Mongolia and Siberia

Nomadism, Geopolitics, and the Environment

Accessibility

This information is provided to assist you in identifying possible accessibility barriers and preparing for an accessible educational experience with SIT Study Abroad. You should be aware that while in-country conditions and resources vary by site, every effort is made to work collaboratively with qualified individuals to facilitate disability-related accommodation. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact SIT’s Disability Services at disabilityservices@sit.edu for additional information related to access abroad and to discuss possible accommodations.

Academics

During the coursework phase of the program, you will generally be in class five to six days per week for six to eight hours per day. You will have breaks between classes. Learning is typically assessed through take-home assignments, in-class assignments, written assignments/exams, oral presentations/exams, individual assignments, group assignments, in-class quizzes/exams, take-home quizzes/exams, journaling, and teacher/instructor observation. Course readings and in-class materials are typically available in a digital format.

If you have questions about alternate format materials, testing accommodations, or other academic accommodations, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Program Center

The program office is accessed by a set of exterior stairs. The program’s classroom, study/library, student lounge, and restroom are located on the ground level. The building’s pathways/hallways and doorways, including the exterior entrance, are at least 32 in. (82 cm.). Threshold bumps measuring one to five inches high can be found in the doorways leading to the classroom, study/library, and student lounge. The restroom has running water and a raised toilet seat that is approximately 16 in. (40 cm.) from the ground. The program does not have a separate computer space for students.

Activities/Excursions

The program includes single- and multi-day excursions to manufacturing and mining communities, religious and cultural institutions, and nature sites. Rural homestays give you the opportunity to assist a nomadic community with caring for their livestock. Excursions and nomad camp homestays are often located in remote communities, conducted in extreme weather, and physically demanding. You should expect to stand, walk, and be outside for long periods of time. Appropriate trekking gear, including a pair of shoes with sturdy support, is essential. Program excursions may occasionally vary to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities.

Housing

The program’s homestay coordinator will be responsible for placing you in your homestays. These placements are made based, first, on health concerns, including any allergies or dietary needs, to the extent possible. Homestays offer regular access to cellular service, electricity to charge devices, and a refrigerator for storing medication. Physically accessible homestay options are currently limited. If you have questions about homestay accessibility, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Dietary Needs

Mongolia is an essentially a meat-eating society. Boiled mutton or beef, noodles, rice, and a lot of milk products are the nutritional staples of nomad life in the country. Fruits and vegetables outside of Ulaanbaatar are almost nonexistent. Therefore, maintaining a vegetarian or vegan diet is often not feasible.

SIT Study Abroad works with students, program staff, homestay families, home colleges and universities, and others to accommodate dietary needs whenever possible. For more information on dietary needs and dietary preferences, please review the Student Support section of the Student Health, Safety, and Support web page.

Transportation

In Ulaanbaatar, you will typically travel by bus or taxi for the 20 to 80 minutes between your homestay, classes, and/or placement sites. Buses do not have wheelchair lifts or ramps and lack room for standing and stretching. During nomad homestays, horses will probably be one of the main forms of transportation for getting to nearby sites. For excursion travel, the program uses all forms of transportation, including airplanes, trains, vans, jeeps, and horses. You should be prepared to take long car drives in extreme conditions on poor roads. During ISP/internship, you may use relatively inexpensive, long-distance public buses that can be crowded and may take up to two days to reach some remote destinations. The general routes of travel in Ulaanbaatar and the Mongolian countryside consist of dirt roads and rough, uneven sidewalks.

Technology

In the program center, a computer with cable internet is available to students for emergencies only. wifi, printer and scanner are available at the center. You are advised to bring your own academic technology, including laptops, recording devices, adapters, and assistive technology. It is also recommended that you fully insure your electronic property against loss or theft.

If you have questions about assistive technology, note-taking accommodations, or other academic accommodations, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Health Resources

Medical centers and hospitals are concentrated in Ulaanbaatar; access to trained medical professionals in rural areas is quite limited. You should keep program staff apprised of your health situation so that staff can assist you in finding necessary care as quickly as possible when needed.

Once admitted, you are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns about accessing health services or medication while abroad during the health review process. Read more about the health review process and the summary of benefits for student health insurance.

Requesting Disability-Related Accommodations

To request disability-related accommodations once admitted, you should contact the Office of Disability Services. For more information about the accommodation process, documentation guidelines and a link to the accommodation request form, please visit the Office of Disability Services website.

Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Services at disabilityservices@sit.edu or 802 258-3390 as early as possible for information and support.

Additional Support Resources

MIUSA (Mobility International USA) is a cross-disability organization serving those with cognitive, hearing, learning, mental health, physical, systemic, vision, and other disabilities. It offers numerous resources for persons with disabilities who wish to study abroad and/or engage in international development opportunities.

Abroad with Disabilities (AWD) is a Michigan nonprofit organization founded in 2015 with the goal of promoting the belief that persons with disabilities can and should go abroad. AWD works diligently to empower clients to pursue study, work, volunteer, and/or internship opportunities outside of the United States by creating dialogue, sharing resources, and spreading awareness.