Bhutan: It May Not Alway be a Dream, but it will Help You Realize Yours Past Review

By (Environmental Studies and Political Science, Albright College) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
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 loved it and it really forced me to re-evaluate my future career plans after I graduate. I know now that I need to be an active participant in my career, not a bystander in a cubicle.

Review Photos

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

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was fair considering the fact that we were trying to fit a semester's worth of work into six weeks. The teaching style, learning key information in the field and then putting that information to use, was what made the learning experience for me. I've never felt so engaged and I was able to retain and take so much more from it. My only problem with the academic lifestyle was that it was not always clear how we were to be graded on our assignments, so that was for confusion/concern. I also wish that we'd gotten more time to socialize with local people, not necessarily in terms of academics, but just to learn more from the culture, to interact with them. The high-intensity of the course really kept us focusing on studying until the last week of the program.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I wish that we'd gotten more time to interact with local people, not necessarily on an academic level, but on a social level. During the last week of our stay, we went to a school and the kids put on a show for us in their assembly room and, afterward, we played soccer. That and the Taktsang Hike were probably two of the most non-academic rewarding days. Otherwise, sometimes I felt like we were too stuck on campus. The facilities, however, were awesome, the perfect meeting between the traditional American lifestyle and the average Bhutanese lifestyle.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Our living arrangements were more than adequate. From the description of the program, I thought I was going to be "roughing it" a lot more than we did. Overall, everything was pretty clean and I felt very safe in the area.

* Food:

Not enough variety. I was really missing salad and fresh, raw vegetable and fruits by the end of the trip.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My favorite day by far was the day that we went to a local school where the kids put on a show for us in their assembly room. We then had tea with some of the teachers and played some soccer. It was so much fun. Afterward, we headed to our driver's house for lunch and his wife cooked us such a delicious meal. I really wish we had more days like that on the program. I felt so much more connected with my classmates and with the Bhutanese people on that day, more so than I had felt throughout the whole trip and this was during the last week of the program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Yes I needed a few different shots including a Rabies vaccine and one or two of the Hepatitus shots. Most of the vaccines were ust simple repeats from my childhood or I already had them, so it wasn't really a big deal. While on the program itself, I was sick a few times with a stomach bug, but that's to be expected in a foreign country with entirely different food. I wasn't terribly surprised.

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


* 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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The learning style- getting information and then putting it to use
  • The peacefulness of the location- you can't beat being in the middle of nowhere!
* What could be improved?
  • More education on culture and how it relates to social mentalities
  • More hiking!