Where There Be Dragons

Provider

Dragons programs are authentic, rugged and profound learning adventures that expose the beautiful and complex realities of the countries in which we travel. Featuring extended itineraries, Dragons programs encourage deep immersion into strikingly different physical and cultural landscapes, combining the best in experiential education, travel, service learning, and physically and intellectually challenging experiences.

Programs from Where There Be Dragons

  • Semester in Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Spanning from Malaysia to Australia, with over 17,000 equatorial islands, Indonesia hosts the world's highest level of...
    4 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Gap Year Students in the Himalayas
    Nepal
    The Himalayas. Since time immemorial, these colossal peaks with their vast web of rugged, isolated valleys and distinct...
    3 reviews
  • Where There Be Dragons Program in Myanmar
    Myanmar
    Dragons' summer abroad program in Myanmar tackles critical questions related to the Myanmar's recent democratic transition:...
    2 reviews
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Where There Be Dragons Program in Laos
    Laos
    Laos People Democratic Republic (Laos PDR) is a land of staggering beauty, reverent Buddhism and languid mystique--a land...
    2 reviews
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  • Where There Be Dragons program in Guatemala
    Guatemala
    At dawn a howler monkey cries from the branch of a giant ceiba tree. In the Cuchumatanes Mountains, a young woman rises to...
    2 reviews
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  • Where there be dragons Senegal
    Senegal
    As you walk down the street in Senegal, people greet you with the word peace and strangers invite you into their homes for a...
    1 reviews
  • Where There Be Dragons program in Northern India
    India
    Following the Dalai Lama's escape in the wake of political violence in Tibet, thousands of religious practitioners traced...
    1 reviews
  • Where There Be Dragons program in Rwanda
    Rwanda
    Journey into the heart of East Africa to a land of mists and infinite mountains: Rwanda. Known as "The Land of a Thousand...
    1 reviews
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • India
    Nestled deep in the eastern end of the great Himalayan mountain range, Sikkim is a restricted Indian province that sits...
    1 reviews
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    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Where There Be Dragons Program in Nicaragua
    Nicaragua
    Central America, a narrow strip of steaming jungles and fiery volcanoes, is the earth's most recent major land formation,...
    1 reviews
  • Bolivia
    The sparkling lights of La Paz below sacred 20,000-foot peaks. Three coca leaves pressed together for the Mother Earth....
    1 reviews
    Alumni Interviews
  • Where there be dragons Egypt
    Jordan
    Stand on the shores of the Dead Sea and recount stories from the Old Testament as you gaze across the incredible expanse of...
  • Where There Be Dragons Central America
    Nicaragua
    Central America: a narrow strip of steaming jungles and fiery volcanoes, unites two massive continents and splits the world'...
  • Madagascar
    Madagascar: the eighth continent. Stunningly diverse and colossal in size, more than 80% of the plant and animal species in...
  • Great Wall of China
    China
    "A path, traveled, is no longer the same path. A name, spoken, is no longer the same name." Like the words of the "Old...

Program Reviews

  • Owen
    Age: 18 or younger
    Male
    Boulder, CO
    10/10
    Great Memories Three Years Later
    05/20/2016

    I went to Myanmar with Dragons three years ago and had a frankly unbelievable month. We got to examine the developmental struggles that are facing Myanmar at a pivotal time in its development, as it transitioned from a military dictatorship into the modern world, and I imagine that that aspect of the country remains just as exciting today. The travel skills that I picked up let me go back to Myanmar on my own the next year and use connections I'd made with Dragons to do a solo homestay in the Shan State, in a village near where I'd spent time as a Dragons student, in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. The instructors were extraordinary mentors and lessons I learned from the combination of them and Myanmar truly changed the way I see things and the way I live. Lastly, the student groups that I've been around on both this trip and the other Dragons trip I did, a semester to Indonesia in 2016, have been amazing, made up of kids who were curious and engaged, and were the final pieces that completed a set of amazing experiences with Dragons. 10/10.

