Dear Dragons summer students and parents,
I’d like to start by expressing my inspiration and gratitude: I’m inspired by your courage to leap into the wild journey that awaits you just around the bend, and grateful to the unique set of circumstances that is bringing each of you to Dragons and to Senegal. I hope that wherever you are now, you are peering into the months ahead with excitement and curiosity. While you are each drawn to this program for different reasons, your summer program has the potential to profoundly challenge and inspire each of you in ways yet unimaginable. In my role as the Program Director, I’ll work from the sidelines with your instructor team to set the foundation for a safe, fulfilling, and fun month of hands-on learning and exploration.
I can certainly understand your draw to West Africa. I moved to Guinea (one of Senegal’s neighbors to the south) in 2005 to take on a job teaching in a local school, and I fell in love with the rhythm of that place–singsong Pulaar greetings shared with neighbors and passersby, sticky mango juice running down my face and hands as I ate as many as my stomach could handle, hearing the call to prayer 5 times a day, and friendly bargaining for colorful fabric in the local market. In 2008 I started my career with Dragons, running the first-ever West Africa semester in Senegal and Guinea, and since then I have worked as an instructor on the Senegal summer course and on the 9-month Bridge Year Program in Senegal that Dragons runs for Princeton University, so that part of the world and the special communities that host us in Senegal are very dear to me. You’re in for a treat!
The instructors who will be guiding your journey are a special and talented group with years of experience working with young people, and I am humbled by the opportunity to facilitate your program alongside this talented team. In the coming weeks, your instructors will introduce themselves here on the Yak board, will encourage you to introduce yourselves, and will post more important information about your upcoming trip. You can look forward to a sample itinerary here in early June. Stay tuned for more soon! Again, welcome to Dragons and to the Senegal program. I’m so looking forward to supporting you on your journey!
Christy, Senegal & South Asia Program Director