I’ve been looking forward to this course since it first landed in my inbox back in August. My first encounter with Where There Be Dragons is when I hired into my current position, Asst. Director of Global Studies at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta. I had previously taught history and religious studies classes there, but when I joined as co-teacher in our 3-year Program for Global Citizenship (PGC), both my director and our principal told me I needed to attend the Rocky Mountain Seminar. It marked a major turning point in my career as an educator—I began to see myself as someone teaching students not just a subject but a way of being in the world.
In summer 2018 we took our first cohort trip with the rising juniors in the PGC to Bolivia with Dragons—the beginning of a partnership that has only deepened since then. I’ve traveled a lot since my first trips to Russia while in college, in a variety of settings and levels of guidance, always preferring those experiences that offer the most independence. One thing I really appreciate about how Dragons designs their courses is how they bring participants into unique contexts that combine safety, responsible travel, and genuine cross-cultural connection while offering them the freedom to engage both as individuals and members of the group. For two summers now, I’ve witnessed my students’ transformation through experiences that only intentional international travel allows.
I’m eager to join now as a participant in a program designed for adults with an organization whose ethos and practices I admire and trust. This will be my first time in Guatemala, where I’m sure my limited Spanish will be tested yet again to its limits. I have very few preconceptions of what to expect, so I’m looking forward to seeing a place with a deep and rich history and culture through the eyes of a Dragons course for the first time. I’m especially interested in learning through contact, listening, and immersion as much as I can about traditional Mayan cosmovisión. In preparation, I’m reading a book recommended by the Dragons instructor who has led both of our PGC cohort trips now—The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic by Martín Prechtel. I love gardening, hiking, and anything that reminds me of how we are living co-creators in a living universe. I would greatly appreciate any opportunity to talk to people who are “keeping the seeds alive.”