4 December 2012
My name is Richard and during one summer of my university degree I decided to go to Mongolia. I was based in the capital Ulaanbaatar and was lucky enough to travel around most of the beautiful countryside. I was there for a total of 2 months with 6 weeks volunteering and 2 weeks travelling!
I lived with a host family who were really accommodating and friendly and would do anything to help me settle in (even purchasing ‘Yorkshire Tea’ for my arrival!). We lived in an old soviet communist style high rise near the city centre. I lived with my host mum, a lovely lady called Mrs Tseso, and her daughter, Dergeljaargen.
I loved living there as I met lots of locals and other native English speakers and had loads of exciting trips and adventures together. Also, seeing and understanding a very unique and different culture before the economy really took off was exciting. Coca-cola was scarce and there was no McDonald’s or KFC! Strangely, when I arrived Louis Vuitton were building a shop in the main square and apart from the odd bottle of Sprite or Tiger beer, was the only brand I recognised in 2 months!
In terms of teaching I volunteered teaching English to workers within a business. The business itself was a young tour company with its customers mainly coming from the USA, so the need to understand and speak good English was important. Their level of English was already good so it was mainly conversational English I helped with.
My students were great as they were a similar age to me and were willing to learn and always try their best. We often had day trips, lunches out and the occasional drink as part of their learning.
During the 2 months I was there I made sure I didn’t waste a second. On the weekend I arrived I signed up for a 3 day horse trek in the Steppe. This was my first experience of the Mongolian countryside and ger camps. Mongolia has no fences so on the day we arrived we couldn’t start the trek as they couldn’t find their horses! It was still a great weekend living in the gers, eating Mongolian food and drinking plenty of vodka.
On my last day teaching, the company knew I wanted to go south of Ulaanbaatar and very kindly gave me a tent. So, for two weeks, we hired a Land Rover and toured the Great Gobi Desert. It was a fantastic 2 weeks.
Sadly, on my return from the desert it was time for home. Teaching English abroad has left me with some great memories and friends. I would urge anyone thinking of teaching abroad to go for it!