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We invite you to take advantage of a truly unique opportunity to experience the Bhutanese culture and way of life through study abroad in the capital city of Thimphu. You'll study with Bhutanese students at Royal Thimphu College, Bhutan’s first and only private university institution, administered by the Royal University of Bhutan. You can also choose to complete an internship (for credit!) along with coursework at the university. Courses are available (in English) in subjects such as Accounting, Computer Science/IT, Literary Criticism and Theory, Natural Resource Management, and Sustainable Development.

Come explore a nation that so few outsiders get to see, and experience life in a remarkable country, where Gross National Happiness is a cultural value and an official measure of success!

What's Included?


Pre Departure Services


APIConnect Platform

Orientation Materials and Resources

Access to International Phone Plans

API Alumni Network

Social Networking


On Site Services

Airport Reception

On-Site Orientation

Housing (including some meals)

Resident Coordinator


Medical and Life Insurance


Social and Cultural Activities

Welcome and Farewell Group Meals

Volunteer Opportunities

Re-Entry Services

Re-Entry Materials and Support

Post-Program Evaluation


Alumni Network and API Ambassador Program

View all opportunities and amenities

Application Requirements

  • Minimum 2.5 G.P.A.
  • Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • Completed API application
  • University Approval Form
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Official transcript
  • Internship essay (if applicable)
  • Entry requirement: valid passport with supporting documents (more information provided post-acceptance)
Session Program Dates Program Cost Application Deadline Extended Application Deadline Payment Deadline
Spring Jan, 2023 - Jun, 2023 $19,900 Oct 13, 2022 Nov 1, 2022 Nov 1, 2022

*Start date may be adjusted due to updated quarantine restrictions in Bhutan.

API students participate excursions designed to help familiarize them with the culture and surrounding areas of their host city and country. The following is a listing of potential excursions for API Thimphu programs. API may need to modify the excursions offered in a given term due to travel restrictions or health and safety concerns.

In addition to the excursions outlined below, API students in Bhutan will also have the opportunity to participate in numerous day trips in and around Thimphu, and may include visits to the National Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, Weekend Market, Craft Bazaar, Tango Monastery, and the Takin Zoo.

  • 5 night excursion to Bumthang, Phobjikha, and Wangdue

    Once the mid-terms are over, students will find time to mentally relax while traveling halfway across the country. Beginning from Thimphu, students will cross the districts of Punakha, Wangdue, Phobjikha and reach Bumthang. While on excursion, some of the important and historical sites that will be visited include the Jakar Dzong, constructed in 1549,the Jambay Lhakhang built in the 7th century, the Membartso/burning lake, and the ogyen Choling village. On the way back, students will stop at Phobjika Valley and take in the natural highlights of this region.

  • Discovering Thimphu

    Thimphu will be home for the students for the whole semester so the first weekend will be spent taking students to familiarize themselves with the location of the Dzong, Banks, Police station, Hospitals and their internship sites (if these have already been determined). We will visit the Takin, which is the National Animal of Bhutan at the Motithang Zoo, and also visit the Semtokha Dzong, the oldest Dzong in Bhutan, built in 1629.

  • Haa Valley

    Haa is the smallest Dzongkhag in the country and is located 3 hours from Thimphu. The day trip will include a ride to Paro, then ascending to the highest motorable pass at 3988m. If weather permits and skies are clear, it is possible to view the magnificent Mount Jhomolari “Mountain of the Goddess” (alt. 7,329 m / 24,029 ft), Bhutan's most sacred peak. Ha valley is sparsely populated and gives one a good impression of how other valleys like Thimphu and Paro were many decades ago.

  • Hike to Phajoding

    Phajoding monastery is located at 3640m above Thimphu and is a 2-3 hour from the Takin Zoo. From the monastery, it is possible to get a spectacular view of Thimphu valley and students can learn more about the Phajoding Monastery Project. The project looks after and educates young orphaned and disadvantaged monks.

  • Hike to Taktsang

    No visit to Bhutan is complete without visiting the most iconic and religious site known as Taktsang or the Tigers Nest. Built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 7th century A.D. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it.

  • Hike to Wangditse

    The Wangditse Lhakang, is located above the BBS tower in Sangaygang, and takes about an hour’s hike to reach. This lhakang was built in 1629, by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, who unified Bhutan. This dzong is the first of its kind in Bhutan.

