Posted: December 12, 2016
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Final Impressions of Bhutan


At the beginning of the semester, we asked student Patton Small about his first impressions of Bhutan. Now, as the semester wraps up, he shared his thoughts with us again.

What did you like most about the SFS experience?
I really enjoyed getting to know and experience a culture that is so different from my own. Being surrounded by Buddhism and the magnificent landscape was incredible. The architecture was also pretty wonderful too.

You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
Bhutan is incredible! It is a very spiritual place. Almost every mountain top is adorned with a monastery and the smell of incense permeates the air. I have been to very few places that can rival Bhutan’s beauty. The country’s forests, waterfalls, and mountains are captivating. And above all else the Bhutanese are some of the most friendly and hospitable people I have ever met!

What is life at the field station really like? What are the best and the most challenging parts of living at a remote field station?
I thoroughly enjoyed living in the field station. It had one of the most amazing views and a trail up to a magnificent mountain. Although as fall began to take hold the dorm started to get a bit chilly, well really really chilly…

What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
I think one of the hardest parts of the semester was my directed research project. Analyzing and presenting all of the data we collected in such a short time was rather intense but super rewarding!

What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
My favorite memory of the semester was the hike four other students and I went on to the peak across the valley from us. It was an incredible trek with an awe-inspiring view of the snowcapped Himalayas to the north. And on the way back we were invited into a monastery to have tea with the monks and for a short reprieve from the cold.

Give three adjectives that best describe how you are feeling right now.

Patton enjoys a cross-cultural moment with his favorite chili-lime potato chips atop a Bhutanese peak

→ Himalayan Studies in Bhutan

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