Dear students and families,
As an instructor team, we value the close community that develops when traveling in a group. We want to give you an opportunity to fully experience the world through different eyes. One of the best ways to understand a culture not your own is to experience it fully; to see the intricacies of everyday life, to feel its joys and sorrows, to see how the people pass idle moments. There is no greater opportunity to fully engage in the local culture and philosophy than to disconnect from technology.
This brief note is to remind you that you won’t need any electronics on this course. If you would like to bring something, please follow these guidelines:
Not permitted: Cell phones, computers, iPads, other tablets, and iPod Touch
Permitted: Cameras, Kindles/e-readers and music players only (none with phone/internet/wifi capabilities)
If students arrive on course with any of the non-permitted items they will be held by the instructors for the remainder of the course. Instructors are not responsible for items that are lost, stolen or damaged. We prefer not having to lug your stuff around all semester, and you won’t be able to use those items at any point during the course.
For permitted items moderation is key. If students are using permitted items to remove themselves from the experience the instructors will talk with that student. If the action continues the item(s) will be held by the instructors. We understand and respect how important access to technology may be for you. However we ask that you trust the process. At the end of courses students always mention how thankful they were to be disconnected from technology.
You’ll have sufficient opportunities to connect with friends and family via internet cafes (Facebook call seems to work best) though connections will not be as lightning-fast as you might be used to. Keep in mind that our main communication tool on course will be through the Yak Board. This is a great resource to share stories, photos, and updates to your loved ones at home.
With that said, Cyber Cafes are available in the following places on our trip:
As you can see, the first part of the program we will be in remote areas where internet won’t be easy to come by. For this, the Yak board will be SO important for communication. We will provide an iPad for students to post yaks every week. (but only for Yaks!)
Q: If I deactivate my phone can I still use it as my camera and music player?
A: We acknowledge that smartphones can wear many hats but we’ve found that even a deactivated phone has incredible potential to alter your experience. So to be clear, phones in any form will not be allowed. The same goes for iPod Touches, since they are basically the same as a deactivated phone.
Q: I’m worried about my connecting flights before/after the trip. Can I bring my phone for that?
A: We encourage you to try it without your phone because as soon as you meet us in-country, we will collect the phone. To ensure that your travels go smoothly we recommend you carry a hard copy of all required flight information and a physical list of important numbers (i.e. your emergency contacts and the Dragons office’s number +1-303-413-0822).
For family and friends back home, know that the instructor team will be in regular communication with the Dragons Boulder office (even while on treks, in the jungle and in remote communities). If family needs to contact you, they can contact the Boulder office and we will receive forwarded questions.
As you prepare for the course and let your friends and family know how much you will be in touch, we hope that you will take the time to consider asking yourself your own perceptions about traveling with mindful intentions towards technology’s role in your life. You can use some of our own questions as instructors.
What means of communication will be best to use and communicate the depth of my experience most accurately? Do I want to communicate these experiences while they are happening or afterwards when I have processed them more fully?
We wish you the best as you finish your preparations for our course. We hope that you are able to intentionally prepare yourself and your friends and family for what will surely be an unforgettable experience. Unplug. Dive in. And get ready for an amazing adventure.