Dear Fall ’17 Mekong Participants,
I want to begin by welcoming you to the Fall semester pre-course process from a diverse and far-flung community of educators, guides and cultural ambassadors. Although the Fall is still a few weeks weeks away, it’s time to kick-off the semester and ease into the expansive, unknowable experience that is Dragons. Our hope in facilitating this early communication is to provide space for lingering questions and concerns, and to establish a foundation of trust and collaboration as we prepare for the Fall semester.
As September nears you’ll continue to hear from our Admissions Department, and you’ll begin to receive updates from members of our administrative staff supporting you in this journey: Program Directors (regional administrators), Course Directors (course leaders in-the-field), Course Instructors (in-the-field), and fellow participants. This Yak bulletin board will begin to serve as our hub of communication over the next few weeks. So please keep a close eye out for important information posted here and feel free to share stories, inspiration, wonder, anxiety…and even mundane questions about the packing list…as you prepare for the adventure of a lifetime. As Southeast Asia Program Director, I will also be available to provide guidance and support throughout this process.
My initiation into Dragons came in 2010 when I served as a mentor for students on the China internship program. I had been based in China’s Yunnan Province, a bastion of cultural, biological and geographic diversity in the far southwest of country, for many years working as an editorial director, journalist, film producer and experiential educator. I discovered in Dragons an organization at the vanguard of international experiential education and a community of individuals with widely varying skill-sets committed to education as an exploration of self and civilization in a way that transcends the classroom. I saw it as an example of the democratization of education, a model which welcomed existential questions in all conversations, and empathetic philosophy of education. So beginning in the summer of 2011, I started working as a Dragons Field Instructor and Course Director in China and Southeast Asia, and later as On-Site Coordinator for the Princeton Bridge-Year in China, before coming to the office as Southeast Asia Program Director.
Having walked this road many times before as student, traveler, instructor and administrator, I am thrilled to discuss what the journey entails. While many of your logistical questions will likely be answered by our admissions department, I will be your primary administrative contact for questions relating specifically to programming in the Mekong Subregion. I can only hope that your excitement continues to build. As a burgeoning adventurer-scholar, you have so much to look forward to over the coming months!
South & Southeast Asia Program Director