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你好 Dragoncitos!

As Jody mentioned our dear friend Luke will unfortunately not be able to join you all this summer and therefore Dragons asked if I could step in. I am beyond excited to return to one of the most beautiful and fascinating parts of the world. This will be my 4th program in China and my 16th program overall. I just finished up a semester in South America, where I got to hang out with Tindy! Before that I worked the fall 2018 China semester where I also got to hang out with Tindy! Plus during that time I was able to visit and work in many of the places we’ll be going to. I was in Kashgar last December and even in the brutally cold winter temperatures I was blown away by how beautiful the area was. I’m so excited to be there in the summer time, as you should be as well!

My career with Dragons started far from China in the small East African nation of Rwanda. While serving in the US Peace Corps as an English and Computer Literacy teacher I was introduced to Dragons. Upon finishing my service I immediately applied to Dragons and started working their Rwanda program in 2013. I then transitioned to Central America and then on to South America. In 2016 I took a semester off to pursue a life long dream of learning martial arts from Shaolin Monks in China. This was my first time in China and I became obsessed with its complex and rich history. Since then I have traveled and worked extensively all through out China with a lot of my time in Tibet and more recently Xinjiang. The communities we’ll visit in Rebgong are near and dear to my heart. Get excited for countless cups of yak milk tea, working the fields with your host families, studying Tibetan Buddhism and so much more.

I am (and y’all are) super lucky to be embarking on this adventure with Noam and Tindy. These two are incredible instructors that will teach you so much about China and Kyrgyzstan. Absorb as much as you can from what we have to teach you but more importantly begin to truly own this experience. Read/watch/listen to news and podcasts about China and Kyrgyzstan. We’ve provided you with a list of readings, take some time to read some of them. This program by its shear existence will be freaking awesome however it can be truly life changing but only if you take ownership of your own your experience.

You all have shown such courage for signing up for a program like this. I wouldn’t of had the courage to do this at your age, heck I still get nervous before a course and I’ve been doing this for years! Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s acknowledging said fear and still deciding to act. While you have shown much courage already we’re going to push you even more. We’ll support you and y’all will support one another but know that we’re all coming on this course to learn about not just China but also about ourselves as well. Lets intentionally create an environment where we can feel comfortable making mistakes and learning from them. Lets stick our necks out and support one another to do the same. I’m excited to meet y’all in LA soon and start this epic adventure with you. Reach out to me with any last minute questions you may have and know that Noam, Tindy and I are here for you if you need anything or just want to chat. My email is [email protected]

Zack

* What are your passions and hobbies? Do you play a musical instrument? Paint/draw? Play sports? Bring your art supplies. Bring a musical instrument (maybe something portable, sorry piano players). Buy a soccer ball in China to play with people you meet along the way. This is your community for the next 6 weeks, share what makes you you! Don’t have any hobbies but always wanted to get into competitive basket weaving? No time like a Dragons course to reinvent yourself and try something new!

Personally I like to make short films to document our travels. Here are a couple videos of the parts of China that we’ll be visiting. Like I said welcome to one of the most beautiful parts of the world!

Beijing to Qinghai Province

Tibetan homestays