The Political Science Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, with the assistance of the University’s Division of International Studies & Programs, is pleased to introduce its Bhutan-based program on Traditional Economies and Sustainable Development - a pioneering partnership between A&M-Kingsville and Royal Thimphu College (RTC), Bhutan.
The Bhutan Program (BP) is being directed by Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Professor of Political Science, A&M-Kingsville. The BP includes graduate and undergraduate students traveling to and staying in Bhutan in May 2013, attending classes at RTC, and visiting multiple sites through field trips in Northwestern Bhutan. Areas of focus include history, politics, economics, culture, sustainability and environmental policies, etc., with reference to both Bhutan and South Asia.
You are all invited to cyber travel with us as we learn about the uniqueness of Bhutan and the Eastern Himalayan Region. This blog will document our experience. You are welcome to post comments.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
As we pack our bags the memories of the days spent across Bhutan come back to life. This country has left an impression and a mark in all of our lives. We were all challenged to step outside of our comfort zone and accept a whole new life style for the past two and a half weeks. Words cannot explain the impact this trip has on our lives. From the first warm greeting at the airport from Tshering to the goodbyes around the campfire. The first day we arrived at sat by the fire speaking with the Bhutanese students trying to find a common topic and learn from them to now while we are still sitting fire blazing and now saying goodbye to people who have impacted our lives. The staff and students at RTC were the most hospitable and caring people we could have hoped for. Arriving in a new country is never easy and always makes you unsure. Our perceptions were completely altered from the first day until now after all the experiences we bonded through.
The Bhutanese were so welcoming and always made us feel comfortable. We have hiked monasteries, visited temples, spoke with a lama, held discussion with monks, played soccer with children monks, visited a nunnery, learned about Buddhism and worshipped Buddha at various temples and much more. Not only did we visit sites but we were able to speak to experts in politics and sustainability all over Bhutan. We never simply visited a site to take pictures but rather attended interactive lectures across the country.
Our experience alone at Royal Thimphu College gave us the chance to listen to lectures from the local college. Interacting with the students allowed us to see that even halfway across the world their lives are very similar to ours. They enjoy the same activities as us music, dancing, sports, and movies. They are facing the same problems we have in US like unstable job market, relationships, and trying to find our next step after university.
We will all go back the US still processing all that we have experienced and been through. But we are already changed, enlightened, and grateful to be in such a beautiful country with beautiful people. We are forever thankful for everyone who made this experience possible; Dr. Goswami, Royal Thimphu College staff, Tshring, guest lecturers, the RTC students, and Texas A & M Kingsville.
Words will never express the experience we have had in Bhutan.