Photo of the Week
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2013-06-15 08:14:02
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    [post_content] => Da jia hao!

After stalling for quite a while out of fear that I'd set off the introductions to a bad (well, awkward) start, I figured I'd better take initiative and post the first one…so, hi! My name's Alexandra, but you guys can call me Alexa (because only my mother calls me Alexandra, and only when she's angry, so unless you're angry or my mother, please call me Alexa!). I'm 16, and I live in the great state of Maine – it may be beautiful, true, but it sure is boring; as a result, I've always had a tendency to turn toward foreign matters (namely languages). I love studying languages…if my 'be a writer' scheme doesn't pan out when I'm older, I'd definitely want to be a linguist or a polyglot or a translator, or something along those lines. There's just something about studying languages that makes me feel like I'm slipping into another world, and not even in an insulting, culturally appropriative way; I've never traveled beyond the North East, so foreign languages have always been like my own makeshift travels.

I've been taking Mandarin since my freshmen year (two years total, now), but it wasn't until I spent four weeks at a Mandarin-only summer program before sophomore year that I really got invested in it…what can I say? As hard as the characters may be to remember, they're absolutely lovely, and even though I'll occasionally fumble over my pinyin pronunciation, the language itself has such a distinct and pleasing sound.

This summer, though, I'll finally have the chance to put my Mandarin skills to good use in the culture of it's origin, which is just all kinds of wow…

As exciting as it is, I've gotta say, I'm a little nervous, too–but then, who isn't! This'll be my first time out of my time zone (I apologize in advance if I'm super groggy when I meet up with you guys in LA), let alone out of the country, and while all that foreign-ness and newness is incredibly thrilling, it's also a little bit staggering. No matter–I think I've rambled enough to give you guys a sense of who I am (if not an excessively clumsy one?), so enough of that…now it's time to hear about you guys!

Oh, and one last thing: my favorite meal is easily vegetarian ma po tofu (if you haven't tried it, you really ought to reevaluate your choices; seriously, get on it).
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China Language 4-week B

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“Witty Introduction Title”

Alexandra Carrington,China Language 4-week B

Description

Da jia hao! After stalling for quite a while out of fear that I’d set off the introductions to a bad (well, awkward) start, I figured I’d better take initiative and post the first one…so, hi! My name’s Alexandra, but you guys can call me Alexa (because only my mother calls me Alexandra, and only […]

Posted On

06/15/13

Author

Alexandra Carrington

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    [post_date] => 2013-06-11 14:49:36
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    [post_content] => Hi all,

We’ve picked out a few articles and links that we ask that you read/watch before we meet in LA (or China, for a couple of you). They're all attached as PDF's below. They should give you a couple snapshots of the country in which you’re about to spend four weeks living. Try to read them all, but focus on those that are most interesting to you. If there are any that you don’t get to, print them out for the plane.

Also, if you’re looking for a book or two to read and/or bring to China, remember to take a look at the list at the end of Trevor’s intro letter! Trevor’s finishing ‘China in Ten Words,’ and definitely recommends it. We’d also add (as you’ll see below) ‘Country Driving’ by Peter Hessler.

Articles:

Why We Travel: This was attached in the previous post, but here it is again in case you didn’t see it. It’s not about China specifically, but it’s a wonderful piece about travelling, and it reflects a lot of our Dragons’ philosophy.

Searching for Shangri-La: An interesting look at the rapid growth of the tourism industry in northern Yunnan. The region that’s described – Shangri-La / Zhongdian – isn’t too far (~5-6 hours) from the village in which we’ll be staying. 

The Unabridged Peter Hessler Interview: This is an interesting glimpse into the author’s take on one slice of modern China. He refers to a town called Sancha (三岔) and the Wei family – that’s the family with whom we’ll be staying our first night in China! If it inspires you, get a copy of ‘Country Driving’ for our travels.

Can China Deliver the China Dream(s)? A brief note about China’s brand-new president Xi Jinping and one of his ‘big ideas.’ If you’re interested, look around for other articles about him – he’s quite different from his predecessor.

Why a Great Wave of Nostalgia is Sweeping Through China: A short article about the author’s take on nostalgia in modern China among the generation born in the 80’s.

Oracle Bones: A longer article that touches on some important issues (especially related to the Chinese language, fitting with our course’s emphasis) and tells some pretty fascinating stories. It’s long-ish, so start it, but if you’re not interested or don’t have time, don’t worry about reading the whole thing.

Links:

http://archive.ryanpyle.com/gallery-list

This photographer has a ton of photo-essays on China, they’re super interesting.

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/martin_jacques_understanding_the_rise_of_china.html

A talk by a British economist on China’s economic/political rise. He makes a lot of good/interesting points, but don’t take them at face value – think about his thesis and whether or not you agree with it.

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/leslie_t_chang_the_voices_of_china_s_workers.html

A talk by a reporter who lived in a factory town in southern China for two years getting to know the female factory workers there. Again, think about whether or not you agree with her.

