Internship feedback: Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar

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bc. Klára Kačenová, CTU Prague, year 4

Faculty civil enegineering
Field of study water management and water engineering
Field of internship Civil Engineering
Specialization of InternshipWater Engineering
Internship period (from - to) 20.7.2015 - 4.9.2015
Internship duration (weeks) 7
Transport (means, price) 22 567 CZK, 832 EUR
Insurance/Insurance company AIG
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) yes
Price of Visa 200 EUR
City of Internship Show city on map  Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar
Internship reference number MN-2015-0001CE-1

About the country

Location of the place

Mongolia is a big country, it's twenty times bigger then Czech Republic. The population is much more smaller, than in Czech republic - there live just 2,7 million of people. Much of Mongolian area is covered by grassy steppe, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south.

City

I was staying in Ulaanbaatar - it's a capital and the biggest city. There live half of the population. In the middle is center, where is everything what you need - shops, pubs, restaurants,.. The center is surround ger (yurts) districts.
The city is not nice. There is to much smog, so you need surgical mask very often.
There is public transportation - buses, its cost 500 mongolian tugrik per one ride. The buses are marked by numbers - every number is going different way, but nobody really knows where are going specific numbers of a buses - you have to ask people, if you find some, who can speak english, or you have to look around you when you are in different part of the city and then remember the numbers of the buses.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

You can visit Zaisan hill: http://www.mongoliatourism.org/travel-destinations/surrounding-ulaanbaatar/zaisan-memorial.html
Bogd Khan - it's a national park on south of UB. You can just choice which hill you like and go there. You can use the public transportation to go from the center of the city to south.
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Khövsgöl Nuur - it's a like on north of Mongolia. Some people say, that's a the most beautiful area in Mongolia.

Employer

Employer

School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Mongolian University of Science and Technology.
I had a supervisor, who was supposed to find some work for me. He didn't speak no english. He had an assistant - 20 years old student. She spoke a little bit of english, but it was really bad english.

Work description

1st week: I went to a city (600km away, 20 hours by bus there and back ), where I was supposed to take part in a meeting. When I came there, I figured out that people who should be there took a vacation, so I sleep over till next day and then I went home. Ofcourse I had to pay for my bus ticket and all expenses.
The rest of this weekend I had free time and I didn't work.
2nd week: I was working 2 days in a company. It wasn't a real work, I got some homework just like in school. The rest of this weekend I had free time and I didn't work.
3rd week: I was working 3 days in a company. I did work, that was one employee's job. The rest of this weekend I had free time and I didn't work.
4th - 7th weeks: I was supposed to work in school lab, but actually I was working there just 3 days. I made some measurement, but nobody was interested in the results. Rest of days I was waiting for a message if there is some work for me.
So I was working just 6 days.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

I got salary for 6 weeks (250$ per month) in a cash.

Language requirements

There are no many people, who can speak english. It's good, if you can speak a little bit of Russian, but people in Mongolia can speak usually just Mongolian.

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

I was staying in a student dormitory. I was living with a German girl, she was also IAESTE trainee. It was great. Bad thing about accomodation was that we didn't have any possibility to cook, there wasn't even any electric kettle. We cooked in the room of one Spanish guy, also IAESTE trainee. He had a cooker and some dishes, which lend him his supervisor. I can't imagine, what we would to do without this kind Spanish guy.

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organised events...)

In the airport picked-up me my supervIn the airport picked-up me my supervisor. I met the IAESTE guy just because I want. He really didn't care of us.
IAESTE Mongolia didn't provide any cultural/social programme for us.isor. I met the IAESTE guy

Meeting other foreign students

All trainees was staying in a same dormitory in Ulaanbaatar. There were two different trainees and they stay in different city. I met them just when they came to Ulaanbaatar of if I came to visit them.
If you want to meet foreign people, is good to go to couchsurfing meeting - it's every week and you can meet very interesting people. https://www.facebook.com/groups/125167860986887/

Sport and culture

You can use fit center in UB - but that's very expensive. You cannot run in the city, because there are no parks and there is too much smog, so you cannot breathe.
There is a cinema, where you can see movies in english with mongolian subtitles.

Food, local specialties

The Mongolian cuisine primarily consists of dairy products, meat, and animal fats. Use of vegetables and spices are limited.
The most common rural dish is cooked mutton, often without any other ingredients. In the city, every other local displays a sign saying "buuz". Those are steamed dumplings filled with meat. Other types of dumplings are boiled in water (bansh, manti), or deep fried in mutton fat (khuushuur). Other dishes combine the meat with rice or fresh noodles made into various stews (tsuivan, budaatai huurga) or noodle soups (guriltai shol).
This food you can find in a small bistro everywhere in UB. This bistro don't look very nice outside, but you can eat there very cheap.
In the city you can find many restaurants different kinds. (Indian, korean, chinese,...) but they are more expensive.

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

You can by "kewiko" wifi - so you can skype or anything you want.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

Don't have big expectation.
Always try to meet new people - go to the couchsurfing meeting, go there: https://www.facebook.com/Kevins-restaurant-pub-351007861689389/photos/
Try to go somewhere with anyone. The people there are very kind and nice - don't worry and travel with them anytime you will have a possibility. DON'T STAY IN ULAANBAATAR!

What not to forget with you

It's very useful to have a sleeping bag, a small tent, if you want to travel.

Benefits of the internship

There was no benefits of the internship

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

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Overall experience with IAESTE

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Student's website

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Employer's webiste

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Other useful links

https://www.facebook.com/Kevins-restaurant-pub-351007861689389/photos/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/125167860986887/

Other comments

It was great experience!I will never forget.Yes, the internship wasn't good,I didn't work,I didn't learn anything of my branch of study,but still I would go there again (and I will)
I learned a lot about Mongolia,about Asia - it's different world for us and it's really awesome.I spent lot of time with the others trainees from different countries and now I have friends from all over the world.
Of course,there ware good days and bad days,but if you will don't have big expectations, you will experience the best summer of your life.

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