In Peace Corps Mongolia, Summer is the season of new volunteers. M27, the 27th group of volunteers to come to Mongolia, arrived at the end of May to begin their 10 weeks of Pre-Service Training. They learn the language, have technical training sessions, and practice teaching Mongolian students.
Two weeks before they arrived, the resource volunteers and Mongolian trainers went through their own training in Darkhan. We TEFL trainers spent those 2 weeks preparing lesson plans, learning how to support trainees, and helping the new Mongolian trainers get used to working with and teaching Americans. Oh, and eating. So much eating. Breakfast was served by the hotel we were staying in, we had a morning tea break (consisting of sweets), 90 minutes for lunch, an afternoon tea break (usually lighter and sometimes with fruit), and then dinner. I had not eaten so much, so often since I came to Mongolia.
There were 6 training sites this summer. Less than last year because there is only one sector (TEFL) as opposed to the three we had last year (TEFL, Health, CYD). I was placed as the Resource Volunteer for Sukhbaatar bagh 1. Sukhbaatar is the provincial center for Selenge aimag and consists of (I believe) 6 administrative subdivisions called baghs. Bagh 1 goes by the name Korpus. Along with one Mongolian Language Trainer who calls Korpus home, I also worked with another Mongolian Language Trainer from Khuvsgul, and a TEFL Technical Trainer from Erdenet. I was the Resource Volunteer for the first half, until July 3rd. We started with 7 trainees, gained one (for a week), then that one went home and another transferred to our site shortly before I left.
Overall, I’d say M27 is a pretty good group. My trainees were a wonderful group and I feel very lucky to have worked with them. They are now all their permanent sites for their 2 year service. Good luck, guys!