The Royal Thimphu College and Wheaton College of Massachusetts, USA strengthened their academic partnership on 11th March 2014 with the renewal of their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The academic association between the two colleges was established in 2010 with the signing of the initial agreement and has been a very successful partnership. The uniqueness of the exchange program was recognized at the NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference held in Houston, Texas in 2012 when it was selected as the Winner of the Go Abroad Award for Innovative New Program – Study Abroad. As a part of the partnership, between 8 to 12 Wheaton students study at RTC each semester and earn credits that are recognized by Wheaton College.
With the signing of a revised MOU on 11th March, an important new activity is the opportunity for 10 RTC students to visit Wheaton College every year. Selected RTC students will get the opportunity to live at the Wheaton campus, attend classes and interact with American students during a 2-week study program starting in the Spring of 2015. Both Wheaton College and RTC are excited about the introduction of the two-way exchange program which, till now, has seen 6 batches of Wheaton students visit Bhutan.
Presently, RTC has formal partnerships with 6 educational institutes around the world and the Wheaton- RTC Program has been the flagship of RTC’s efforts to provide more international learning opportunities for its students. In December 2013, ten RTC students attended an Economics Conference in Lahore, Pakistan, and another ten recently returned in February 2014 from a study visit to SEISA University in Japan. RTC and Wheaton hope to continue enhancing the scope of their cooperation to include collaboration in teaching, institutional development and research.
The Wheaton in Bhutan Program offers students a rare opportunity to study in Bhutan and learn more about its society, history, language, culture and traditions. The program also offers opportunity for foreign students to engage with the Bhutanese students on a very personal level. “Students come home with experiences they never had, with stories about studying in Bhutan and how it changed them. Even though they are back home, the Wheaton students still keep in touch with their RTC friends on Facebook. This program has done wonders for Wheaton”, said Prof. Bianca Murphy, Program Coordinator for the Wheaton in Bhutan Program.
The Dean of Global Education of Wheaton College, Dr Mark Hoesly summed it up when he stated that “Wheaton College is extraordinarily pleased with the opportunity we have had to work with RTC, and as we move forward into the new and exciting development of having RTC students now come to Wheaton, which is a wonderful opportunity for Wheaton, we will be most happy to welcome them.”