Jesse Geary ’12 studied abroad in Mongolia, spending several months living in a yurt and herding goats and yaks.

“When you spend time in a setting where you don’t share a common language, everything is more difficult and communication is a struggle,” says Jesse. Being in that situation makes you aware of the things you can gain from people when they are speaking English and how much you can learn just by asking questions.”

Learning to overcome a language barrier wasn’t the only challenge Geary (Duluth, Minn.) faced while living in Mongolia. He was forced to adapt to living conditions that were a huge departure from the typical American lifestyle.

“I knew that if I was going to go abroad, I wanted it to be in a country where I couldn’t easily travel on my own,” Geary said. “I wanted to challenge myself in a new environment.”

Geary chose a program that allowed him to experience Mongolian culture in different ways through home stays in the capital city of Ulaanbataar and in the rural countryside. Geary also was able to complete an independent research project  about Mongolian agricultural practices through his program.

“I was really interested in how agriculture exists and people survive in different parts of the world,” Geary said. “Mongolia has a unique situation and there aren’t many places in the world that practice the type of herding that they do there. It’s very different from how we raise cattle and grow crops here in the U.S.”

October 20 2011

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