Individual Photo for Class

I recently returned from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia where I worked as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in a vocational school. A freelance travel writer, photographer, and international reporter, I continue to publish my work on Mongolia in a wide range of publications. Currently, I’m focusing my efforts on my Kickstarter campaign and am taking a hiatus from my usual posts.

How and why did you go to Mongolia to teach English?

I first visited Mongolia two years ago with a study abroad program run by the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. With the Pacific Rim Travel Program, more commonly known as “Pac Rim,” I traveled to seven Asian countries over nine months. As a fifth year senior majoring in International Political Economy, I took a year’s worth of academic courses ranging from Business Marketing in Vietnam to Biodiversity in Malaysia. On Pac Rim our group was in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital, for a month and a half studying Buddhism.

It was really only during our group’s visits to the countryside that I fell in love with Mongolia. After all, most people don’t really travel here for the city life––although it’s quickly developing! The immense landscapes and warm people left a deep and lasting impression on me. Our group had the amazing opportunities to travel to the Gobi desert, see the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire, and visit with nomads on the steppe. Riding half-wild horses, wrestling, and drinking fermented mare’s milk with herdsmen were some of my favorite moments from the entire year of traveling in Asia.

Mongolia called to me and shortly after returning to the US, I began to search for viable ways to head back to “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky.” A former professor encouraged me to apply to the Fulbright Program. During the lengthy application process I worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Seattle. I served East African and Southeast Asian refugee communities as a youth tutor and classroom aide, gaining valuable teaching experience in an ESL environment. In May 2013, to my great surprise, I was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship.

16 responses to “About”

  1. Sreejith Nair says :

    Hello, Great to find your blog while searching Mongolia in wordpress.

    There is not much information or blogs from this remote but beautiful country.

    Thanks a lot for sharing all these stories here.

    Have a great time.

    • petersponderings says :

      Hi Sreejith,

      Great to hear from you! Glad you’re enjoying my posts! There’s not a lot about Mongolia out there – it’s true!

      What would you like to learn more about specifically? Do you have plans to come here?



      • Sreejith Nair says :

        Hello Peter, Thanks a lot for pinging me back 🙂

        I don’t have any immediate travel plans to Mongolia but I am really interested to learn about the culture and interesting places there.
        I used to watch documentaries on Mongolia in Discovery and NGC and it’s really a beautiful place.

        Hope to see more stories from the land of Chinggis Khan through your blog.

        Have a great time 🙂

      • petersponderings says :

        Hi Sreejith,

        It’s a beautiful place! There will be plenty more posts to come.

        Thanks and all the best to you!


  2. Book Worm says :

    Great blog. Mongolia is one of the few countries that is quite mysterious to outsiders.Great to get a insiders perspective on this fascinating country.

  3. Surya Bhattacharya says :

    Till a few months ago I wondered if Mongolia was an urban legend. No one I knew I had ever been there (finally met one person). Saw your post on GoNomad. Loved it so much I had to drop by and say hi. I do hope I get to go there someday.
    The live animal sacrifice would have freaked me out I think though!

    • petersponderings says :

      Hi Surya,

      Thanks for dropping me a line! Really glad you enjoyed the post on GoNomad! Hope to write some more for them. I would highly encourage you to visit Mongolia. It’s a really special place!

      By the way, the goat wasn’t in much pain at all — thankfully! But, yes there are LOTS of surprises here! Wasn’t expecting that!

      All the best,


  4. omi says :

    My name is Omi Vaidya. I shot a movie in Mongolia and we are now releasing it. We wanted to get real Mongolians and Mongolia lovers to watch our film and writes posts and reviews on their blogs and websites to help us get the word out.

    Would you be interested in watching our film? I can send you a screening copy.
    It’s quite fun and is shot all over Mongolia.


    Thanks and hope to hear from you soon

    • petersponderings says :

      Hi Omi,

      Thanks for visiting my blog! I’d LOVE to watch the video and it’d be my pleasure to provide feedback. Looks fascinating!

      I’ve wrestled many a Mongolian (and have been taught a few lessons in the process). I actually attended the national Naadam wrestling tournament last week too!

      Please contact me at pjbitt21@gmail.com to send me a screening copy.



  5. Noelia says :

    Hi Peter,

    I am considering to move to Mongolia in September and I was wondering if maybe you will be available to talk a little bit.

    Congratulations for this wonderful blog and thank you!


    • petersponderings says :

      Hi Noelia,

      Great to hear from you! I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have! That’s so exciting!

      I’ll respond to you directly via email. Talk to you soon!


  6. Sikandar Hasnain says :


    As a regular listener of voice of mangolia. I just listened to your interview on Voice of Mangolia on 28th October, it was really interesting. After listening the interview i searched your blog, its such a nice place to read and view so much about this beautiful and interesting place known as Mangolia.

    Thanks for your efforts in bringing forth so much about Mangolia.


  7. Bayar says :

    Hello Peter,

    It was great to read your printed article about your teaching and living experience in Ulaanbaatar on arches magazine summer 2014 issue. Also really enjoyed your blog posts and all that efforts, through which you are helping out prospective tourists and volunteers of Mongolia.

    Bayar from Seattle, WA

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