Myanmar: Visions of Democracy High School Summer Program

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Transition. Inspiration. Devotion. Myanmar is a nation of warmth, beauty, and complexity. Heralded as some of the friendliest people in Southeast Asia, Myanmar’s people are eager to share their country and culture with foreigners, particularly due to the global isolation in which so many have lived for so long.

Dragons summer abroad program in Myanmar tackles critical questions related to Myanmar’s recent democratic transition: How has a country so rich in culture and religion struggled politically and economically for more than fifty years? What has prompted the recent reform process? What impact is reform having on the lives of local people? Through engagements with development professionals, community leaders, youth activists and spiritual torchbearers, Dragons summer program examines the socio-political changes that have transformed the country from a locked military dictatorship into its current political state.

  • Multiple meetings with people in development fields: critical and close look at contemporary and long-term development in a so-far sanctioned and closed nation. Look at Ethnic Minority Issues, Community-Based Development, and Environmental Conservation.
  • Stay in a small Theravada Bhuddist monastery for three nights and participate in guided meditation sessions and Dhamma talks with resident monks.
  • Volunteer opportunities in education (monastic school), rural development, and environmental awareness/conservation. Approximately 10 hours of service credit earned.
  • Travel by way of buses, trains, bicycles, tri-shaws, possibly boats: old vehicles on older roads, wooden benches on daylong trains. Embark on a 3-4 day intensive trek through ethnic minority villages.
  • Basic and introductory Burmese. Classes the first two weeks, optional learning afterward.

New: Fall and Spring Domestic Gap Semesters

We are excited to announce two North American Gap Semesters - the Rio Grande Semester: Stories of Culture, Identity, & Environment Along the Southern Border and the Colorado River Basin Semester: Sustainable Relationships with Land and Water in the Western United States.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Great Memories Three Years Later

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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Yes, I recommend this program

Authentic experience and Brilliant Instructors

I am a student on my gap year after high school, and I just went on the Where There Be Dragons semester-long program to Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. It was an absolutely incredible and life-changing experience.
The instructors that I had were some of the most amazing and accomplished people I have ever met. Three of my instructors were local Myanmar people, and the other two instructors had lived in Asia for many years. To travel with locals and to travel with people that have experienced the culture and have so much knowledge about it enhanced the trip enormously. I learned so much from them, and I will always remember the impact they had on me.
Furthermore, the way the trip was organized pushed us to delve deeper into the culture and to appreciate and understand the people. The trip truly did follow the motto of teaching us to be "travelers rather than tourists."
I am walking away from the three months with a love for the country and people of Myanmar and fond memories of my instructors and fellow students.

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