Bhutan what? Where? Why?
Quest has a variety of exchange options that all offer their own experiences but deciding where I wanted to go last spring was an easy decision. I wanted to go to the place that was the farthest away, hardest to get to, and the most different from home (Western Canada).
Being a small Buddhist country in the middle of the Himalayas, “sandwiched” between China and India, with no direct flights, restricted visa policies, and a democratic system that had been implemented very recently by the still much loved monarchy, Bhutan was all that and more.
I have been home to Quest for about five months now, and looking back on the whole experience, I can confidently say that going to Bhutan was one of the better decisions that I have made.
Although the first month there especially was hard, getting used to the lack of hot water, language barriers, transportation systems, being stared at on the street, tying a Kira (the traditional dress), different social rules, and all of the differences that come with going to a different and developing country, it was so so valuable.
I have a better understanding of what parts of my world view (most/all of it) are a product of the culture I was raised in, as opposed to being something inherently mine. I am more able to identify my own inherent biases and adjust my actions accordingly. I know that when meeting people who come from backgrounds indescribably different from mine and who don’t speak english (and I speak only a little of their language), I am still able to make connections and learn from them.
It was sometimes a challenge, but I learned and experienced more than I ever thought I would, and I know I will be back.