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Photo by Sampor Burke, Mekong Semester.

Pre-Course Assignment & Student Intros

Dearest Dragons,

With just a weeks until we meet up in Southeast Asia, 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. Please make time for all of this. It’s a bummer if people arrive in Asia 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. Introductions tend to go the same every time, like this: “My name is Xi Jinping and I’m from Beijing, China. I went to school at Tsinghua University. I’ve never been to Laos before but I’ve traveled to a few places in China…”

So, without telling us where you are from, where you go to school, your major life achievements, or where you have traveled, please tell us briefly:

  • Who are you?
  • What are the things you are most eager to experience and to learn about on this course?
  • What role does this course play in your life?
  • What’s is a poem or quote that inspires you? Include it in the Yak!
  • Feel free to include a picture of yourself in the Yak!

If you post an intro that doesn’t answer these questions, we’ll know that you didn’t really read this…

Assignment #2: Talk with one of your instructors!

One of us will be getting in touch with you to arrange a phone call soon. We know you’ve been talking with people at Dragons a lot, but now you can talk with the instructors you’re 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!

TED talk: National Geographic’s Wade Davis 
TED talk: Sir Ken Robinson’s “Changing Educational Paradigms” 
The Thousand Year Journey 


Assignment #4: Read Something From Your CPM or Course Reader!

Dragons has prepared lots of materials for you to read. Once you come on the course, there’s lots to do and you won’t have time to read everything. So, start now! In your Course Preparation Manual (CPM) there are great book (and film) recommendations, and you should all have a link to an online version of our course reader. Get curious. If your mind is a garden, you have to prepare the soil before knowledge can grow. If you begin to preparations at home instead of on day one in Cambodia, more seeds will grow! Semesters are always better when the group arrives already engaged in our region and topics.

Your instructors: Jeff, Gai, and Madeleine