Monday, January 27, 2014

Students from Mongolia Experience American Culture Through Vol State

Mongolian exchange students and their professor, meet with Vol State President, Dr. Jerry Faulkner

One of the great things about Vol State is the opportunities that are available to students. We can travel abroad, connect with students from different cultures, through clubs like VISA, and meet students that are visiting campus from an exotic country, such as Mongolia.

Five students, Bulgansumiya Mungundul, Urtnasan Ariunbold, Naranbat Erdenetsogt, Narangarav Erdenechuluun, and Sosorburam Bayaraa, along with a faculty member Unur Sukhbaatar, have been visiting for the last two weeks. They are from the Institute of Finance and Economics (IFE) in the city of Ulaanbaatar. It's one of the largest higher education institutions in Mongolia, offering bachelor's and master's degree programs.

While visiting Tennessee, the group stayed with Vol State host families. The Mongolians have been introduced to not only American Culture,but also traditions in Nashville.

"We have visited the Country Music Hall of Fame,I thought that it was very pretty in Nashville,"said  Bulgansumiya Mungundul. "There is so much food to choose from, it's a lot on one plate," she said laughing.

The students were able to visit with several different clubs on campus

While attending Vol State, they were able to visit with different student organizations learning about each club's by-laws, policies, and the constitution for that club.

They learned about how Student Services here worked, versus how their campus operated in Mongolia.

"On our campus in Mongolia, we have similar buildings. We call a cafeteria,"The Canteen" and all of our services are in one building versus spread out," said student Narangarav.

When asked what they have enjoyed most about the trip thus far, each student simply replied "Our host families." It shows how important host families are for these international visits. It has been tough getting Vol State employees to host visitors. While it may be a mental hurdle to get over having strangers stay in your home, for those who have done it, there are many rewards, not the least of which is making new friends.

"We  have learned a lot about this country and the importance of family through our host families," said Urtnasan. "The unity and love that they have for their children is really amazing."

The group and I talked about all the "fun" places that they have visited. The went underground at Mammoth Cave National Park, rode go-carts, went bowling, and experienced American shopping malls.

"In Mongolia, we love American Music. We listen to a lot of Eminem, Lil Wayne, Miley Cyrus, and Rihanna. A lot of American Music is a big influence in our country," said Sosorburam Bayaraa.

The students say that they found a second family in their host families, and many friends here at Vol State. They returned to Mongolia last week.

-Tiffany Rivera

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