Where we work / Mongolia

Mongolia, referred to as the “Land of Eternally Blue Sky”

Mongolia

Mongolia is an Asian country that borders Russia and China and is home to just over 3 million people. It is often referred to as the “Land of Eternally Blue Sky” because it has, on average, 250 sunny days each year. Each year, our teams have the privilege of working both in the city and in more rural areas of Mongolia working alongside Mongolian colleagues and educating the country’s future leaders.

ELIC started sending teachers to Mongolia in 1990. In those early years it seemed that Mongolia was frozen in another era; the capital, Ulaanbaatar, had the look and feel of a 1950s European city. Since that time, changes have been fast and have affected virtually every area of life. The United Nations recently estimated that over the next five years Mongolia will have one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Join our Mongolia team in the privilege of having front-row seats as these monumental changes continue.

frequently asked

questions

Job description

Which city is the new role in?

ULAANBATAAR, DARKHAN

What's our history with this school?

In Mongolia, Pinnacle teachers are in eight schools.

New Era Laboratory School (NELS) is a select-entry state school in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Founded in November 2010 as a bilingual pilot school in Mongolia’s Education Master Plan 2006-2015, NELS provides an opportunity for students to sit for examinations and attain credit points that are recognized across the world. Along with the Mongolian government’s elite international scholarship scheme, such credentials support mobility among the world’s most competitive students.

Cambridge Assessment’s international branch, Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), oversees local adaptations of schemes of work that support learners to work towards learning objectives that reflect 21st-century skills and satisfy international standards. Supporting the internationalization of secondary school education in Mongolia, CIE study programs—assessed through coursework and outsourced examinations—encourage students to think globally

about considering their post-compulsory pathways. To date, CIE has brought its programs to a range of secondary schools within a total of 160 countries.

On the whole, New Era students aspire to undertake higher education degrees in the US, the UK, Canada, Korea, or Australia. Our school is dedicated to ‘bridging the gap’ between talented, highly motivated, and well-equipped Mongolian youth and leading education institutes lying beyond Mongolia’s borders.

The Mongolia-Cambridge schemes of work that guide classroom teaching at NELS support students to develop their sense of identity, study, and subject-specific skills and complementary knowledge bases in anticipation of them flourishing as responsible, confident, and successful 21st-century citizens. Successful completion of high school and gaining the opportunity to study abroad will support students to make significant contributions to Mongolian society upon their return. Students who remain in Mongolia for further studies will operate with the benefit of having been immersed in a Western pedagogical experience.

New Beginnings International Laboratory opened in 2011 with the first “foreign” teacher arriving in February of 2012. In 2014, students had the option to graduate at 11th grade (if they wish to study at a Mongolian University) or choose to continue in 12th grade (if they want to go to a university abroad). Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, 12th grade became compulsory for all students.

In 2019-2020 there were about 30 Mongolian teachers and two “foreign” teachers. Currently, in 2019-2020, there are about 30 Mongolian teachers and two “foreign” teachers.

For the Spring Semester of 2019-2020, all classes were taught online via Google Classroom and Zoom due to the government closing schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The schools that presently have EXCEL programs consist of two schools: a primary school – grades 1-5 and secondary schools – grades 6-12. EXCEL works with grades 5-12 teachers. Students begin learning English in 5th grade.

The Graduate University of Mongolia used to be part of the University of Humanities but has recently (since 2016) become its own institution. They are the first private research university in Mongolia, providing Master’s programs, Ph.D. programs, and additional Bachelor’s degrees. They moved to a brand-new building in fall 2017 near Sukhbaatar Square. Currently, there are about 80 students in the English Translation program.

Our company has been in Ulaanbaatar/Mongolia for over 30 years, but the academic year 17/18 was the first for the Graduate University of Mongolia. Hopefully, we will be there for years to come!

In October 2019, MNUMS- Darkhan-Uul Medical School celebrated its 50th anniversary. They have trained over 10,000 professionals in Mongolia. MNUMS, Darkhan, offers 22 post-graduate programs as well as 15 different graduate and undergraduate programs. Pre-med courses include Physician, Dentist, Doctor of Traditional Medicine, Bio-Medical Research, Pharmacology, Public Health Specialist. Bachelor programs include Nursing, Midwifery, Physical Therapy, Traditional Therapy, and 3-year courses for pharmacy/lab technicians.

