Backpacking in Asia has long been a favorite pastime of travelers worldwide. But what if you could do even more than soak up the culture and admire the breathtaking views? By volunteering in Mongolia, you will have the opportunity to give back to a community you’ll grow to love. Get to know the people and landscape of this beautiful nation between Russia and China, and gain lifelong memories and experiences. Even if you have just a few weeks to spare, volunteering in Mongolia will leave you changed for good.
Here are some of the things to know about Mongolia before you depart for your volunteer trip, and some of the projects that can connect you with profound opportunities to help!
What to Know Before You Volunteer in Mongolia
Mongolia is the 18th largest sovereign nation in the world, but it’s also the most sparsely populated. About 30% of the people here are nomadic or semi-nomadic and just over 750,000 Mongolians live in poor housing conditions. These factors provide a host of opportunities for foreign volunteers to provide much-needed hands-on aid. Many residents don’t have access to adequate sanitation, medical care, or a way to insulate themselves from the cold weather. Additionally, many children in Mongolia travel from rural communities to large cities in search of work. Without help from nonprofits and schools, these children can end up working in the black market and lacking access to basic care.
Volunteers in Mongolia can help in a wide array of areas. A lot of programs are ideal for young people, while others match professionals with a niche skill with the communities who most need them. By volunteering to teach English to young people, provide medical care to nomads and rural residents, and build homes for the impoverished, you can make a big impact in a small amount of time.
Mongolia has 250 days of sunshine each year, earning it the nickname “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky.” Still, you can expect to see extreme temperatures both hot and cold. If you volunteer in the summer, the average temperature in the capital city is in the 90s, and elsewhere temperatures top 100 degrees. In the winter, Mongolia sees low temperatures as frigid as -22 degrees. If you volunteer here in the winter, be prepared with plenty of layers and warm socks: your housing may have little insulation.
You may want to dedicate some time to sightseeing after your volunteer experience. With vast expanses of unfettered landscape, opportunities for exploration in the mountains and Gobi Desert abound. You may even be able to arrange the chance to stay with a nomadic tribe!
Recommended Volunteer Programs in Mongolia
Volunteering abroad is fulfilling – whether you want to help animals or teach in Mongolia, you’ll find it’s easiest to do so through a trusted international volunteer organization. Here are just a few of our favorite programs offering volunteer opportunities in Mongolia!
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Whether you’re looking to support communities in need, or seeking your next big adventure, Projects Abroad has the program for you in Mongolia.
Gain medical experience in a hospital in Mongolia
Learn how to diagnose and treat illnesses while shadowing doctors in departments like cardiology and neurology. You’ll gain insight into a developing country’s medical practices and see illnesses and treatments you’ve only read about in textbooks before. This internship is a great option if you want to see the day-to-day runnings of a hospital, especially if you’re considering a career in the medical field.
You’ll also be able to make a difference by participating in medical outreaches. This is important work, as many communities have little access to the basic medical care they need. Under supervision, you’ll help:
- Measure blood sugar
- Measure blood pressure
- Measure the height and weight of patients
- Distribute medication
- Keep accurate patient records
Experience an ancient way of life with a Mongolian nomad family
Picture yourself exploring open plains under endless blue skies, caring for livestock and horses, and living in a ger tent. If this sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, that’s because it is!
The nomadic way of life is becoming less common. This project is a way to experience it for yourself before it becomes even more rare. Nomad families in Mongolia travel with their livestock, looking for the best grazing land for their animals. They stay there until it’s time to move on. You’ll live with a nomad family, and assist with daily tasks like cooking meals, herding yaks or cattle, and milking cows.
In Mongolia, you can also work with children, do vital human rights research, gain experience at a law firm or learn different journalism techniques in a newsroom.
If you volunteer in Mongolia with Fronteering, you’ll not only get to experience the wide-open plains the country is so known for — you will participate in the preservation of the creatures who live there. As a part of the organization’s Wild Takhi Research project, you will join researchers in the Tov Province to collect data on the region’s precious Wild Takhi (otherwise known as Przewalski’s Horses). Be prepared to monitor the wild population’s habits and growth and help biologists study the related flora and fauna in the horses’ habitat.
You’ll also have the chance to ride horses and visit with Mongolian families during this experience!
Volunteering in Mongolia with Frontier offers the opportunity to give a hand up to the proud and beautiful people who live there. Frontier has three impactful volunteer programs for you to choose from. With the teaching project in Ulaanbaatar, you will go through an intensive language program and then teach English in local schools. The mobile clinic program is well suited to medical students and practitioners; you’ll go into rural communities two days a week to provide basic diagnosis and care. Frontier also has a home building project. In this program, you will get hands-on experience doing everything from painting walls to making bricks. You don’t need construction experience to help Frontier build homes — just show up with sunscreen and a good attitude.
Ready to Travel and Volunteer in Mongolia?
Ready to give back during your excursion to East Asia? Volunteering in Mongolia through these organizations means being connected to meaningful opportunities for helping the people and wildlife of this beautiful country. Apply for one of these volunteer opportunities today, and soon you’ll be on your way to a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Lara V. · Guest Writer
Lara V. is a guest writer for Volunteer Forever.