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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.

Hello World

Hi there,

I’m Mahesh: a curious, talkative and (evidently) procrastinating eighteen year old from the seacoast of New Hampshire. I spent twelve years at a small school in Maine where I participated in school politics, performed stand-up comedy, explored the surrounding woods and played a vast amount of ping-pong. Since graduation, I’ve spent time relaxing (i.e watching youtube), visiting family in the UK and volunteering for a presidential campaign. I don’t know what I’ll study in college or pursue as a career; I’ve always been a bit of a dilettante who’s interested in every subject but not entirely committed to any one of them.


I put college on hold for a few reasons. First off, the timing feels right. I’m old enough to be self-motivated but still young enough to be growing and figuring myself out. Before spending four more years in the academic world, I want to recharge, focus and experience a totally different environment. I’d like to arrive on campus a bit more worldly and mature after gaining a year’s worth of skills, friends, and adventures. Anyway, taking a gap year isn’t necessarily the default path and I’m eager to hear how the rest of you ended up suspending college temporarily to trek through the Andes.


I first came across Bolivia while discussing the coca leaf in my 11th grade Spanish class and—though I’ll confess to not yet digging into the pre-course reading—the region seems to have an extraordinarily rich history and geography. I have a few goals for this fall. I want to take my base of high school Spanish and learn the language in its conversational, fast-paced, real-world form. Part of what drew me to Dragons is the idea of traveling beneath the touristy surface; I hope to embrace “cultural immersion” and make my own lifestyle more flexible. I’m also, at my core, a people person. I most look forward to bonding with my fellow dragons, living with a Bolivian family and becoming part of a new community.

Much packing lies ahead but I’m excited to meet you all in two weeks and befriend you over the next three months.



P.S:  I recently lost my phone and don’t have many pictures on my computer ): At least we’ll be meeting face to face soon!