From mountains to Times Square and back

Five RTC students and a teacher return from an educational trip of a lifetime

Education: Sangay Tshering, a final year B.Com. (Accountancy) student of Royal Thimphu College (RTC), his friends and a teacher, six in all, are in Delhi to process their visas to go to Wheaton College in Massachusetts, the United States of America.

Just a few feet up the queue, an Indian man is crying, loud at the counter because his visa application did not get through.  It is a tense moment for the Bhutanese group from RTC.  Some of them will board a plane for the first time in their lives, if they are lucky, that is.

There is no problem.  They will go to Wheaton College.

The group from RTC was the first to go to Wheaton on a two-week exchange programme, since the two colleges signed a partnership agreement five years ago in 2009.

“Wheaton was on my mind and nothing else. I wanted to attend classes there. Turned out it wasn’t so much different,” said Dorjee Om Dorji, a 2nd year English/EVS student.  The only thing she found lacking at RTC compared with Wheaton was team spirit and an extraordinary zest to learn.

For Dechen Choden, a 2nd year BBA HR student, it was the highly evolved culture of teaching and learning at Wheaton that impressed her most.

“Everything out there is student-centred. There are so many clubs that help students achieve academic excellence,” said Dechen.  Confidence radiates through this petite undergrad. “I hope to see something like this at RTC. That’ll be really great.”

The students also visited New York City and some famous historical and cultural sites, Boston, Paul Revere’s House, Faneuil Hall and Old North Church, among others.

As RTC students danced to Tabura Tabura, a Bhutanese rigsar song, there was a wild cheer from Wheaton students.  That is the moment Tenzin Namgyel, a final year English/EVS student, will never forget.  That was the same song to which exchange students from Wheaton danced on their last day at RTC last year.

“It was quite an experience to be in New York, a great city that I’d seen only in films,” said Tenzin Namgyel.  Until that time, India was the farthest he had been to from home. “It’s a great opportunity we had through the college.”

For Sangay Tshering, a final year B.Com. (Accountancy) student, who had always dreamt of going to the USA and worked hard for it, it was an experience he will always cherish.

“Out there at Wheaton, students are very responsible. They have a stronger system in place. I wish all these things for our higher educational institutions here,” said Sangay.

By Jigme Wangchuk

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