Once a great empire founded in the footsteps of Genghis Khan, Mongolia has been a formidable force in Central Asia ever since its unification nearly a millennium ago. Though its days as a powerful empire are long behind it, Mongolians today take pride in their complex history and shared cultural heritage. Embarking to study abroad in Mongolia will be an educative adventure amidst a rich nomadic culture in one of the planet’s most beautiful landscapes imaginable.
While it is the second largest landlocked country on the planet, Mongolia actually has a very sparse population of only 3 million citizens. Its landscape thus remains incredibly well-preserved; from the Gobi desert in the southeast to the mountainous terrain of the northwest, one could spend a lifetime exploring its vast and unsettled wilderness. Mongolia is also known as the “The Land of the Eternal Blue Sky” because it is sunny for nearly three-quarters of each year.
Ulaanbaatar, the country’s capital, is far and away the most popular destination where to study abroad in Mongolia. Ulaanbaatar is home to nearly half of Mongolia’s population, so unsurprisingly the majority of its universities are located here as well. Sitting in the heart of the country along the Tuul River, Ulaanbaatar is the cultural, economic, and political center of activity in Mongolia. It is also conveniently connected to the neighboring countries of China and Russia via the Trans-Siberian Railway.
The rest of the Mongolian landscape consists of fairly remote towns and smaller cities. If you study abroad in Mongolia as part of a program that moves around between different locations, then you may get to soak in some smaller destinations as part of your studies. However most traditional study abroad programs in Mongolia remain anchored in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.
Subjects & Courses
While Mongolia’s higher education system is not particularly extensive, there are a handful of major universities in Ulaanbaatar that continue to grow as the country places a major emphasis on education. If you plan to study abroad in Mongolia at a local university then your course enrollment options will be extensive; however as Mongolian is commonly the medium of education, you may be limited by what English-taught courses are available.
For this reason, enrolling in an international program designed specifically for foreign students is generally the more popular option by which to study abroad in Mongolia. These programs generally take place at smaller international or satellite schools, and often include the opportunity to engage in a variety of culturally immersive activities outside the classroom in addition to your studies.
While the course offerings may be more slim for this type of program, foreign students can benefit from the content being custom-tailored to an international audience (this can be very helpful for those who are not too familiar with Mongolian culture and history). Regardless of the program type, some popular courses among international students who study abroad in Mongolia include anthropology, ecology, sustainable development, and Asian studies.
Scholarships & Costs
Because it is largely rural and still has a developing economy, Mongolia is a fairly affordable destination where to study abroad. The local currency is the Tughrik, which exchanges at about 2,000 MNT to $1 USD. Because costs such as transportation and tuition can still mount up, you should also check out our Mongolian Scholarship Directory to learn about available financial aid opportunities in the country.
Accommodation & Visas
Homestays are generally the most popular form of accommodation while you study abroad in Mongolia, providing for a unique opportunity to immerse yourself fully in the local culture. Student dormitories or apartments are also sometimes made available, so weigh all the pros and cons before making your decision about what form of housing you’d like to apply for.
Whether or not you will need a visa to study abroad in Mongolia depends on factors such as your home nation and the duration of your stay in the country. Students of some countries will be allowed to stay in Mongolia for up to 90 days before having to apply for a visa, while others will need to obtain documentation prior to arrival. For more information regarding your individual circumstances, check out our Mongolian Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Road Less Travelled. Mongolia is not exactly the most popular study abroad destination in the world; choosing to embark on an educative adventure here will make for an entirely unique experience from many of your peers.
Adventure Travel. Mongolia is a huge and sparsely populated country, meaning that you will have an immense amount of territory to explore while you study abroad. The Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railways both connect the country extensively.
History. Because of its location dead in the heart of the Asian continent, Mongolia has an incredibly rich history of expansion, deflation, and cultural exchange. Come learn all about it.