Mountains, Momos, and Men: Studying ecology in Himalayas Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/26/2017 to 12/06/2017 with

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Bhutan - Bhutan - Himalayan Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to take time for myself which was important and something I hope I bring back to Wellesley.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The research project was fairly rigorous. I liked that we got a lot of freedom in designing our project. Out of our other 4 classes I found most of them not very rigorous. However, I thought the Political Ecology class was exciting and challenging. The program was easier than a semester at Wellesley, but more demanding in terms of hours of class and field exercises.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There were some issues with the administration. The adminstration changed the amount of freedom were allowed throughout the semester and in would of been better to be consistent. Also three students of color were singled out by the administration in terms of punishment for rule breaking. Other than that the program was well organized and we got to see a lot of the country.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I liked the closes living quarters, and I liked the time we spent camping.

* Food:

Yeshi our chef was wonderful. I'm a vegetarian and it was so easy to be vegetarian, there were always options.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think we mostly kept to our group of 20 Americans, only a few students made friends with locals. I felt more integrated at the end of the program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got a stomach bug in the last 24 hours of the program and the staff was helpful. I never really got sick otherwise.

* Safety:

sfs loves safety. The staff literally knew where we were at all times. It was a little excessive.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I think it was important to go some where I didn't understand culture and be in a developing country. Also it was beautiful and I spent so much time outside.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I had little to no costs. I think I spend less than $300 all semester. That's less than what I would spend at Wellesley.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $15
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? In a developing country everything is inexpensive.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

We learned some Dzongka, but we learned it at the end of the program.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? No classes in Dzongka
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Talk to Staff and Professors in Dzongka.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The location
  • The people in the program
  • The independent research
* What could be improved?
  • The interaction with the local community
  • The course rigor
  • The strictness of the administration
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You can wear jeans in bhutan, you do not have to be business casual all the time.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Language and culture

Course Department:
Instructor: Kencho tsering
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I thought this class was not challenging enough, but then the final exam was unreasonably hard. I would of like a greater focus on language and a quiz on language during the semester.
Credit Transfer Issues: I didn't take this class for credit