Have you ever wondered what life was like in Mongolia? An ELIC teacher, Wes, shares his favorite memories and highlights from his time there. Hopefully this gives you a glimpse of what it would be like to live in the country of Blue Skies.
What surprised you most when you moved to Mongolia?
For me the most surprising thing was that it was not like China. My previous experience overseas was in China and I knew almost nothing about Mongolia going into it. I found out that it was nothing like China - Mongolia is a place all it’s own. There is no place on earth like Mongolia. You can have the city life in Ulaanbaatar or drive right out of the city and be in the middle of nowhere. I loved this dichotomy. I was also surprised that when you drive outside of the city you see a culture that has, pretty much, been untouched for thousands of years except for the occasional satellite dish or motorbike.
What is your favorite thing to do with students outside of class?
One of my favorite things to do with students was to have them over for dinner. This was quite an experience. I loved cooking for them and learning to cook some of their dishes as well. These were also sweet times to talk about the deeper things of life.
Most interesting food you’ve eaten in Mongolia?
I ate a lot of mutton with a little mutton on the side, but that wasn’t the most interesting thing I ate. Probably one of the most interesting things was the goat head that I got to nibble on during the New Year holiday (Tsagaan Sar). I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it!
A Mongolian Ger
What did you enjoy most about the culture?
I loved trips to the countryside. These were the times when I experienced true Mongolia and Mongolian hospitality. My favorite thing about Mongolian culture was how welcomed I felt being invited into a random Ger out in the middle of nowhere.
What was your fondest memory about being in Mongolia?
One memory that sticks out during my time in Mongolia was when our team had a retreat outside of the city. We went to a Ger camp called Terelj. I remember staying awake one night and looking up at a sky full of the brightest stars I had ever seen in my life. It was breathtaking, and I have never seen anything like it since. Mongolia is truly an unspoiled country with a landscape and people like nothing you have ever experienced before.