This is an Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility project of Leiden University College with the Royal Thimpu College in Bhutan.
Leiden University coordinator:
- Leiden University (university-wide project), project coordinator: Martine Wierenga
- Royal Thimpu College (Royal University of Bhutan)
Type of mobility:
- Staff and student exchange
In the context of its own internationalisation strategy, Leiden is pleased with the new collaboration with Royal Thimphu College (RTC) in Bhutan. Leiden is specifically interested in partnering with RTC in view of their positive experience and expertise in developing and implementing exchange programmes with universities abroad. With their rich and unique cultural background and knowledge, students from RTC will make a valuable contribution to the international classroom at Leiden University. Similarly, the exchange of staff between Leiden and RTC will be very enriching. As the Bhutanese government is committed to sustainable development, staff from RTC coming to Leiden will have valuable experience with respect to the challenges of sustainable development. There have so far been limited possibilities for Bhutanese students and staff to engage in academic projects outside of Bhutan. The ICM programme opens up this possibility.
Although Leiden has a limited number of partner institutions in neighbouring country India and a range of partners in neighbouring country China, a partnership with a higher education institution in Bhutan will have considerable added value. Bhutan, a small Buddhist country in the Himalayas known for its rich culture, beautiful landscapes and Gross National Happiness Index, is unlike any other country. The Bhutanese government is highly committed to sustainable development, and Bhutan is currently the world’s only carbon-negative country.
Leiden is specifically interested in partnering with RTC in view of RTC’s positive experience and expertise in developing and implementing study abroad and exchange programmes with universities in Asia, Europe and the USA. Leiden offers a number of programmes that match the programmes offered at RTC, providing a wealth of possibilities for staff exchange and an attractive study abroad destination for students. Examples of matching programmes in the bachelor’s phase are in Anthropology and the International Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology; Political Science and Governance; South and Southeast Asian Studies; and Religious Studies, while students from the Bachelor’s in Environmental Management at RTC can find relevant courses in Leiden’s interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainable Development.
To date, the possibilities for Bhutanese students and staff to engage in academic projects outside of Bhutan have been limited. The ICM programme opens up the possibility to learn from a broader range of perspectives in vastly different academic and cultural environments. RTC will benefit greatly from the presence of Leiden students on campus, interacting with their faculty members and students, and also from their own returning staff and students who will bring rich intercultural academic perspectives back with them.
International classroom at Leiden University
With their rich and unique cultural background and knowledge, students from RTC will make a valuable contribution to the international classroom at Leiden University. Similarly, the exchange of staff between Leiden and RTC will be very enriching: RTC students and staff can benefit from knowledge and expertise from Leiden, and Leiden staff teaching at RTC can benefit from academic engagement with local students and staff.
Staff from RTC coming to Leiden will have valuable experience with respect to the challenges of sustainable development. They can also contribute to the further development of academic research on the history, culture and political challenges faced by Bhutan and the Himalayan region generally among Leiden students and staff, while learning new teaching methods and perspectives from their peers.
Internationalisation at Royal Thimpu College
RTC, the first private undergraduate college in Bhutan, affiliated to the Royal University of Bhutan, is currently transitioning from a standard traditional model of education towards more modern and innovative approaches, focusing on the holistic and skills-based development of students, and aiming to meet international standards of education. As part of its aims, RTC feels that international exposure is very important. RTC became the first full-scale study-abroad option in Bhutan in 2010, and has since welcomed many international staff and students.