Bhutan students benefit from UC degrees

By Alison Dance

A group of 30 students from Bhutan are currently studying on exchange at the University of Canberra, enjoying trying out vegemite and interpreting Aussie accents on their journey towards a University degree.

For Bhutanese student Deki Dema, studying at the University has proved to be more than just educational. This being her first overseas experience, Ms Dema said “I knew I wanted to try vegemite, but I didn’t really like it” and is grasping the “sometimes hard to understand” Aussie lingo.

Ms Dema is among nine students studying the Master of Public Administration (Bhutan) and 21 studying a Master of Management (Bhutan), which are transnational courses for students from the Royal Institute of Management in Thimphu, Bhutan. Once completed the students will graduate with a University degree.

The Library facilities are a stand-out for Ms Dema, who said she is enjoying the whole experience.

“It’s a very good opportunity for me, I’m seeing something very different since it’s my first time coming overseas. I find everything very systematic and in order here and it’s very beautiful,” she said.

These Bhutanese students will graduate with a University of Canberra degree following their exchange experience. Photo: Michelle McAulay
These Bhutanese students will graduate with a University of Canberra degree following their exchange experience. Photo: Michelle McAulay

Her friend Dorji Wangmo, who is also part of the program, said it has been “an overwhelmingly positive experience”.
“I have really enjoyed the campus and it is a good opportunity for students like us to come here and the continuation of such programs is very enriching for students like us.

“Here it is so international, there are students from all over the world, not like at home where it is just us. The number in the class is much greater and it’s interesting to observe the interactions. It’s been a huge experience for me,” she said.
The students are the second intake into the three-month course and Karma Gayleg said he especially enjoyed the opportunity to use the University’s facilities.

“The exposure here to the University’s facilities and resources and to see other students from all over the world is just an addition to the already good course that we have been undertaking,” he said.

“If we had only completed our course back in Bhutan, we would have missed a lot of the facilities and the exposure that we have had here, and the course itself has been very good.”

Greg Boland, a senior lecturer in management studies, said the program provides students with more than an educational experience.
“It enables them to mix with our students in the same course as them as well as experience the culture and living in a western and developed country,” Mr Boland said.

Offshore program liaison officer, Yan Wang, said they have received positive responses from the students.
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback, many said how they have enjoyed living in Canberra and studying at the University,” Ms Wang said.

She added that the students will be able to connect with the University following the programs completion.

“They will be our alumni and hopefully be able to continue networking with students and other alumni of the University,” she said.
Mr Boland said the University is now strengthening its ties with Bhutan and will soon be able to offer students more study opportunities.

“We’re currently setting up a Master of Business Administration with their institution so we will soon have three programs with them including a Master of Management along with the Master of Public Administration,” he said.


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