The university has won numerous awards, including 2018 Best of the Best University in Darkhan-Uul province, 2018 Top Dormitory of Mongolia, 2017 Top Employer in Darkhan-Uul province, 2016 Top University in Darkhan-Uul province (by public opinion polls).

Students are provided an internet cafe, library, a skill lab center, gym, fitness center, and coffee shop. To develop talent, numerous clubs, art performances, sports competitions, and good deed campaigns are popular extracurricular activities.

The on-site dormitory has a capacity of 350 students. There are 1200 students and 100 instructors on staff. International relationships exist with Russia, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, France, Thailand, Singapore, and the USA.

There are 27 schools in Darkhan. EXCEL Workshops are taught in The Education and Cultural

Department, located in the governor’s building in New Darkhan. There is a new Foreign Language Specialist this year. Her name is Oyunbileg Shurentsetseg. The teachers in EXCEL teach grades 5-12. Students begin learning English in 5th grade.

In 2017, ELIC had a teacher teaching high school students English at the high school attached to the Mongolian University of Science and Technology. After the 2017-2018 school year, ELIC no longer held a teaching position at this school. However, we renewed our relationship in the 2020-2021 year. Our current students include the faculty and staff working to improve their Academic English for writing scientific papers. We may also be renewing our relationship with the attached high school and preparing high school students for TOEFL, IELTS, and/or other exams for higher education programs across the globe.

List duties and responsibilities of the role.

Examples:

Every teacher is responsible for creating their own courses. The school will give you a specific format for making your syllabus and course description. There is also a specific form that you have to fill out for every lesson plan. You will need to keep up with your attendance and grades. It is expected that teachers let students know their grades before taking their mid-term and final exams. If you catch a student cheating or plagiarizing, first you are to give them a zero and talk with them, then report them to student affairs. The dean of your department will explain more of the details.

Teachers will be expected to plan their lessons and terms, attend administrative meetings when requested, plan and communicate classroom rules and expectations to the students, substitute for fellow teachers when requested, and submit grades at the conclusion of each term. Teachers will also be asked to participate in school activities such as traditional celebrations, camps, school outings, and clubs. Teachers will be responsible for the Creation Book project (this usually happens at the end of the second term, in December). For this project, students must create some sort of creative writing piece, it can be a story or essay, or poem. This can be part of the class. Teachers will be a part of a Nairamdal project (this happens either in the fall or spring term). This is an English project that is presented at the Nairamdal camp. Teachers will be expected to grade the IGCSE MOCK exams in the wintertime. This is very important to the school but can be tedious.

Various Responsibilities include teaching strictly English classes to students, teaching Subject matter to students (some Foreign Teachers have taught Geography, History, Business Studies, Music, Math, and Physics), teaching English to Mongolian teachers, or any combination of the above. The SSP program was started in 2015-2016 and has used Foreign Teachers as the main Teachers.

You will be teaching Mongolian English teachers using the EXCEL program from English Language Institute Mongolia. Teaching includes one 2 hour weekly methodology workshop; a 40 minute English face-to-face time per week with each teacher; 5 classroom observations a year for each teacher; and 5 hours of homework each week for the teachings including Methodology Articles, Methodology Classroom Application, Listening, and Literature (2 books per year).

You may be teaching university students, university faculty and staff, or high school students. Generally, you will be teaching for 16 class hours. You will be responsible for no more than 3 lesson preps.

English areas of focus will generally include IELTS/TOEFL preparation, Speaking, Writing, Listening, and Reading.

Describe weekly work schedule and hours for the role?

Examples: 

Classes are held Monday through Friday. A semester is 16 weeks. Week 8 you give a mid-term exam during one of your class periods. Week 16 is only for giving final exams.

Currently, classes are in 90 minute blocks, twice a week. A full-time class load is 4 subjects per week at MIU. The language center, LEI, has a different schedule. A full-time teacher at LEI teaches 3 hours a day, Monday – Friday.

The school day runs each weekday from 07:30 to 16:30/17:00. Teachers are encouraged to be at school for as much of this time as possible but do have the freedom to come and go as they choose. The class schedule frequently changes throughout the year, mostly around term breaks, but manages to settle into somewhat of a routine as the year rolls on. In order not to miss class, teachers are advised to check the schedule daily. An average of 16 hours teaching a week. One to five classes a day. But, not teaching more than three different subjects. If there are schedule changes i.e. days off, classroom changes, changes in-class time, etc., the school must inform the teacher of schedule changes within a span of 72 hours. This is according to our contract. If the school does not inform our teachers of a schedule within 72 hours, we do not have to teach the said class. Unfortunately, our school often neglects this portion.

