Hilary has worked for Dragons since 2016. She is lucky enough to be able to split her time between the Admissions Department in the Boulder office, and the field as a Summer Instructor in India and Rwanda.
Staff Spotlight: Hilary LeBlanc
What is your favorite travel memory?
I think that one of my favorite memories was during our rural homestay last summer in Sitong, a small community in West Bengal. Our students were helping out one morning planting rice in a nearby paddy. It ultimately turned into a mud fight with the local kids. Afterwards, everyone went down to the river to rinse off, swim, and enjoy a picnic lunch together. For everyone involved, it felt like a day of just pure genuine fun!
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
I think that beyond specific stories from return students about something they experienced on a program, I love hearing about what students do with their lives upon completion of a Dragons course.
Dragons helps students learn more about themselves, and has the capacity to inspire new passions, and provide trajectory in a direction that a student might not have previously imagined.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
I have always been intrigued by our course in Indonesia. All of our programs travel to places radically different than what most of our students have ever experienced, but this is one that has always stood out to me. Perhaps it is the fact that I lived in Colorado where water is scarce, and many of the communities we spent time with in Indonesia lead lives that are so intimately tied to the ocean.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
There are a number of things that make Dragons unique, but what I feel most proud of is our community of instructors. Dragons hires instructors who are true experts in the countries in which they run programs, and they are passionate about sharing that with students.
Every season, each instructor team carefully crafts an itinerary that follows a certain theme or emphasis but is also totally unique. Rather than the office drafting up an itinerary, contracting out to providers in country, and handing all these plans over to instructors, we allow instructors to use their own local knowledge, contacts, and resources to design the itinerary.
They are bringing students to communities where they themselves have lived and worked. This allows students access to places they might otherwise not be able to go to or even know existed. It’s a fair amount of work but the result is truly transformative for students.