I'm turning 16 at the beginning of June (amongst my finals, happy birthday to me!). My last day of school is the 4th and it truly seems too far away.

Right now I'm doing what I can to prepare for the trip (while keeping up with the end of the year cram). For every page I turn in the various travel books I was given, I become more and more anxious for the trip to come! Even though I'm doing various things to get ready, I have this creeping suspicion that I'm going to be culturally blown away when I arrive. I will also admit that I have no experience with the language. I've recently taken up a language program which I will continue to use. In the past I've travelled to Mexico, Canada, and various islands in the Caribbean. It's hard to believe that in little over a month I'll be on the other side of the world!

I look forward to reading all of your posts, and, in turn, meeting and getting to know you.

Yours Truly,

Erica Haybron

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China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

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Hey All!

Erica Haybron,China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

Description

Hey All! My name is Erica Haybron and I’m really excited to be participating in the China trip this summer. I thought I’d share a little bit about myself. I’m from Pittsburgh, PA, and I’m a sophomore at Quaker Valley High School. I’m turning 16 at the beginning of June (amongst my finals, happy birthday […]

Posted On

05/20/09

Author

Erica Haybron

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Ni Hao from the road!

I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying the spring. I know you must be excited, nervous, curious, and perhaps a wee bit scared for you journey this summer. It is times like these that you can really feel life happening.

The past few weeks there has been an excitement in the air for me with visions of rice paddies and mountains, I have even been cooking traditional Chinese dishes for dinner to bring back the smells of the markets I have come to love so much. Seven years ago I left my home state of Georgia on a trip that was only to last a few months. After graduating with a degree in philosophy the idea to travel a bit before graduate school seemed appealing, so off I went. I had a tent, a few friends, and some savings and I had no idea that it would be a trip that would change my life forever and start a long fascination with the middle kingdom, China. A wise woman once told me to go out and see the world with my own eyes, watching it on TV and reading about in newspapers does not make it real, only being there and experiencing it can make it a reality and then you can begin to understand it. This is what I did and have been doing since, seeing as much as I can, talking with locals, living and working with the communities. I worked as a teacher, started a business building summer camps and have been professionally guiding trips throughout Asia for 5 years.


Guiding in China has shown me the vastness and variety that this region has, from sand dunes hundreds of feet high to the worlds tallest peaks and even though the natural wonders of the land are appealing it is really the people and cultures that make it fascinating to me. When I first arrived I lived in a small town in the Pearl River Delta north of Hong Kong. I had practiced mandarin expecting to use that in day-to-day life and found quickly that each province of China is like its own little country, complete with different languages, religions, foods, and dress. Everyone around me spoke Cantonese and had no idea what I was saying. It was difficult at first to get used to not even being able to read menu’s, or simple tasks like finding a restroom in a train station turned into big ordeals, but after a few weeks of practice and an open mind things started to make more sense. It wasn’t just the language that was foreign, it was ways people interact and without a guide to show me how I was scarred that I was going to offend people without even realizing it. Fortunately for me there is a patience the people I met had that perhaps is through the particular type of Buddhism that is prevalent across China, or could be through the time and effort it takes to grow rice in patties, either way I was thankful and was able to find my way. I mention this now because things will be different for you there and you will be out of your comfort zone at times, just remember to be patient, keep and open mind, and remember over all that people are similar in more ways than you know. Everywhere I have traveled, people I have met love to laugh, smile, tell stories and talk, and we are all inherently social creatures.

My excitement is not to see this place I love again, but it is to see it with you! We will begin a journey that will not end when we return to L.A. in August, it is a journey that never ends, and once a mind is open to certain things it is never the same again. This journey mentality is why we are travelers and not tourists, we will be on the journey for the sake of the journey, be it by train, car, donkey cart, or foot, all these ways will be so we can get to the heart of a country we are learning and experiencing.

I will be calling you soon and please feel free to contact me by email or on skype anytime. We will talk about what to bring and what you can do to further get ready for this trip but until then revel in the fact that soon you will be on an amazing road through a magical place! One of my favorite travel books is Travels with Charlie; it is a story about the writer John Steinbeck and his dog on the road rediscovering his own country, much like we will be doing in China. I leave you with his introduction, it is a quote I think about quite a bit in the spring when getting ready for such trips. See you soon!!

“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the-glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”

–John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley, (1962)

Tyler Dillon
Skype:tpdillon
Phone: USA: +1 (251) 2096902
tyler.dillon@gmail.com

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China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

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Ni Hao From the Road

Tyler Dillon,China Comprehensive Survey, Summer 2009

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Ni Hao from the road! I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying the spring. I know you must be excited, nervous, curious, and perhaps a wee bit scared for you journey this summer. It is times like these that you can really feel life happening. The past few weeks there has been an […]

Posted On

05/18/09

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Tyler Dillon

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