Students of many different backgrounds and interests will benefit from the Bhutan study abroad program. In additional to the three courses (9 credits) taught by Naropa's in-country faculty member, students will choose two classes (6 credits) at one of the Royal University of Bhutan campuses that has partnered with Naropa.
Each campus of RUB specializes in a particular educational arena: Language and Culture Studies, Natural Resources, and Education. Please see below for descriptions of each RUB campus, as well some examples of course descriptions. Note that this is a sample of courses offered and not every class is offered every year. In addition to their areas of specialization, each campus offers courses related to Bhutanese culture and society, enabling Naropa study abroad students the opportunity to pursue their special area of interest while deepening their knowledge and understanding of Bhutan as a whole.
For Naropa students, many of the courses offered through the Naropa Bhutan study abroad program apply towards core, major or minor requirements. The applicability of these credits towards one's degree requirements means that many students can participate in this study abroad opportunity while still graduating on time.
To see where each class fits into core and major requirements, see the Curriculum Map of Study Abroad Courses. Please see your academic advisor for specific information on how these classes will fit into your degree plan.
Students visiting from other universities will need to check with their academic advisor to confirm how these courses will apply towards their degree.
All students participating in Naropa's Bhutan study abroad program will take the following three courses, taught by Naropa's in-country faculty member and a faculty member from RUB. These courses will begin during the 3-week in-country orientation. Students will work independently on these courses after moving to the RUB campus of their choice. For Naropa students, all three courses are considered "in–residence."
This course is designed to introduce students to historical and contemporary Bhutanese culture, including Geography, History, Politics, Ethnography, Religions and Cultural values, both ancient and modern. This course seeks to locate students' understanding within the Bhutanese view of their world through the lens of Gross National Happiness. Students will feel competent and prepared in essential aspects of daily life in Bhutan.
This course is an introduction to contemplative practice, exploring the interface between meditation practice and cross-cultural experience, and how they can creatively inform each other. We explore and train in a variety of contemplative practices including methods drawn from Bhutan’s rich spiritual tradition. In the context of cross cultural experience, we explore ways in which fixed beliefs and schemas create suffering and confusion in our lives. Students are challenged to go beyond habitual responses and generalizations and cultivate deeper levels of compassion and global understanding.
This course invites students to explore and research a topic about Bhutan - its people, environment, culture and current issues. Students will carry out their independent study project during their semester at the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) under the guidance of the NU faculty and the designated RUB faculty mentor at their respective campuses. Following the guidelines specified in the syllabus, students select a topic, have it approved and carry it to completion in the form of a final paper and formal presentation. Topics may be related to the student's area of focus or academic discipline in their BA studies.
In addition to the three classes taught by Naropa's in-country faculty member, students will choose two classes from one of the following campuses. Click on the name of the campus below to read course descriptions for courses available to study abroad students each semester. Note that students can choose from any RUB class offered during their time abroad, with instructor approval. Below is a sample of courses offered and not every class is offered every year. For Naropa students, these classes will be considered non-resident courses.
For the semester, students may choose to study at:
CNR is a beautiful campus located in the Punaka Valley and designed with both traditional Bhutanese and modern Bhutanese architectural elements. It is about two hours’ drive from the capital city Thimphu over an 11,000 foot pass near the town of Wangdue Phodrang. Its natural setting is highly conducive to the academic emphasis of the campus, which includes animal science, agriculture, forestry, and sustainable development. The campus features experimental farms and animal husbandry facilities, science labs, an herbal medicine garden, a library and sporting facilities, and is surrounded by forests. The campus is self-contained, yet small villages surrounding the campus are easily accessible to students.
CNR offers a potential array of experiential courses for Western students interested in the environment and agriculture. The following courses are available for Bhutan Study Abroad students but please note that not all classes listed below are offered every semester.
Naropa students would live in self-catering hostels, which are dorms with small kitchens. Meditation space is available on the top story of each hostel. Showers are available, but with only cold water. There are washing machines available on campus.
Students will become acquainted with the importance of livestock rearing, different systems of livestock production, and sustainability issues in these different systems. Additionally, this course will explore options for sustainable livestock production.
This course aims to equip students with a basic knowledge and skills on the principles and practices of sustainable crop production, focusing on field crops, fruit and vegetable production.