 
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China Language 4-week B

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Pre-course Readings

Instructor Team,China Language 4-week B

Description

Hi all, We’ve picked out a few articles and links that we ask that you read/watch before we meet in LA (or China, for a couple of you). They’re all attached as PDF’s below. They should give you a couple snapshots of the country in which you’re about to spend four weeks living. Try to read […]

Posted On

06/11/13

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2013-06-10 12:11:32
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-06-10 18:11:32
    [post_content] => Dear all,

I hope this note finds you well, relaxed, and getting more and more excited for our impending journey. We instructors recently received your information (applications, interview notes, etc.), so we’ve begun to get a sense you all. It’s clear that you’re a smart, fun, and dynamic group. You should all be looking forward to meeting each other in just 17 days!

We want to hear more about you, though! And we’re sure that you all are curious about each other. So, there are two main ways we’ll be in touch…

First, Jeff and I will be calling all of you in the next couple of days (Long Yun is still in China). We just want to start to get to know each other, discuss a few pre-course details, and answer any of your questions. If you haven’t heard from one of us already, you will before Thursday (6/13). If there are times that are particularly good/bad for us to call, send us an email and let us know.

Second, introduce yourselves here on the Yak Yak! We encourage you to use it to tell everyone a bit about yourself and to begin to discuss your ideas/hopes/goals/etc. for your course. Use this as a forum to learn about each other so we can hit the ground running when we meet in person. Make your introduction letter your own, but here are a few prompts below to get you started – take some, leave some, whatever works.
  • where are you from? where do you live now?
  • what are you passionate about?
  • why China?
  • what are you interested in (academically and otherwise)?
  • why do you travel (see attached PDF – an essay by Pico Iyer)?
  • what should we all know about your style of working in groups?
  • what are you looking forward to?
  • what are you nervous about?
  • what’s your favorite meal?
Stay tuned to the Yak Yak, as we’ll be posting a few more times as we get closer to our departure. We’ll touch base with you all via phone soon, but please (!) do not hesitate to call or email us (either before or after we talk) with any questions, thoughts, concerns, or whatever, no matter how big or small. We’re here for you! All the best, Trevor, on behalf of all of us (Trevor, Jeff, Long Yun) P.S.: Remember to read the essay by Pico Iyer attached as a PDF here. It's a great piece that's pretty near-and-dear to the heart of Dragons' courses and the style in which we travel.   Be in touch! Trevor: tgagelee@gmail.com 860-983-7134 Jeff: jeff.eisenbraun@gmail.com Long Yun: longyun8535@gmail.com

Attached Documents

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China Language 4-week B

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Introductions?

Instructor Team,China Language 4-week B

Description

Dear all, I hope this note finds you well, relaxed, and getting more and more excited for our impending journey. We instructors recently received your information (applications, interview notes, etc.), so we’ve begun to get a sense you all. It’s clear that you’re a smart, fun, and dynamic group. You should all be looking forward […]

Posted On

06/10/13

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2013-06-07 18:20:09
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    [post_content] => Dear Dragons Students & Parents 2013,

Your journey is right around the corner! This note is full of important reminders. Please take the time to thoroughly read this letter detailing your final departure instructions, as well as your Course Preparation Manual and Parent Support Kit.

And some advice: you may have heard about Where There Be Dragons from others. If possible, set aside those predictions and descriptions. The experience varies from person to person, and from journey to journey. We have never had a group like yours. So, please, allow yourself to be known. Getting to that point may require some courage. We all have our own ways of letting ourselves be known: some will plunge right in, energized by the group experience; others will be more comfortable listening and getting to know others one-on-one. Discovering the best ways of letting others know you will be an important part of your adventure. For now, take the time to relax, read through this letter, and get prepared. We can’t wait to meet you.

Final Departure Instructions: China Language 4-week

I. Pre-Departure Checklist

The checklist below details all final pre-departure steps. Please submit your forms and paperwork as soon as possible. Our summer staff will be out of the office from June 16th-28th at Instructor Orientation. It will likely take course-specific Program Directors a few days to respond to pre-course questions during this time. Any planning/packing that you can accomplish now will help you, and it will help us too. The Yak board is also a great forum to post any pre-course questions that you may have.

 Submit your child’s final domestic flight itinerary, including:
 Airline
 Flight Number
 Arrival Date
 Arrival Time

Information may be submitted via:
 My Dragons: http://mydragons.wheretherebedragons.com/my.php
 Fax: 303-413-0857
 E-mail: info@wheretherebedragons.com.

If you are unable to submit this information via one of the methods suggested above, please call the office and ask for Shannon, 303.413.0822.

 Review the Packing List
The Course Preparation Manual sent to your home in hard copy, or available as a PDF on MyDragons, details all clothing/equipment required for your trip. If you have a question, please call the Boulder Office or post your question on the Yak board. Other students will likely appreciate the response as well.

