Ryan Kertanis’ ’16 experience as a current Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Mongolia was recently highlighted in an edition of the Fulbridge “ETA Spotlight” Q&A feature. In the article, Kertanis discusses his typical schedule in addition to the highlights and challenges of teaching, living and learning in a foreign country.
Fulbridge is an organization that connects English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) from across the globe through travel, teaching and cultural exchange. Each month, Fulbridge interviews an English ETA to showcase a glimpse of what life is like in different Fulbright placements.
In the article, Kertanis explains that he spends 20 hours a week teaching at Orkhon University in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, in addition to another 10 hours spent prepping and running clubs at the university. When he’s not teaching, Kertanis says he attends and works closely with U.S. Embassy funded programs. He notes that he frequently volunteers and conducts book readings for children at the American Center for Mongolian Studies.
Kertanis says horseback riding has been a staple of his experience. “I’ve really taken up horseback riding as an obsession, and since it is such a huge part of Mongolian life, it has opened so many doors and conversations for me,” he said.
This summer, Kertanis is participating in a 435-mile charity horseback ride to support a school in the poorest part of the city. When he’s not riding, Kertanis says he explores the city with his Mongolian, American and German friends, in addition to taking care of his Mongolian puppy, Tsagaana.
“There have been so many highlights it’s hard to name just a few,” he said in the article. And although Kertanis says the extremely cold winter temperatures have been a challenge, he notes that going horseback riding in negative 35-degree weather is “the most beautiful thing” he has ever seen.
“This place is tough in many ways and you have to work for it, but what you put in is multiplied 1,000 times over,” he said. “Truthfully, Mongolia is not for the faint of heart, but it has challenged me to grow in ways that I will forever cherish.”
Kertanis’ blog of his travels can be followed at thesporadicnomadic.com.
Kertanis was one of seven HWS students who earned a 2016-17 Fulbright U.S. Student Award. In February, the Colleges’ were named among the nation’s top colleges and universities with the most recipients of U.S. Student Awards for the second year in a row and the third time in the last four years.
In the photo above, Ryan Kertanis ’16 enjoys the Eagle Festival in Kazakh, Mongolia.