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.
At Dragons, we strongly believe in the need to unplug from our devices in order to be fully present in our surroundings and selves. Although students will need to be online for coursework and occasional communication with parents and families, we respectfully request that all participants refrain from technology other than for the purposes outlined in this section.
Appropriate uses of laptops, tablets, or smartphones include coursework or occasional communication with home. We encourage participants to avoid or limit other engagement with technology which may lead you to disconnecting from the experience (e.g. social media, excessive internet surfing, games, etc.).
Because of the rigorous academic nature of Tufts Civic Semester, participants are encouraged to bring a laptop on the program in order to assist with academic work . Aside from a laptop and smartphone or tablet, participants should not plan to bring any other devices which can connect to wi-fi in order to remain present during their time abroad.
Dragons will provide participants with a local cell phone. Participants are required to carry this phone with them at all times, keep the phone charged and on, and maintain sufficient funds on the phone to make a call at all times. If a phone or SIM card is lost, participants are required to notify Dragons staff immediately.
There are multiple ways to connect to the internet in Urubamba, from cafes with wi-fi to specific internet cafes. If anything, there is sometimes too much access and participants can get trapped into spending excessive amounts of time in their “comfort zones” of the computer labs and online communities.
Note that, as the packing list suggests, it’s a good idea to bring a portable USB memory stick for carrying and transferring your files. It can also be a good idea to create an email distribution list, before you leave, via which you send group email updates of your adventures so as keep interested people feeling connected to your experience. Likewise, many participants have found it rewarding to share their new insights, revelations and stories through online travelogues; www.WordPress.com and www.Blogger.com both offer free web publishing tools for building such travelogue websites. For those bringing digital cameras, it can be a good idea to backup (and share) your digital photos via online photo hosting websites like www.Flickr.com, www.SmugMug.com, or www.Shutterfly.com.
Web-Based Email Accounts: As a security precaution, some web-based email accounts (such as gmail and yahoo) will automatically lock an account if access is detected in a foreign country. Before departing, participants should set up their account’s recovery access to be an email address of someone back home (such as a parent), not the participant’s cell phone number.
Mail: Receiving mail in Peru is slow and somewhat unreliable and packages can incur hefty fees and import taxes. As such, we recommend against receiving mail or packages on the program.
At the beginning of the course, students will have the opportunity to call home, let their parents know that they landed and how they are feeling about this new experience. For the next 11 days during orientation (from September 1 to September 6) at casita Huarán, and for our visit to Paru Paru (from September 7 to September 11), until we arrive in Urubamba, students will have more limited technology use. Wifi will be less common until we arrive in Urubamba and we hope this will also be a time to focus on group bonding and getting to know our surroundings in a meaningful way. Instructors will remain in contact with the Dragons office during this time and families can reach out to the Dragons office with needs.
We encourage you to read this article on the effect of phones on human interaction. As you prepare for the program.
We wish you the best as you finish your preparations for our program. 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.