What do the Peace Corps and Mongolia have in common? Well, that would be Amber Barger of course! Amber is graduating at UT this May with a BBA in Marketing, and taking an Business Advisor assignment with the Peace Corps to go to Mongolia.
Mongolia is the shape of a long oval, about 1500 miles from east to west and 780 miles from north to south at the widest point. It is roughly the size of North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Kansas and Nebraska combined. Population of about 2 million, which is about slightly less than 3 people per square mile.
Mongolia is a mysterious place, sealed off from the rest of the world by the forbidding wastelands of central Asia - cliffs, arid plateaus, deserts a,d vast uninhabited tracts. The famous Italian trader and explorer Marco Polo reached Mongolia and met Genghis Khan's descendant, Kublia Khan. When the Chinese controlled all the Mongolia in the 18th and 19th centuries, they closed it to the outside world. As a result, little was known of modern Mongolia until the Mongolia Peoples Republic achieved independence with the help of the Soviet Union in 1921.
Since 1921, the main goal of the Mongolian government has been to bring the country into the 20th century. The rapid pace of change in Mongolia has created a country with a split personality. Many ancient customs and ways of life persist strongly, giving Mongolia an in-escapeable flavor of the past. For example, it is not unusual to see sturdy Mongol horses, whose shaggy ancestors carried Genghis Khan into battle, tethered outside high-rise apartments in the capital city of Ulan Battor.
The weather in Mongolia is akin to living in North Dakota, and northern parts of Minnesota. Amber will train during the summer months, and then be given a Peace Corps assignment.