For the second year in a row, our learning centers in Arvaikheer and Chinggis (Mongolia) organized an English Festival and weekend camp for their students. This year’s festival, sponsored by the Arvaikheer Government and BOOKBRIDGE parents, took place in Khentii aimag center and included over 70 student participants. In collaboration with Peace Corps Mongolia volunteers, the two learning centers sought to bring students together in the spirit of friendship, teamwork and positive sportsmanship.
The opening day began with a 60-minute English paper test for 5th to 12th graders. Peace Corps Volunteers from Arvaikheer – Jenni Myung, Anna Buchanon, and Perrin Krisko – designed the tests to focus on critical thinking, creativity and utilization of grammar rather than identifying isolated grammar patterns, common in today’s scholastic tests. The tests were printed by the two Head of Learning Centers, Uuganaa Gantumug and Anhiluun Davaa, but administered by volunteers. While the tests were being graded by the Arvaikheer PCVs, the students relocated to Chinggis Hot’s 2nd School for the Opening Ceremonies.
Renchinbyamba, a 12th grader from Arvaikheer, did a short presentation about international football, and then joined his peers for an acapella rendition of Pharrell’s “Happy”. Students then split into multi-age groups and participated in a rotation of five competitive and fun English games led by the Khentii Peace Corps Volunteers. After the award ceremony, all the students went out to dinner together.
The second day began with a casual game of volleyball and basketball at the Temujin School Gym. After lunch, the students returned to the school to review the English test and go over corrections with the Arvaikheer volunteers. They gave feedback on the test and volunteers gave explanations on any difficult sections. Students were very satisfied with the discussion and even went so far as sharing and peer-grading versions of the test later with their classmates who hadn’t attended the trip. After the test corrections, students came together in the school’s auditorium to watch Harry Potter: The Sorcerer’s Stone. The movie was played in English with English subtitles. In the evening, Uuganaa and Ankhiluun led a workshop about leadership and opened up the space to have students reflect and share their thoughts about the weekend.
In short, the exchange weekend was a great opportunity for both Arvaikheer and Chinggis BOOKBRIDGE students to continue their English studies as well as encourage community across aimags.