As the Spring 2019 SFS students begin to settle into their new homes around the world, we asked them to share their impressions of the experience so far. Yuko Nakano had this to say about SFS Bhutan:
Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
A lot of my older friends from college studied abroad through various SFS programs. I thought it would be nice to get more hands-on experience with the ecological aspects of environmental studies, but I am most excited to collaborate with others to mitigate the effects of climate change, especially for vulnerable mountain communities.
What are your first impressions of the country?
Most places we have traveled to so far reminds me of the countryside of Japan. Many buildings, especially the Dzong in Paro, are incredibly ornate. They showcase religious motifs otherwise represented in textiles and painted objects as well.
What are your first impressions of the field station?
First thought as I walked up the stairs – the hotel in Mamma Mia! It’s a great, open space for all of us to interact, and the view is unparalleled.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester, both academically and culturally?
I am expecting a challenge from the Mountain Ecology course; as an Environmental Studies major at a liberal arts school, I don’t get much exposure to hard sciences. Culturally, I may have trouble relating to the highly spiritual aspects of conservation, as I have been trained to study it as a secular, most likely governmental act in the United States.
What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
I look forward to critical discussions inside and outside of the classroom. There are so many ways all of us are interconnected, and I hope to see how my actions have been and could be responsible for change.
Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Alive, Insane, Growing