September 1, 2008

9/1/08 Leaving for Mongolia

For those of you following this blog, you know I just finished my 2-month bike tour across Canada but I'm leaving again. Through my volunteer work at Nalanda Monastery last year, I offered to volunteer to teach English for a year at a Buddhist center in Mongolia. So, I startt teaching next week. Most of my preparation and packing was done before I left for Canada, so now I'm just trying to relax, waiting to leave..

I am fortunate to have this opportunity to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) at Shedrup Ling, a Buddhist Center in Ulaanbaatar (pronounced oo-lon-bot-AR), the capital city of Mongolia. I leave for UB in a few days via a flight through Chicago and Seoul Korea.


The Shedrup Ling center offers classes in Buddhist teachings and meditation techniques to Ulaanbaatar residents and serves as the FPMT Mongolia (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition) headquarters for all of its projects throughout the country including the Dolma Ling Nunnery and the Dolma Ling Community Center. Shedrup is where I will live and tteach.


Within the center there are classrooms, the gompa (teaching and meditation room), a technology room used for translation of Buddhist texts and prayers into Mongolian, as well as accommodations for our teachers and western volunteer staff. The center is very busy with the Dharma program, the Publishing program and the English Language program and Shedrup Ling also has the Cafe which is open to the public 7 days a week.

Click picture to explore Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

English classes will start on 8th of September 2008, a week from today. I will teach three hours per day, two classes, five days in a week. My classes are scheduled to start at 4:30pm and end at 7:30pm. My five classes, three intermediate classes and two pre-intermediate classes, each will have about 20-25 students.

Besides my background in Mechanical Engineering and Physical Therapy, I now have a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certificate from Oxford Seminars.

Below are links to some Mongolia info sites plus a few blogs:

Links:

World Fact Book: Mongolia
World Atlas: Mongolia

Shedrup Ling Center is where they teach English
Dolma Ling Community Center: Soup kitchen and clinic
FPMT Mongolia website

In order to better understand what it's like living and working in Ulaanbaatar, I have been following a few blogs of Peace Corps Volunteers currently in Mongolia.

Blogs:

A Thousand Voices Talking Perfectly Loud
Cassandra is teaching English in high school
Roughing it in Mongolia
Emily is a community economic development volunteer
Cady and Peter in Mongolia
Peter is teaching English and Cady works in Economic Development
My Peace Corps Adventure
Robin works at the Aimag Children Center
Advance Humanity
Travis is a new Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia
And so it begins...
Trinh Thach is a new PCV too
Leslie & Nathan in Mongolia are new PCVs

Mongolia:

The Mongolia Messenger: Mongolia's First English Newspaper
UB Post: Independent Weekly News in English

Mongoluls.net: A passion for Mongolia
Mongolia FAQ: about Mongolia and Mongolians

Lingua Mongolia: promotes the study of the Mongolian language
Mongolian Language: Introduction & Tutorials
The FunkyMongolian: interactive Mongolian tutor
English-to-Mongolian online dictionary
Bolor Dictionary for Mongolian<->English