SFS Bhutan: Himalayan Environment and Society in Transition (Semester)

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Spend a semester in a corner of the Himalayas where few foreigners ever step foot. Trek through remote villages and high mountain passes to experience Bhutan’s vibrant culture, Buddhist philosophy, and environmental issues firsthand. Learn about the challenges of maintaining biodiversity and traditional rural lifestyles in a time of transition. Develop skills in field research and data collection, and apply them to a research project on conservation and development issues in Bhutan.

SFS students live and study at the Center for Himalayan Environment and Development Studies. The Center is located at one end of the stunning Paro Valley, at the base of a towering ridgeline dotted with Buddhist monasteries. Campus is a small cluster of buildings designed in the traditional Bhutanese architectural style. A pleasant 15-minute walk brings you to the markets, shops, and cultural events of Paro Town.

  • Embark on a multi-day cultural trek to experience the natural beauty of Bhutan’s countryside and the traditional lifestyles of its people.
  • Visit monasteries and take part in unforgettable tsechus (festivals) to learn more about Buddhism and Bhutanese culture.
  • Explore Bhutan’s diverse range of biomes through trips to Himalayan ridges, the subtropical Punakha and Chukha Valleys, and the alpine meadows of Phobjikha.
  • Develop field skills including: GIS and mapping, species identification, camera trapping and mist-netting, biodiversity surveys, research design and implementation, data collection and analysis, research presentation
  • Conduct research in some of the following areas: Mountain ecology and conservation, climate change, Gross National Happiness, forest management, river ecosystems, agriculture and urban migration

We’ve updated our refund & cancelation policy to allow for flexible booking due to COVID-19

We’ve updated our refund & cancelation policy to allow for flexible booking due to COVID-19


SFS Awards More Than $650,000 in Need-based Aid Each Year

SFS works closely with your home school to help you fund your SFS program. Many applicants receive aid through their home institutions or other outside sources, so check with your financial aid office to see what aid may apply to an SFS program.

$500 - $5,000

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Yes, I recommend this program

The world is your oyster...SFS helps you to shuck it!

I have been back in the U.S. for 2.5 weeks now, and I am glad to say that despite the time continuing to pass, I will never have a shortage of amazing memories to look back on from my semester in Bhutan.

The School for Field Studies has opened up the world for me; it has shown me another culture and way of life, a stunning country, and it has turned typical Western education on its head: you don’t have to be in a classroom to learn; you don’t need a library to study. SFS fosters learning in real-life situations: having to cope with language barriers when trying to interview locals; collaborating with peers to complete research projects; most of all, I think it helps foster self-reliance, self-compassion, and self-knowledge. Kadrinche la, Bhutan!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Monks on the roof of a monastery, DANCING! They were fixing something on the roof and one was tied to another with a rope...it was both the most absurd and heartwarming thing I had seen!
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