Students will gain knowledge about the importance of considering animal welfare in order to maintain health and productivity, as well as to avoid unnecessary suffering to animals in any environment. This course also provides students the understanding of the physiological mechanisms that animals use to cope with both “typical” and more extreme environmental challenges. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the effect of environment on the physiology and performance of the animals in order to devise ways to prevent or alleviate the stress.
This course introduces students to systematic and ethnobotany, specifically the classification, evolution, plant taxonomy and identification with an emphasis on ecologically and economically important families, genera and species. Emphasis is placed on documenting, describing and explaining complex relationships between cultures and uses of plants. Focus is on understanding plant knowledge process and how the use of plants has shaped past cultural developments. Students will develop an appreciation for the critical roles of plants in the society and to become aware of the roles that plants and their management play for a sustainable future. Students will also learn to prepare and perserve herbarium specimens.
Students are introduced to the core concepts and challenges of sustainable development, as well as the institutions and approaches addressing these challenges. Particular attention is given to the role of sustainable livelihoods in urban and rural contexts. Students are expected to learn about goals, indicators, and monitoring and evaluation systems in development practice. Finally this course focuses on Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a model for sustainable development.
The general objective of this course is to introduce students to the concept of ecology and ecosystems. This course will help students appreciate the dynamic nature of an ecosystem. It covers the basic principles of population, community and ecosystem ecology. It covers ecosystem ecology extensively with studies on energy and material flux, productivity, and freshwater and forest ecology. It also gives practical experience in field ecology.
This course provides knowledge and skills on concepts of environment and its degradation. It aims to impart knowledge on the emerging environmental issues in the international and national context. The course also leads to understanding environmental practices and applying skills to manage emerging environmental issues.
The course aims to provide students with knowledge and skills in producing and domestication
of a wide range of medicinal and aromatic plants. It will also provide students understanding
of various traditional healing practices, the uses, classification, conservation strategies,
and good production practices associated with MAP.
This course provides insight into two of the burning climatic issues: how climate change can affect our daily lives and what factors are responsible for causing climatic change. The course also leads to understanding about how the world as a community is combating the climate change mitigation and studies adaptive measures that are being undertaken globally.
This course was developed by relating culture to the four pillars of GNH (Gross National Happiness) with an attempt to establish how culture infuses into each of those pillars, thus contributing vitally to the realization of GNH. Through this course, students will not only understand the basic fabrics of Bhutanese society, and the fundamental aspects of culture that identify Bhutan form the rest of the world, but at the same time students will acquire a firm understanding of the concept of GNH from a more formal cultural perspective which is intricately more pervasive than any single material of GNH. This course will help graduate to establish themselves as culturally sensitive persons and appreciate the cultural values and principles.
This course will equip the students with knowledge on the movement, distribution, and quality of water. The course looks at the change and impact of the hydrological cycle, as well as snow and water resources constrained by climate variability.
This course is specifically designed to understand the basic interactions between the natural environment and climate. The course specifically aims to familiarize and introduce students to the basics of environmental science, meteorology, and climatology, as well as their applications.
Students are introduced to the concept, theories and principles of development communication, as well as the process, tools and techniques of communication to bring about social change. The course provides students the understanding of how to design and evaluate communication interventions and tools in different context and situations.
The aim of this course is to provide knowledge and skills pertaining to academic and practical uses of tree growth limiting factors, structural organization, wood anatomical formation, annual tree-ring features of both conifer and broad-leaved tree species, and their relation to dendrochronology, environment and climate. This course will provide skills in applications of dendrochronology for dating tree-rings, reconstructing past climate, building tree growth-climate relationship, establishing geomorphological, glaciological, ecological and hydrological events for the use in research of environment and climate.
Students are introduced to general concepts in urban and rural planning. The course explores key components of infrastructure development as they relate to poverty and sustainability. Students will learn about current policies and practices in Bhutan, as well as alternative and emerging approaches to sustainable infrastructure development.
The overall aim of this course is to provide knowledge to students that will support more informed decision making regarding agriculture activities, technologies, business, etc. in order to make a difference in the lives and living standards of the rural population.
This course will provide theories regarding origin and modification of the earth and its landforms through geological time scale. The course will include academic research and practical uses of geological formation, particularly Himalayas and their products in controlling change of climate and evolution and distribution of plant species. As such, this course focuses on geological time scale, geological processes, structure and composition of major rocks, soil formation and minerals. The course will also provide the students with the practical knowledge and skills necessary for the examination and mapping of soils in the field. Plant species evolution, adaptation, diversity and distribution in accordance with rock and soil types under different climatic conditions will be covered to answer questions on interaction between two natural sciences for management and utilization by people.
