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Home » Culture, Featured, Language, Preparation

Finding a Mongolian Tutor

Submitted by on August 3, 2010 – 12:15 am3 Comments

I am incredibly lucky that Arlington, VA has the second highest population of Mongolians in the country (after San Francisco), and they are primarily located in our general vicinity. There are so many Mongolians, in fact, that Mongolian is the third most spoken language in Arlington public schools, after English and Spanish. Random? Yes. Lucky for me? Incredibly so.

Language exchanges are one of the best ways to learn a language, because neither person can rely fully on a language they’re comfortable in. That balance between comfort and discomfort is a sweet spot when it comes to language acquisition, and I am really hoping to find a Mongolian family with children (or parents!) who need help with their English. I’m a certified TESOL teacher, and I am hoping to find someone who will tutor me in Mongolian in exchange for me tutoring them in English. Given the size of the Mongolian community around here, one would think that an easy task.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how to contact the community! There doesn’t seem to be much of a centralized Mongolian community (unlike the Vietnamese area near us), and so other than knowing that they are in our general area, I am not sure how to find the Mongolians here. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but my first attempt will be putting up fliers in local businesses.

This morning I slapped together a simple poster to place on notice boards around this area to advertise my search for a Mongolian tutor. It’s nothing fancy, but I didn’t want it to be. If you’re trying to attract the attention of someone whose grasp of English isn’t the best, it pays to be simple and to the point in your design. In this case, I took my rudimentary understanding of Mongolian grammar and added “Do you speak Mongolian?” in Mongolian as well as English (though it probably reads like a 5 year old wrote it), to help catch the attention of any Mongolians who might walk past it. I tried to keep my description as simple as possible as well, to avoid confusion. Here’s what it looks like:

Hopefully I will get a couple responses, and I can start learning Mongolian soon. There are extremely few resources available for learning Mongolian, and I really feel that I should take advantage of the local Mongolian population that is so conveniently right outside my door.


  • GK says:

    Is it your intention to be anonymous throughout this trip? There are lots of references to “me” which raise the question “who”?

    • admin says:

      It is not my intention, no. It’s something that has actually been mentioned by a couple folks, and I have realized that I forgot to actually include any information about myself on the pages about the project. We’re in the middle of a move right now, but in the next day or two, once things are more settled, I plan on rectifying that situation.

      For now, if you’d like to learn a bit more about me, I suggest checking out the “about” page on my personal blog, which you can find here.

  • I was a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Mongolia and I recommend you touch base with current PCVs serving there now. Search for “Peace Corps Mongolia M20” or “Peace Corps M21” on Facebook and it should give you a starting point for dozens of potential contacts in rural Mongolia. Here are a number of their blogs,mg I hope that helps.