A day in the life of a Mongolian EDGE Fellow

Now that it is winter and the long-eared jerboas are hibernating, our jerboa EDGE Fellow, Uuganbadrakh is concentrating on studying for his Master’s exams at the National University of Mongolia. He recently sent us this account of his daily life in Mongolia.

My house is on the city edge and I take 40 minutes by microbus or an hour by bus between my house and school or my work place at the Steppe Forward Program.
When I go by bus, it is cheap, but takes a long time as there is normally a long wait at the bus station and on the bus. Especially, to go by bus in winter is very difficult.


Due to traffic jams and overloading, people are waiting for a long time at bus stations.


Mongolian general transportation-the microbus


The bus is often standing room only

Sometimes to go home during traffic jam I spend a very long time in the bus. But when I go by microbus, being a person with low income like me it is difficult. But sometime when I am late to go home, I go by microbus. I hardly never use a taxi- I only go by taxi to collect field study things in spring.


Traffic jams often occur in Ulaanbaatar city, increasing air pollution.

I study on my master lessons 8 hours every week and my favorite lesson is statistics because I am an ecology and conservation biologist. If person who work in this field make a scientific study and doesn’t know general statistic concept, he can’t do good research. Therefore I participate in this lesson actively. Now I am learning MINITAB 13, JMP IN 5.1 programs for statistics analysis and EstimateS 8.0 program for species diversity measures.

I am thinking, this summer I will learn MARK 4.3 and the arcGIS 9.0 program- both are very important programs for my research. As for my work, I do this according to my project plan. However to do my work, we have a problem which is that my room is colder than other rooms. Therefore if we sit up long time, we begin cold and to this occasion we play table tennis.

In my work the most important thing is language knowledge because I use English in my every work. Therefore to improve my English skills I am involved in an English training center by EDGE program support. Every week I study 10 hours English on training center and as much as possible I try to do my English homework. But when I have much work, I can’t do it. On week which has lot of work that is master and language training center I do it in the office at the weekend.

I have a lunch on university food place that have lunch and breakfast. It is different from restaurant as restaurants are high level serving places in Mongolia. It is more like fast food place in USA and European countries.


Foods that you can buy on university food place are cheap.  Students usually eat khuushuur and piroshki.


It is cut meat that covered by flour and boiled fat which used many times. So it affects at digestive tract system negatively. So when I eat at university food place and I try to don’t eat it.

I come back by microbus or bus at 8 o’clock in the evening after finish all my work. I live at home with a relative and he usually isn’t at home. When I come back, nobody usually be my home and my home is very cold because it is with balcony. I rent one room of a three-room flat and my flat owner rent to people all rooms, I live with a total of 13 people between the 3 rooms. Sometimes it is very difficult. But it is common in Mongolia.

Countryside students usually live in the dormitory of university and city students live at home. Since I enter university in 2002, I have lived in a Mongolian ger (a traditional tent-like Mongolian dwelling), dormitory, flat, and with relatives and friends. Many students are living like me. To find job with high salary and condition in Mongolia, I should learn English and professional knowledge well.  So if I can learn foreign languages, I will learn English well and modern scientific knowledge. Most Mongolian students want to learn and live high developed countries. But I want to live in my native country and finish my masters. You can see how most Mongolian student live from this blog. My country is developing country and young people’s life is not good. But we should fight with all our strength and chance to develop our country.

The main message I hope to give is to conserve wildlife, young people should learn high knowledge at any condition. Young age is the most powerful age of human life.

Uuganbadrakh is planning to return to the Gobi Desert to continue his work monitoring the long-eared jerboa in a few months time. You can support his field work by donating to the EDGE Fellows programme.


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  1. quincy porter said,

    on February 1st, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    I really liked your blog.

  2. JANE said,

    on February 1st, 2008 at 7:16 pm


  3. alexis said,

    on February 1st, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    I think that the food that they eat here looks very nasty and it probably taste nasty at the same time.

  4. Maddi Duncan said,

    on February 1st, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    i think that you trying to learn english is pretty cool. most americans dont even want to learn a couple words of another language, let alone a whole one. people here eat food like that too, its called a hamburger and its pretty good but its very bad for you. i just wanted to say that i thought your blog was pretty cool and i hope you write more!

  5. Mexicano said,

    on February 1st, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Mexicans love the buritos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  6. lucas said,

    on February 3rd, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I really enjoyed reading about your daily life, i look forward to reading more.

  7. melanie said,

    on February 3rd, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Thank you for telling us about your life and for working so hard to conserve the long-eared jerboa.

  8. john said,

    on February 3rd, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    you are a inspiration

  9. Uuganbadrakh Mongolian EDGE fellow said,

    on May 1st, 2008 at 6:38 am

    Thank you for tell your comments.

  10. Soph said,

    on November 16th, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Your story is very touching and a great lesson

  11. Celia Carter said,

    on January 23rd, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I found reading your information very encouraging. It is good to know there are people like you, having some difficult times themselves but persevering to do vital conservation work with a unique and charismatic species. I will try to help you through EDGE. Keep up your excellent work – people all over the world are and will be grateful if your chosen species survives!

  12. ayush said,

    on July 20th, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I liked your life ‘s history. you are very hardworking .i think that young people have to be like you

  13. Uuganbadrakh said,

    on July 1st, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Hi All.

    Thank you for encouraging and being interested in my previous life. That life was my student life. Now It was my memories. Right now I am Conservation biology and zoology teacher on University.


  14. Tara Lumpkin said,

    on September 14th, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    This was fascinating! We’d love to have you write something for Izilwane or for Izilwane’s blog. Check us out at: http://www.izilwane.org. We are a biodiversity and anthropology media platform that gives voice to eco-reporters from around the globe. Please recommend us to your friends as well. We publish work from conservationists everywhere.

  15. Will Ferell said,

    on March 26th, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    nice blog bro

  16. novvy allan said,

    on September 12th, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Dear Uugaa what fantastic work you are doing. Mongolia and the world needs you.
    My husband returns today from one month in Mongolia and I know he is absolutely
    by your country and people. all best wishes Novvy

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