Living and Working in Mongolia
Mongolia enjoys a continental climate with long cold and dry winters and hot summers. Although there is not a lot of snow in Ulaanbaatar, temperatures can be severe, especially during the months of December and January. Despite the cold air, most days are sunny with blue skies. In fact, the blue sky is revered and even worshiped by Mongolians, who are friendly and hospitable.
Ulaanbaatar (UB), the city in which ASU is situated, is growing rapidly, has many modern amenities, and has stores and facilities where most consumer products and services can be easily found and bought. ASU campus is a ten minute ride to the center of the city. Transportation is relatively inexpensive; a taxi ride to the city center is about $4.00
Ulaanbaatar is the capital of Mongolia. There are approximately one million people living in the city, which represents about a third of the population of the entire country. The main language is Mongolian, although many people also speak Russian. Within the past few years, English has been adopted as Mongolia’s official second language and it is being spoken increasingly, mainly by younger ones. Mongolia is rapidly becoming westernized and in many ways Ulaanbaatar is becoming a cosmopolitan city.
The campus is located in Zaisan, surrounded by high, rolling hills away from the congestion and industry that is found in the city center. A favored pursuit of many teachers is hiking the area surrounding the school, which includes a national park.
Below is a short video about Mongolia. Zaisan area is featured starting at 3:30 and you can see our school (blue and yellow buildings) at 3:46.
We invite you to Mongolia.
Teachers’ Salary and Employment Benefits
Prospective teachers often focus on salary as a first consideration. Although this is understandable, it precludes a full appreciation of the cost of working and living in Mongolia.
A standard contract is given to all newly hired teachers. The initial contract is for two years with an option to renew for a third year. The salary offered to a teacher is generated from a published grid. It reflects both the number of years of full time teaching experience and qualifications such as a second and higher degree. However, one’s position on the grid is not the only determinant for calculating financial well being. It is also important to consider the relatively low cost of living in Mongolia, together with the fact that teachers are provided with free accommodation. Add to the financial equation the reality that there is no daily transportation outlay, because the teachers’ apartments are only minutes away from the main school building.
The salaries of teachers in Europe or North America may impress people in the developing world, but their reactions have to be adjusted when they learn about the high cost of living in those areas. Similarly, when considering a teaching position at ASU, one should evaluate purchasing power and attempt to calculate how much disposable monthly income one can enjoy. Many of the present staff has reported that they are able to save more than 30% of their net monthly income, having paid no more than 10% income tax.
A four story block of apartments has been constructed on the back campus of the 2 hectares site owned by the school. These apartments are furnished and equipped with what is needed for comfortable living, including Internet and basic cable television. Laundry facilities and a community recreation room are other notable features. Couples are given a larger apartment than single teachers. A further benefit is the fact that returning teachers retain their apartments for the months of July and August, and so they have rent free accommodation if they choose to stay in Ulaanbaatar for the summer.
ASU provides return airfare for teachers who are hired overseas, as well as general assistance in obtaining entry visas for Mongolia. Teachers are also provided with a fully funded group medical and health insurance plan.