The EXCEL teacher and students usually determine their own students’ schedules workshops, face-to-face, and observation debriefs. The students sign up for their 5 observations.

During the academic year 17/18, our teachers taught 16 hours/week (1 teaching hour = 45 actual minutes), and 12 hours/week during the 18/19 and 19/20 school years. Classes are Monday–Thursday evenings, from 4-8:50 pm. Your classes may be scheduled anywhere within those time slots. Though students are in class on Saturdays, the contract states that our teachers will not teach on weekends. Occasionally, classes are held on Friday evenings. Our teachers are provided with office space (shared with Mongolian colleagues). Office hours vary according to teacher and student availability. Teachers are generally expected to attend any opening ceremonies, graduation, and other academic events. Though there are not many throughout the year, they often fall on the weekend. Other regular meetings are not expected nor required, although sometimes their presence is requested at parties, ceremonies, or special lectures. These activities are optional for company teachers.

In the Fall semester of 2019, a trial schedule was implemented consisting of 4-2kk cycles with the same group of students. Classes met for 90 minutes, 4 days per week. There were 4 cycles of students in the Fall semester and our teachers were paired with a Mongolian English teacher counterpart. Office hours were scheduled to meet the contract requirements. Additional translating services or tutoring sessions with the director, university staff, and faculty were scheduled on an individual basis or in small groups. English movie night was held twice per month. Students and staff were invited to participate in the extracurricular English Speaking Club at Mingo Coffee House on Wednesdays from 6-7 pm.

What class subjects will the teacher be teaching? Are there opportunities to teach something other than English?

The official textbooks for the school are often far above the language level of the students and can therefore be difficult to teach at times. So, it is advised not to get stressed over teaching everything in the book. Instead, work with the themes/ideas/lessons from these books and adjust them to the students’ needs as well as possible. Teachers have used other textbooks (from the organization’s office) to do this.

The administration often encourages teachers of upper-grade students to forgo the books entirely in favor of teaching to the Cambridge International Exams that the students take each year, often being asked to teach directly from past exams. This can be very frustrating from a Western pedagogical perspective but resisting these “suggestions” will not be looked upon favorably by the school. However, only 10th-grade students will focus on this. 11th-grade students will focus on IELTS and TOEFL preparation.

CIE/Cambridge Curriculum (Checkpoint, IGCSE, AS and A Level Subjects) and IELTS preparation classes. Students learn all subjects in Mongolian and choose which subjects to take in English when they get to 9th Grade. English classes and Math (in English) are mandatory for grades 9 through 11, all other Subjects in English are optional and must be chosen by the student. A TOEFL preparatory class is also offered.

In class, you may teach general English for writing, listening, reading, or speaking. There may also be interest from your students in preparing for the IELTS and TOEFL exams. The faculty and staff are very interested in working on their academic English for preparing white papers and other academic writing for the school.

How many students will the teacher have? How many different classes?

The contract with New Era International School allows for a total of 16 teaching hours per week. In your first semester of teaching, you are only allowed to teach 12 hours per week. This means that you will have 4 classes (26-27 students per class) in your first semester, and 5 classes (26-27 students per class) in your future semesters. 

What is the student demographic?

Students come from various countries including Mongolia, Korea, China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Russia, and Turkey. All classes are taught in English, so everyone at the school knows some English. Many content-area classes have a more advanced English vocabulary than the students are prepared for, so teachers need to plan accordingly. Your ELIM team can help with teaching techniques.

How much classroom prep time is required/expected each week?

The amount of prep is dependent on you. Your first semester will require a lot more since you will be completing a teaching mentoring program with Aleta. She will monitor and look at all of your lessons before you teach each lesson. I would say in your first semester to plan a lot of time for prep work, at least 15 hours a week. It depends on your style and if you are new to teaching or not. This part of teaching does become easier as you go. 

Will the teacher have an office on campus? Will the teacher be expected to hold office hours?

At New Era, yes, we do have an office at school. It is the English Department shared office. We each have our own desk and we work together with our Mongolian teachers. This is a place of community. We love to sit, work, and eat together in our office. Be prepared to share a lot of food here. Some office hours will be required so that you can be available for your students to come in and ask questions and also to allow you time to work with your co-teachers on projects etc.

