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Photo by Grace Powell, South America Semester.

Welcome To Your HIES Bolivia Yak Board!

Photo by Ryan Kost, Andes & Amazon Semester.

HIES Students and Families,

Welcome you to your HIES and Where There Be Dragons Yak Board for our collaborative “Relaciones de Solidaridad” program.

In just over one month, you’ll bid farewell to home, and trade the busy life of Atlanta for the sacred landscapes, smells, and sights of Bolivia. Beyond the change of geography and landscape, your time in Bolivia is sure to shaken and awaken you as you dive into new foods, new languages, cultures, ways of living, complex histories, topics of development, religion, and immerse in the daily life of this South American country. Along the way, you’ll learn that Bolivia is a land of extremes. Dizzying, snow-capped peaks descend at an astonishing rate into tropical lowland forests, and the nation’s first indigenous president fervently defends the rights of the Mother Earth while forging new pathways of development and environmental destruction. You’ll listen to stories from environmental activists, artisans, and local youth. You’ll eat new things, laugh with new friends, contemplate your own unique lifestyle and worldview as you dive into contemporary Bolivian and indigenous identities, and struggle to make sense of this BIG experience in your own wonderful way.

To support your group’s collective experience, this Yak board will be a powerful forum that weaves together an exquisite narrative of the journey you’ll be on with your HIES-Dragons community. This narrative will extend from the pre-course days, well into the field, and even after. And so we invite you to try your keyboards at the published word, and begin to share about your own goals, experience, and hopes for this grand adventure.

We are thrilled to be a part of your experience in Bolivia. To make it real, the first thing we are excited to hear from you is an introduction. You may be well-acquainted with the folks on your course, but you may not know their expectations, excitement, goals, curiosities, and fears as you all embark on an epic journey to Bolivia. This forum will provide the space and support to share these things. And, you’ll be amazed looking back at the end of the course and witness the ways you’ve grown and changed in just a matter of days abroad!

Parents, we realize that this Yak Board will be extremely important for you to remain abreast of your child’s travels, and to see images and words from their journey. We’re excited to have you follow along. While we do encourage your participation in posting notes that are relevant and valuable to the entire HIES group, we do not publish postings that serve as personal communications with your sons and daughters.

We are overjoyed to follow along with your adventure.

The Dragons Administration Team