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A young arriero leads a mule across fresh snow in the Peruvian Andes. Photo by Benjamin Swift (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest Finalist), South America Semester.

Our Pre-course Assignments (to complete before course)

[email protected] Dragones,

We hope your course-prep is going smoothly. In less than three weeks, we begin our adventure together in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. ¡Qué emoción! In order to be better prepared for the semester, your instructors have put together a few tasks for you to complete before program. The idea of this assignment is to get us actively thinking about program themes and about each other. Try not to think of it as just “pre-course homework,” but as an early opportunity to make the most of our three months together. If everyone puts some thought into these themes, it will set a positive tone of learning and engagement for the entire course.

Assignment #1: Post an introduction on the Yak Board. (By Friday, Sep. 6)

This is the most important part! Now that us instructors have written a little bit about ourselves, we want to hear from you all. Tell us a bit about yourself. Here are some guiding questions: Who are you? What do you care about? What excites you? What, if anything, do you know or have experienced about Bolivia and Peru? What most excites you about the program?

Include a photo if you like. We look forward to reading!

Assignment #2: Talk with one of your instructors on the phone! (By Friday, Sep. 6)

Please be on the lookout for emails from your instructors to arrange a time to chat with you over the coming weeks. We are excited to hear your voices, get to know each other a little better, and give each of you a space to voice questions and concerns before program start.

Assignment #3: Dive into program themes! (written reflection to discuss during orientation)

Over the course of the next three months, we will be immersing ourselves in Andean and Amazonian cultures with values and world views often different from our own. Before we can really explore these communities, we need to look closely at how our own values and cultures might be perceived abroad.

With this in mind, please read The Values Americans Live By by L. Robert Kohls.

**We recognize that not all Dragons participants come from the US or the same cultural background.  Take this reading as an opportunity, however, to identify the many cultural lenses you see through and how these affect the ways in which we engage with the world.*

Please come to orientation with a written journal reflection and be prepared to discuss the following questions.

How do these “American” values reflect your own perceived beliefs? What do you identify with? What parts of this reading make you feel misrepresented?

What are some values that Bolivians or Peruvians might live by?  What are some of the possible stereotypes that might exist about these regions?

Thanks for reading and digging into this first assignment. We look forward to speaking with all of you soon!


Los instructores: Colleen, Cat & Jesse