Kirk Capron: Building friendships in Mongolia
Kirk Capron joined friends for a lunar New Year
celebration in Mongolia
'Once I got to know the people, that really opened up the country for me'
Studied abroad at: National University of Mongolia in Ulan Bator, Mongolia's capitol city of about 1 million residents
Academics: Studied Mongolian language while teaching English to university students.
Why Mongolia? When I was a child, I saw a documentary about Mongolia. One of my linguistics professors speaks Mongolian and had lots of interesting things to say about it. Also compared to, say, France it was considerably cheaper.
Native speakers in demand: It's really easy to get a job teaching English. Almost everyone who goes there who is a native speaker is a volunteer or involved in mining. They already have some sort of a job so they're not going to teach English.
Meet more globe-trotting students:
The importance of friends: Once I got to know the people that really opened up the country for me. I went with a friend to his family's house in the countryside for the lunar new year celebration. We went out to get some ice from a frozen lake. You look for ice that looks clean, jam some metal in there, put it in the back of the truck and take it home to boil it to drink the water or make soup.
Biggest adjustment: I stood out in the crowd; you kind of have to get used to all the staring. And on the ride from the airport I could kind of taste the metal in the air from pollution. Unfortunately, the city is basically in a bowl because of the mountains and they get all their power from coal.
Niche language: I see Mongolian as sort of a specialty language. If people need someone who speaks Mongolian, they have limited options.
He's going back: I'll graduate winter quarter and return to Mongolia in June. I think I'll go back to teaching English.