At NBIL, teachers do not have private offices, but they have a desk in a common teacher’s room where most teachers work in between classes. Teachers will also have access to a cupboard that is adequate for storing personal belongings, school supplies, and books they wish to keep at school.

In Darkhan, a large private office space with 2 desks/chairs, whiteboards, a shelf unit, a conference table, and four chairs was provided for our teachers. Internet connection is fairly good in the office, but not in other locations on campus. It is a great space to have individual or small group interactions.

How many teachers are already placed at this school?

There are several teachers in Mongolia at different schools.

How will the new teacher engage with non-ELIC faculty & teachers at this school?

At New Era, we work side-by-side with our non-ELIC staff. Each of the ELIC teachers is paired with a Mongolian teacher as Co-teachers. For example, Amaraa is the Head of the English Department. She is currently over 7th, 11th, and 12th grade her ELIC co-teacher is Amber Dusenberry. The two of them talk about their classes that they share (11th, and 12th.) They discuss the strength, weaknesses, and lessons together. They are also supposed to take their final grades and average them together to find the students Final grades at the end of the semesters. (This does not always happen, but we are pushing for this to be consistent.)

What are the bare minimum degree requirements needed by a new teacher in this role?

A bachelor’s degree and Pinnacle LTO training is needed.

What are the ideal degree requirements needed by a new teacher in this role?

BA / TESOL / MA (Our school here loves ELIC teachers and prefers them over other candidates because ELIC does a great job preparing our teachers and ensuring that they are well equipped to teach.

What are the experience or resume qualifications needed by a new teacher in this role? Is prior teaching experience necessary?

No prior teaching experience is necessary, but it will be helpful. As long as you are teachable, this is a good place for you.

Are there age restrictions for a new teacher?

No, there aren’t any age restrictions. 

What will the new teacher learn after their first week in the classroom that will encourage them as they move forward?

The students want to get to know you. They will want to have lunch with you and be open with you. You will engage and meet some very sweet students. Keep pushing even on the hard days. 

What will the new teacher learn after their first week in the classroom that will be a challenge for them as they move forward?

It is important from the very beginning to set boundaries and clear expectations. If you do not do this your students will take advantage. If you do not follow through on your words they will learn that you can be a pushover. Be TRUE to your word. Be strict in the beginning so that you can loosen if needed later. This is often uncomfortable and unnatural but I promise you it is much easier to be strict and loosen later than to be loose and then try to gain control later.

Any additional helpful points of the job opening?

Many people who have worked at New Era say that they miss working with this set of Mongolian teachers. You will not find better support. They will love you unconditionally and are always eager to help. They will be your partners in all you do.

Your students will be a point of joy for you often. They will be sweet, thoughtful and make you laugh often. One of my students in online class once said “Sorry, I’m late teacher, my internet yeeted me out.” They will be eager to teach you all the slang, and just to talk with you.

Team Dynamics

What is the current team size and team demographic in Mongolia?

The UB team will have 6 people in the fall 2021. 1 family with a toddler (Seth, Amber, and Finn), 3 singles (Mary, Aleta, Natasha), and our Mongolian staff who we could not do without (Odko and Duma, and Orna) Odko and Duma have 2 children, one graduated and the other attends New Era. In Darkhan, we will have a team of 3 this year. 1 married couple (Beejay and Elise) and 1 single (Seth Hart).

Who are the current team leaders and/or what is the current leadership structure in Mongolia?

There are two city teams at the moment, Ulaanbaatars team leaders are currently Amber and Seth, and in Darkhan, we have Beejay and Elise.

Where are some of the team members from in the US or Canada? Hometowns? Alma maters?

In Ulaanbataar we have one Canadian and the rest are US locals. In Darkhan, they are currently all US citizens.

How often do you see your teammates each week in formal team meetings?

Generally, once a week for a team meeting.

What do formal team meetings entail? What's the takeaway? Why do you meet? What's the value of formal team time?

We aim to meet formally once a week, and we are hoping to implement one outing a month where we do something. Team meetings will include fellowship, eating, word study, maybe games, upholding, and just a time to connect and do heart checks.

How often do you see your teammates each week informally just for fun? And what do you do together?