GIS (Geographical Information System) usage is booming in industrial, governmental and private sectors, and even more so in non-governmental organisations. This course aims to explain the basic concepts of mapping science and GIS technology. Students will explore the ways to utilize GIS tools for specific problem solving in sustainable development issues. Students will develop GIS techniques using ArcGIS software and require students to produce a report using the available database in the college or online. The course gives a very brief concept on Remote Sensing Technology and the applications of satellite imageries for land use and change mapping. GPS (global positioning system) instruments allow students an alternative method of acquiring geo-spatial data for application in geospatial analysis.
This course provides insight on water resources and management. Through case studies leading to effective water resources management, students will link environment, society and institutions. This course also provides the basic understanding on social and economic aspects of Integrated of Water Resources Management (IWRM) related to water resources and management.
This course explores the basic concept of Integrated Watershed Management and skills for planning integrated watershed management.
Students will gain definitions, history, principles, theory and practice with cases on different types of community based natural resources. The course focuses on various tools and techniques for effective CBNRM planning, as well as mediation techniques to resolve CBNRM related conflicts. Students will learn about the necessity of government advocacy in order to ensure/enable CBNRM work be sustainable. The second part of this course introduces the concept of ecotourism as tourism development through rural communities is an important aspect of rural development.
The general objective of this course is to provide theoretical knowledge and skills needed to understand the environmental governance. Students will also learn basic principles of environmental stewardship that are related to sustainable land management and are essential to sustainable development.
This course will provide theoretical and practical knowledge and skills on sustainable forest management and forest management planning. Students will discuss and review theoretical principles, practices and policies related to sustainable forest management.
The aim of this course is to provide non-health students with a basic understanding of public health issues as they relate to sustainable development challenges and objectives. The course will focus on the following United Nation's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): 1 (hunger), 4 (child health), 5 (maternal heath), and 6 (HIV, malaria and other diseases). This course also looks at challenges to health systems and barriers to access.
PCE is located on a hillside adjacent to the town of Paro and the Paro Dzong on an attractive campus designed with traditional Bhutanese architectural elements. All academic and housing facilities are in close proximity, and the campus is landscaped with an array of flowering plants and trees. Facilities include an auditorium, library, soccer field and other sporting sites, and classrooms, as well as an active pre-school where students can apply their teaching skills. The Paro Valley has many historical sites and temples, as well as many monastic institutions.
Paro College offers courses in primary and secondary teacher education and includes a small number of counseling courses. The following courses are available for Bhutan Study Abroad students but please note that not all classes listed below are offered every semester.
Naropa students live in self-catering hostels, which are dorms with small kitchens. Students also have the option to dine at the PCE new dining mess hall, equipped with modern kitchen facilities (sign up before the meals). The girls' self-catering hostel has hot water showers (when available); all clothes washing will need to be done by hand.
Student teachers learn how the creative arts (visual arts, music, drama and dance) can provide opportunities for personal expression, enjoyment, creative action, imagination, emotional response, aesthetic pleasure and the creation of shared meanings. Student teachers learn how to explore social and cultural values about spiritual and worldly beliefs through active engagement in the creative arts. Student teachers develop personal expertise in all forms of the creative arts through hands on studio based activities.
Student teachers demonstrate behavioural skills and understandings concerning planning and implementation of class lessons. They demonstrate development of personal individual teaching styles and understandings appropriate to the developmental stage and learning needs of their pupils. They practice the skills in both micro- teaching situation as well as during practicum and apply these skills through out their teaching Profession.
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to appreciate the importance of play in relation to various aspects of child’s development. Students will recognize play as a means of self-expression and as a channel of communication and be able to incorporate it into children’s curriculum.
This course aims to introduce student teachers to the general concept of research and orient student teachers to thinking in words and numbers as a way toward differentiating quantitative, qualitative and mixed research methods. Student teachers will be able to understand the importance of Action Research in reflective practice, as well as gain experience in developing research tools. In addition to introducting students to strong research practices, this course will familiarize student teachers with research ethics.
The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding and appreciation of the elements underpinning effective learning and to acquire the necessary skills to plan and implement effective learning strategies in the multi-grade classrooms. The course will also discuss the different definitions used for the multi-grade strategy of teaching and address the pertinent issues of classroom management, organization, and student assessment. Constructivism and active learning will form the philosophy which will guide the delivery of this course to the learners.
