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Where There Be Dragons Programs

Cambodia

Cambodia: Peace & Development Studies

Known for the incomparable ruins of Angkor Wat, Cambodia is a country that evokes images of overgrown jungle temples, robed monks, and religious splendor. Today, Cambodians...

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Guatemala

Guatemala: Spanish Language Intensive

At dawn a howler monkey cries from the branch of a giant ceiba tree. In the Cuchumatanes Mountains, a young woman rises to grind corn on a stone petate. Along Avenida Reforma,...

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Bolivia

South America Semester: Andes & Amazon

Cholitas in bowlers. Three coca leaves pressed together for Pachamama. Fresh snow on a ridge of the Cordillera Apolobamba. Gold miners bent over trays alongside the Madre...

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Nepal

Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies

The Himalayas. Since time immemorial, these colossal peaks with their vast web of rugged, isolated valleys and distinct ethnic groups have drawn only the most intrepid travelers...

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Cambodia

Mekong Semester: Life Along the River

From its sacred headwaters in the Tibetan Plateau, the Mekong River flows 4,800-km towards the South China Sea, cleaving a boundary between Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, and...

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Rwanda

Rwanda: Development & Peace-building

Journey into the heart of East Africa to a land of mists and infinite mountains: Rwanda. Known as “The Land of a Thousand Hills”, Rwanda is at the forefront of African...

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Guatemala

Guatemala: Spanish Language Intensive

At dawn a howler monkey cries from the branch of a giant ceiba tree. In the Cuchumatanes Mountains, a young woman rises to grind corn on a stone petate. Along Avenida Reforma,...

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India

North India 4: Roof of the World

A challenging journey set against a backdrop of cerulean skies and fluttering prayer flags, our Roof of the World course is a trekking-intensive program designed for students...

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China

China: A Comprehensive Survey

When you visit China for the first time, it doesn’t take long to realize that everything is changing at warp speed. Old neighborhoods of wooden houses are demolished to...

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Guatemala

Central America Semester: Roots of Rebellion

Central America: a narrow strip of steaming jungles and fiery volcanoes, unites two massive continents and splits the world's largest oceans. Rising out of the sea at a confluence...

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Peru

Peru: Sacred Mountains

Peru, ancient seat of the Inca – once the greatest civilization in South America, is a land of towering peaks and steamy jungles, of modern urban centers and hidden villages....

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China

China: The Silk Road

More than half of China’s land is populated by less than 5% of its population. Worlds away from Beijing, the far-western province of Xinjiang is a land where vast desert...

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Indonesia

Indonesia Semester: Community, Culture & Conservation

Spanning from Malaysia to Australia, with over 17,000 equatorial islands, Indonesia hosts the world’s highest level of biodiversity and one of the richest cultural tapestries...

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India

India Semester: Visions of India

Based in Varanasi, the City of Light, our India semester immerses students in an intensely thriving community built along the banks of the Ganges River. Among the most sacred...

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Where There Be Dragons Reviews

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • The Adventure

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Eye, body, and mind opening!

Although I thoroughly loved my whole gap year, the Dragons trip stands out as the highlight. I loved the challenge, the intensity, the teaching style, the instructors, the flexibility, and the adventure. It was an incredibly transformative 3 months for me. It is hard to go to Nepal or India and not fall in love with the people, the culture, the land- the all encompassing and mind blowing world that is the Himalayas. This trip is an experience that will stay with you and continue to affect you for the rest of your life. It was not all fun, but it was raw and real and that was what made it so amazing.

Program: Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies

Overall Rating

6 / 10

  • The Adventure

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Great experience but a few disappointments

Very good experience, although it was my second trip with Dragons and the creature comforts worsened my time-I would have completely missed out if I didn't do it! In other words, if you are on the fence-just do it!!

Program: China: A Comprehensive Survey

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Academics

    5

Step into the Unknown

If you want to study abroad in college, do that.

