The School for Field Studies / SFS: Bhutan - Bhutan - Himalayan Studies
High in the Himalayas sits Bhutan, a small country defined by towering mountains, lush forests, and flowing rivers. Bhutan is home to endemic species like the snow leopard, tiger, golden langur, takin, and black-necked crane. The country’s uniq... read more
This experience has been life-changing, so I would certainly say it was worthwhile. I learned much about myself, in terms of self-reliance, self-compassion, and self-reflection. I learned about a new culture and way of life that is unlike anything I had experienced before. I learned how complex environmental problems are and how... Marta Rardin - Muhlenberg College View Entire Review
I learned about environmental science, how living in another country is different from living in the US, and I gained new friends! Fiona Harrigian - Wellesley College View Entire Review
I gained more confidence in my ability to interact with people from a different culture. I feel more comfortable having to navigate a language barrier and talking to strangers. Kinsey W - Brandeis University View Entire Review
I learned so much about a field I had no prior experience in. I saw a beautiful country with some of the friendliest people I've ever met. I conducted research that has inspired my career path and improved my resume. Kris Tina Anderson - Berea College View Entire Review
I've thought about this question a lot since I got back, and I'm still not entirely sure how to answer it. What I gained isn't something that can easily be described. I definitely learned a lot about Bhutan and their conservation practices, and now I can say I've participated in this once-in-a-lifetime research experience, but I... Heather G - Brandeis University View Entire Review
I had entered this program hoping to learn why Bhutan, a country of only 700,000 people, was considered to be the happiest country in the world. I asked many people during my study abroad experience, what is your key to happiness? One answer clearly resonated with the community, from my perspective. "Be happy with what you have,... Amanda Zhou - Brandeis University View Entire Review
This experience abroad truly changed my life. Our staff members were truly so excellent and our Bhutanese staff will always be in my heart. The Buddhist culture is so simple, peaceful, and pure. Life in Bhutan is slower, less stressful, and more meaningful. I will never forget something our driver (perhaps the most compassionate... A student - Brandeis University View Entire Review
This program was absolutely worthwhile. It solidified my academic interests and has gotten me excited about the possibilities of working internationally after college. I learned so much about myself and now have an incredible appreciation for Bhutanese culture, Buddhism, and the Himalayas in general. The lessons I learned, the t... Greg Z - Boston University View Entire Review
Absolutely! I really learned a lot about myself and the environments in which I learn and work best. I never realized how bored I could be in a traditional classroom until I started learning outside of the classroom. It was so rewarding to be learning a technique and putting it into practice in the field, testing it out. I l... Sophia S - Albright College View Entire Review
I learned about Buddhism, GNH, environmental governance, Bhutanese culture, elevational zonation, mountain ecology, and political dimensions of the environment. Definitely worthwhile! A student - Brandeis University View Entire Review
I learned about local culture, ecology and land use, and myself. It was worthwhile. Dylan Quinn - Brandeis University View Entire Review
In addition to academic learning, I learned about a very interesting country in the midst of a modernization transition by experiencing it firsthand. It was absolutely worthwhile. Shira G - Brandeis University View Entire Review
I learned how to take time for myself which was important and something I hope I bring back to Wellesley. A student - Wellesley College View Entire Review
It was worthwhile. I met a lots of friends, and know others' perception on "happiness." I also learn to research in forest science under the instruction of local researchers. Zhi Li - Brandeis University View Entire Review
This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Traveling to Bhutan will never again be this easy and encompassing, and the six weeks I spent here have transformed the way I look at most things in life. The faculty, staff, and all those I met and interacted with along this trip were kind and thoughtful and greatly appreciated ou... Brooke H - University of Portland View Entire Review
We learned a lot of academic information, but the most important thing that I learned is how different everything is in Bhutan, while people are at least just as happy. It put American life in perspective, and made me wonder what happiness actually is. I also enjoyed learning about the Buddhist culture of Bhutan, and how that af... Esther M - Brandeis University View Entire Review
This program has set me forth on an amazing career path, where I now hope to work in the field of international environmental development. I am also interested now in studying more deeply on the crux between religion and ecology. I have maintained the relationships with Bhutanese officials, and I am planning on going back to Bhu... Kyle L - Brown University View Entire Review
I learned so many things about myself, expanded my view of our global culture, and really began to understand the beauty in simplicity. It really solidified my interest in conservation biology, sustainable development and rooted my ideas about they way to live. It has got me siked for my next internship at the eco school learnin... Thomas D - Saint Lawrence University View Entire Review
High in the Himalayas sits Bhutan, a small country defined by towering
mountains, lush forests, and flowing rivers. Bhutan is home to endemic species
like the snow leopard, tiger, golden langur, takin, and black-necked crane. The
country’s unique and well-known philosophy of Gross National Happiness
integrates governance with rich cultural traditions, Buddhist principles, and
As the country begins to modernize rapidly, the
people of Bhutan are challenged to sustainably manage their wealth of natural
resources in order to preserve biodiversity and secure their own economic
futures. SFS works in partnership with the Bhutanese government and the Bhutan
Ecological Society to provide much-needed data that informs sustainable conservation
and development policies.
