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SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B


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    [post_content] => Hi Families & Friends - The group has landed safely in LA and Parker is helping students make their way to onward flights. Wishing everyone a happy reunion!

- Dragons Administration
    [post_title] => Landed in LA!
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SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

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Landed in LA!

Jody Segar,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

Description

Hi Families & Friends – The group has landed safely in LA and Parker is helping students make their way to onward flights. Wishing everyone a happy reunion! – Dragons Administration

Posted On

07/27/17

Author

Jody Segar

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    [post_content] => Hello Families & Friends,

The group is now in Hong Kong, but arrived just a little too late to make their flight onward to LAX. The entire group, along with instructor Parker, is now rebooked on Cathay Pacific flight 882, scheduled to depart Hong Kong at 4:55 PM 7/27 (China time) and scheduled to arrive in LA at 2:50 PM 7/27 (Pacific time). Please feel free to call the office at 303-413-0822 during business hours with any questions, or if you need to call with travel questions outside of business hours, please contact us at 303-921-6078.

Thanks & wishing the group smooth and punctual travel onward!

Dragons Administration
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SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

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Group now in Hong Kong, Rebooked on a later flight

Jody Segar,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

Description

Hello Families & Friends, The group is now in Hong Kong, but arrived just a little too late to make their flight onward to LAX. The entire group, along with instructor Parker, is now rebooked on Cathay Pacific flight 882, scheduled to depart Hong Kong at 4:55 PM 7/27 (China time) and scheduled to arrive […]

Posted On

07/26/17

Author

Jody Segar

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Dear Families and Friends,
We can't believe how quickly this month has gone by! Our amazing journey has come to an end.
After an eventful final day at our guest house near the Great Wall, our group is awaiting departure in Beijing to Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, our flight is delayed by 2 hours so the ETA for Hong Kong is now 9:01 AM (7/27 China Time). There is a chance that the group will miss our connecting flight onward to Los Angeles (scheduled to depart Hong Kong at 9:33 AM (7/27 China Time). We've been working with Cathay Pacific to try to get the group on to our original flight in time. We will have more information once the group arrives in Hong Kong and the Dragons office will be in touch with families and updating here on the Yak board if there are further delays.
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Group Awaiting Departure in Beijing

Instructor Team,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

Description

Dear Families and Friends, We can’t believe how quickly this month has gone by! Our amazing journey has come to an end. After an eventful final day at our guest house near the Great Wall, our group is awaiting departure in Beijing to Hong Kong. Unfortunately, our flight is delayed by 2 hours so the ETA for Hong […]

Posted On

07/26/17

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_content] => What should friends and family know about me when I return home?

My friends and family should know that my experience here really did change me as a person. I feel like the homestay families helped me especially in improving my language skills, knowledge of Chinese culture, and my ability to connect with people who are vastly different than myself. It was an experience I never would have been provided elsewhere and one that I wouldn't have changed for the world.

My fam should know that I'm grateful that they gave me the opportunity to go on a trip like this because it was one of the most enriching travel experiences I've ever had. My friends should know I have lots of stories to tell!

My family should know that now I've done the washing up on three different continents, the joke is no longer funny.

My friends and family should know that I've turned communist and I'm not leaving.

I <3 MSG!

You should know that there are things you used to know about me that aren't really true any more, and I've seen things I'll never quite be able to put into words.

You should know that I still love China. That this trip has challenged me in different ways than my last one. I have been challenged emotionally, socially, physically and mentally. You should know that I'll need lots of love.

My family should know I'm not the same person I was when I left. My outlook on everything, from food to life's meaning, has changed, and recognising this and acknowledging it is the best thing you can do for me.

My friends and family should know that I'm excited to take them out to bao zi and other Yunnan specialty foods.

My friends and family should know that China is my new favorite country and I plan to study abroad here for at least a semester of college.

They should know I am still the same person but hold different personalities now.

My friends and family should know that I've grown as a person (at least I hope), as well as that I feel a much greater need to push myself -in everything. Also I really want to go on another dragons trip. At least think about it!

What is a misconception you had about China that has been dispelled or challenged?

The misconception of Chinese people not speaking English was both proven and disproven. Many older people did not and young people did, or were learning. All were curious about learning and practicing saying Hello.

Before coming on this trip, I didn't realize how open and kind the majority of Chinese people are to Westerners.

I was under the impression that Chinese people have blonde hair.

MSG is so good.

China is not the post-communist wasteland that the American media describes it as - the people I met had vastly different political views and were mostly very forward thinking.

They aren't any different from myself.

I was under the impression all of China spoke the same Mandarin. In actuality, people speak with many different accents and terms. And there are so many different languages of China (though they're called dialects.)