Important Details.
 CARRY YOUR PASSPORT ON YOUR PERSON. If you sent us your passport, your instructors will give it to you at the airport. Also, please make sure you have 3 photocopies of your passport (front page only) packed separately in both your checked and carry-on baggage. Your instructors will hold onto one copy on course; you will be responsible for the other two.
 Pack your Lonely Planet guide book, Phrasebook and Course Reader (unless otherwise directed by your instructors). Some groups of students may receive these course materials when they meet the group. If you have any questions, please call the Boulder Office, 303.413.0822.
 We generally recommend students bring cash or a VISA card (Visa is the only card that will work) with access to $50-$75 a week for the duration of the trip. Please do NOT bring Traveler’s Checks. For more details on the specifics of your program packing list, please refer to your Course Preparation Manual.
 We also recommend that students bring a couple photos from home or small gifts to share with their home-stay families and future friends.
 Visit Dragons’ Yak board to double check for last-minute packing instructions/advice from your instructors. The Yak board can be accessed at, http://wheretherebedragons.com/yak-yak/

 Review the Parent Support Kit. Parents, please take a moment to review the Parent Support Kit prior to program departure. This document was mailed in hard copy to your home in a pre-course “Welcome Box”; it can also be found online on your child’s MyDragons account. This document contains an overview of your child’s Dragons experience, a flow chart of your role and relationship to Dragons, detailed information on family expectations regarding student communication, advice from past parents, and FAQs.

 Review Dragons’ Drugs and Alcohol Policy
 In short, the use of alcohol and drugs is strictly prohibited on all Dragons programs. Dragons’ insurance policies, including our evacuation and medical coverage, will not honor claims if drugs and/or alcohol are involved. We cannot accept the risks presented by students’ consumption of drugs and/or alcohol and will terminate a student’s participation if drugs and/or alcohol are consumed at any time during the program, from arrival at the student’s international point of departure to his/her return to the international point of arrival at the end of the program. If a student is asked to return home under these circumstances, the student and his or her family will be responsible for all costs incurred by the student’s early departure, which will likely include a new plane ticket and all logistics required to safely return the student home.

 Review Connecting Travel Instructions
 Read through the remainder of this document with your child. Review all travel steps and make sure that he or she clearly understands the steps required to meet the rest of the group.

II. Day of Departure
 Carry your passport with you.
 Locate the wallet-sized info card with connecting travel instructions and pack it with your passport/boarding pass so that the information is easily accessible.
 Wear your Dragons T-shirt for easy identification! Dragons staff can also be identified by their Dragons t-shirts.

III. Connecting with Your Dragons Group

For Students arriving by Air:
When you arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport, please proceed to Baggage Claim and gather your bags. Once you have retrieved your bags, please go outside and waiting under the red sign for Off-Airport Shuttles to Hotels. Board the Hacienda Shuttle bus to the Hacienda Hotel. Your Dragons instructors and fellow group members will be waiting for you on the other end, wearing their Dragons T-shirts. Should you have trouble locating the group, please call our central Boulder office at, 303.413.0822. We will be on call to help you connect with the group.

For Students arriving by Car:
Please meet your group at the Hacienda Hotel, located at 525 North Sepulveda Boulevard, at 3pm on June 28th. Your instructors and fellow group members will meet you in the hotel lobby at 3pm, wearing Dragons T-shirts. Should you have trouble locating the rest of the group, please call our central Boulder office at 303.413.0822. We will be on call to help you and your family connect with the group.

Should you have any other problems on the day of travel, such as flight delays or cancellations, please call the Dragons office at 800-982-9203 or 303-413-0822 ext 30. The Dragons Admin team will in regular contact with instructors and will be in touch with you as quickly as possible.

IV. After Program Departure

I. Communicating with your Child in the Field
i. The Yak board
Each Dragons group has a dedicated Yak board located on our website. Instructors and students will post notes from the field on their course-specific Yak board throughout the course. While instructors frequently encourage students to ‘Yak’, the course itinerary and/or poor internet connections (while out on trek, in rural homestay villages etc.) may intermittently limit communication. In that vein, we ask for your continued patience and dedicated readership over the course of the summer. We expect news from each program every three days, unless otherwise noted by instructors. To read group updates, click on the Yak Yak button, located on our homepage, or follow the link below:
http://wheretherebedragons.com/yak-yak/

ii. Direct Student Communication
Dragons students will have fairly regular access to telephones and to e-mail. Per the notes in your Course Preparation Manual and Parent Support Kit.

II. Note on Program Itinerary
A basic part of Dragons pedagogy is to maintain flexible and dynamic itineraries so that students and instructors can take advantage of special opportunities that come along, and when necessary, respond to varying levels of group fitness, health and group safety. Program itineraries, though fairly well mapped out, will change throughout the course of the program. If you are following the course itinerary, please refer to the Yak board for any deviations from the proposed itinerary. All updates from the field will be posted here.

III. Emergency Response Protocol
i. Dragons Administrative staff will be on-call 24/7 to respond to emergencies or evacuation needs from the field. Our overseas staff will be able to contact Dragons US staff at all hours. Parents seeking emergency assistance are asked to contact our office. If no one is available, or if you call outside of regular office hours (8:30-5:30 MST), please leave a message at ext. 30 and we will return your call as soon as possible.

