My name is Kristen and I will be one of your instructors. I am so excited for the months ahead of us in Morocco! Can you believe we are just weeks away from meeting?
As I reflect on the previous Dragon’s courses that I have instructed and begin to set goals and intentions for the upcoming semester, I am reminded of how appreciative I am to frequent spaces and experiences that challenge me to grow and connect with the world in new ways. I have been working in the field of experiential education since 2012 (with Dragons since 2016) and mostly take student groups to China. I have also taken student groups to India, Peru, and around the United States.
Like most of you, Morocco will be a new experience for me; however, the MENA region is not unfamiliar. I spent over a year living in Egypt while doing research for my master’s degree in anthropology. During my time in Egypt, I did ethnographic research on an Arabic word and explored the intersections between politics, art, language, and violence. My research was presented at the Diyanet Institute in Washington D.C. and led me to an interesting connection with the Egyptian community in Chicago. There is a saying in Egypt that once you drink from the Nile, you are destined to return. Indeed, I was not able to leave Cairo for very long before returning. I have also been inspired to explore more of the region and immerse myself deeper in its history, religions, politics, and communities. I spent time in Jordan doing an educators course with Dragons and have traveled elsewhere in the region. I have always had a strong interest in Morocco and am fascinated by it’s many cultural layers and landscapes.
Additionally, over the years I have taught social justice and anthropology at an alternative high school in Chicago, worked with a refugee resettlement organization, and curated art exhibitions. I am passionate about photography and have had multiple exhibitions over the past few years. I have an impressive tea collection, enjoy the challenge of learning languages, love riding my bike, and can often be found reading and diving into new experiences.
After instructing a summer language course in China, I am spending this month in Chicago; moving out of my apartment, visiting friends and family, and preparing for our adventures ahead! I am eager to return to North Africa and am so excited to have the opportunity to learn alongside all of you.
I can’t wait to get to know each of you and I hope you are all gearing up for an exciting new experience. Remember, that this course will be what you make it and if you open up your heart and self to learning, appreciating each other, and everything that comes your (and our) way, you won’t have any difficulty seeing the beauty in what lies ahead. Get ready to explore, challenge yourself, and have fun!
Stay tuned for more Yaks coming to you from us (your instructor team) and each other, as we introduce ourselves, introduce the course, and make sure you’re all geared up for the fall 2019 semester in Morocco!