I used to have the misconception that Chinese people did not share much affection or love. Through further interaction on this course I have come to discover the different ways in which the people of China show love and how they cherish others.

One misconception I had is about the spread of the English Language in China. I was under the impression that China, like so many other countries would be full of English speakers. However, most Chinese citizens knew little to no English.

One misconception I had was that the lives of our village home stay families lives circulated around their jobs working out in the fields.

I thought that rural homestay would be less nice and less happy than it was; it was actually pretty clean and neat and the people there were very content.

They love fun just as much as we do!

How have you been impacted by the discussions, the itinerary or the experiences that you have had on this trip?

I feel like the discussion, itinerary, lessons and experiences have matured me as a person. I was able to take on a new sense of independence and able to see the way people halfway around the world from me live, which was very eye opening.

They have made me think in ways I never thought were possible for me.

I think I've become more connected to the ideas of spirituality and the interconnectedness of all people. Also my horizons of the world have been further broadened.

The discussions, itinerary, and the experiences on this trip impacted my confidence, world-view and ability to travel and connect with China in the future.

They have made me realize that I am so lucky to have all these friends and experiences. Dragons is a once in a lifetime experience and I have been deeply moved by it.

I have been impacted by the chance to observe China's complicated society. I'm excited to learn more about China.

The lessons/discussions I've had on this trip have changed the way I approach learning about foreign cultures and languages.

I have learned more about myself and my capabilities. I've learned that I can push myself harder, and that accomplishing a goal I really care about is worth all the effort I put in.

I've learned that I can survive without the many luxuries of home. The homestay, hikes and overcrowded transportation has not just pushed, but expanded my comfort zone.

Turns out I'm not afraid of heights anymore, I want to go out and see things, I really like being able to carry everything I need with me, and I'm not afraid of living on my own anymore.
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SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

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Final Yak

Group B,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

Description

What should friends and family know about me when I return home? My friends and family should know that my experience here really did change me as a person. I feel like the homestay families helped me especially in improving my language skills, knowledge of Chinese culture, and my ability to connect with people who […]

Posted On

07/26/17

Author

Group B

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-25 15:39:41
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    [post_content] => 

It was finally over. I’d been in China a month, and my life had turned upside-down. My perspective, my experiences, and how I saw myself and others.  They’d all changed. It was one of the best things I’d ever done, but I was also ready to be home. I couldn’t wait for cold water (to drink), western toilets, my own shower, and, at the top of my list, some Jamba Juice.  Also, I wanted to see all of my friends and family and tell them about my many adventures. These were the type of things I was constantly thinking about one year ago at the end of my first Dragons trip.  But then my instructors began to mention a word I had never heard before: transference.  At that time, it seemed pointless to help transition us BACK to the United States.  Why would I need help with that?  That was home; that was what is normal.

One year later, and I’m preparing for my second round of Dragons transference.  Just like before, I’m having those same fantasies of my own shower, bed, and being able to Google anything anytime I want, but I’m also thinking back on the experience of returning home last time, and I can only describe it as mania.  I was given my cell phone back in Hong Kong International Airport, and I immediately and obsessively updated myself on all the most recent happenings, as well as posting on Snapchat and other social media.  I only relaxed when I got into my best friend’s car at the Denver International Airport, and then I realized that it was truly over.

The transition had happened fast; too fast.  My mom and my best friend bombarded me with questions and told me about what had been happening in their lives for the past month.  I think I was in shock, and I think that at some point I told them to shut up.  I couldn’t make myself be interested in anything that they were saying.  I felt awful.  I know now that this was the reverse culture shock that my instructors had tried to prepare me for.  I hardly remember my first few days back, but I do remember publicly crying at a Jamba Juice.  I finally took that hot shower I had been wanting so badly too: it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.  Everything I had been dreaming for was right there in front of me— smoothies, hot showers, Western toilets, fresh salads— but I suddenly didn’t crave it the same way I thought I would.  I understood then that those 13 strangers that I had just spent a month with, along with other Dragons alumni, might be the only people in the world that could understand what I was going through.

On my way home from my previous Dragons program, I had a layover in LAX on my return journey.  There was another Dragons student there who had just finished a different Dragons program.  I had only said two words to this guy before, and I didn’t know him at all, but we sat together in the LAX airport California Pizza Kitchen as if we had known each other for years.  We asked each other “So, how was your trip?”, a question that we would both get asked many more times soon thereafter.  But unlike when non-Dragons folks asked me, it was easy to answer him.  We had a bizarre common language and a common motivation and objective in traveling to the other side of the world: Where There Be Dragons.