To Call Dragons Office: 303-413-0822 / 800-982-9203 x 30
To E-mail Dragons Office: info@wheretherebedragons.com

ii. If parents intend to travel during the program, please email or fax us a copy of your itinerary with phone numbers for emergency contact. Our fax # is 303-413-0857. Please also note that if you are overseas, you will not be able to use our #800. From overseas call 001-303-413-0822.

Parents, thank you for the support you've given your child in making this opportunity available. Students, thank you for stepping out and joining us; we’re so excited to meet you in person!

Best,

Susie Rinehart
Director
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China Language 4-week B

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Airport & Arrival Details

Liza Bayless,China Language 4-week B

Description

Dear Dragons Students & Parents 2013, Your journey is right around the corner! This note is full of important reminders. Please take the time to thoroughly read this letter detailing your final departure instructions, as well as your Course Preparation Manual and Parent Support Kit. And some advice: you may have heard about Where There […]

Posted On

06/7/13

Author

Liza Bayless

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-06-05 17:34:38
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-06-05 23:34:38
    [post_content] => 
Hello all! We’ve put together a (relatively tentative) itinerary that will form the backbone of our adventures this summer. Below, you’ll see when (approximately) and where we’ll be and some ideas as to what we’ll be doing. We see this entirely as a team effort, however, so many of the specifics will be determined by your questions, interests, and discoveries. What this course really becomes will be up to you. We’ll obviously talk about all of this in much more detail when we meet in a few weeks, but if you already have any comments, questions, concerns, thoughts, ideas, etc., please don’t hesitate to let us know! Stay tuned for more info! We can't wait... Trevor, Long Yun, and Jeff P.S. See below for a couple pictures from TL's previous WTBD adventure! Overview: Days 1-2: Los Angeles to Beijing Days 3-6: Beijing Days 7-16: Jixiangcun Days 17-18: Tiger Leaping Gorge / TBD Days 19-26: Kunming Days 27-30: TBD Day 31: Kunming to Los Angeles   Details: June 28 Meet in sunny LA, begin to learn about each other, further discuss our imminent adventure, and spend a bit of quality time at the airport. At 11:50PM, we’ll leave for China! June 29 Let our excitement build, sample Cathay Pacific’s mid-flight midnight snacks, and sleep (if possible) as we speed through the night across the Pacific Ocean. June 30 Arrive in Beijing (after a stop-over in Hong Kong) and travel by bus to a farming village near the Great Wall. Get to know the village and each other, orient ourselves, meet our hosts, enjoy a northern Chinese style feast, prepare for the next day, and sleep. July 1 Wake up early, ascend up the nearby mountain, see the sun rise and hike along a wild section of the Great Wall, return to the village for a late lunch. Travel to Beijing, China’s immense and fascinating capital city, by bus. Find our guesthouse in one of the city’s hutongs, shower, and go eat hotpot or roast duck. July 2 Chinese class #1! Explore the neighboring hutong and find a street-side lunch spot. Take the bus/subway to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. After, we’ll likely have the chance to meet with a journalist, business-owner, and/or student in Beijing to get their perspective on the city. July 3 A brief discussion of Buddhism in China over a breakfast of noodles and dumplings, then Badachu, a complex of monasteries on the outskirts of Beijing. After lunch, take the subway to the 798 Art District, a series of decommissioned military factories that now house several stellar contemporary Chinese art galleries. Explore and eat dinner in Niu Jie, Beijing’s Muslim Chinese neighborhood. July 4 Fly to Kunming! Chinese class, tea at an old traditional teahouse, dinner, then to the bus station for an overnight bus up north to Lijiang. July 5 Arrive in Lijiang, explore the area, get breakfast, rest, and prepare to head up to Jixiangcun, a rural village outside of town. Then, we’ll meet our host families and settle into our new homes. July 6 – 13 In Jixiangcun: Mornings: Breakfast with host families and Chinese classes, then lunch with group or host families. Afternoons: Will vary based on your interests, but will likely include time with homestay families, additional opportunities for experiential language-learning, ongoing work on ISPs, hikes in surrounding mountains and to neighboring villages, lessons from instructors, visits to local NGOs, guest lecturers, and pick-up basketball or soccer games with locals. Evenings: Relax, cook, and eat dinner with host families – along with Chinese homework and practice. Of course, you’ll also join them for any local traditions or holidays that coincide with our stay. July 14 – 15 We’ll have a couple days to explore the area before returning to Kunming. Where we go and what we do will largely be up to you all, but options include trekking through Tiger Leaping Gorge, a gorgeous mountain-flanked river, or traveling to Zhongdian, a predominately Tibetan city surrounded by beautiful landscapes, villages, and monasteries. We’ll then return to Kunming by overnight bus for the next phase of our course. July 16 – 23 In Kunming: Mornings: Breakfast with host families and Chinese classes, then lunch in the city in groups. Afternoons: Again, they’ll vary, but will likely include meetings with local ‘language partners,’ ongoing work on ISPs, lessons from instructors, guest lecturers, time to explore Kunming, as well as afternoon or day trips to temples, mountains, and small towns outside of the city. Evenings: Relax, cook, and eat and dinner with host families – along with Chinese homework and practice. There’s also a good chance that you’ll join your host siblings for badminton or basketball games, meet your host families’ extended families, and/or learn to play ma jiang. July 24 – 27 At this point, we instructors will step further back and hand over the reins to you students to plan and lead a few days of travel throughout Yunnan or Sichuan. By then, you’ll have all the tools you’ll need to do so. We’ll talk more about possibilities throughout the course, but feel free to start thinking about it now! We’ll also spend some time thinking and talking more about what it’ll be like to leave China and return to the U.S. and how to integrate what you learned and experienced during the course into your lives back home. July 28 Depart Kunming and return to Los Angeles even more curious, adventurous, and self-aware than we began. [post_title] => Tentative Itinerary [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => tentative-itinerary-6 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-06-05 17:34:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-06-05 23:34:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=85520 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 214 [name] => China Language 4-week B [slug] => china-language-4-week-b [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 214 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 253 [count] => 49 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12.1 [cat_ID] => 214 [category_count] => 49 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Language 4-week B [category_nicename] => china-language-4-week-b [category_parent] => 253 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2013/china-language-4-week-b/ ) ) [category_links] => China Language 4-week B )
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Tentative Itinerary

