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Mongolia: Nomadic Culture & Outdoor Adventure
The Experiment in International Living participants with a local The Experiment in International Living participants with a local

Mongolia: Nomadic Culture & Outdoor Adventure

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Personal Development

    10

What I was able to experience in Mongolia

Though Mongolia is one of the hardest programs for the Experiment in International Living, it is one of the most freeing and satisfying experiences of my life. By going into another country where you don't know anyone, you've never heard the language let alone speak it, you are putting yourself way out there. In this program you do that and you have to deal with different food, hygiene standards and cultural norms. This experience, which I was extremely nervous to be a part of at first, shaped me into a more open and confident person. I am not very social but I quickly became comfortable around the group I was with, learned that putting myself out in the world is beneficial and I should do it more often. I learned to make mistakes and be okay with that. I was able to put myself out there during a relatively mentally stressful first few days because I had to do that to get anywhere and not feel isolated. I also became more comfortable with people entering my "personal bubble" because in Mongolia, personal space is not a thing and don't expect them to understand what it is.

Mongolia is a very beautiful country. On the first day of orientation in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, we were told that Mongolia is known as the land of the blue sky. The sky in Mongolia is the bluest and biggest sky you could ever see. At night when you weren't in a soum center or city, you could see the Milky Way. There were animal everywhere (which was amazing.) The openness, of the people and landscape, mixed with the natural world and way of life made Mongolia one of the most freeing places mentally and physically.

Mongolia is an amazing country to visit with this program, you learn so much about yourself and a larger culture that is vastly different from the United States. You learn to better appreciate what you have and the connections you can make with strangers.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Personal Development

    10

Mongolia summer 2017

I had an amazing experience in Mongolia this summer. I wanted to be immersed in a culture different from mine and the program really focused on the Mongolian way of life, traditions, and customs. The experience was amazing, Mongolia is a beautify and i would go back in the blink of an eye.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Satisfaction

    10

Milestone in my life

Mongolia with the Experiment was absolutely fantastic. The group environment fostered, the activities arranged and the casual adaptation they are able to organize is beyond fantastic. I never felt alone and I was was engaged. The added bonus of connecting so deeply with my group members through their activities and share out moments really made, even a person like me who is usually very shy in connecting with others, available and open. I would highly recommend to anyone seeking adventure and a learning experience that will both rejuvenate who you are and make you a better person.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Personal Development

    10

Mongolia

I really loved my time in Mongolia. I was a little apprehensive at first, but once I got to the country and started experience the culture with my group, I discovered how much fun and beautiful the country could be. My group was amazing - I met people I know I will stay close to for a very long time. The group leaders kept us healthy and safe, but weren't afraid to get dirty and have fun with us, so I think they had the perfect balance. The trip itself was more than I could've imagined, no matter how cheesy that sounds. It will really push your boundaries, but in a way that you to. I did things on this trip I never thought I was capable of, until I was there and I had done it, while still having fun. I felt like that was really special. My favorite part of the trip was our time in Khuvsgul. Playing card games and making buuz with local students and taking morning hikes is something I would do again, anytime. I would recommend this trip to anyone looking for a different experience and a real adventure!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Satisfaction

    10

My Mongolian moment

I had an amazing time in Mongolia and learned various things about myself throughout the journey. Mongolia was very beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the rich and diverse culture. There was never a dull moment, everyday there was a new adventure and there were always activities to do. I had a wonderful time getting to know the people I traveled with and we had an amazing group dynamic that made my time there much more enjoyable. One of the challenges I faced in the country was getting adjusted to their food, but being open-minded and having the willingness to try new things is definitely beneficial during the trip. I would recommend the trip to anyone whose thinking about going.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Satisfaction

    10

The land of the blue sky

During the first lessons we had in Mongolia at the SIT office, we lame that the country was also proudly referred to as the "Land of the Blue Sky." As the trip continued from there on, I truly experienced the authenticity to that phrase through 4 o' clock morning hours to see the sun rise and just looking out from the hills in the Gobi Desert.

From traveling to the ger camp in Khovsgul (largest freshwater lake in Mongolia) through a 5 hour horse trek to doing community service with Mongolian students, I was able to take in parts of the culture through everything that we did. In this experience, I not only learned what it meant to look out for myself and grow in my independence, but I also learned about teamwork and looking out for my whole group. By traveling as a group and doing stuff together day in and day out, I really came out of my shell in just a few days and made such great friends on the trip that just made the whole experiment all the more amazing.

