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[email protected] Dragones,

This is the last big Yak that we instructors are going to post before the course. Thanks for reading this and all the other ones! Now it’s your turn.

With 3 weeks until we meet up in Managua, Nicaragua, we have a collection of small assignments for you. We invite you to engage in the themes we’re going to be learning about so that we’re all on the same page and super excited when the course begins.

If you spread it all out, all of these assignments should take only about 10-15 minutes a day over the next week or so. Please make time for all of this. It’s a bummer if people arrive in Nicaragua without having put some thought into some of the themes that will inform our learning over the course of the semester – it’s letting down your peers to not have the context to begin the course on the same level.

Assignment #1: Post an introduction Yak!

We want to know who you are. Please post a short introduction Yak of yourself, Make sure to post a picture of yourself with the Yak.


This tz’utujil rap video from San Juan la Laguna is called Kixajo’. The “x” is pronounced like  “sh” and the apostrophe at the end means there’s a “glottal stop”… like you’re in the middle of pronouncing the vowel “o” and somebody punches you right in the stomach! Anyways, Kixajo’ means, ¡come with us!

You’ll be posting your introductions here on the Yak over this week or so, and when you do we’d like to hear from you about what you found most surprising or interesting in the Kixajo’ video.

We’d also like you to let us know what you’re most excited about experiencing during your time in Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Assignment #2: Talk with one of your instructors!

One of us will be getting in touch with you to arrange a phone call very soon. We know you’ve been talking with people at Dragons a lot, but now you can talk with the people you’re actually going to be traveling with. We like to hear your voices, give you a chance to ask questions, and get to know each other a little. Please check your email so we can schedule a call.

Assignment #3: Watch These Videos!

1 SEMILLAS QUEDAN Capítulo 1 / Un Patio de Tierra

2 Schooling the world | Wade Davis 


Assignment #4: Read These Articles! 

We don’t have too many mandatory readings during this semester, but we would love to get people on the same page with these readings:

1 Nicaragua canal: in a sleepy Pacific port, something stirs

2 Maya Weave Their Identity Into Their Soccer Team

3 Guatemala’s sugar cane land rush anything but sweet for corn growers

Assignment #5: Brush up on your Spanish!

Five minutes a day of thinking, writing, speaking, or listening to Spanish goes a long way to warm up the parts of the brain that like to adapt to new grammatical structures, sounds, and words. Maybe just listen to the same Spanish song every day with a sheet of lyrics and start to sing along. Even if you have never spoken a word of Spanish, hearing and saying those sounds will help get the ball rolling. Activate those neural pathways!

Un abrazo fuerte,

Erick, Camille and Alan