Life in Bhutan includes a lot of activities off campus, such as hikes, field trips, and home stays, but our “permanent home” for these three months in Bhutan is the UWICE campus, outside of the town of Jakar. The campus is a 45-minute walk from the city center and rests on top of a valley.
The first thing we saw once we arrived at the UWICE campus and started walking around was the Dzong. This u-shaped building once was the summer palace of the First King of Bhutan, and now is where all research offices are located, a library, and a museum. It is a pleasant place to read in the afternoon or reach your professor during office hours. Our dorm is a five-minute walk from the Dzong, and also follows a Bhutanese architectural style.
Our dorm neighbors the pine forest where many of us go for morning runs and which also serves as a learning space for plant identification classes and camera trap field exercises. Much of our dorm time is spent in the common room, full of art-making, movie-watching, and studying.
The food here is delicious- we eat Bhutanese dishes such as Ema and Kewa Datsi (typical dishes made with potato, peppers, and a cheese sauce), as well as rice, curries, Dhal, vegetables, and milk tea.
Finally, our classroom is where most of our lectures take place. It can sometimes be a bit hard to concentrate with the views of the mountains in the background, but the intriguing history of Bhutan and its natural environments makes classes one of the main sources of learning about anything we can’t fully grasp in our interactions with the Bhutanese people.
Bhutan has been treating us well for the past month. In between the classes and the field, there is so much to learn during each and every minute of our days here. I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for us…!