Instructor Team ,China Language 4-week B

Description

Hello all! We’ve put together a (relatively tentative) itinerary that will form the backbone of our adventures this summer. Below, you’ll see when (approximately) and where we’ll be and some ideas as to what we’ll be doing. We see this entirely as a team effort, however, so many of the specifics will be determined by […]

Posted On

06/5/13

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_author] => 36
    [post_date] => 2013-05-17 14:20:28
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-17 20:20:28
    [post_content] => 
Dear fellow travelers, I hope this letter finds you looking forward to this summer as much as Trevor, Longyun, and I am. We are working hard as an instructor team to prepare for the summer, and we are excited to soon welcome you as the student-scholar-traveler-adventurers who will provide the driving energy and direction for our course. You are taking great initiative at this point in time to learn about China’s culture and people through intensive language study and travel. I first lived in China as a recent graduate from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I taught English in a small town in eastern Jiangsu province for the 2006-2007 school year, when the excitement leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics pulsed throughout the country. After teaching at a high school in the U.S., I returned to China for the summer of 2008, where I was able to watch the Olympic torch parade through the northeast city of Harbin in Heilongjiang province, part of a region historically known as Manchuria. I studied Mandarin intensively at Heilongjiang University in Harbin that summer, and have since led a summer language program for U.S. high school students in Beijing. I am thrilled to be retuning to the Middle Kingdom this summer with Dragons. During my time living in China, I found that the moments of the both the greatest challenge and greatest fulfillment often occurred not while being dropped by a tour bus at a culturally significant site, but in the process of traveling to that destination. Watching the sunrise at the sacred Buddhist Mt. Emei (Emei Shan) in Sichuan province will always be etched in my memory. But the process of traveling on back roads with friends to reach central Sichuan, navigating the trail to the mountain, and enjoying a meal with a family in their local restaurant and guesthouse are the elements of the trek that make it most memorable. I hope you are looking forward the moments of being “in transit” in China. I currently live in Washington, D.C., where I have worked with NGOs facilitating educational and cultural exchanges, and where I currently work with international organizations implementing development programs throughout the world. The time I’ve lived in China has given me a great perspective in my current work, and I am confident that your time traveling this summer will present you with the opportunity for a transformative and foundational experience you will be able to build upon in the future. As you prepare and our adventure gets underway, try to keep in mind a piece of wisdom a fellow educator shared with me: give yourself space to be surprised. In a few short weeks, you will touch down in China with our group of fellow travelers and enter an intense and sometimes bewildering experience in one of the most dynamic places on earth. You will inevitably have your senses overloaded as you experience new sights, smells, tastes, and ways of seeing the world. But as travelers, we’ll go beyond this initial sense of shock that occurs when you travel far from what’s familiar. We’ll have time to reflect and consider the interactions and relationships we have both with local residents and among each other. We will be traveling to a place rich in complexity – I encourage you to leave space, beyond your first encounter, to be continually surprised by the people you will meet and the places you will go. Like Trevor and Longyun, I look forward to hearing about questions or concerns you have leading up to our start date, so please be in touch. See you in L.A., Jeff jeff.eisenbraun@gmail.com     [post_title] => Welcome from your Instructor Jeff! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => welcome-from-your-instructor-jeff [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-17 14:20:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-17 20:20:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=84561 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 214 [name] => China Language 4-week B [slug] => china-language-4-week-b [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 214 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 253 [count] => 49 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12.1 [cat_ID] => 214 [category_count] => 49 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Language 4-week B [category_nicename] => china-language-4-week-b [category_parent] => 253 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2013/china-language-4-week-b/ ) ) [category_links] => China Language 4-week B )

China Language 4-week B

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Welcome from your Instructor Jeff!

