As the Summer 2019 SFS students began to settle into their new homes around the world, we asked them to share their impressions of the experience so far. Kai Summerall had this to say about SFS Bhutan:

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
The reason why I chose to study abroad with SFS was that it looked different. I first saw the program during a study abroad fair at my campus and instantly was intrigued. The major driving forces guiding my decision was that I wanted to conduct research in the field, learn about development firsthand, and experience a vastly different culture/lifestyle. SFS satisfied all of my desires, for a study abroad program, and made the decision easy.

What are your first impressions of the country?
When I landed in Bhutan, I was taken aback by the sweet smell of cypress trees, pristine natural terrain, and the hundreds of adorable dogs that roam the streets. After my first class, I realized that Bhutan is far more complex then I could imagine. After visiting the city of Paro, it is evident that Bhutan is a country with one foot in the past and one in the future. I’m thrilled to be able to learn more about this different and rapidly evolving culture.

What are your first impressions of the Center?
I immediately loved the Center for a multitude of reasons. I love the beautiful flowers in the front and the marvelous view of the valley. The Center is a perfect size, everything is easily accessible from my room but I have plenty of personal space still. The limited WiFi will take some time to get used to but I think it’s good for me to enjoy the experience fully. I am a big fan of the food provided at the Center since it’s always different and delicious. The location is perfect in my opinion since it is somewhat removed from the city but close enough so we can get the best of both worlds.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester, both academically and culturally?
The biggest challenge for me this semester would probably be adjusting to living with several strangers and staying focused on academics. It is difficult for me to get comfortable around new people. I hope I can adjust quickly so that I can fully enjoy my time here. Since I am in such a beautiful place with so many new things to experience, I feel like I might get distracted from my academic work.

What are you looking forward to the most about the program?
I am looking forward to being able to conduct research on things that I am passionate about. I am also excited to hike in this beautiful country and learn about the religion and culture. I honestly cannot wait to see what I learn from this whole experience and how I can apply it to my future.

Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Excited, Curious, Hopeful


→ Forests in the Land of the Thunder Dragon in Bhutan