Mongolia truly is a big and a whole new different country that has a lot of things to offer. As my group and I traveled to the different regions of the land, we came to understand that even if we are all under the same blue sky, each part of Mongolia had different things to offer. The weather changes are drastic and all of the sudden there can be a sand storm with rain coming down, however, that just makes the experience all the more real and enjoyable when the sun came out.

The part of this trip that made the biggest difference in the world was knowing that you could find trust in the leaders from the program. Both in country leaders and from the states leaders had great experiences in the country and were able to answer all sorts of questions that we had(and trust me, it was a lot). One of the greatest memories was just sitting around in a circle with all the students and all of the leaders as we went around telling funny stories and horror stories under the beautiful night sky where stars were actually visible. The dedication that they showed us is something that is truly unforgettable.

Honestly, who can ever say that they went to Mongolia and did all these things? I can genuinely say that I fell in love with the land and traveling and I can't wait till the next time I go back.

Disclaimer: This is one of the more difficult programs as there is not always going to be running water or electricity. Also for the most part of the trip, we had to get use to using outhouses as our main source of bathrooms and wet wipes as forms of cleansing ourselves. However, after getting over the idea of that, it didn't hinder my experience on the trip.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Personal Development

    10

The journey that changed my life

Going to Mongolia was the best thing could have happened to me this summer. I grew so much as a person and really learned to appreciate the life I have in America. We got to explore the capital city and saw a new part of it each day we were there. It was amazing to the see how each region in Mongolia was so different from each other yet all had the same central values. The homestay was the most fun for me! My family was awesome and I loved helping them with their daily chores like herding sheep, milking cows and helping to cook! This was an experience that I will never forget and will truly cherish for the rest of my life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Satisfaction

    10

Reallyreally long review about a reallyreallyreally awesome place

Mongolia is a place I never thought I would travel to, and it’s also a place where I had the single best experience of my life. For a month in the summer of 2014, I was able to travel across one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, from the mountains to the steppe to the Gobi Desert. Along the way, I learned how to ride a horse and a camel, how to knit, how to play a song on the ukulele, how to speak some Mongolian, and how to communicate without language when attempts at using that Mongolian failed miserably. It sounds cliché, but I really did come home a different person, with a broader outlook on the world and a much better sense of independence.

Getting to know the city with my group helped us bond really quickly, and we all stayed super close throughout the trip. It was really cool to see how everyone accepted each other. We couldn’t have been more different, and it couldn’t have mattered less. The awesome thing about traveling with EIL is that I had the security of group leaders and friends around me without the trip feeling like a teen tour—we had freedom in a way other teen groups wouldn’t, like a weeklong homestay spent with just our host families and their herds.

The in-country staff in were friendly, funny, knowledgeable—basically just amazing. They set up language lessons, brought in performers to teach us throat singing and instrument playing, took us sightseeing around the city, helped us buy deels at the market, traveled with us as translators and guides, and gave honest information about the country that you can’t find in a tourist guidebook. Two Mongolian high school students traveled with us as well, and they became our best friends for the rest of the trip. It was really cool to learn about what high school was like for them compared to the US, and they helped us a lot when we struggled with the language.

My absolute favorite part of the trip was the horse trek from community service to the ger camp we were staying at for the night. Other awesome parts were painting a school alongside Mongolian students, taking an overnight train into the Gobi desert and exploring the monasteries and holy sites there, cooking with my host mother, and hiking up to places with the best views I’ve ever seen. Absolutely loved Mongolia, and I’d highly recommend the trip to anyone looking for an adventure!

Random disclaimer: If you wanna do EIL Mongolia, you have to be willing to do without running water whenever you leave the city, and that means the bushes might become your toilet and wet wipes will become your shower. It wasn’t a problem for anybody in my group and we all stayed clean and healthy, but it’s just something to be aware of in case that’s not your thing. Also, the diet in Mongolia is highly meat and dairy based, especially during the homestay. Again, just something to keep in mind for any vegetarians/vegans/dairy allergy people. Anyway, going to Mongolia was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I’m so so glad I got a chance to experience it.