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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.

Electronics Policy

Hola estudiantes!

We are excited to begin our adventure with all of you. One of the things we want to offer you is a fully present and meaningful experience. For three months, we’re going to unplug to plug in; the world will be our entertainment, our group our community, the people we meet along the way our source of energy. While on course, we want to minimize the distractions created by electronics. Essentially, we ask that you leave your electronics at home. We are so used to screens and devices, it might be hard to imagine going so long without your phone or other electronic devices, but we promise it’s worth it!

For this reason, Dragons has a no cell phones policy on all of our trips. We know that this might be difficult for some, but we ask that you keep your cellphones at home-  unless you REALLY need it to to get to Miami. If this is the case, we will then collect your phones upon arrival.  (If you choose to bring your phone with you for us to keep during the trip, we cannot guarantee its safety throughout our travels, so please consider this when making your decision.) Both in Bolivia and Peru, we will make time (approximately once a week) to visit internet cafes to stay in touch with loved ones. We will also be posting on the Yak board about flight arrivals and departures as well as what we’re doing and where we are. The yak board will be our main source of communication with those back home. It will be an important goal for all of us to keep friends and families close to our travels and reflections.

But my phone is my camera! My phone is my music player! My phone connects me to Instagram!

We know! For us as well! You are welcome and encouraged to bring a regular digital or film camera instead of your phone. If your phone is your camera and you don’t want to invest in buying or borrowing a regular camera, we encourage photo sharing. We will make sure that at the end of the course, we create an online file sharing forum for everyone to share photos.

And my kindle/tablet?

If you are used to reading books on your kindle or tablet, we understand, you can bring them! However, we ask that you leave at home any type of electronic reader or any device that can connect to wifi. Again, these will be waiting for you upon your return. During our treks, we will listen to the sound of our breath and the wind; in the jungle we will listen to the birds chirping in the morning.

If your device does connect to the internet, we ask that you bring an actual book with you instead – you can trade books with each other as you finish reading them.

Last but not least, as a team we have decided that we will allow music players on course like mp3’s, or ipod’s (remember those?). However the use of these will be limited. During our orientation at the very beginning of program we will discuss in detail and set rules about when and how we would like them to be used. Of course if you don’t want to bring one, this is totally awesome as well.  We promise there will still be plenty of opportunities for music- developing group playlists for van rides and dance parties.

If you arrive 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.

Thank you for understanding this policy! If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact a member of the instructor team! We will gladly speak about how this policy functions and why we think it adds depth to our experience together.

Saludos!

Colleen, Cat and Jesse