The remote kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan were the mountaintop sites for two Macalester students’ study abroad programs.

 In a semester enrolled in the SIT Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples course, Rob Granfelt ’15 (Bellevue, Wash.) and Mark McCrae-Hokenson ’15 (Milan, Mich.) lived in two very different Himalayan spots—Kathmandu and Bhutan.

 Kathmandu, of course, is the bustling departure point for many mountain-climbing excursions. A chaotic big city full of dust, smoke, belching traffic, and barking dogs, it was the site of the duo’s 10-week study program.

 Then they and their classmates spent three weeks in the remote country of Bhutan, which only opened its doors to—very limited—tourism in 1996. Both Granfelt and McCrae-Hokenson chose to return to Bhutan for their independent study projects, in which they explored traditional wood carving and organic farming, respectively.

 Returning to the U.S. after a semester in the Himalayans, says Granfelt, they felt “a sense of the decadence of this place, where people get in a tizzy about their pizza being late.”

December 15 2014

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