Jeff Eisenbraun,China Language 4-week B

Description

Dear fellow travelers, I hope this letter finds you looking forward to this summer as much as Trevor, Longyun, and I am. We are working hard as an instructor team to prepare for the summer, and we are excited to soon welcome you as the student-scholar-traveler-adventurers who will provide the driving energy and direction for […]

Posted On

05/17/13

Author

Jeff Eisenbraun

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 84563
    [post_author] => 36
    [post_date] => 2013-05-17 14:20:11
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-17 20:20:11
    [post_content] => 
Welcome to all family, friends, and students of the 2013 China 4-week Summer Language Program! I want to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Longyun and we'll be spending four weeks together in China this summer. First off, I'm a native of Kunming and majored in physical education at Yunnan Normal University. Although I've lived almost all my life in Kunming, my great passion is travel and I lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a year while teaching Chinese andgongfu. The reason I love traveling so much is that it allows me to meet new people and learn about their cultures, customs, languages, religions, and of course food. One thing you should know about me is that I'm crazy about food. Crazy. Really crazy. I can't wait to take you guys to eat Dai cuisine (Yunnan's Xishuangbanna Prefecture), rubing (ethnic Bai goat cheese), tangculiji(Guangdong sweet and sour pork), boluofan (pineapple sticky rice), and tons of other delicious dishes. If you're feeling adventurous, I can take you to eat/gnaw on some eat chicken feet like a real local. And for those of you who like to cook, you'll have an opportunity to meet my mother who can teach you the finer points of Yunnan cuisine and even provide you with some recipes that you can prepare yourselves back in the US when the program is over. I do have some other interests, though. I started practicinggongfu—mainly taiji—when I was six years old, and I've been teaching it for seven years. I still spend quite a bit of my free time training and perfecting my skills at martial arts. It allows me to find balance, not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually. In many ways, it's a metaphor for life. I would be elated to teach those of you who are interested, and I can take you to meet local students who are currently studying taiji. I also hope to introduce you all to some of my friends who can help give you a broader perspective about life in Yunnan and Chinese culture. Oftentimes the most profound and memorable experiences of a Dragons course are homestays. Many of you will have brothers and sisters who will show you around Lashi Hai and Kunming and want to learn about your lives. I have no doubt that you'll have some funny tales to tell when you get back home and plenty of new adventures to relate, but I'm confident that your time living with your homestay families will be among the most unforgettable and positive experiences all summer. During the weekends you may even get to travel with them to some of Kunming's famous locations like the Western Hills, Golden Temple, Bamboo Temple and Lake Dian. The most central component of your program is of course Mandarin. Please don't worry or stress yourselves out about your current language levels. No matter whether you're unable to utter an intelligible word in Chinese or you've been studying since you were in the crib, we have a team of amazing language instructors ready to help you all improve dramatically. They all have years of experience teaching foreigners and are prepared to tailor lessons to your various levels of proficiency. There is one more thing I'd like to leave you all thinking about. A Dragons program isn't simply about language, travel, culture, or adventure. It's about gaining life experience and delving into yourselves. It's about learning from your mistakes, finding yourself when you get lost, and realizing that sometimes wisdom is a product of discovering what you don't already know. And perhaps it's not knowing at all, but rather remaining open to the world and willing to explore and accept its mysteries. I can't wait to meet you all in LA in six weeks. I'm currently up on the Tibetan Plateau with the Princeton Bridge-year students. But know that I'm thinking about you and how to make this summer a dream come true. Long Yun   [post_title] => Welcome from your Instructor Long Yun! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => welcome-from-your-instructor-long-yun [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-17 14:20:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-17 20:20:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=84563 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 214 [name] => China Language 4-week B [slug] => china-language-4-week-b [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 214 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 253 [count] => 49 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12.1 [cat_ID] => 214 [category_count] => 49 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Language 4-week B [category_nicename] => china-language-4-week-b [category_parent] => 253 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2013/china-language-4-week-b/ ) ) [category_links] => China Language 4-week B )

China Language 4-week B

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Welcome from your Instructor Long Yun!

Long Yun,China Language 4-week B

Description

Welcome to all family, friends, and students of the 2013 China 4-week Summer Language Program! I want to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Longyun and we’ll be spending four weeks together in China this summer. First off, I’m a native of Kunming and majored in physical education at Yunnan Normal University. […]