The intent of the course is to focus on how children talk, write, draw, dance and sing their understanding of the world in which they live. This will inform how our teachers, parents and community can influence a child’s early development by understanding their language of learning which entails many forms of symbolic representation: talk, print (reading and writing), drawing, multiple forms of visual art-making, performing arts including song and dance, drama and movement.
Teaching Practice (TP) provides opportunities for the student teachers to practice the skills and strategies that they have learned through lectures and studies in a real classroom situation. The student teachers will be exposed with the school curriculum and other organizational systems through constant interaction with the students and teachers in the respective schools. Further, it will enable student teachers to develop their professional competencies.
This course enables student teachers to confidently discuss the importance of education in the development of the individual, society and the nation. Students will be able to visualize the role played by education in determining the level of economic prosperity, welfare and security of the nation. Students will be able to recognize the role of education in achieving Bhutan’s development philosophy: Gross National Happiness.
This course aims to equip the student teachers with the theories, philosophies and principles that underpin early childhood education to help them support children learn effectively. The key feature of this module is an in-depth study of early childhood education across three different cultures and systems: Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain and its relevance to Bhutanese context. It also focuses on critical analysis of the issues and changes that are currently taking place in field of early childhood education. This module also entails critical examination of learning and development in early childhood as it is embedded in current policies and practices in Bhutan.
This course will provide student teachers with the basic knowledge and skills of school guidance and counseling programmes.
The purpose of this course is to familiarize the student teachers with the concepts and theory of English across the curriculum & promote knowledge that their repertoire of language teaching skills and understandings are applicable to all subject areas in which English is the medium of instruction.
This course aims to present an introduction to the general principles and methods that help to enhance the judgment making procedure and make a better decision in life based on the statistical data. It also allows them to develop appropriate skills and strategies in teaching and learning statistics in schools.
Through this course, students will be introduced the elements of visual communication and design principles – the Components of Composition. Once familiarised, students will use these concepts to create effective visuals for classroom instruction. This course will provide the basic tools and techniques necessary for successful transmission of information and inspirational ideas in teaching and learning.
CLCS campus is designed with new Bhutanese architectural elements about 45 minutes’ drive south of the town of Trongsa in Trongsa Dzonkhag and about a day’s drive east from the capital city of Thimphu, over two 11,000 foot passes. This campus focuses on culture, language, and Buddhist studies. Its facilities include a large meditation hall, dance, musical and other arts practice rooms, as well as large soccer field and other sporting venues. While more remote than other campuses, it has a warm, collective community life.
CLCS is a new campus that has a strong focus on traditional arts and culture. They have designed a new BA in Bhutanese and Himalayan Studies that they envisioned with international students joining in mind. The following courses are available for Bhutan Study Abroad students but please note that not all classes listed below are offered every semester.
Students are housed in segregated men and women's hostels, which will offer self-catering in the future when facilities are completed. Currently, students take meals in a dining mess hall. Walks between some areas of the campus involve rough trails through construction areas. The classrooms and library are modern, comfortable, and spacious, and built to accommodate a rapidly increasing student population.
This course will introduce students to Bhutanese cultural heritage. While the course will introduce students to the concept of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, it will particularly focus on the material aspects of culture in the nation. Students will learn about the characteristics and significance of various architecture, tools, dress, food, arts and games that are traditionally Bhutanese. Additionally, domestic and international culture policies will be examined in order to understand government and international approaches to preserving and promoting culture and arts. Students that successfully complete this course will be guided towards becoming focal people in preservation and promotion of Bhutanese cultural heritage.
This course aims to build upon what students learned in “The Cultural Heritage of Bhutan I” in order to gain a deeper understanding of the performances and practices associated with aspects of Bhutan’s cultural heritage. In particular, students will have the chance to examine the significance and purposes of religious and nonreligious rituals, ceremonies, festivals, dances and musical performances. Students will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Bhutan’s culture, and its crucial role in distinguishing the nation from other nations. The course aims to emphasize the importance of preservation and promotion of culture, and for understanding and contextualizing students’ individual identities.
This course will broaden students' understanding of anthropological theories, with special focus on the 20th century and recent developments in the field. Students will be introduced to how anthropologists and sociologists perceive and approach major social issues, as well as how to apply relevant subject matters to the cultural and social issues in Bhutan. The course will encourage students to generate perspectives on relevant cultural and social issues that will positively influence cultural change Bhutan. Students will become aware of, and solve, challenges faced by their communities and the nation.
