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Trying to find a deeper connection - A post by Hillarie

Volunteering in northern Mongolia

Four years ago when we traveled to Ecuador we discovered that volunteering while traveling can help to create a deeper and more meaningful travel experience. When we were planning this trip we wanted to volunteer again to add some variety and hopefully depth to our 6 months away. The trick is to find the "right" volunteer experience. Volun-tourism is super popular but not all volunteer experiences are created equal. Our criteria for a volunteer experience is to work with a local organization whose projects are relevant and supported by local communities.

This time around we truly lucked out!! Dennis scoped out a project with an organization called BioRegions International (http://bioregions.org/). Our volunteer role during the month would be focused on scoping out areas of collaboration within fisheries (Taimen conservation and freshwater fish), tourism and parks, youth environmental education, and teaching English.

The projects that we would be working on were centered in the remote Darhad Valley. We traveled with an amazing group of people from Mongolia who provided us with logistical support. More importantly, they provided us with friendship, fun, and amazing adventure.


During the month in Mongolia we spent the majority of our time in the remote Darhad Valley. Dennis and the Bioregions team met with rural residents, school eco-clubs, community officials, Park Rangers, government officials and politicians to discuss tourism and parks, youth environmental education and fisheries conservation.


I (Hillarie) conducted an informal assessment of the English language capacity of high school English teachers in the region. Zach, Max and I also visited numerous classrooms and did presentations to the school kids on Canada and our way of life. We also conducted spontaneous English classes where teachers and students could practice their speaking and listening skills.


The largely nomadic herding people living in these communities live within a spectacular world-class natural and cultural landscape. We are truly blessed to have been able to work with so many amazing people from Mongolia including our Mongolian team on the ground and appreciate the support from Bioregions and all its partners. We really look forward to sharing our experiences with our family and friends in Canada and hope to work in the Darhad Valley again.

Posted by fishonyukon 01:32 Archived in Mongolia

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