Sweet Smells of Summer

By Mary Beth Lott

Nineteen EXCEL students from Tov, Bayankhongher, and Dornod Aimags gathered in Ulaanbaatar for the month of July to participate in the 2006 Summer English Olympics.  Summer English Olympics is sponsored jointly by the Mongolian Ministry of Science, Technology, Education, and Culture and English Language Institute.

Each day the students prepared a personal interview and three-minute speech on topics such as:

What are Mongolian schools like?

What are the roles of men and women in Mongolia?

What is proper gift-giving etiquette in Mongolia?

The funniest thing that ever happened to me was…

Smells that bring me happy memories are…

There was also a listening listen and methodology lesson each class day.

Five native English speaking teachers came from the United States and Canada to coach the students through the four events of the Olympic competition.  Coaches and students alike enjoyed getting to know each other’s cultures through the speech and interview topics.

Students and coaches lived together in the dormitory of the Computer and Technical Management School in Ulaanbaatar.  Evenings were times of fun- bingo, country line dancing, movies, and sports.  However, everyone always had their minds on the culmination of the program, the final competition.  Students and coaches spent many hours preparing interviews and speeches.

The afternoon of July 28 brought the exciting conclusion of the month’s hard work.  Looking beautiful in their deels, the students marched into the auditorium while guests looked on. The three finalists for the competition were called one by one to the stage to give a five minute personal interview.  After the awarding of the certificates to all students, the tension was ended for the finalists.  P. Battsteteg (Dornod) took first place, Kh. Uranchimeg (Tov) took second place, and B. Zolzaya (Tov) took third place. 

While only three students could take medals, everyone could take away new learning and new memories.  Here are some comments from the students.

At the beginning of Summer English Olympics, the English Language Institute Director said, “Seize the moment.”  It was true.  You have to seize the moment.  Sometimes the activities were difficult, but it’s ok.  The teachers will help you.  At the beginning I couldn’t understand the teacher completely.  Now I understand her completely. 

B. Bayarmaa (Dornod)

Being involved in Summer English Olympics is a huge opportunity to learn, to improve, even to feel and to imagine English in a real situation.  Our American teachers were so friendly and helpful, and they were always ready to help us.  It is an indisputable truth that nowadays we can’t find any training in which everything is free.  English Language Institute proved us food, dormitory, and teaching materials the most important is a good English environment with no cost.  We lived together and had meals together with the American teachers.  It is an unusual chance for me to learn English.

Kh. Uranchimeg (Tov) 

All the activities that I have learned from Summer English Olympics are valuable for me.  So I say, “Thank you very much,” to all the EXCEL teachers, especially to my Summer English Olympics teacher, Norma.  I will use the learning activities and thoughts in my work and will pass them on to other English teachers.

O. Enkhjargal (Tov)

The talent show was very nice and amazing.  I admired my colleagues’ talents.  All happy memories will be left in my heart from Summer English Olympics.

Sh. Ganchimeg (Tov)

I can’t imagine missing this great opportunity to improve my English skills by preparing and giving speeches, being interviewed, and practicing my listening.  Also, I had a lot of fun.  I had the opportunity to watch Naadam and to meet the family of Brad and Ruth and their beautiful children.  Finally, thanks to our kitchen girls.  We never ate the same food twice, and every meal was prepared with their heart.

P. Battsetseg (Dornod)

When I first came here, sometimes it was difficult because I couldn’t understand my coach Gillian’s pronunciation.  But I liked very much Gillian’s teaching and her way of communicating with each student.  I understood that a teacher has to encourage the students to meet and to talk everywhere.  I also like to dance.  When I saw Marietta’s dancing, I learned her dances, and I couldn’t stop dancing. 

Mart (Dornod)

As a result of participating in Summer English Olympics, I have made many friends.  Also, I learned many things about culture from our American teachers.  I am glad for the delicious food and would like to say thanks to the chef and her helpers.  I’d like to say to all of ELI’s people who organized this Summer English Olympics, “Thanks a lot for doing this for us.”

 Tseegi (Tov)

I learned many important things about methodology.  Also, my pronunciation is better than before.  I will teach English more effectively because of the things I learned at Summer English Olympics.

B. Tuystsetseg (Tov)

Summer English Olympics gave me and my classmates a lot of practice.  Our speaking and other skills improved very much.  Also, I loved to play in the gym and to have movies nights. 

Ganchimeg (Dornod)

I am so glad to be in Summer English Olympics.  Every day I improved my reading, speaking, listening, and writing.    I enjoyed all the wonderful teachers and of course my own teacher, Daisy.  I will always remember Summer English Olympics.  Summer English Olympics brings me a wonderful memory of smells forever!

Uugii (Dornod)

List of Competition Winners

S.E.O. 2006

First place:  P. Battsetseg (Dornod Aimag)

Second place:  Kh. Uranchimeg (Zuunmod)

Third place:  B. Zolzaya (Tov Aimag)

Methodology:  P. Battsetsteg (Dornod) and B. Otgonkhishig (Bayankhongor Aimag)

Class with highest average, including attendance: 

Marietta Bell’s class—G. Odontsetseg (Bayankhongor), R. Terbish (Bayankhongor), G. Oyungerel (Tov), L. Sarangerel (Bayankhongor), B. Otgonkhishig (Bayankhongor), B. Zolzaya (Bayankhongor)

Best Journal Article:  P. Battsetseg

Perfect Attendance: 

Tov Aimag:  Enkhjargal, Ganchimeg, Oyunjargal, Tserendulam, Uranbileg, B. Zolzaya

Dornod Aimag:  Bayarmaa, Baljmaa, P. Batsetseg, Ganchimeg, Uugantsetseg, Mart

Bayankhongher Aimag:  L. Sarangerel, B. Otgonkhishig, R. Terbish, G. Odontsetseg

Congratulations to the winners and to all the students for successfully completing the 2006 Summer English Olympics!