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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

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Welcome to our forum for courses in the field. The Yak Board is a digital group journal where students and staff share photos, stories, reflections and group updates while on course. Check out our Featured Posts below or explore Yaks by program by clicking on the icons above.

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Mindfulness

Arwyn Drew, Participant

Yak of the Week

To be able to sit with oneself with no thoughts of then or now, to simply exist. To close your eyes and be content with darkness. To be patient, to be silent, to be mindful. I hear that word a lot… “mindful.” To be aware of self and mind......Read More

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Machu Picchu Panoramas

Anna Wolf, Instructor

Picture of the Week

Some choose not to visit the world heritage site of Machu Picchu because of the tourist vs. traveler dilemma. With 5,000 sightseers per day and an annual revenue of USD $35.9 million, it is challenging to find “authentic” educational experiences amidst the touristic elements. For social and environmental reasons, our group decided to take the road less traveled by avoiding the trains/buses and instead walking with all our gear from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes, camping outside the sanctuary in a park, and then hiking up to the ruins (totalling 48km roundtrip on foot)! Despite burning calves, reaching the heights of… Read More

WTBD Yaks from Peru

Peru: Sacred Mountains (6-week)

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The Line Between Heaven and Earth

Asher Freund, Participant

Yak of the Week

Happy Thursday! I don’t have much time to write this yak because i am meeting my host family for lunch in 20 minutes. So i will briefly recount some moments and share a few thoughts: During our 5 day trek around Apu Ausangate, I witnessed the most......Read More

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No Rodeos In This San Antonio

Roadney Louis, Participant

Picture of the Week

Hello to all! Staying here in San Antonio over the past few days, it really opens your eyes to the vast number of wonderful places there are around the world that many may not have the opportunityto see in their lifetime. From the view of the volcanoes from the coast of Lake Atitlan, to the sunsets blended with hues of pink, blue, orange, and yellow, this town has been such a sight to be in thus far. During our stay, we’ve begun our homestays in pairs, allowing us to find more independence within ourselves, as well as intensifying our use… Read More

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Homestay

Micah LeMasters, Instructor

Yak of the Week

This village, Sinle, is built low in a valley where the terraces flatten out and step lazily toward the small rivers that crisscross their way toward the delta. There are hills all around me and I can see the stars for the first time this week. They......Read More

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Be Present

Kyle Pidgeon, Participant

Yak of the Week

“They aren’t foreign, we are.” Our instructors remind us as we navigate the Thai toilets, step into the mud to plant rice, and take a bite of the strange dish our host-mother has prepared for our dinner. This is true of any place; there will......Read More

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Los Sueños

Alex Bazarsky, Participant

Yak of the Week

“I see [Lake Atitlan] in my dreams,” says my homestay brother Iuan (Ivan). At this moment I realize the opportunities I am exposed to while on this Dragons trip. As I sit around the table with my homestay family for dinner I pose a question to......Read More

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Slackline

Annie, Chloé, Mason and James, Participant

Picture of the Week

Hello everyone! Today we spent about two hours in the forest attempting to learn slackline with help from Becca, one of our wonderful instructors. Slacklining and yoga were definitely out of our comfort zones. The bamboo forest was picturesque. While we all had our struggles in the beginning, the two activities were fun and interesting new experiences. The four of us all took part in helping each other, and through this were able to become better at slacklining. ~ Annie, Chloé, Mason and James

WTBD Yaks from China

China: Mandarin Language Intensive (4-week) - Group A

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Guest Speakers in Bangdong

Sofia Raso, Participant

Yak of the Week

  Hi! I’m Sofia. I’m writing this on the 20-hour night bus ride from Lincang, the biggest city close to Bangdong Village, to Kunming. We have finished the first homestay of our trip, and eagerly anticipate the second. My homestay family was......Read More

WTBD Yaks from Cambodia

Cambodia: Peace-Building & Conservation

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You’re either with us or against us

Spencer Brown, Participant

Yak of the Week

After being granted independence from France in 1953, Phnom Penh was considered “The Pearl of Asia”, boasting a flourishing economy, breathtaking architecture, developed roads, and a booming pulse of creative arts, like music and Cambodian......Read More

WTBD Yaks from Peru

Peru: Sacred Mountains (6-week)

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Changes

Kayla Hutto, Participant

Yak of the Week

When I arrived in Peru, my transition was awkward and made the list of the top 10 most uncomfortable experiences I’ve had. In my ignorance, I didn’t apprehend the clash between my old life and the kind of life I would begin to experience......Read More

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The Village

Noah Klavens, Participant

Yak of the Week

This is a watercolour portrait I did of my homestay mother – I gave this to her as a gift. The village we stayed in was beautiful, in both the scenery and the people....Read More

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Moment of Reflections

Rose, Participant

Yak of the Week

Unlike American cemeteries, Guatemalan cemeteries glow bright with the colors of the raised mausoleums. Death here comes hand in hand with life. The cement painted with yellows and pinks creeps with vines and insects. The leaves of plants of nearby......Read More

WTBD Yaks from Cambodia

Cambodia: Peace-Building & Conservation

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Remembering the Khmer Rouge

Sally, Participant

Yak of the Week

One of the core reasons I decided to apply to this program is Cambodia’s rich history. I was extremely interested in learning about the genocide and the nation’s recovery from it because much of this isn’t mentioned in US textbooks and......Read More

WTBD Yaks from Cambodia

Cambodia: Peace-Building & Conservation

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Never Forget

Alice Q, Participant

Yak of the Week

He sits under the green silk, His hands atop his knees And his sandaled feet crossed. His weathered words take me to a time I never lived. He spoke of mountains and trees, Guns and rice, Bikes and families. He spoke of endless tears, Sweaty palms,......Read More

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Ausangate photos!

I-TEAM, Instructor

Picture of the Week

Greetings from our homestay town Urubamba! We are so happy to share that we completed our 5-day trek around the Ausangate mountain range, across remote communities from Upis to Pacchanta. Our companions and guides were the wonderful Condori family, who possess generations of wisdom and practical skills for navigating the intense climate, altitude and terrain of the Andes. Each day started with a coca ceremony to provide health and blessings on or journey, and in addition to seeing up/taking down camp and cooking three meals a day, students took on leadership roles such as guide, facilitator, sage, historian, timekeeper, accountant,… Read More