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Photo by Sampor Burke, Mekong Semester.

Introduction

Hello! I am Asa, and I can’t wait to meet all of you and start travelling along the Mekong. I love books, politics, watching/playing sports, and spending time with my friends and family. I also enjoy meeting new people, immersing myself in different cultures, and experiencing new ways of thinking. While I often find it difficult to push myself to do these things, in hindsight I always appreciate the experience and what I learn from it.

In many ways, this is what I am looking forward to most on the course. I want to push myself to get outside of my comfort zone, to live in different communities, and to experience different ways of life. As our program director Jessica talked about in her introduction, I believe there is lots of value in being uncomfortable, and learning to extract important lessons from those moments. In everyday life, I often find myself choosing comfort over new experiences, or choosing what I already know over something new. Over the course of our time along the Mekong, I’m excited to really immerse myself in different cultures. Whether visiting a Buddhist monastery, living in someone else’s home, or trekking through a jungle, I’m looking forward to experiencing new things.

What role does this course play in my life? I am currently a junior in college. Rather than pursuing a more traditional study abroad program, I chose to take a gap semester with Dragons. In the fall, I will return to school for my senior year.

“We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals.” – Barack Obama