Program Details

Examine Mongolia’s search for balance between environmental conservation and natural resource development on the doorstep of China and Siberia.
Irkutsk, Russia; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Program Type:
Intern Abroad
Degree Level:
Fall Semester, Spring Semester
Work Types:
Sciences & Environment

Program Overview

Program Description:

Examine efforts to balance open-door investment policies and protection for indigenous cultures in Mongolia. Students have the chance to live alongside nomadic herding communities and experience some of the most pristine natural environments in the world. Balancing tradition and change It is a fascinating time to study Mongolia, a rapidly globalizing nation that became democratic and capitalistic after 1990. Landlocked between Siberia and northern China, much of this rugged nation is still largely isolated from global development and part of its population remains essentially nomadic, moving over an area twice the size of Texas. Mongolia is one of the only remaining pastoral cultures in the world. Students consider the major economic and political reforms Mongolia has undergone through democratization and how these processes have resulted in significant alterations in the livelihood of its people, particularly in rural areas. Students also discover Mongolia's rich cultural and artistic tradition, which reflects the unique philosophy and history of nomadic people closely attuned to the land, nature, and horses. Immersion in Mongolia's urban centers and rural communities The program is based in the city of Ulaanbaatar, home to nearly one half of Mongolia's population and the country's political, economic, and cultural center. Through the program's field excursions, students visit remote areas in the country's central and northern regions. Rural homestays in nomadic camps provide stark contrasts between Mongolia's urban and rural communities.

The program’s coursework provides an essential foundation in Mongolian language, history, and culture, from which to springboard into in-depth discussions of Mongolia’s most pressing development issues. Key issues of examination include: Mongolia’s nomadic and rural society; the country’s young market economy; systematizing social support and providing for those in need; and the strengthening of governmental structures and oversight. Coursework is based on SIT’s experiential, field-based program model.

Please inquire for costs: Fees include tuition, full room and board, all field trips and related fares, health and accident insurance, and other direct program expenses. Participants pay for international airfare and domestic travel to the point of departure from the USA.

For the last four weeks of this program, you can choose either to complete an Independent Study Project or an internship. For the internship, you will be placed with a local Mongolian organization where you will gain real work experience related to the program’s theme and develop professional skills you can use in your career.

Setting Description:
Visit Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia on an excursion.

Additional Program Information

Scholarships Description:
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