Why did you decide to study abroad with SFS in Bhutan?
Leah: I chose to study with SFS for two reasons. First, SFS offered a program that no other institutions offered: Bhutan. I wanted my abroad experience to help me get to a location in the world that I would not be able to access on my own. After spending six weeks in Bhutan this summer, it became apparent that the best way to experience Bhutan is through being a student. The second reason I chose SFS is because I was a Conservation Biology major and each SFS program promises hands on field experience with an environmental focus.
I chose to study in Bhutan because the interesting social and cultural position that this country experiences. Bhutan went from a sheltered farming “Medieval” society to modern way of life after it became part of the global sphere within fifty short years. Despite the influences from modernization, Bhutan still tries to maintain its sense of culture within the environment and preserve its environmental standards. I thought this country would be the perfect place to further my understanding in how humans relate to the environment under the increasing pressure of the commoditized, profit driven international community.
What made your study abroad experience unique and special?
Leah: We packed a lot of experiences into six short summer weeks! We were able to travel through the country and see the historical dzongs and monasteries, but were also able to trek four days through the mountains. We were able to complete a research project, but also able to spend a night with a local host family. We saw city and country and experienced Bhutan on a whole host of levels. The accompanying students and faculty held their work and purpose to a high regard, but were also curious and fun loving. Also, the combination of American and Bhutanese colleagues contributed to the success of this program.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Leah: Spending a summer in Bhutan reassured me in my interests and professional pursuits. This experience made me understand the value of personal initiative in any conservation effort and it reinforced my interest in the interactions between humans and their environment. Also, the SFS Bhutan program has prompted me to look into future abroad work.