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  • Daniel
    Age: 19-24
    Male
    Chicago
    Tulane University
    10/10
    Sikkim 2015 student
    05/16/2016

    The Sikkim program was the second summer I had spent with Dragons, having participated in the Thailand program the year prior. The Sikkim trip was undoubtedly one of the most important experiences I have ever had in my life. The small group size of twelve students from across the US was perfectly conducive for the creation of a strong team. Within two hours of meeting each other, we were already joking around. The team felt like family by the time we landed in New Delhi! Our two leaders were both experts in program design and I always felt supported, safe, and comfortable. Along with our three in-country leaders, we had an abundance of knowledge and guidance available to us. Our leaders challenged us to reach our potential and discover more about ourselves, each other, and India than I ever thought possible.
    A Dragons course in Sikkim is easily the best way to experience an area of India that is not as familiar as New Delhi or the Taj Mahal. Living with my host brother, sister, and entire extended family in the town of Kalimpong was an incredible way to build life-long bonds as we learned more about each other every day. The kindness and generosity of the people we met continue to inspire me to spread compassion and openness in my community.
    The little moments of the trip will stay with me forever; waking up at 5:30 a.m. in Darjeeling and climbing five flights of stairs just in time to see the clouds part, the valley open up below, and the grand reveal of Mount Kanchenjunga, the third tallest peak in the world. I recall the silver flecks of mica dust that covered my skin as we drove into a jungle valley to reach our home stays in the remote Lepcha village of Sittong. I still feel the warmth of mud caked on my entire body - a mud fight became a time for celebration as we planted rice with local community members. I can never forget the quiet humming my home stay grandmother as we roll tea leaves by hand on bamboo trays. I miss the opportunity to speak in Nepali and see the smile of vendors, surprised to hear me speak their language.
    The Sikkim trip with Dragons is unexplainable. I feel an unceasing love for my team, my leaders, my community, and all the people I met along the way. There will never be enough room to say how much I love Sikkim and Where There be Dragons!

    How could this program be improved?

    Nothing comes to mind. As far as I'm considered, this trip was absolutely perfect from beginning to end!

    Photos:
    Kanchenjunga
    Riding the gondola above Gangtok, Sikkim
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  • Lillian
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Chicago, IL
    Bowdoin College
    10/10
    Where There Be Dragons in Rwanda
    05/13/2016

    The 6 weeks that I spent traveling and learning with Where There Be Dragons were some of the most incredible weeks of my short life. From day one, we were challenged to learn and to embrace the opportunity that we had to travel--not tour--in Rwanda. One highlight was when I participated in the naming ceremony of my host brother who was only 7 days old when I arrived in my new home. Everyone from the community gathered into the new building I called home and each person took their turn in suggesting a name. I could hardly believe that my host family had agreed to host me after just having given birth to their new son but being able to have such an intimate, cultural experience with a family who I grew to love is just one example of the wonders of a Dragons program.

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  • OY
    Age: 18 or younger
    Male
    Boulder
    10/10
    Incredible
    05/11/2016

    This was an incredible trip - I swam with dolphins and learned to spearfish with an adopted Bajo father, I played soccer in bamboo forests and on pitted fields dotted with cows and I became a part of three families that I'll never forget. Every day I was a part of these things and dozens more, things I hadn't imagined and each of them informed my worldview and inspired me to explore and find out whatever was around the next corner like nothing else ever has.

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  • lbarron
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    Boulder, CO
    Other
    10/10
    Transformation
    02/01/2015

    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 counrty 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 the 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, organize 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 realized, 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.

    How could this program be improved?

    I would continue working on and building relationships with the community, so that there are just as many chances to give back as there are to learn. I would also lengthen the amount of time spent in each place and increase instruction of Indonesian Language. This, as well as working in more time to study the history of Indonesia as a whole (beyond specific communities), and facilitating more discussions on development.

    Photos:
    The group on the top of Mount Merapi, the most active volcano in the world. We hiked through the night, to summit as the sun rose over Java. We were exhausted, exhilarated, laughing, and proud.
    A rural homestay of the south east tip of Sulawesi. We spent two weeks swimming in coral reefs, spear fishing for dinner, playing with children, and learning the life of people who find home in the open ocean.
    A few of us spent the night 100 feet above the canopy floor in this platform, deep in the rainforest of Maluku. We watched the Cocatoos, Lorakeets, Kus Kus, and Flying Foxes for hours, in total awe of the ancient, powerful, pristine forest and the life that it supports.
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