  • Punakha

    Punakha is a three hour drive from Thimphu but is much warmer and May is the best time to visit with the Jacaranda trees in full bloom. If there are enough participants, a weekend of camping and rafting is usually organized by the local agent. If there are less participants, camping is replaced by an overnight stay at a local hotel. Places that are of interest in Punakha are the Dzong, the suspension bridge (supposedly the longest in the country) and the monastery of the Blessed Madman.

  • API Gives Back Day

    The activity organized on API Gives Back Day changes from semester to semester depending on the interest of the student. In the past, we have organized tree plantation activities and helped the Bhutan Nun’s Foundation in the construction of a library for the nuns.

What You’ll Study

TOTAL CREDITS - 12-15 per semester

API students who study abroad in Thimphu take courses with Bhutanese students, as only a few fortunate westerners are able to do! Courses are available in a variety of subject areas including international business, computer science, environmental studies, sustainable development, and much more!

Students enroll in a minimum of 3 courses and a maximum of 5. Students who elect to complete 4 or more courses will be required to complete either the Introductory Dzongkha (language) course OR the internship. Students are welcome to complete both the language and internship classes if interested.


For students looking to gain professional experience abroad, API students have the opportunity to participate in a credit-bearing internship monitored by a Bhutanese faculty member at RTC. Students will be assessed based on weekly check-ins and reports from the student and internship supervisor, and a final project or paper. The internship is graded and will follow the same grading system as the rest of RTC credited courses. Internships may be with a local or governmental agency (such as the Gross National Happiness Commission) or an international NGO. Students should indicate their preferred area of placement during the application process, and provide a short essay explaining the type of work they are looking to do and how that will apply to their degree plan or future career ambitions. More information and guidance will be provided upon acceptance. This invaluable experience will allow students to not only learn about the policies of a developing nation but to give back to the host community while earning credits at the same time! Note that students who are unable to or prefer not to complete an internship may substitute an additional course at RTC.

  • Bryce headshot

    Bryce Romero

    Bryce Romero will be your Program Manager and help prepare you to go abroad!


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    Sonam Choden Tshering

    Sonam will be your Resident Coordinator in Thimphu and a resource for you while living in Bhutan with us!

Click Here to Find Classes


While standard credit conversion practice is to assign one U.S. semester credit for every 15 contact hours, most courses at RTC are worth 12 RTC credits. These credits are calculated as follows: 1 RTC credit equals 10 hours of study (consisting equally of in-class contact hours and self-study hours). This equates to a total of 120 hours per course, and 60 in-class contact hours, or 4 U.S. semester credits.

Students typically take 3 academic courses and one internship for a total of 16 U.S. semester credits. Students will take 3-4 courses with Bhutanese students. Courses are worth 3-5 U.S. semester credits each, based on the total number of contact hours available (45-75).

API students will be required to take 2 courses from a SUBJECT AREA/MAJOR in the TERM in which they’re studying abroad (e.g. Economics, Environmental Studies, etc) in order to assure that the timetables line up and there are no schedule conflicts. They may then choose 1 course from another subject area.

This schedule will be rounded out with an internship module (which can be scheduled around the student’s coursework) or Dzongkha language course.

NOTE: Courses selection may change from semester to semester.

Courses at Royal Thimpu College (Business, Environmental Studies, and Sciences Program)

For the most up-to-date course availability and class syllabi for this program, explore our Class Finder. Sort courses by term, area of study, and more!

Find classes and syllabi

Courses at Royal Thimpu College (Business, Environmental Studies, and Sciences Program)

For the most up-to-date course availability and class syllabi for this program, explore our Class Finder. Sort courses by term, area of study, and more!

Find classes and syllabi

Courses at Royal Thimpu College (Business, Environmental Studies, and Sciences Program)

For the most up-to-date course availability and class syllabi for this program, explore our Class Finder. Sort courses by term, area of study, and more!

Find classes and syllabi

  • Classes in English with Bhutanese students
  • Internships available for credit
  • Visa processing included

Students in Thimphu will live on campus in student dorms alongside Bhutanese students. Rooms are double-occupancy with shared bathrooms and laundry facilities. There is not space to prepare meals in the rooms; however, students will receive meals at the campus cafeteria and will receive credit to purchase additional snacks and hot meals in the campus canteen or in local shops. Students will also be provided with a space heater and internet surf stick to help them complete assignments and communicate with home.

Note: Housing between the fall and spring semesters is not included.

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