This course is designed to introduce students to Bhutan’s unique culture and practice of the masked dance performances. In this course, students are introduced to different kinds of Bhutanese masked dances that are performed in and around the country. The significances, benefits, qualifications, dancing costumes for different mask dances and rationale for its performances are taught in this course in the theory component. At least one or two mask dances in this rigorous dance form are taught in the practical component. This course seeks to establish students’ understanding of its uniqueness and importance for the unique identity of the country. The course also includes a research component in which students choose a topic for their research and present it to the class at the end of the semester.
This course will prepare students for professional life. Students will learn knowledge, skills and personal development in order to make them informed citizens. This course will be of particular interest for Bhutanese of different sectors, and especially the tourism sector.
This course is an attempt to study how women writers from different cultures have used the form to explore a variety of themes, socio-economic impact, character representation, love, tolerance, and challenges faced by the characters in the texts. Students are introduced to three fictional works which allow them to examine women's role within different settings. Students will examine how life experienced and perceived by women is articulated in their narrative to voice their hopes and anxieties. Thus, through the study of this course, students will be able to deconstruct ideologies and assumptions, analyze and synthesize issues, and carry out comparative studies among prescribed texts.
A continuation of Religions of the Himalayan Territories I, this course is designed to continue giving the students a general introduction to major religions that exist in the region. Bhutanese students will become familiar with different forms of Buddhism and also learn about alternative approaches to religion. Students will gain an understanding of significant aspects of the theoretical, practical, and social expressions of these religions, allowing the students to appreciate both similarities and differences between Buddhism and other traditions. Understanding and appreciating these similarities and differences will allow students to empathize better with peoples of the Himalayan region, particularly other Buddhists, and will thus be in a better position to understand and collaborate with others in their country, region, as well as internationally.
This course provides an opportunity for students to study several significant historical leaders of the Himalayas. Leaders discussed will include spiritual, non-spiritual, and the leaders that are a combination of the two. The origins and contexts of these historically significant leaders will be covered in this course, along with the actions and contributions of these leaders. Students will analyze and interpret the significance of Himalayan leaders, as well as historical/political changes or developments that occurred under their rules. Comparison and interrelations among some of the leaders can also be discussed, including the analysis of conflict occurring among Himalayan peoples historically. Through conducting secondary research on these historical figures, students will have the opportunity to gain interest and preliminary knowledge on subtopics that could become relevant for valuable future research after the course. Students will also gain experience communicating these findings to an audience, both orally and in writing.
This course intends to acquaint students with Indo-Chinese relations in the modern era, building on what students have previously learned about the history of India and China, and will address impacts of decisions and policies made by both countries. The conflicts, international relations and use of influence regionally and internationally by both countries will be understood from the perspective of Bhutan and other Himalayan territories. Students will thus appreciate how the Indo-Chinese relationship has changed over time, and how it continues to affect all territories in the Himalayan region. As honors graduates are expected to excel in the job market for internationally-focused positions, it will be useful for these students to gain an in-depth knowledge of current international influence and developments in India and China, as they are the big neighbors of every Himalayan territory.
This course invites students to learn and explore Bhutan’s unique cultural practices, songs and music. The origin, dissemination, types of songs; traditional and modern, descriptions in different songs, qualities required for the dancers and singers, pre-requisites to compose the songs, use of languages in the compositions, etc. are taught in the theory components. The students are also taught how to use these Bhutanese traditional musical instruments: Yang chen, Lim, Dram nyen and Piwang. In addition to this, students are taught how dance and will demonstrate their skills in a practical examination. This course is designed to provide the general concept of song and music in the Bhutanese context.
This course is intended to expand upon students' previously learned research skills, and prepare them to carry out basic community research. Students will be guided step-by-step in completing an oral history project locally towards this end. Oral history has been chosen as the type of research, due to the urgent priority often expressed in Bhutan to document this intangible culture before it disappears (however, faculty of this course can choose to make the data collection on a similarly basic form of community research). The course will be completely student-oriented, and each student's data will be a case study from which others can learn. The course will review relevant previous courses in order to make students well-equipped to collect and analyze oral history data from local community members on a chosen topic. In addition to gaining experience in community research, students will also be contributing to strengthening ties between ILCS and surrounding communities, and contributing to the preservation of Bhutanese cultural heritage.