I started the exchange in Bhutan with great confidence. In Sweden, I had been researching for several years in daylight and electric lighting in buildings. It wasn’t until arriving in Phuentsholing that I realized that there were so many differences between Sweden and Bhutan. Not only climate and weather differs but also links to traditional Bhutanese architecture. I immediately understood that what I was used to teaching had no relevance in a Bhutanese context.
Bhutan, however, surprised me. I met an enthusiastic group of about 30 students, well prepared and happy to be part of the teaching. Daylight was a relatively new topic for them. The material we went through was on a relatively basic level. From there we developed applications that fit into a Bhutanese context rather than a Swedish one. In just twelve hours we had come very far, we could hardly believe it was so fast. I learned a lot about my own teaching myself. Working in Bhutan as a Westerner is special. First, Bhutan shocks and challenges your entire conviction. A moment later, you are caught up in Bhutan’s unique culture and you stand there with an increased understanding.
Niko Gentile, Associate senior lecturer