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Hi everyone!

We are so, so 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 four weeks, we’re going to try to unplug to plug in; the world will be our entertainment, our group our community, the people we meet along the way the source of our energy. To do that, Dragons has policy of no media devices on all of our trips. This will help you connect more to the host culture and to the program that we are designing for you.

We know that this might be difficult for some, but we ask that you keep your cell phones at home. Take this as a challenge to take some time away from devices. It is incredible how much technology has changed the way we interact with the world (see: this article about electronics and empathy). If you don’t remember the last time you didn’t have a phone within arm’s reach, this summer in India might provide one of the few opportunities for you to truly “unplug” from the pressures of constant social media postings/electronic connection.

As a group, we will have infrequent access to the internet because of the remote nature of our program. It will be an important goal for all of us to include our loved ones at home in our travels. The Yak Board will be a crucial way for those at home to know that we are safe, follow our travels, enjoy our photos, and learn about the topics we are exploring. Internet access has been really limited in Ladakh this year, but instructors will be in regular communication with the Dragons office by phone, asking them to post Yaks with updates on our travels. Dragons will also be posting on the website about flight arrivals and departures. If there’s anything urgent, your instructor team will make sure that you are in touch.

Here is a list of what is prohibited:

  • Cell phones, computers, iPads, tablets, iPod Touches, or any device that has the capacity to connect to internet. These will be waiting for you upon your return. Here is what it is okay to bring and only use as directed:
  • Cameras that are not cell phones (if your phone is your camera and you don’t want to buy or borrow a regular camera, we encourage photo sharing! We will make sure to set up a group file sharing system after the course.)
  • Music players (MP3) without phone/internet/Wi-Fi capabilities. Keep in mind that we will have a strict music policy while on course: you will be allowed to use music only when you are in your tent, on a long bus ride, or during solo time in hostels. Because MP3 players and earplugs can often distance us from the communities and cultures we came to visit, you will not be allowed to use them during homestays. We love music as much as you do and as a group will find as many ways to dance, sing, play instruments, and celebrate sound together in as many ways as possible.
  • E-readers whose primary function is reading (instead of surfing the internet). Still, in the spirit of building a vibrant learning community, we encourage you to consider bringing physical books instead. That way, you can more easily trade (and discuss!) with others once you’ve finished.

**If you need to bring a cell phone with you for your travel to Newark, we will collect it and hold on to it for you throughout the duration of the course. If you bring any other media device, we will also collect it at the airport in Newark and return it to you upon completion of our course. Dragons will not take responsibility in case of any damage to devices during the trip.

Thank you for understanding this policy! If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact a member of the instructor team. We will gladly clarify any concerns.

Best regards,

Your I-team: Christy, Uttara, & Aditya.