Mongolia

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad has been beyond incredible in making this the trip of a lifetime. I decided to go to Mongolia and live with nomads for a week out on the steppe. Although I did want to stay for longer, I am beyond thankful for the experience I was able to have. Being 16 years old- one of the youngest to go out onto the steppe, my family had reservations about how safe I would be. I went with a friend from the states, and Projects Abroad made sure that our accommodation was together. The whole time we were organizing it, it was very personalized and they made sure to follow up on even the smallest question or request. My organizer, Zulaa- picked us up at the airport and made sure to make our entry into Mongolia one to remember. She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met, and the most hospitable, generous, and caring. All the staff I met were genuinely concerned with our well being, and very open to suggestions, questions, and ideas. The company has wonderful roots in all nations where it offers projects. Their ability to connect with volunteers through wonderful staff make the experience very personal and memorable.
The nomad project is incredible- you are truly able to connect with yourself and experience a life which you would never be able to in the United States. Although for many it is tough to not bathe on the daily, eat a freshly slaughtered goat, and use the bathroom in the bushes, I thought that these events were what made the experience perfect. You must be open to change, new things, and positive to be able to survive out on the steppe- because after some time, you will realize that the everyday things we use are not really necessities. You are much more aware of what you have when you come back, and nothing should be truly taken for granted.
My nomadic family was beyond perfect. They had two children who were very close in age to my friend and I- which made every day so much fun. It was very easy to connect with them despite the language barrier. I got to experience things that I would never have been able to before, and became aware about the world and how not living the “American Dream” is not necessarily a bad thing. Please, if you are considering going to Mongolia- do it. It will a choice that you will not regret.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mongolia
Posted: Sep 7, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

I had the most fabulous time volunteering in Mongolia and immersing myself in a different culture. The three aspects of my trip, home stay, volunteering, and support from the Projects Abroad staff, were phenomenal and better than I could ever ask for. I had never gone abroad without my family before and was nervous about being in a foreign country alone. The staff working at projects abroad made sure I felt adjusted and comfortable in my new situation. Zulaa picked me up from the airport and drove me to my home stay. The next day she took me all around Ulaanbaatar, showing me where and which buses to take to get to work and downtown. She bought me a bus pass and SIM card as well as giving me a cultural introduction so I wouldn't accidentally offend someone. Her support didn't end with that first day. Throughout my trip she continued to check in with me and offer assistance whenever I needed it. She also organized events to bring all the volunteers together, whether it be volunteering adventures or cultural presentations. My home stay experience was one of the best parts of the trip. My family was welcoming and funny. The children spoke English and were able to bridge the gap between myself and their parents. I had my own room and lots of privacy while at the same time playing traditional Mongolian games and eating the delicious dinners they prepared for me. Whatever food I said I enjoyed they would put in their kitchen the next day and their generosity was unending. On my first weekend my host family took me on an amazing excursion to the Terelj National Park. I rode a camel and had a picnic in a meadow surrounded by cows. It was one of the best days of my life. The volunteering part of my trip was definitely the best part. I worked at an orphanage with infants and helped the nurses feed the children and bring them outside for a daily dose of sunshine. The orphanage didn't always have enough nurses so I would help out in various ways and sometimes take babies to the hospitals for check ups. The babies were all so cheerful even though their lives weren't privileged or what most would consider pleasant. Orphanage work was extremely hard but at the same time so fulfilling and life altering. I will never forget my experience with Projects Abroad and will always suggest it to people wanting to work abroad.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mongolia
Posted: Jul 14, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

It's wonderful to learn you had such a fulfilling experience - that's what we are all about! Your help was greatly appreciated by the nurses in the orphanages and even more so by the children and babies you cared for. Thank you for your trust and enthusiasm, we would love to have you back in another one of our projects!

Projects Abroad

Was truly an amazing and life-changing experience. I attended their High School Special for medicine. The vast amount of clinical experience I got was amazing, and something I could never have dreamed of in the states. My in-country pickup from airport was wonderful and comforting, and my accommodation at Zaya's Hostel was splendid. Staff are all very friendly and informative. Projects Abroad truly sells their programs for what they are. I highly recommend using them, and would definitely attend more of their projects!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mongolia
Posted: Jan 23, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

I went to Mongolia to participate in Projects Abroad’s International Medical Internship. While there, I volunteered at Shastin Central Hospital (Ulaanbaatar) in the general surgery department. I was only there for two weeks, but I had an incredible time. I was very impressed by Project Abroad’s comprehensive website and planning. They started emailing me months before I was to go abroad, welcoming me into their family and ensuring that they would take care of me. In addition, they answered any and all questions I had leading up to the trip. A couple months before your trip, Project Abroad assigns you an advisor in order to ensure that you have an appointed person to check up on you regularly and make sure you’re on top of your packing and applying for visas, if necessary.
Once I got to Mongolia, the local Project Abroad staff spoke very good English and gave us a quick orientation about the country’s history, culture, homestay, and placement. The local staff members even accompanied me to the hospital I was to volunteer at and introduced me to their contact. I was able to see surgeries up-close and learn directly from surgeons with decades of experience under their belt, which is something that has been hard to find in the U.S. Overall the support I received from the Project Abroad staff was excellent. They were very organized and on top of all the paperwork. However, it was important to keep an open mind and remain flexible regarding any last minute schedule changes. In fact, besides what time to show up to work at the hospital, we did not know what else would happen throughout the day, which was part of the fun.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mongolia
Posted: Jun 27, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
6

Concordia Volunteers

For my first volunteering project overseas I decided to go with Concordia as they seemed like a good organisation. I was not disappointed in choosing them; from the very beginning, before I even started the project they were on hand to answer any of my questions, which were many. They fully supported me before, during and even after I finished the volunteer project. This was great as I would join this project in the middle of my 10 month trip around Asia and I needed to know certain details before I left for my trip.

