I recently returned from spending six months in Senegal for my gap year before attending Dickinson College in the fall. The three months I spent with Where There be Dragons were so transformative to my overall gap year experience but also to me. Throughout the program I learned so much, and created such deep connections with both the people I was with in the group but also local communities we were welcomed into so warmly. I stayed in Senegal for three months after the program ended and without being on my own and traveling on my own I would not have realized the extent of how valuable a Dragons program is. The skills I learned through Dragons were the only way I was able to continue traveling on my own, and the only reason that I was able to create opportunities for myself and discover more while staying safe and connecting with new people and communities. I think the most powerful aspects of the Dragons experience for me were the tools and skills we learned that I now know are essential to intentional travel in new spaces and places. Language lessons, history lessons, and independent projects were key in my Dragons experience and helped me create my own connections to my host families and the places we visited. The curriculum is carefully created by the instructors, and also modified by the students with input and planning done by the group and for the group. The instructors offered one on one support but also were mindful in everyone's transitions to traveling and living in a new place and challenged us to always get out of our comfort zones. Only because of my Dragons experience was I confident, skilled and experienced enough to continue traveling on my own in Senegal afterwards. After returning home from Dragons I have a renewed sense of inspiration and motivation to continue learning about this part of the globe that is so often forgotten by our history classes but also I am inspired and curious to explore new places and because of the skills I gained through Dragons I am so thankful to say that I know I can go to those places safely while having the adventure of a lifetime and continuing to learn and grow.