Friday, November 18, 2011

If that's what they do...


There's a great deal of emphasis in study abroad programs, at least in terms of the ideals of what a student gets from them, in integrating as much as possible--acting Thai, Chilean, Chinese, etc.--or in our case Bhutanese.  One of the things I have heard many times is about Bhutanese people who are "actually" Bhutanese compared to those who are considered not, especially those who have been influenced by foreign cultures, and within those especially people who have been so-called "Westernized."

One day about a month ago it was raining quite heavily, and my responsibilities for the day ended at noon.  I went back to my room to get dry, and my roommate asked if I wanted to watch a movie.  It turned into two movies, and ultimately a four-movie marathon punctuated only by dinner.

It was a great day, and between movies we talked about the kinds of things roommates talk about.  In the context of my experience here, that means more of an emphasis on culture.

But at the end of the day I found myself thinking that this would not be considered a "Bhutanese" activity.  But it is what Bhutanese people do, and it says something about what the future might look like because a significant amount of young Bhutanese people are having that experience.  So even if the activity is familiar to what one already knows, how is it less "cultural", if that's what people actually do in today's world...

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