Himalayan Environment and Society in Transition (SEMESTER PROGRAM): Spend a semester in a
corner of the Himalayas where few foreigners ever step foot. Trek through
remote villages and high mountain passes to experience Bhutan’s vibrant
culture, Buddhist philosophy, and environmental issues firsthand. Learn about
the challenges of maintaining biodiversity and traditional rural lifestyles in
a time of transition. Develop skills in field research and data collection, and
apply them to a research project on conservation and development issues in
Forests in the Land of the Thunder Dragon (SUMMER I PROGRAM): Explore the rich
culture, biodiversity, and dramatic mountain views of the Bhutanese Himalayas
and learn how forests - which cover more than 70 percent of the landscape - are
integral to the goals of Gross National Happiness. Spend four weeks surveying
forests, visiting ancient shrines, and studying conservation and development in
one of the most fascinating countries in the world.
Big Cats of the Himalayas: Tracking and Conservation (SUMMER II PROGRAM): In Bhutan, a deep cultural and spiritual reverence for life has aided in
the preservation of the country’s tigers, snow leopards, and other wild cats.
Using camera traps and radio telemetry, study the conservation of these elusive
creatures and learn how adaptation and management strategies can ensure their
survival in a changing world.
Development Studies. The Center is located at one
end of the stunning Paro Valley, at the base of a towering ridgeline dotted
with Buddhist monasteries. Campus is a small cluster of buildings designed in
the traditional Bhutanese architectural style. A pleasant 15-minute walk brings
you to the markets, shops, and cultural events of Paro Town.
Program Type(s):Study Abroad
Relevant Study Subject(s):
- Environmental Studies
- International Relations
- Natural Resources, Conservation
- Natural Resources Management
- Natural Sciences
- Biological and Physical Sciences
- Botany, Plant Biology
- Cultural Studies
- East Asian Studies
- Environmental Science
- Global Studies
- Interdisciplinary Studies
- Religion / Religious Studies
- Natural Resources and Conservation
- Philosophy and Religious Studies
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The School for Field Studies / SFS Scholarships
All students are eligible to apply for these need-based awards. SFS will work with you and your home school to understand and meet your financial need.
These grants, currently available for students enrolling in one of SFS's new semester programs, will be awarded on the basis of need and may supplement other awards of SFS need-based scholarships, travel grants, and zero- or low-interest loans.
This need-based scholarship is available for students with a cultural and/or ancestral connection to the country in which they plan to study abroad with SFS.
SFS matches Federal Pell Grant funding for all SFS semester programs to students who use their Pell Grant to help pay the cost of their SFS program.
SFS seeks to broaden and strengthen the participation of traditionally underrepresented minority students in all of its programs. The SFS Diversity Scholarship is one of the ways we broaden the participation of underrepresented groups of students in study abroad. For SFS, underrepresented groups include, but are not limited to, students who identify with a certain race, sex, color, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, age, marital status, national origin or ancestry, ethnic origin, or veteran status. Underrepresented groups also include first generation college students and students from low income families.