If you want to step away from all of that, fully experience another part of the world, have your perspective and view on life immensurably widened, and have countless once in a life time experiences do this. You will never regret it

Program: Mekong Semester: Life Along the River

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • The Adventure

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Transformation

Last fall, I was a student on the Where There Be Dragons Semester course in Indonesia. I hadn’t planned on taking time off between High School and College, but my ED school (Middlebury College) accepted me with a gap semester. The idea terrified me, challenged me, and ultimately has been an incredible gift. The course with Dragons changed my life.

One of the most incredible parts of Dragons courses are the instructors. Each program is made up of twelve students and a minimum of three instructors, at least one of whom is native to the country where the course is based. The instructors are chosen because of their experiences as travelers, teachers, and citizens of the world, and each came to the program with a wealth of experience in human rights, conservation, academics, and cultural building. All were wonderful, passionate people with a will to open our minds, widen our knowledge of this world, and to grow with us as we experienced the consciousness-expanding wonder of deep, informed travel.

Whether the experience is four weeks or three months, being immersed in a new culture can be immensely challenging. It is so important to have quality mentorship in times of intense growth. Dragons recognizes this, and the instructors are people who can hold space for this kind of transformative opportunity. I found that, beyond being more than qualified to inform us on human rights issues, the environment, cultural tendencies in the developing and western world, and many more intellectual pursuits, the instructors were there to support us mentally and emotionally. They guided us, challenging us when necessary, but always there for us. They took care of us, but they also helped us learn to take care of ourselves.

Another amazing thing about Dragons is the relationship they build with local communities. Everywhere we went Dragons sought to create a sustainable friendship that benefits students and locals equally. This certainly deepens the student experience as it opens up doors for friendships and mentorships. A homestay family that trusts Dragons as an organization will be more likely to get excited about sharing their world with a student. I will never forget the connections I made with parents, children, and friends as we traveled through Indonesia.

In each community we studied the culture (religion(s), history, customs, political dynamics, and role of the western world in all of this), environment (conservation issues facing communities, the impact of these on their everyday lives, changes being made going forward, and our roles in these issues), and community (what are the health care and educational systems, how far away is the nearest hospital, how and what language do the children learn to read). We studied all of this through community interaction: we’d sit in on community gatherings, organise talks with the village head, midwife, shaman, workers, and professors, and we’d ask them to tell us about their lives and their world. We also set aside time to process with the group, to learn how best to handle the intensity of our experiences.

The course had a great balance of time spent learning with the group and time spent exploring, hanging out, and integrating our experiences into a newfound awareness of self and the world. Each day we would come together for at least two hours to check in with everyone, take care of medical needs, and rediscover solidarity with our peers. When we needed it we would always make time to go snorkeling in the nearby coral reef, explore the regional volcano, sing songs around a bonfire, have a dance party, drink a coconut, and decompress.

I know that this trip changed my life. On my own, I never could have made it to such remote and beautiful places, experienced so much depth in new cultures, made such close friendships, and internalized my experience as lasting inspiration. I have been blown away by the integrity and values exhibited by all the staff at Dragons, and I am so incredibly grateful to have been their student.

Each student faced many challenges on this program: we went into the unknown and fought against our comfort zones. We pushed into growth and found that, as we were challenged, new worlds started to open up to us. New perspectives appeared, deeper empathy was felt, greater integrity was realised, and we were suddenly more mature, more moral, more in touch with our inner selves, and more sensitive to the lives of those around us in this vast, unpredictable, beautiful world. Having had this experience, I will never be able to live without thinking of myself in service to my community. I can’t go back: I will always work harder in my friendships, find ways to explore, adventure, and deepen, and remember that I am a citizen of the world.

I wish that more of my friends would do Dragons programs. I have complete faith they would find their minds and souls expanded by it, just as I have.

Program: Indonesia Semester: Community, Culture & Conservation

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

One of the most positively influential experiences of my life

One of the most positively influential experiences of my life

I chose this program because of my interest in Buddhism, I knew nothing about Nepal.

My accommodations was the perfect amount outside of my comfort zone :)

Program: Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies

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