Katrin Petrick is BOOKBRIDGE fellow in our learning center in Zuunkharaa, Mongolia. In this post she writes about her stay after she has arrived in Mongolia four weeks ago.
I recently found myself thanking my work colleague Tume with a ‘bayarlaa’ without further thinking. After four weeks in Zuunkharaa you find yourself in everyday situations and some do not even require the dictionary as a constant companion . When I arrived here at the end of August, Ganaa, Time and the director of the Children’s Palace picked me up from the Taxi and brought me to my apartment. Back then I had doubts that I will ever be able to understand the Mongolian language.
The first of September was a Monday. The start of a new school year for the mongolian students, the start of the week for all employees of the Children’s Palace and my start as Bookbridge Fellow. Ganaa had invited all employees to introduce themselves. Then they showed me their rooms and told me about their work.
The first week was very quiet because the school had just started and everything had to be worked out. Thus I had time to talk with Ganaa about her work for bookbridge, to discuss the english-courses, to sift the library and to gain an overview of the course materials.
Four times a week we offer English courses, from beginner to advanced. On three days we offer clubs like movie club or Speaking Club for the advanced groups. One day a week we have declared a library day, on which we sift, sort out and organize the books. There is a lot to do but it’s fun to work through the shelves. The first two courses on each day are often turbulent and exciting. The children, who are 7-12 years old, are always in a good mood and they have so much fun learning. They kind of absorbe the English language and at the same time provide me the Mongolian translation of it. We loosen the courses up through creative activities where all students work with a lot of heart. In September, we had autumn as a theme and decorated our room, in October it will probably be Halloween 🙂
In the afternoon we have more teenagers coming. They have more English skills and learning the language is just as much fun but in a different way. We can communicate in English and sometimes Ganaa leaves me the entire course , which is then often accompanied by gestures. The students never mind.
In October we have some exciting days ahead of us. Lisa from Bookbridge will be visiting the learning center, a new English teacher will observe our work because Ganaa is soon leaving and then there is also Halloween…