Orgilmaa Doloonjin: ‘I genuinely dream of a more educated and civilized Mongolia.’
By ALLYSON SEABORN
Columnist Allyson Seaborn has an intimate series of questions she will be asking intriguing Mongolian nationals each week. This new feature exposes their passions and memories about the land of eternal blue skies and sheds light on their past and future hopes. We look forward to bringing you on a new journey of discovery and hope you enjoy reading what these unique individuals have to share with readers. This week our second installment features Orgilmaa Doloonjin.
Santis Educational Services was founded in 1999 as one of the first ESL institutions in Mongolia. It was initially a 100-percent American owned company, but in 2005 Mrs. Orgilmaa Doloonjin became the proud new owner. Santis has now grown from its humble beginnings of teaching English to a few hundred students, to teaching five additional foreign languages to thousands of new students. The National Chamber of Commerce of Mongolia has named Santis one of the top 150 firms in Mongolia for three years running. The company is on a mission to keep improving and is striving to become the best of the best.
-Where were you born and where did you grow up?
-I was born in Tsogttsetsii Soum in the South Gobi, just 17 kilometers away from where Tavan Tolgoi Coal mining is today. My hometown has been getting increasing attention lately due to the Tavan Tolgoi and Oyu Tolgoi projects, but it used to be a very small and peaceful community and that’s where I grew up in and spent most of my childhood. I grew up around animals, as my family had livestock. I loved riding horses. I only moved to the city (Ulaanbaatar) when I was eighteen to pursue a higher education.
-Describe your most vivid childhood memory.
-Since I was the youngest in my family, all of my siblings had left home by the time I finished high school. They had no intention of returning to our hometown, so I was left to take on their responsibilities to help my parents. However, I had always dreamed of travelling to the capital city of Ulaanbaatar to expand my horizons and learn new things, but when that bright day came and I left my soum to study in Ulaanbaatar, it was surprisingly difficult for me, as it felt to me like I was leaving my parents behind. Therefore, my original plan was to return to my parents and look after them as soon as I finished my studies in Ulaanbaatar.
All of this changed for me when I arrived in Ulaanbaatar and saw the Tuul River for the first time. As soon as I saw it, the first thought that came to my mind was to bring my parents and livestock here, where we could have convenient access to fresh water instead of getting our water supply from a well. Since getting water was one of the toughest jobs to do back home, it just occurred to me so clearly that we could all live here next to the river. This thought materialized several years later when my older brother brought my parents to Ulaanbaatar to live with us. Despite it being a naive idea at the time, this was the first realization that came to mind after I’d left my hometown and perhaps one of the most cherished memories of mine. I still remember how hard my heart was pounding with excitement and how every single dream I’ve dreamed in my life seemed possible and even probable at that spur of a moment.
-What do you like most about Mongolia today?
-What’s amazing and exciting about Mongolia today to me is that there are so many opportunities and choices available to us now. We are living at a time where Mongolia is at a position to become so great so fast, which makes it very interesting to live here. If we make the right choices and do the right things, I believe Mongolia can become one of the developed nations of the world and the quality of life for Mongolian people can be drastically improved – that is what I love most about today’s Mongolia.
-What do you miss most about the Mongolia of yesterday?
-The “Mongolia of Yesterday,” as you call it, is the Mongolia that I grew up in. It is and will always be a part of my life and it holds a very dear place in my heart and shaped who I am today. Having said that though, I’m truly happy to be in today’s Mongolia and I would never trade any of it with the Mongolia of yesterday.
-What’s your favorite holiday destination either overseas or within Mongolia?
-One of my passions in life is to travel around the world and I believe I’ve flown around the world at least 20 times. Although I haven’t gone to all the countries in the world, I have been to many of them and I have to say, there is no place like home. My favorite holiday scenario would be to be with my family or friends near the Tuul River on a warm summer’s day. There are so many luxurious and exotic places around the world that people visit for their holidays, but I find it that the more you travel, the more you realize that everything you’re looking for is right here at home. The most important thing you need to make every destination special, however, is family.
-Can you explain in English your favorite Mongolian expression or saying?
-There are many expressions and sayings that I equally like for different reasons, but one that is becoming my new favorite is, “The knowledge of a disciple is from the teacher, the light of a cresset is from the oil.” There are many new college graduates in Mongolia that are going out into the job market without having attained skills and knowledge that’s up to par with the rest of the world. With the current rise in the presence of foreign companies here in Mongolia, it is becoming more evident that we need to improve our educational system fundamentally, and this means essentially the same thing as improving the quality of our teachers. Surely, this saying has a broader application than just education or cresset, but the obvious example just happens to match what I believe to be an important aspect of our educational system that we tend to lack in.
-What hopes do you have for the future of Mongolia?
-Mongolia is attracting a lot of international attention like a magnet because of her natural resources. The mining and construction industries are driving the economy up at a speed faster than ever. There has been a lot of hope and faith placed on mining to save the country from poverty, improve the quality of life, and make every Mongolian wealthier in the future. I am one of those faithfuls, but apart from being a wealthier Mongolia, I genuinely dream of a more educated and civilized Mongolia. My business is focused on teaching languages and cultures and helping people reach their personal, educational, and business goals. That is why I genuinely hope for Mongolia not only to be wealthier, but also to be more educated and knowledgeable in the future. The world would then not only know us for our wealth and natural resources, but also our intelligence, knowledge, and culture.
-Who inspires you?
-I’ve been inspired by so many great people, but my greatest inspiration has always been my family and friends who always give me the support and motivation that I need in life to strive higher and dream even bigger. In addition, this is a very exciting time to be living in Mongolia and the possibility for so many great things happening in Mongolia and the fact that I could be a part of it inspires me every single day.
-What’s your favorite pastime?
-I used to collect books that I read when I was younger, but I have recently taken up hiking and cycling. Hiking and cycling have become my favorite pastime, because not only am I having fun, but also I am making an investment in my health each time I go on a hike or cycle. Staying active is difficult for people in my line of work, so I try to be active whenever I have time to do so. I also enjoy movie nights with my family, as well as shopping, as all women do.
-What do you find most intriguing about foreigners living in Mongolia?
-The only thing intriguing to me is that fact that there are far more foreigners living in Mongolia now that just a few years ago. I do not find the foreigners in Mongolia to be intriguing or unique, but I am fascinated to see how fast Mongolia is becoming globalized every single day. I realize that many people are concerned with having our culture and tradition diluted from globalization, but I see it as a healthy challenge for our people to preserve our language, culture, and tradition while moving forward with the times simultaneously.
Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=3280