I’d like to start by expressing my inspiration and gratitude: I’m inspired by your courage to leap into the wild journey that awaits you just around the bend, and grateful to the unique set of circumstances that is bringing each of you to Dragons and to India. I hope that wherever you are now, you are peering into the months ahead with excitement and curiosity. While you are each drawn to India for different reasons, your semester there will profoundly challenge and inspire each of you in ways yet unimaginable. In my role as the Program Director for the Visions of India Semester, I’ll work from the sidelines with your instructor team to set the foundation for a safe, fulfilling, and fun three months of hands-on learning and exploration.
I made my first voyage to India in 2004, enticed by the idea of a place so utterly colorful, foreign and unknown. I was charmed by the hospitality and wisdom of the people and awed by the opportunities to be challenged deeply and to learn profoundly every day, and I said I’d return to India a hundred times. I have since explored many corners of India, having spent the last three years as the On-Site Director of the Bridge Year Program in India that Dragons runs for Princeton University. I also spent a year and a half as a Fulbright Fellow in Bangladesh, studying Bengali and researching rural primary education, so this part of the world is one that is intimately familiar to me.
In addition to my time on the subcontinent, over the past decade I have spent time as a teacher in Europe, as an international development consultant in Washington DC, as a teacher and Dragons instructor in Senegal, Guinea, and Rwanda, and as a student for a Master’s in International Education and Development in the UK. Throughout these diverse experiences, I have been consistently drawn to Dragons as a means of authentically and deeply engaging with places that I love so dearly and which have taught me so much.
The instructors who will be guiding your journey are a special and talented group with years of experience working with young people, and I am humbled by the opportunity to facilitate your program alongside this talented team. India will provide countless moments of sheer joy and wonder but also of frustration and exasperation. By stepping out of your comfort zone and surrendering to a completely different rhythm, you will be richly rewarded in compassion, knowledge, friendship, perspective, and humility. Kudos for taking this leap!
In the coming days and weeks, your instructors will introduce themselves here on the Yak board, will encourage you to introduce yourselves, and will post more important information about your upcoming trip, including a sample itinerary. Stay tuned for more soon! Again, welcome to Dragons and to India. I’m so looking forward to following your journey!
Christy, India Program Director