Examine Mongolia's search for balance between environmental conservation and natural resource development.
- Live in a ger with a nomadic herding family on the steppes of Mongolia.
- Experience some of the most pristine natural environments in the world.
- Learn to ride a horse and use horses for transportation.
- Learn Mongolian.
- Visit sacred sites in Kharkhorin, the ancient Mongolian capital, and East Gobi.
- Conduct independent research or complete an internship.
- Discuss current issues with members of Mongolia's Parliament.
Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website for details on program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.
During the final four weeks of the program, you can choose to use your new language and cultural skills and the academic knowledge you have acquired to complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) on a topic of interest to you or complete an Internship with a local community organization, research organization, business, government agency, or international NGO
Student ISPs on this program have been many and varied over the years, including those based on arts practica and the social sciences. In the social sciences, students have produced high quality works on topics including:
- Nomadic organization in transition
- Cashmere trade and cultural interaction with China and Siberia
- Buddhist painting, sculpture, and architecture
- Environmental impacts of mining
- Symbols of collectivism and pastoralism in daily life
- Cultural perceptions of Mongolian medicinal plants
SIT internships are hands on and reflective. In addition to completing the internship, you will submit a paper processing your learning experience on the job and analyzing an issue important to the organization you worked with, and/or you will design a socially responsible solution to a problem identified by the organization.
The Mongolia program offers a wide variety of internship opportunities focused on geopolitics, civil society, environmental and natural sciences, or humanities through its longstanding network of government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private businesses.
Sample internship sites:
- Providing children with food, healthcare, clothing, and accommodation, as well as education, counseling, and support to help them break free of the cycle of poverty at Lotus Children's Centre
- Supporting Nutag Partners' consultation services in rural development, risk management, natural resource management, land use and livestock management, alternative livelihoods, development of community-based organizations, and social impact assessments
- Promoting socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth at the Global Green Growth Institute
- Working at the Mongolian University of Life Sciences, a research-oriented university focusing on veterinary medicine, animal science, biotechnology, agroecology, engineering, economics, and business
Key Topics of Study
- The search for balance between environmental conservation and natural resource development
- Rapid urbanization and the rise of urban consumption in the context of a dramatic influx of foreign direct investment
- History, traditions, and livelihood of Mongolia's nomadic communities and their challenges caused by Mongolia's political transformations, development policies, and climate change
- Socioeconomic transformations and political reform
- Mongolia's Third Neighbor Policy and diplomatic engagement with major global economies, including the US, and regional relations with China, Russia, and North Korea
- Mongolia's path to political and economic development
- Mongolia's development policies and its attempt to address issues of rapid urbanization and growth
- Diversification of national and local economies away from mining
- The international roots of Mongolian culture and similarities and differences between contemporary Russian, Chinese, and Central Asian cultures
Be sure to discuss how study abroad costs are handled at your school with your study abroad advisor.
SIT tuition and room and board fees include the following:
- All educational costs, including educational excursions
- All accommodations and meals for the full program duration
- Transportation to and from the airport, and on all educational excursions
- Health and accident insurance
- SIT awards nearly $1.6 million in scholarships and grants annually.
- All scholarships and grants are need-based.
- Awards generally range from $500 to $5,000.
- The SIT Pell Grant Match provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding when it is applied to an SIT Study Abroad semester program.
- Contact the financial aid and/or study abroad office(s) at your college or university to learn if your school’s scholarships and grants and federal and state aid programs can be applied to an SIT Study Abroad program.
Contact SIT Study Abroad
Culture and Development
Current Program Information
Mongolia is both protected and restricted by its dramatic physical environment, which includes the Gobi Desert as well as vast mountain and forest steppes. Landlocked between Siberia and northern China, much of this rugged nation remains largely isolated from global development efforts. Its essentially nomadic population continues to practice pastoralism, living in traditional ger, or felt tents, and moving constantly over an area twice the size of Texas.
In the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, home of the Academy of Sciences and local universities, you study strategies for development and efforts to balance open-door policies with those that focus on nationalism and the protection of indigenous cultural traditions. Field excursions to Mongolia's vast interior, including a homestay in a nomadic camp, give you a firsthand appreciation of the endangered way of life that many Mongolians are striving to protect. You can also view the country's transition from a centrally planned economy to a free-market system.