I didn’t have an answer for him exactly, but the struggle in trying to package my experience for him, he understood that.  Even though I couldn’t fully express it, the trip was life changing.  It was spectacular.  I could go on and on for hours talking about it, but as I found out during my transition home, people didn’t really want to hear about it.  Dragons had told me that when people ask me how my trip was, depending on the person and the circumstances, they will either be looking for the 10 second account, the 30 second account, or, perhaps, an even longer version.  The person that wants a full account, a true account, and can understand the account, that type of person is very rare.  To this day, a year after the end of my first Dragons course, I’m not sure I’ve really told anyone about it in its entirety, not even my own mother.

 

So this is what I want to share with my current fellow Dragons students: even though it may seem like there is nothing better in the whole world than your dog, your bed, or the front door to your house, a hot bath, a Chipotle burrito, or getting re-connected on social media or with friends, I hope that I can convince you that those things won’t be what you actually care about when you get home.  You will care about sharing your experience and your changes.  Although your formal Dragons course is soon coming to an end, your experience has just begun.  Savor your last few days abroad and welcome into your life the possibility of a new way of looking at the world, because you won’t fit the same in your old one.

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SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

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Transference

Nicolette Gordillo-LaRiviere,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

Description

It was finally over. I’d been in China a month, and my life had turned upside-down. My perspective, my experiences, and how I saw myself and others.  They’d all changed. It was one of the best things I’d ever done, but I was also ready to be home. I couldn’t wait for cold water (to […]

Posted On

07/25/17

Author

Nicolette Gordillo-LaRiviere

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    [post_content] => Dear Benjy,

First of all, happy birthday. We hope your day was filled with egg tarts, yummy meals, and traffic-less bike rides. We all hope we'll be as independent as you when we're eighteen (and fluent in Chinese, although that's more of a pipe dream). We're sorry we weren't able to spend the day with you.

Thanks to your guidance yesterday, we had our best x-day yet (albeit there have been only two). Your knowledge of Beijing is terrifyingly impressive, almost as fabulous as your Peking duck wrapping skills. You graciously toured the group through our ups, downs, and the Hutong alleyways. Thank you for your endless patience whilst leading a bunch of tired, hungry teenagers through China's smoggiest city. We'll always remember you and the experiences you gave us.

We wish you luck in your travels through China and the World beyond!

Lots of Love,
Group B

PS Thanks again for the chopsticks ;-)
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Happy Birthday Benjy

Group B,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

Description

Dear Benjy, First of all, happy birthday. We hope your day was filled with egg tarts, yummy meals, and traffic-less bike rides. We all hope we’ll be as independent as you when we’re eighteen (and fluent in Chinese, although that’s more of a pipe dream). We’re sorry we weren’t able to spend the day with […]

Posted On

07/25/17

Author

Group B

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    [post_content] => After a late night and early morning, we woke up in Beijing! Our flight was delayed 2 hours so we landed at 2:04am and did not arrive at our hostel until 3:45am.

Our original plan was to start the day at 8:10am. Even though we went to bed at an ungodly hour, we stuck to that plan. Benjy, a former dragons student, who is living in Beijing for the summer, also accompanied us.

First, we ventured to the Beijing subway. Unlike the metro system in DC, Beijing has at least 15 lines with many many stops and possible transfers. I also think that I can speak for the group when I say that we were also overwhelmed by the amount of people on the train and the amount squishing and shoving needed to board the train.

Our first stop was Tiananmen Square. Our instructors previously taught us about the events and history that occurred in the square, so it was interesting to see it. We then went to the Forbidden City. The palace complex was beautiful and sprawling. I especially enjoyed the gardens and the architectural details.

After departing the forbidden city, we went for lunch. The food was yummy as usual. With full stomachs, we then went for a tour of Beijing's alleyways. Traditionally, the alleyways are residential but now some are filled with shops and restaurants. The tour began in a traditional residential alley way then went to one flooding with tourists and ended with an alleyway that could easily fit into a hipster neighborhood in the US.

Post alleyways, we went to the Counterfeit Market. Most of the groups were hoping to find fake Gucci slides and disappointed when no Gucci knock offs were found. It was a good opportunity to practice our Chinese by bargaining with the shop owners. Some of the impressive deals cut where a 600 kuai painting down to 250 and 800 kuai sweater to 90 kuai.

Lastly, we went for Peking Duck. It was super yummy and we enjoyed assembling our pancakes. For our none duck eating friends, mushrooms, eggplant, corn, and more were ordered. We returned to the hostel full, sweaty, stinky, and tired.
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Beijing X-Day

Eden,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

Description

After a late night and early morning, we woke up in Beijing! Our flight was delayed 2 hours so we landed at 2:04am and did not arrive at our hostel until 3:45am. Our original plan was to start the day at 8:10am. Even though we went to bed at an ungodly hour, we stuck to that plan. Benjy, a […]

Posted On

07/24/17

Author

Eden

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-24 09:58:40
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-24 15:58:40
    [post_content] => Hello Language 4B Friends and Family!

