Bhutan Sustainable Studies Trip

Photo: Choki Traditional Art School embroidery student

Art in Bhutan

By cmctestgenesis | February 6, 2019

Everywhere you look in Bhutan, there is artwork.  It adorns homes, businesses, clothing: nearly everything.  As a mostly Buddhist society, artwork is crucial to understanding the culture.  Every piece of artwork has symbology, meaning, and a story behind it.  It is one thing to hear someone tell you that art has meaning, but it is another thing entirely to see and feel that meaning for yourself. At the Choki Traditional Arts School, we learned how important traditional artwork is in Bhutan.  After a brief welcoming by the faculty, we met with our student volunteers who showed us around the campus. ...

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Chilies brighten the landscape and more...

By cmctestgenesis | February 6, 2019

            The day of our arrival to Bhutan, we drove from Paro to the Royal Thimphu College in the capital city of Thimphu. Within a valley of the Himalayan mountains we drove along the Paro Chhu (the Paro river) for a while. Along the river banks I took in all the natural scenery (trees, rocks, water, animals, and more). Nestled among the earth tones in nature, I saw the most brilliant, vivid red on the roof tops of homes and buildings. At first, I wasn’t sure that the Bhutanese didn’t just have red roofs, until...

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The Dzong at Night

By cmctestgenesis | February 1, 2019

The Shadows of the Dzong A light in the darkness of the night, It is beautiful in the day, Yet, shadows emphasized at night. In the light of the day, Within the thick walls, Men and women dress their finest, Long kiras of bright in colors, A rachu laid across elegant shoulders, Men in their best ghos, A kabney on strong shoulders. Alone it slumbers at night, Not a light on inside to combat the spotlights, It’s a wonder to see. How beautiful to see the Dzong at night, A wonder to experience the contrast of light against stark night,...

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The Question on Everyone's Mind

By cmctestgenesis | December 3, 2018

Since returning from Bhutan, I have noticed one question that everyone (unsurprisingly) asks: what was your favorite part? Although I should have anticipated this question, I was left drawing a blank as the entire trip came across my mind. Most people don't have the time to listen to me rehash the 21 days spent abroad, so I've worked on changing my response to elaborate on the feeling of Bhutan. Bhutan is a place of action and evolution. Bhutan is a nation built by average people with extraordinary dreams. Bhutan is a place where the impossible is possible. Bhutan is a humble nation. Bhutan...

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Centenary Farmers Market, Thimphu Bhutan

By cmctestgenesis | December 3, 2018

Throughout our travels we passed the market in Thimphu City many times. We had the opportunity to make our way into the venue and experience the wide variety of produce and goods.  Many of us are familiar with the markets and roadside popups in our own setting, and have an understanding as to what is local, fresh, organic, etc. as we make our decisions on what goods to purchase. Our academic guides, Bhuwan Kafley and Tenzin Namgyel offered us some useful insider information as we entered the two-story building that houses the Centenary Farmers Market.  They mentioned to us all that the...

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Bugs and Beautiful Creatures of Bhutan

By cmctestgenesis | December 1, 2018

During our time in Bhutan we traveled between the central and western regions. Bhutan is very diverse in ecosystems ranging from tropical-jungle to the well known Himalayan mountains. Since the constitution requires a minimum of 60% forest coverage, Bhutan has a great deal of forest coverage and sacred land believed to hold deities. In fact they have exceeded the minimum and are at 72% forest cover with over 50% wild protected lands. These are some of the bugs and animals we encountered on our trip:   House centipede (scutigera coleoptrata) found in apartment at Royal Thimphu College. Kills other insects and...

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Discovering the concept of Gross Domestic Happiness

By cmctestgenesis | November 30, 2018

On the morning of its 16th day in Bhutan, CMC’s scholarly group had the fortune of listening to Ms. Wesel Bindha’s lecture on Gross National Happiness (GNH). Having undertaken her higher studies in India, Ms. Bindha, a mild-mannered soft-spoken individual,  promptly proved herself a compelling orator, capable of demonstrating GNH principles through her radiant demeanor and subject delivery. Outlining the roots of the GNH concept, Ms. Bindha referred to the legal code of 1729 which in essence stated “If the government cannot create happiness for its people, then there is no purpose for the government to exist”. Enlightened words then, and...

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Royal Thimphu College and Colorado Mountain College at opposite sides of the World.

By cmctestgenesis | November 29, 2018

Did you know that there are 7,683.84 miles or 12,365.94 kilometers between Colorado Mountain College campus in Edwards, CO USA and Royal Thimphu College in Thimphu, Bhutan? This is as the crow flies in its straight line. The line looks round in the image because of the curvature of the Earth. The two locations are exactly +12 hours apart (or +11 hours during daylight savings time), placing the two sites at exact opposite sides of the world!

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View of Tokyo from hotel

Japan, Modernity Versus Heritage

By cmctestgenesis | November 29, 2018

As part of the author’s Bhutan-related Asia travels, he was fortunate to spend 4 days in Japan before meeting CMC’s travel group. Though a short time to discover and begin understanding the underlying nuances of a country rich in history, it was readily evident that Japan, a Shinto-Buddhist nation whose origins date back to circa 300 B.C., with roots stemming from Korea, southern China and other parts of Southeast-Asia(1),  is a modern nation of the Global North, evidently at odds with its rich heritage and past. In 2017, the country ‘s population was estimated at 126.8 million, of which 55.7%...

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Trip to the Hospital

By cmctestgenesis | November 26, 2018

Who would of thought that anyone on a 3 week academic study abroad trip would ever get to take a trip to a foreign hospital? Nobody. I was the lucky one of the bunch to experience such an adventure. When the college nurse told me that I was going to the hospital I truly didn't know what to expect. I thought all hospitals were the same. No, I was wrong. When I walked in, I was immediately overwhelmed and didn't know what to think. We went to the main building first, but then were told to go to a different...

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