First Impressions of Bhutan

Posted: September 8, 2016

In Bhutan, SFS students have begun settling into their new home. We asked Patton Small about his first impressions of Bhutan…

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
I chose to study abroad with SFS because I was looking for a chance to gain in-depth fieldwork experience as well as a way to challenge my existing cultural expectations. I thought Bhutan would provide me with the best means to accomplish both of these goals.

What are your first impressions of the country?
Bhutan is an absolutely magical country. The awe inspiring mountains crested with countless monasteries are everywhere. The people are extraordinarily friendly. And most of all the culture is rich, vibrant, and distinctive.


Dr. Purna welcomes students to Bhutan with khadar (white scarves)

What are your first impressions of the field station?
Since we got here I have been joking with some other students that we are now living in the “Hogwarts of the Himalayas.” The station is incredibly beautiful and in all actuality is a palace. The ornate carvings and paintings on the buildings combined with the endless mountain forests surrounding us make it hard to believe this will be my home for the next three months!

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester both academically and culturally?
I think the biggest challenge for me will be to pick any one thing to focus on, both academically and culturally. There is so much to see, do, and learn here that it will be hard to choose what I want to experience most!

What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
I’m really looking forward to engaging with the Himalayan landscape! I love mountains and being outside and this place is like nowhere I have ever been before.

Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Excited, breathless, amazed


Group photo!

→ Himalayan Studies in Bhutan