This is dependent on how you see team. Our hope and what we encourage you to do is to invest in TEAM. My husband and I have an open door policy. WE ARE INTERRUPTABLE. If you are feeling lonely, or just want some company come over. TEAM doesn’t happen by accident. It takes each person being willing to enter into it. We love to eat, play games, watch TV, go on walks, or go to the mountain with our team.

Share a fun team story

I love going to the Mountain with the Team. We have a toddler boy and he splashed and got many of us wet as we were sitting and watching him play. We got to all sit by the river and laugh and eat together.

Share a challenging team story.

Team is beautiful, but team is hard at times. You don’t get to choose who your team is just like you don’t choose who your family is often. This year we were thrown onto a team in which we are all different. We all show and share love differently. Our Teammate Diana and I struggled to be honest. We were frustrated and had no idea how to love each other. This created some intense conflict on our team. At one point, I didn’t want anything to do with her. I didn’t like her. Yet, the father called us to work together. Through some lifting and seeking of advice, I realized…we were the same. Both of us were trying to love each other, and we just didn’t know how to love each other. We were both motivated by the same thing, and it just looked different. Once we took time to understand one another, which was not easy, we could love each other fully. Diana left and went back to Canada this year, and to be honest, I cried so hard. This woman I once didn’t like and struggled with had become so dear to my heart and my family. Stick it out with the team. It will not be easy, but if you work to understand one another, you will be thankful and may gain an amazing friend.

City & everyday life

How long have we been in Mongolia?

In 1990, ELIC signed an agreement with education officials in Mongolia to send the first team of four teachers to the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. This team was the first team of like-minded teachers to enter the country since the communist takeover in 1927, and perhaps in the 20th century.

What does housing look like in Mongolia? How far away are housing options from the school? From their teammates?

Apartments can be found close to the school. Most apartments come fully furnished, but cheaper apartments may have less. Heat, water, and electricity are public utilities provided in every apartment and checked each month. Internet is privately run, and the connection speed varies from company to company, but most are decently fast. Univision tends to be the best and most reliable ISP in the area around New Era, but it is also the most expensive.

Every apartment is provided with heat, water, and electricity. The heat is turned on from September 15th to May 15th. Some apartments have radiators that can be adjusted, but most do not. These utilities, including the internet, turn off from time to time throughout the year. Hot water is turned off for a few weeks in the summer to maintain the pipes. If any of these utilities go off for a period longer than a few hours, teachers are advised to call our local office so that the staff can contact the appropriate authorities. Most of these issues are solved quickly.

Teachers are responsible for cleaning their own apartments, but each apartment building has a janitor who cleans the halls, elevators, and stairwells. Dust is a huge problem year-round, so teachers are advised to sweep and mop frequently and wear house shoes when inside. Coal smoke and other hazardous fumes from ger fires are a problem in the winter, so teachers are advised to keep the apartment and office windows closed for the benefit of their health, even if it gets a little warm inside. When outside during the winter, it is advised that teachers wear protective respiratory gear.

What is the local currency in Mongolia? Do people typically carry cash? Credit cards?

The local currency is Tugriks. Many people still carry cash, but in most places card machines are available. Our teams have recommended Charles Schwab, as it seems to be widely accepted and has few ATM fees. 

How do people generally travel to their school? What is public transportation like in Mongolia?

In the city, you have several options for transportation. There are trolley buses, diesel-powered buses, microbuses (minivans), or taxis. The taxis range from actual metered taxis to a normal person stopping to give you a ride. Currently, one-way tickets for busses cost 500T (about 25 cents), trolleys cost 300T, and taxis charge about 1,000T per kilometer. If you get an “official” taxi, it usually costs 1,500T per kilometer.

What is Mongolia culturally known for? Where are fun spots to take new visitors?

Ulaanbaatar, or UB, is the hub of education, technology, industry, finance, and basically everything else in Mongolia. It is a spread-out city, and one of the coldest capitals in the world. Sixty percent of city residents live in poorer “ger” districts, which don’t have plumbing or paved roads. Homes in these areas are wooden, summer houses and the traditional felt tent, called a ger otherwise known as a “yurt” in English.

The economy of UB is constantly expanding, and there is a lot of wealth from mining flowing through the city. Numerous new buildings and roads are under construction, and the roads overflow with expensive vehicles such as Land Cruisers, Hummers, and Lexus. Mongolia imports almost everything, except for red meat, some root vegetables, wool, and cashmere. The capital city has expensive products from Japan, Europe, South Korea, and the US and cheaper products from China and Russia. Chinese foreign workers often complete the construction work. 

