Study Abroad at the Royal University of Bhutan

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About

Experience Bhutanese culture first-hand at Naropa University's Bhutan Study Abroad Program. This study abroad program is not about observing another culture as an outsider -- it's about experiencing a culture from within it. During your semester at the Royal University of Bhutan, you will room with Bhutanese classmates and dress in traditional Bhutanese clothing. Choose from course topics such as Bhutanese cultural studies, environmental sustainability, leadership, education, Buddhism, and traditional arts. You will also participate in guided independent study of a topic of special interest.

Naropa University is honored to be the first and only university in North America to partner with the Royal University of Bhutan to offer an accredited study abroad program.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 4 reviews
  • Academics 7.3
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.5
  • Housing 8.5
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Simona
10/10

Do it!

I studied abroad at the Royal University of Bhutan for 2 semesters at the College of Natural Resources. The original plan was to join for just one semester but because of a deep well of experiences within the first months spent in Bhutan, I applied to the program for a second semester!

The program is filled with lessons inside and outside the classrooms. Being at the College of Natural Resources provided a unique experience to dive further into my Environmental Studies degree as the college is located in a forested area of a valley which is home to many farmers. Interacting with locals and faculty who are engaged in research in Bhutan was inspiring! This was my first exposure to conducting primary academic research and I appreciate the support from Anne Parker, the amazing program leader, and the faculty at CNR.

CNR is a college that is growing quickly and sometimes the facilities in the student living areas experience difficulties such as absence of water or wi-fi. But I found that this was not a problem and instead was another learning experience which was immensely outweighed by living in community with the students!

There is a nunnery above the college that I feel so lucky to have been close to over the past couple semesters. All it took was a short hike up through the woods and there in the nunnery I would sit for morning and evening prayer or take in the view! The nuns are so friendly and welcoming there, I advise you to give them a visit if you go on the program and tell them I say hi :)

I'd like to encourage anyone thinking about the program and who may feel that they are incapable of affording the studies to look into the Gilman scholarship. I had been interested in the program for over a year before going and had delayed it because of finances. Scholarship awards made the trip possible! Here is the link for the Gilman:
https://www.gilmanscholarship.org/

There is so much to say about this program and why to go. But to keep it short- it is that in a semester's time you will come back from Bhutan with loads of memories and something in you will have changed (which is up to you to find out what that is :)).

How can this program be improved?
Currently there is no exchange program which involves Bhutanese students traveling to the U.S. My understanding is that this is mostly because of funding. I hope that in the coming years this will change as Bhutanese students will have the opportunity to study in the United States (and it is my understanding that this will happen)!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Steven
10/10

Taktse Adventure

Studying abroad with this program was an eye-opening experience. I stayed at the College of Language and Culture Studies in Taktse, in the center of Bhutan. One of the best parts was the ability to travel back to Thimphu, the capital city for an independent research project in LGBT advocacy. Taktse feels a little remote, but I found that I always kept busy and had fun exploring the mountain, participating in community soccer tournaments, and meeting new friends. The in country instructor with the program is one-of-a-king. Her name is Anne Parker and she is a wealth of knowledge about the country and traveling the world in general. I made life long friends both within the tight-knit community of the program as well as within the college.

How can this program be improved?
I do wish I had more time to travel to other parts of the country, but as you will be a full-time student it may prove challenging. I did, however find several opportunities to visit Thimphu, the capital, even though it was a ten hour bus ride away from my particular campus.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Kaity
9/10

journey of a lifetime

I've known for a long time that I both wanted to study abroad and to visit Bhutan (and the breathtaking Himalayas), so when I saw Naropa's program last fall, I immediately decided to embark on this journey, truly the journey of a lifetime. Studying abroad in Bhutan honestly was one of the scariest and most worthwhile things I have ever done. I would be lying if I said it was all easy - there were a lot of challenges to overcome concerning culture shock, homesickness, and learning how to be in intercultural relationships. However the challenges came hand in hand with amazement and of course immense growth. Bhutan has this incredible timelessness and beautiful deep sense of community that I feel so grateful to have been a part of. By the end of the trip, I didn't want to leave and especially part with friends who literally took me into their communal family with open arms and wide grins. This program comes with a lot of space, an escape from the stresses of fast paced western life that comes with few pauses, which I loved. Naropa's accompanying faculty member, Anne Parker, helped make the trip even more worthwhile with her expertise in intercultural communication and her support in all realms. Bhutan is a really beautiful country, culturally, environmentally, and socially, and I highly recommend looking more into this program if you're at all interested. It's an experience I cherish.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Lacey
10/10

Possibly the Most Unique Place to Study Abroad

If you are looking for an extremely unique opportunity to grow this is it. Subtle hints of the British school system, patriarchy and sexism, and still the Bhutanese will still somehow find a way to steal your heart. The internet is slow, when it works. The water sometimes goes off for days at a time, and there is never any hot water. I only saw a few televisions the entire trip. There was a nunnery above my hostile that made for a beautiful morning hike. The weather was warm on my campus and the students were incredibly welcoming. Studying GNH within the country gave me the ability to see both the benefits and the flaws to this wonderful concepts. Coming from a first world country, the challenges of a third world country opened my eyes to my immense privilege and wealth. This journey shook me to my core and warmed my heart. Being surrounded by Buddhism pointed out the holes in my belief system and challenged me to fill them. I couldn't have done this without the tremendous support of the Naropa community and the wonderful Bhutanese friends I made.

Yes, I recommend this program

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Located in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a Buddhist-inspired liberal arts university grounded in the philosophy that personal discovery precipitates inner and outer change. Through traditional academics, experiential learning, and...