Posted On

05/17/13

Author

Long Yun

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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2013-05-17 11:23:03
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-17 17:23:03
    [post_content] => 
Dear co-adventurers, 大家好! If you haven’t already started counting down the days until our plane touches down in Beijing, it’s time to start. We have a grand adventure ahead of us, and I can’t wait to meet you all. This summer, I’ll serve as your course director and as one of your instructors, alongside Long Yun and Jeff Eisenbruan, who will introduce themselves shortly. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be in touch with more details about our course, what to expect, and how to prepare. For now, I want to tell you a bit about myself and pass on a bit of advice in anticipation of our journey. I too first discovered China as a Dragons student, on the ‘South of the Clouds’ semester program back in 2005. I was so energized by China’s vast beauty and complexity, and I’ve sought out every opportunity to return since. I wish I could use this chance to try to introduce you to China, but as you’ll find out soon, China is quite un-introducible – it’ll surprise you again, again, and again. After that first adventure in China, I attended Middlebury College in Vermont, where I studied Chinese and International Studies / Religion. After a couple years of Chinese classes and a summer at Middlebury’s Summer Language School, I returned to China to study abroad in Hangzhou. It was there that I focused most intensely on learning the language, spending as much time as possible with my Chinese roommates and friends. When not studying, we spent a lot of time eating: steamed dumplings, lamb kebabs, hand-pulled noodles, milk tea, fish-flavored (not really, that’s just what it’s called) eggplant, etc. On that note, I hope you’re all ready to eat well this summer – I know I am. That semester, we had the chance to take a two-week break from reading and discussing Chinese short stories and newspaper articles, and I went west. With little planning and after a ten-hour ‘standing-room-only’ train ride, I found myself in the rural and largely Tibetan regions of Qinghai and Gansu. There, I spent an afternoon talking to a local couple about the Dalai Lama’s role in local politics, another hiking a mountain above a local monastery, and another exploring a dusty ‘one-horse town’ in a nearby Muslim area. After we finished our courses in Hangzhou, I moved to Beijing, where I worked for a hospitality program during the Summer Olympics – I was basically the point-person between senior staff from the U.S., high-school hosts from China, and bus drivers with the thickest Beijing accents I’ve ever heard. I’ll tell you stories about it this summer. A year later, I was once again China-bound, this time as an instructor for Dragons’ Chinese Language Intensive six-week course. I learned an enormous amount supporting our group of students as they studied Chinese and embarked on their own unique adventures in China. I think we all still tell stories about our trek on horseback to and the night spent at a Tibetan yak-herders’ tent outside Tagong, the pick-up basketball games with homestay siblings in Kunming, and a Naxi holiday feast in Lashihai. I’m very much looking forward to finding out where your curiosity and adventurous spirits will lead us this summer! After that course, I returned to the U.S., graduated from college (in 2010), then spent a year and a half working with Chinese immigrants receiving cancer treatment in New York City’s public hospitals. I then moved to Philadelphia, where I’ve taken a year’s worth of pre-medical science classes and worked in clinical research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. This fall, I’ll start medical school back in New York. As for our course, there are a few things that I want to put out there before we meet in LA next month. First and foremost, I’m already very impressed with all of you – I’m impressed by your decision to travel to China – which takes a certain amount (a large amount) of audacity, inquisitiveness, and, perhaps most importantly, readiness. Readiness? I mean a readiness to engage with a side of yourselves you’re probably not as familiar with, to engage with each other, and to engage with China – your homestay families, the people you’ll talk to on long bus rides through the mountains, the street-food vendors you’ll buy fried tofu from, and so on. I am absolutely certain that we’ll have a lot of fun this summer, but it will also be challenging, and you’re likely (we hope!) to spend a lot of time outside of your comfort zone. Your instructors – Long Yun, Jeff, and I – are prepared to hand over a lot of responsibility for the course to you, and we know that you’ll take us far. So, I have some suggestions that I hope will help you get even more ready and excited to take on this challenge. Take it, leave it, figure out what works best for you, but I’ve found them to work for me, and I thought I’d pass them on. First, try – starting now – to destabilize your thoughts and expectations about China. What I mean is spend some time thinking about what you envision China and your experience in China to look like and why they look the way they do. In other words, think about why you expect whatever it is that you expect, then try to leave it behind so that you come to China with as open a mind as possible. Let me know if this makes sense! Second, do what you can do to ensure that you’ll bring your whole self with you when we board Cathay Pacific Flight 883 to Beijing (via Hong Kong). I mean, think about all the connections you have to people, ideas, places, habits, and so on here in the U.S. and what you’ll do to make sure that you’ll be able to maintain all these connections but simultaneously fully engage yourself in China. My own experience, at least, has taught me that it is often easier than we think to let certain relationships (whether they be relationships with other people or just ways of doing things) distract us from being one-hundred-percent present in, in our case, China. The more successfully you can set these relationships, habits, etc. aside, the more thoroughly you’ll be able to engage with the places and people with whom we interact this summer. As we get closer to our meeting in LA, I’ll pass on more pieces of advice and more specifics regarding preparing and packing for the summer. We’ll also be in touch with all of you via phone in early June. For now, however, I have two words for you: pack light, both mentally and physically. Remember that the less you bring, the more versatile, dynamic, and adventuresome our team will become. Finally, continue to look forward to, think about, countdown to, and wonder about this summer – we’re going to learn a lot and have a great time in the process. I, for one, can’t wait. I’m looking forward to practicing Chinese and exploring Yunnan with you all! Please, please, please email or text or call me with any – I mean any – questions or thoughts you have. We’ll be in touch in the near future, but until then, I’d love to hear from any and all of you if you’d like to talk about the summer, ask questions, tell me what you’re looking forward to, what you’re nervous about, or whatever else. We’re here for you! See you all soon! Trevor tgagelee@gmail.com 860-983-7134 P.S. Later on, we’ll post some pre-course readings we’d like you to read, but until then, I want to share a list of books and films. I’d really recommend checking out any of them that look interesting to you – try reading/watching at least one or two! Books: River Town (Peter Hessler): A story of the author’s two years teaching at Fuling, Sichuan (not too far from Yunnan, where we’ll spend most of our time). Soul Mountain (Gao Xingjian): A sort of epic poem/story about a voyage though south-west China’s mountains. It’s about big things like individuality, love, etc., but is also an excellent if unusual portrayal of parts of China’s landscape and culture. China in Ten Words (Yu Hua): I’ve actually only just started this book, but it looks like a really readable first-hand portrait of various components of China’s culture and recent history. Oracle Bones (Peter Hessler): Another great book by Peter Hessler that looks at the ways in which China’s recent transformations have played out in the day-to-day lives of people throughout the country. Films: Still Life: A story of two people in Fengjie, a small town that was partially destroyed during the building of the Three Gorges Dam. Directed in a slow and somewhat surreal style by one of China’s most famous ‘Sixth Generation’ filmmakers, Jia Zhangke Up the Yangtze: A film with a similar theme, but different perspective, as ‘Still Life.’ It’s about two young teenagers working on a Yangtze River boat, which becomes a sort of microcosm of various components of modern China. Eat, Drink, Man, Woman: This is a classic story of a contemporary (well, 1990’s) Taiwanese family that explores how traditions are articulated in ‘modern’ China. The food scenes will make you hungry. Last Train Home: A close look at the ways in which China’s rapid development and the migration from rural to urban areas as impacted a family in Guangzhou. If you have access to Netflix, you can watch it online. Please Vote for Me: This is a really great story about elections for class monitor in a third-grade Chinese classroom in Wuhan. It’s a lot of fun, and an interesting glimpse into middle-class lifestyles in urban China. It’s also on Netflix.     [post_title] => Welcome from your Course Director! 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China Language 4-week B