UB is rapidly becoming a very urban environment. There are plenty of tourist attractions like temples, museums, and monuments. There is a symphony and opera theatre with performances each week. There is also a drama theatre. There are several cinemas in the city that all play a variety of films, many from America subtitled in Mongolian. Restaurants are serving all sorts of cuisine, mostly Asian, but also German, British, French, American, Italian, and Indian. There are several foreign coffee shop chains. There are also English book stores, karaoke parlors, bowling alleys, gaming arcades, a ski resort, and a small amusement park. Your teammates, coworkers, and students will be happy to show you around.

What does shopping for food look like in Mongolia? Do people usually eat out? Cook for themselves? Share meals with teammates?

There are plenty of local stores near MIU. If you cannot find it in the neighborhood, it can be found at Narantuul Zakh (a.k.a. the Black Market), which isn’t too far from school.

Popular food includes buuz (mutton dumplings), hosher (fried mutton patties), and tsuivan (noodles with meat). Mutton, chicken, and beef are readily available. A few markets have hamburger. There are plenty of carrots, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, onions, apples, rice, eggs, milk, and yogurt. Near MIU, the Offitzer Market and Bayanzurkh Market have the best deals on meat and vegetables. In the summer, more fruit is available.

In Darkhan, There are plenty of restaurants, however not the variety that you find in UB. Some favorites are: B and Q, Chicken (Erdenes Plaza), Queen (at the bus stop across from Erdenes Plaza), Gagnaam Korean (2nd floor of Golden Rose), Hot Pot (at Erdenes Plaza), the Japanese restaurant (near BSB store), MBM Hotel (Old Darkhan) and Buddai Hotel (across from Darkhan Dept. Store).

Eating out is affordable but don’t expect the same service you are accustomed to. Meals arrive as they are ready, so someone in the group always gets served last! There’s no tipping expected, but you may decide to leave your change.

Usually, you will pay for your meal at the counter, not at the table. If you invite a Mongolian friend to a restaurant, unless you specify, they likely will expect you to pay the entire bill.

What do meals look like during school hours? Do teachers share meals with students?

Affordable meals can be purchased from the school cafeteria or teachers can bring their own. There are a few supermarkets in the area which carry a wide variety of local and foreign foods. There are also several restaurants in the area that serve Mongolian, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cuisines. The Mongolian English teachers like to bring their own food and all share their food for lunch. This is a great way to spend time with co-workers.

What local dish is Mongolia known for?

Popular food includes buuz (mutton dumplings), hosher (fried mutton patties), and tsuivan (noodles with meat). Mutton, chicken, and beef are readily available.

Does Mongolia have any western chain stores or restaurants?

Several import stores can be found in the city as well as items imported in some of the mini markets. Some of the specific import stores include Good Price, The American Store, World Market (2 different locations), Mercury, and Nomin. If you’re looking for something specific, just ask a teammate or coworker.

What's your favorite thing to do as a team in Mongolia? What do people do for fun or during downtime?

As a team, we love to eat and walk together. During the summer, we enjoy going to Bogd Khan Mountain on the city’s edge and having a picnic by the stream. The national park is another really fun destination to play at and walk the trails there. This is such a good time and really does create a fantastic atmosphere.

How do people exercise in Mongolia?

In the basement of the M building, there is an exercise room with equipment and there are many gyms/ fitness centers in the city with monthly membership fees. There are several museums in the area not too far from the school. There are also movie theatres within a short traveling distance and many coffee shops nearby. There is a park in the city where you can rent bicycles, and there are plentiful hiking opportunities on the weekends. Students love doing things together, and sometimes they will even plan it!

There is a gym at the school which is used frequently. The teachers reserve the gym after school on Wednesdays for working out and friendly competition. There are also private gyms in the area that have cardiovascular machines, weight machines, and free weights. Some nicer gyms also have changing areas and showers.

If teachers wish to venture outside of the neighborhood, there are four cinemas in the city, plenty of mountains to hike, two national parks within two hours driving, natatoriums, bowling alleys, a ski resort, karaoke parlors, gaming arcades, many museums, a symphony and opera house with performances each week, a drama theater, and even a small amusement park just south of the main square.

