Volunteer Review: Sophia D., Care & Community in Mongolia
I undertook the incredible challenge of traveling to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia to take part in Projects Abroad’s High School Special programme. Being only 16, this was the first time I’d ever traveled abroad alone and I was undoubtedly quite nervous. However, I didn’t have to be as the whole project was very well organized and I felt supported throughout my time in Mongolia. I arrived at the airport and was immediately greeted by a Projects Abroad supervisor as well as the other high school volunteers. The arrival process and transfer to our hotel was very quick, allowing us time to rest before starting our first day on the project.
My Care Project
I joined the Care & Community Project so my time was split between organizing activities for the children and then helping to build the foundation of their new school room next door.
All of the children on my placement were so friendly and eager to learn so it was a pleasure to play games and teach them English songs every day. Furthermore, as a volunteer, I received a lot of support from my project supervisor on what type of activities I could plan and where to find any resources that I needed.
Another aspect of the Care Project was to assist the English teacher in delivering his lessons to some of the older children. This was one of my favorite aspects of the project as it allowed me to use my skills as a native English speaker to help the students with their pronunciation. I was also able to give one-on-one support to any children who were struggling, allowing the main teacher to focus on teaching the rest of the class.
In addition, I also got to build the foundations of the adjacent school room which, despite being incredibly tiring, was also very rewarding. I loved how our hard work on the project was going to leave a long-lasting impact on the children at the placement.
Our weekend activities
It wasn’t all work, as over the weekends, our supervisors organized many trips and activities to introduce us to the beauty of Mongolia. They taught us about the history of this great nation. Some of the highlights included visiting the Chinggis Khan memorial and the beautiful Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, as well as trips to various museums, cultural concerts and a brilliant night of karaoke.
Food in Mongolia
Prior to coming on this trip, one of my biggest concerns was the type of food we would be eating because as a vegan, I was worried that this may be difficult to cater for. However, I was really grateful with how helpful all the staff was as they found many restaurants which served amazing food that I could eat.
I highly recommend going on the Care & Community Project to Mongolia as it will open your eyes to a different culture and way of life. It will also allow you to experience the joy of helping others. The High School Special is especially good for meeting other like-minded people whom you definitely will stay in contact with after the trip.
I’m incredibly grateful for everything Projects Abroad did for me and for the life-changing experience they provided.
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Program Advisors.