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Welcome from your Course Director!

Trevor Lee,China Language 4-week B

Description

Dear co-adventurers, 大家好! If you haven’t already started counting down the days until our plane touches down in Beijing, it’s time to start. We have a grand adventure ahead of us, and I can’t wait to meet you all. This summer, I’ll serve as your course director and as one of your instructors, alongside Long […]

Posted On

05/17/13

Author

Trevor Lee

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 84588
    [post_author] => 36
    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 15:00:04
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 21:00:04
    [post_content] => 
大家好! Hello Everyone! To those who are new this year, I’d like to welcome you to the Dragons community and to the journey ahead! And to those who have joined us for another year, we are excited to have you back! Although you are all wrapped up in your busy lives at home, we open the yak board as a space to transition; to give life to our summer aspirations and imaginations. We hope that the Yak Yak forum encourages you to voice your excitement, anxieties, thoughts and questions–it’s a great place to share a bit about yourself. In the coming weeks, instructors and students will post their own introductions and begin sharing more information about the journey ahead. From here, discussions will begin to build and your instructors will offer advice for course preparation regarding packing, recommended readings, the itinerary, and topics to consider for your Independent Study Projects (ISPs). Your instructors for this summer are incredible! Collectively, they bring many years of in-country experience, are seasoned guides and educators, and as you will discover over the course of your journey, are some of the most thoughtful, kind, and inspiring folks in our community. As your Program Coordinator, I’m here to support and steward the process from our offices in Boulder, CO before the course. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly to say hello! Dragons prefer to sculpt courses that represent our unique goals of profound cross-cultural learning and self-cultivation. When it’s all said and done, and you finally gather in late June at your course’s point of departure, you should know that you are about to embark on an adventure that is intensely personalized and has been many months, and in many cases, years in the making! The Yak board is also the most appropriate place to address your pre-course questions and concerns. We hope that you will discover the magic of the Yak Yak forum (have a look at past courses to get a sense of how the Yak board can be used), and learn to love it! It’s a powerful tool for communication and community building, and once you head into the field, it will undoubtedly become the default homepage of your parents and friends at home – all of those who WISH they could be out there with you! And finally, as you prepare for the upcoming summer, be prepared to be challenged, to be inspired, and to learn and grow in ways that can only come from living these experiences. Most of all, be prepared to have fun and to forge your own footprints into that trackless wilderness that is our selves. Again, welcome to Dragons. With Gratitude, Talia [post_title] => Welcome from your Program Coordinator [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => welcome-from-your-program-coordinator-5 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-05-15 15:00:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-05-15 21:00:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=84588 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 214 [name] => China Language 4-week B [slug] => china-language-4-week-b [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 214 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 253 [count] => 49 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12.1 [cat_ID] => 214 [category_count] => 49 [category_description] => [cat_name] => China Language 4-week B [category_nicename] => china-language-4-week-b [category_parent] => 253 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2013/china-language-4-week-b/ ) ) [category_links] => China Language 4-week B )

China Language 4-week B

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Welcome from your Program Coordinator

Talia Brooks-Salzman,China Language 4-week B

Description

大家好! Hello Everyone! To those who are new this year, I’d like to welcome you to the Dragons community and to the journey ahead! And to those who have joined us for another year, we are excited to have you back! Although you are all wrapped up in your busy lives at home, we open […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Talia Brooks-Salzman

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