In Darkhan, Fun things around town: shopping (I call it treasure hunting…you never know what you will find); walking in the large children’s park; amusement park (summer only), movie theater; meet friends at a coffee shop (Mingo, Joy, and Caffe Bene are best); cross the bridge between Old/New Darkhan; ride a bike (if you decide to purchase one); visit the horse statue; take pictures around town; play table tennis, volleyball, basketball, or learn archery in the park (you’ll have to make friends with the archery guys!).

How do people spend their weekends? Are there cities nearby that people typically visit for a weekend away?

There are quite a few options of weekend activities to choose from in UB. Often, people will meet friends at coffee shops, go to the movies, go shopping, etc. There are hiking options available for the more mild seasons. Terelj is a typical weekend getaway with some fun touristy stops and beautiful hiking trails or picnic spots. There are many school events and extracurricular activities to participate in.

The school has multiple clubs, including a debate club. In 2015, some of the Mongolian teachers were talking about joining Toastmasters. There is talk from the headmaster about having the English Department head up a drama project for the 2016-2017 year. This never happened.

For holidays (Teacher’s Day, Women’s Day, etc.), it is not uncommon to have a Staff Party. This generally involves dressing up, going to a hotel, eating a course meal, dancing, and performing. Staff share the expenses (generally 40-60,000 MNT each). Our school does not have its own gym, so our students must go to New Era and use their gym. There is usually a staff sports night once per week, but in 2015-2016 the night was Friday which conflicted with Team Meeting. We are not really sure if and when sports night is now. One of the cinemas (Urgoo Cinema) is nearby. There are three Urgoo cinemas in UB. There are many coffee shops in the immediate area. Three Café Benes, three Tom-n-Toms, one Papamingo, and two Jur Ur. Jur Ur is next to Urgoo 1 and the other is near the ELIM Office. There is also a Tous Le Jours on Seoul Street. There are multiple fitness centers near the school and close to our apartments. During the winter, several outdoor basketball courts are changed into ice-skating rinks.

What's your favorite coffee shop and/or restaurant in Mongolia? Why?

My favorite coffee shop is Tasty Bite. It is located directly in the Golomt apartments we live in, and my dear friend runs and owns it. This is a quiet place often. It isn’t crazy busy and it allows me to work in peace. It has amazing cakes that my friend, Dari, makes by hand. You will not find a better staff. Dari and Molo are sisters and Nara is their cousin. All three are sweet and welcoming. Dari and Molo do speak English but will encourage you in your Mongolian, and correct and challenge you if you desire. I cannot recommend this place enough!

What will a new teacher be surprised to have learned after their first 60 days in Mongolia?

I think you will be surprised at how much cement there is. It is an incredibly Modern city and you can find almost anything with a bit of digging. People are often surprised by how modern or Westernized Mongolia is, especially in the city.

Any additional helpful points for Mongolia?

It isn’t hard to make friends in this city. People want to practice their English, and if you are open and willing they will easily become close friends with you. If you are a family with children making friends in the city is even easier. Your apartment will be a place of friendship and laughter easily. You will be amazed at how well other children will love and look after your littles. Mongolians care deeply and you will feel this.

Family & growth

How do people generally work with Member Care Specialists in Mongolia?

Mary Brandenberger is the primary member care specialist in our city. She has member care meetings with people primarily in the fall and spring. However, she is also available anytime someone might feel the need to talk.

What does ongoing personal/spiritual development look like in Mongolia?

There are a variety of local fellowships to attend. Antioch is where most teachers choose to get involved right now. Everything is translated into English. There are various small groups to join and other ways to help serve the community as well. It is generally pretty easy to get involved because most people have a conversational level of English.

What does ongoing professional development look like?

Most of the people I’m aware of pursuing higher education have taken online classes through various online universities.

Are any current teachers in Mongolia continuing their education through our various MA opportunities? If so, what degree(s) are they pursuing?

Right now, no, but team members are looking into continuing education, and it has been done before.

Is language study available in Mongolia? If so, what does that process look like for new teachers?

Yes, language study is available. There are two main teachers that ELIC teachers have learned from in the past, Orna and Oyunaa. Orna works in the ELIM office. Orna primarily teaches the beginners class. Oyunaa is a close friend to some ELIC teachers. She usually teaches those who wish to continue studying more. Both are very flexible and willing to work with a variety of teaching schedules. It’s often the case that you are in a class with only fellow ELIC teachers or one-on-one instruction.