THINK Global School

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Tiger's Nest Monastery

Bhutan

History and happiness in the “Land of the Thunder Dragon”

During our term in Bhutan we learned about the country’s innovative approach to planning the next stages of global development using the four pillars of Gross National Happiness as organizing principles. We visited massive fortress monasteries known as dzongs, including the Trashichodzong (Thimphu Dzong), where we studied its design with noted architect Karma Gelay. We explored Bhutan’s holy Buddhist temples known as lhakhangs, where we viewed sacred religious paintings that date back over 500 years. At Kurjey Lhakhang, we learned about Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tantric Buddhism (who is regarded by many Bhutanese as the second Buddha himself). In Punakha, we took to river rafts to explore the spectacular landscapes that line the banks of the Puna Tsang Chhu (Punakha River). Here, we also searched for the extremely rare White-Bellied Heron, of which there are less than 200 remaining.

While on our way to visit the Taktsang Palphug (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, we flew over enormous Himalayan glaciers and met with esteemed glaciologist Karma Toeb. During a lecture, he warned of the consequences that global warming will inflict on the slowly diminishing bodies of ice. Finally, in Chhukha we visited the Chhukha Hydroelectric Project, where Druk Green’s Head of Operations Lam Dorji discussed the importance of environmental conservation and laid out the steps that have been taken by the colossal dam project to ensure minimal impact on its surrounding communities.

Photo by Joann McPike

Activities

• Takin Park and Zoo
• Wandering the Thimphu Farmers’ Market
• Lecture and Trashichodzong tour with architect Karma Gelay
• Voluntary Artists Studio Thimphu (VAST)
• Gangtey Monastery
• Spotting the Black-Necked Crane while hiking the Phobjikha Valley
• A day at the Ugen Wangchuk Institute of Conservation & Environment
• Tamshing Lhakkang temple
• Traditional rural home in Bhuthang
• Kurjey Lhakkhang temple complex
• Tower of Trongsa and the Museum of Cultural Heritage
• Interview with Trongsa governor Dshewang Rinzin at the Trongsa Dzong
• River rafting in the Punakha Valley
• Spotting one of the world’s rarest birds, the White-Bellied Heron
• Lecture on climate change with Glaciologist Karma Toeb
• Chukkha Hydropower Project with speaker Lam Dorji
• Takstang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)

Bhutan Bytes

Check out collected writing, photos, and video from THINK Global School’s Bhutan Intersession.

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Ready to embark on the Educational Journey of a lifetime?

A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

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