Unique experience studying enviro in a Buddhist eco-friendly country Past Review

By (Anthropology, Brandeis University) - abroad from 08/27/2018 to 12/05/2018 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 about Buddhism, GNH, environmental governance, Bhutanese culture, elevational zonation, mountain ecology, and political dimensions of the environment. Definitely worthwhile!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Professors are extremely qualified and kind, but classes are too easy.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Bhutan is an amazing country, and hiking is a great way to see it!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The room was big enough, but smelled like a sewer.

* Food:

The food was amazing! If you like spicy food, you will love the food in Bhutan, especially their national dish, chilies and cheese!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were not integrated much with the local people because we lived with all Americans and did not have too many options to go out into the town at night.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

We had several staff members certified in first aid, CPR, and wilderness first aid.

* Safety:

Bhutan is a very, very safe country. When I was there, there was absolutely no crime! Women can walk around late at night comfortably.

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

It is worth it to see a country that many people will never see in their lifetimes, due to the strict tourism and immigration laws.


* 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)

You can eat a whole meal for less than 2 USD!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About $10 a week including occasional dinners on the town and taxi fee
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Anything you've saved, odds are it will probably be enough if you're living simply in Bhutan. I would recommend $400 for the 3-4 month program if you would like to occasionally eat out and buy a few souvenirs.


* 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 stay in a home stay twice or thrice throughout the semester. That is where your Dzongkha comes in handy!

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? Beginner

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • food!
  • the beautiful landscape
  • the generous local people
* What could be improved?
  • the program's structure
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You will have very limited alone time! A lot of your time will be spent in teams with others.