Study Abroad in Bhutan: Policies

Potential applicants to the Bhutan study abroad program should be aware of in-country laws, as well as Naropa study abroad policies, in regards to tobacco, alcohol and illegal drug use in Bhutan. It is the policy of Naropa that violation of the following policies during the study abroad experience (including travel, excursion or "free" time) will result in disciplinary sanctions, up to and including an immediate dismissal from the program.


Per the Bhutanese Tobacco Control Act of 2012, cigarette smoking in public places is prohibited by national law in Bhutan. There is a black market for cigarettes but all RUB campuses have a policy of no smoking. Students are responsible for observing campus and Bhutan policies prohibiting smoking of cigarettes.


The legal age to drink alcohol in Bhutan is 18. However, the consumption of alcohol is forbidden on RUB campuses. Additionally, Naropa's code of conduct specifically prohibits participants in a study abroad program from drinking alcohol while participating in the study abroad program (including travel, excursions and free time).

Illegal drugs

While studying and living in Bhutan, students, faculty, and staff are subject to the laws of Bhutan. This applies especially with regard to the use or sale of controlled substances, i.e., drugs and alcohol. The use and sale of drugs is illegal and can result in severe penalties. A U.S. passport will not protect anyone from arrest or detention. Furthermore, judicial procedures in many countries provide for lengthy investigatory detention without bail. Neither the U.S. Embassy nor Naropa will be able to assist Naropa students to a great extent, nor can Naropa students be guaranteed due process or judicial considerations typically followed in the U.S. and/or in Naropa's student handbook.