Valerie Van Den Brule - General Business Projects in Mongolia
Mongolia is called 'the land without fences'. Now having been in Mongolia for more than four months I have to admit that this truly is the land without fences. After seeing so many things in this country, I can say that this is the first country I have been to where you can drive for hours and not see anybody. The only things you see are wild animals like gazelles, foxes, horses and camels. that don't belong to anyone.
In Mongolia I am doing my placement at Tavan Bogd, one of the biggest international companies in Mongolia. I have never had an experience like this before in my life. I am working in a position that you could only dream of getting in Europe if you had years of work experience. Not only is my placement itself amazing but so are the people I am working with. All Mongolian people are so friendly that I can call my co-workers colleagues and also my best friends.Mongolian people are very hospitable and it is normal that just after you meet someone new, you will be called their friend and that you will be invited to their home for dinner.
I arrived in Mongolia from Holland during Lunar New Year and Buddhism New Year, which is a three day holiday full of food and vodka. I was glad that I had this experience with my host family, as it was an excellent introduction to their culture. I also celebrated the New Year with Tugi, the Assistant Country Manager of Projects Abroad, who invited all the volunteers to his place to celebrate this important holiday.
In my opinion both the Mongolian people and their amazing country are beautiful. I am glad that I travelled a lot around the country and saw so many different aspects of Mongolia. Ulaanbaatar, the capital where I do my placement, is a crowded city full of cars which are honking all the time for no reason! Everywhere in the city are little restaurants and shops in places you would never expect, which makes Ulaanbaatar mysterious and attractive at the same time.
Travel just five minutes outside the capital and you are totally in the middle of nowhere. You meet the nomadic families who live in gers, the Mongolian tent. All the nomadic people I have met are so friendly and hospitable too, it is amazing. If we are driving in the countryside with Projects Abroad, it is normal that we stop at a nomad family's ger and have a drink or dinner with them; everybody is welcome.
I am glad that Projects Abroad found this perfect project for me and that I am able to see so many beautiful things in this country. Mongolia is a mysterious land full of beauty and without fences, and for me there is still so much to discover.
Valerie Van Den Brule
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 Programme Advisors.