For the volunteer project itself, I went to Mongolia to help out at the farm at a local orphanage, we spent most of our days helping out at the eco-farm. I have to say it was one of the highlights of my 10 month travel. I made many friends which I still keep in contact with and even visited afterwards, and I felt like I actually did make a difference to the project. The highlight was planning and carrying out an activities day with the kids and just generally working on the farm.

I will definitely volunteer again in the future and when I do I will not hesitate to contact Concordia again.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mongolia
Posted: Apr 13, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
7

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was a great program, and I would highly recommend it especially for first time travelers and those that want to get credit at their university.

I had never traveled internationally, and Mongolia was a huge leap for me. Projects Abroad got me in their system quickly. After my first advisor was replaced (she was not that great), I had fantastic communication with them. My new advisor answered all my questions, no matter how ridiculous, and made sure that the in-country office was aware of my school forms that I needed to receive credit for my time abroad. My advisor even checked in with my by phone before my trip to make sure I had everything I needed.

Once I got to Mongolia, the in-country office made me feel welcomed and prepared for all that I was to experience, and their check-ins throughout my trip were really helpful. They made sure my placement organization and my host family were taking care of me, and that I was satisfied with how things were going.

One of my favorite parts of Projects Abroad is how well they connect volunteers with volunteers while in abroad. I quickly because a part of the community of volunteers living and working there, and this helped me immensely with my transition. It was great to have fellow English speakers to talk to and spend time with.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mongolia
Posted: Jan 5, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
8

Projects Abroad

I have just returned from my amazing Medical Mission trip to Mongolia and I would like to thank Projects Abroad. The trip was everything I hoped for, though a little surprising in some aspects, and your help enabling me to have this experience means a lot to me. From the very start, with my 36 hour “delay” and over night stay in Beijing, I knew this would be an interesting experience and a trip I would never forget.
Apparently Mongolia has certain wind drafts that make it difficult to land airplanes in the Chinggis Khan Airport, so flights from Beijing to Ulaan Baatar are frequently delayed. Fortunately for me, my flight originally scheduled for 7 am Saturday was delayed until 7pm the next day. This meant I was only a bus, airport train, and underground subway away from spending an entire day in Beijing. I was able to see the Temple of Heaven where emperors prayed each year to the heavens for a good harvest, Tiananmen Square , the Forbidden City, and the Lama Temple Buddhist Monastery…all without a visa for China. Having seen a city I never expected to visit on this trip, I was then ready to begin my two week mission in Mongolia.
I don’t really know how to start talking about Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia other than to say it was interesting. The first day I was there I saw Mercedes, Land Cruisers, BMW’s, Hummers, and Lexus cars that I never thought I would see in Mongolia, but the rundown, rusted apartment buildings the cars maneuvered through quickly assured me that I was indeed in the right place. However, the apartment I lived in was fairly nice and clean besides the fact it was on the 7th floor with no elevator and had some mold lining the stairway walls all the way up. I noticed this all my first day there and once I had a feeling of what the city looked like, I was ready to go to work in the hospitals.
With my previous experience I was able to help a lot, including removing sutures from a man’s eye. I was also able to observe many interesting things in various hospitals and clinics. To start, due to a lack of money, the Shastin’s State Hospital of Mongolia only has one Stryker drill for a neurosurgery department that has nearly ten surgeries every day. But as if this isn’t bad enough, the drill was broken. So the craniectomies I observed were either done with a hand saw, a hammer and chisel, or just cauterization through the skull. Once the surgeries were then completed, the skin flap was sutured closed directly over the brain tissue without a patch or other protective material. This is because a skull flap/patch costs about $800 in Mongolia, and the average annual salary is only about $1000. In addition to brain surgeries, I saw a tonsillectomy with only local anesthetic, many cholecystectomies, hernia repairs, heart surgery, vaginal births, a couple of c-section births, and a premature baby die helplessly on a table in front of me. I am very fortunate to have had so much experience at Little Co of Mary Hospital because that offered me many chances to make comparisons to western medicine/surgery that I would have otherwise been unaware of.
In addition to my medical work during the weeks, I went with several other volunteers and our supervisors to spend the night in a “ger” in the Terelj National Park on the weekend. The wide rivers, endless mountains, and actually fresh air (completely unlike Ulaan Baatar) was incredible and the whole trip would have been worth just going to this national park. We ate cooked beef with a nomad family for dinner in a ger, I got to ride a yak , and then at 4am the next morning me and another kid decided to climb on top of the biggest mountain for sunrise. We could see forever in every direction and after several hours of sitting on top, we returned to camp and then headed back to the city.
Overall, visiting both China and Mongolia made this an amazing trip and again I really want to thank you very much for helping me have this experience. I feel I have gained much insight into the ways of a completely different culture, lifestyle, and style of medicine very unlike our own, and I will carry this awareness forward with me as I embark on my life’s journey into the world of medicine.
Sincerely,
Alex Seyferth

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mongolia
Posted: Sep 30, 2009
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
8

Comments

I am Alex's mother. When he was in CHina, he and many other passengers were taken by Air CHina to a hotel in Beijing because of the flight delay. He did not have a visa. Although he had no choice in this, I do not want him to get into trouble for having been in China outside the airport without a visa.
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