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Two Dragons welcome the sunrise with an improvised dance atop the Andes. Photo by Ryan Gasper.


Hey guys! I’m Tone Yao Lee. I just graduated Gunn High School in Palo Alto last spring and am currently taking a gap year. I will be attending Santa Clara University in the fall. One of my friends from high school is also participating in the program, but he is going to Nepal. He recommended this to me and I’m really excited to meet all of you and to spend so much time around different cultures. I was born in Singapore, but I have lived almost all of my life in the Bay Area, so I have always wanted to travel and explore the world more.

Domestically, I’ve been to Colorado, Oregon, Michigan, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Arizona. Internationally, I have been to China, France, Guatemala, Canada and Mexico. I visited Guatemala and Mexico on service trips my sophomore and junior years of high school, and I really loved it in those places. We helped build homes and paint buildings for local families, while learning local culture and language. My Spanish, unfortunately, is still not that great. These trips are part of what inspired me to choose this particular program.

I hope to gain new knowledge and experiences from this trip. I want to learn about indigenous culture and traditions. By the end of the trip, I hope to call myself a true expert on Peruvian and Bolivian culture. I am most excited to try the different food offered, especially because I eat a lot. I also cannot wait to backpack. I have never backpacked before in my life and am excited to experience this for the first time. I think it will be a ton of fun. I am considering getting my head shaved for this trip. I feel like it would be more convenient.

Some things I like include (but are not limited to) basketball, NBA 2K, FIFA (but I’m not very good), hiking, cracking jokes, Rick and Morty, Arrested Development, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Travis Scott, SZA, J. Cole, Michael Jackson, the Warriors and the Detroit Lions. I also have a dog named Cooper and you can follow him on Instagram @three.legged.cooper (he actually does have three legs). I am a pretty laid-back and chill guy.

Anyways, this is just some short, fun information about me. I can’t wait to read everyone else’s yaks. I’m excited to meet all of you and spend the next three months together. See you soon!