Things in Bhutan could not be more beautiful, amazing, or wonderful than they are. The weather has been amazing and the views are always extraordinary. Indeed, I need only step out of our dormitory door and gaze across the magnificent mountains of Bumthang to appreciate just how beautiful Bhutan is. Within the last week, we’ve participated in two tshechus to celebrate the birthday of Guru Rimpoche. We also visited two monasteries close to Jakar where we were able to voice all of our questions concerning Buddhist teachings and were able to gaze upon wall paintings from the 14th century.

Today marks our second day of research and, so far, it seems everyone has been receiving adequate, if not excellent, results correlating to their individual studies. My group has been studying the water quality of the stream, Jakar Rangchu, which flows through our campus all the way down into Jakar itself. One place I’m really looking forward to visiting will be on our trip back to Paro when we visit the High Altitude Wetlands (HAWs) of Phobjikha. During my first year of college I studied the forested wetlands around Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, so I can’t wait to see how HAWs are similar and different from what I’ve studied.

I can’t describe how lucky I feel every day to be here, in Bhutan, learning from the locals and UWICE staff about conservation here in Bhutan, Bhutanese culture, and local livelihoods. Although I still miss my family and friends back home, I wouldn’t trade a day of my time here for anything and I’m pretty sure I can say the same for the rest of us.