I’m Benjy Renton — an alum of the Language 6-Week program with Dragons in 2015, an alumni ambassador for Dragons and currently living in Beijing this summer.

Over the past few days, I have been with this amazing group of students and instructors, supporting on their X-Phase, guiding them through my favorite sights in Beijing and living (and eating) like a local. Yesterday, we visited Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City and had a traditional lunch near Jingshan Park. After lunch, the group split up — some went shopping and others went with me on a walking tour of Beijing’s hutong alleyways. Throughout our walk, I led the group from the most residential streets to the most commercial, and we discussed the recent actions the government is taking to develop the area. After some shopping, we went for a Peking duck feast. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves — it was quite delicious! The students’ final challenge was to make their own way back to their hostel. Overall, we had a great day and it was great for the group to take some leadership on their course, manage the day’s budget and ensure everyone was fed, hydrated and happy. As a Dragons student, X-Phase allowed me to have the confidence to travel by myself — I wouldn’t be living in Beijing by myself if I didn’t acquire those skills two years ago. I hope the students leave Beijing with not only an appreciation for its historic sights and a hatred of its horrendous pollution, but a newly found sense of discovery, leadership and camaraderie.

The group is currently at a quaint, family-run guest house on the Gubeikou (古北口) section of the Great Wall (I saw them off this morning). They plan to climb the wall tomorrow and so hopefully you’ll hear from them soon!

Thank you to Jason, Nicolette, Eli, Ella, Elise, Sam, Audrey, Nick, Louis, Will, Eden, Clara, Meike, Parker, Marcus, and Shuier!

Through our time we spent together, I am forever grateful for your kindness, good spirits and inclusivity. Thank you for making my 18th birthday so memorable! Wishing you all a safe onward journey home.

一路平安 (Bon voyage!)

Benjy
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Welcome to Beijing!

Benjy Renton,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

Description

Hello Language 4B Friends and Family! I’m Benjy Renton — an alum of the Language 6-Week program with Dragons in 2015, an alumni ambassador for Dragons and currently living in Beijing this summer. Over the past few days, I have been with this amazing group of students and instructors, supporting on their X-Phase, guiding them […]

Posted On

07/24/17

Author

Benjy Renton

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-22 10:38:10
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-22 16:38:10
    [post_content] =>  

Coming at ya from Nanyao Village next to Lashi Hai (拉市海) Lake in Yunnan, the location of our rural home stays! Tonight will be our last night of seven nights in the village, and tomorrow morning we will head out to Lijiang (丽江) for the day before getting on our flight to Beijing (北京) at night. Along with tonight being our final rural night, we will also be saying farewell to our beloved language teachers this evening, who have served us well and we appreciate endlessly. We will spend the remainder of our time in China in Beijing, our first day there being our student planned/led day, where the group has planned out activities in Beijing for a full day, including visits to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and a reservation for Peking Duck at 7:00pm. After that we will be staying at a guesthouse by the Great Wall where we will debrief the time we have spent together and prepare for the transition home.
Although we have so little time together remaining and many of us miss home, we are not taking this time for granted. Three weeks down, one to go!

Intended date of post: July 21st
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Update

Nicolette Gordillo-LaRiviere,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

Description

  Coming at ya from Nanyao Village next to Lashi Hai (拉市海) Lake in Yunnan, the location of our rural home stays! Tonight will be our last night of seven nights in the village, and tomorrow morning we will head out to Lijiang (丽江) for the day before getting on our flight to Beijing (北京) […]

Posted On

07/22/17

Author

Nicolette Gordillo-LaRiviere

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2017-07-21 11:32:49
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-21 17:32:49
    [post_content] => 
Dear Summer 2017 China Language 4 Week Group B Student Families,
It is hard to believe that almost 4 weeks have already passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long before students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!
Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families (all times are in local time zones):
Thursday, July 27th, 2017
 
Cathay Pacific Flight #5997
Depart: Beijing @ 3:15 AM
Arrive: Hong Kong @ 6:40AM
Cathay Pacific Flight # 898
Depart: Hong Kong @ 9:25 AM
Arrive: LAX @ 7:40 AM
We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day. Should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 303-921-6078.
We wish all students a great trip home!
Sincerely,
Boulder Admin
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SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

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July 27th Group Return Details & Reminders!

Eva Vanek,SUMMER: China Language 4-week - Group B

Description

Dear Summer 2017 China Language 4 Week Group B Student Families, It is hard to believe that almost 4 weeks have already passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long before students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder […]

Posted On

07/21/17

Author

Eva Vanek

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