Monday, July 30, 2012

NEWS: CSU Grad heads to Mongolia

Originally posted on Reporter Herald July 23, 2012
By Jessica Benes

CSU (Colorado State University) Grad heads to Mongolia. Loveland's Lisa Dompier will teach English at a university after earning a Fulbright scholarship.

LOVELAND, COLORADO, USA - Lisa Dompier of Loveland is about to spend 10 months in a place of tradition, with a strong sense of family, and a mixture of modern homes and nomadic gers. Mongolia is a land slowly modernizing after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Dompier has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to live for 10 months in the capital city, Ulanbataar (also spelled Ulan Bator), teaching English as an assistant at a university. She leaves Aug. 5.

Dompier met her Mongolian friends when she worked at Yellowstone Park two summers ago. Later, she looked for opportunities to go abroad and had the chance to spend 10 days in Mongolia as a pre-service teacher teaching English to adult students in 2011. That gave her just a taste of the country.

Lisa Dompier shows off souvenirs and photos from her last trip to Mongolia including a little box that looks like a ger.
"I loved it there," Dompier said. "It's such a beautiful country. The people I met were so warm and such kind people."

Dompier stayed with a family in the capital during her weeks in the country and taught an English conversation class made up of English students and adult professionals from the community.

The historical lifestyle of the Mongolian people was nomadic, Dompier said. People lived in a round, warm structure called a "ger." While many people now live in apartments or houses, there are still ger districts in the capital and country of Mongolia. The dwellings are constructed from wooden beams and a felt-like wool material.

She visited relatives of her friend and met the sheep that are one of the major products produced in Mongolia. She then watched two of the men with her buy a couple of sheep and load them into the back of their truck for breakfast the next morning.

"Coming from a city all my life, that was a different experience," Dompier said.

Dompier finished a degree in English Education from Colorado State University in May. She grew up in Loveland with her parents, Lynn and Wane, and two sisters, and went to Walt Clark Middle School, then Ridgeview Classical High School in Fort Collins.

When she found out there was a new English teaching assistantship through Fulbright in Mongolia for 10 months, she was excited to apply.

Dompier submitted her application in November 2011 for the scholarship. And then she waited. Twice as many students apply to Fulbright as get in, she said.

She was told in April that she had been awarded the grant.

"This is the language that's used internationally and it's an empowering thing for people to have access to," she said.

This time around, she will be an assistant and will be able to learn from the teacher and follow structured lessons.

The first time she was in Mongolia, she had to get used to the traditions. The men don't put their hats or belts on the floor. You enter a ger and go to the left. You never put trash in the fire in the center of the ger. The thing that struck her most about Mongolia is the connection to family. You respect the elder members of the family and use formal word conjugations.

"Meat is very important," Dompier said. "My friends would tease me for eating salad every day. 'Why are you eating those leaves'?"

Word List:
  • grad;: short form of "graduate", someone who has graduated from university
  • to head: to go in a particular direction
  • empowering: to give someone more control over their life or more power to do something