At age 11, Munkh-Ujin (“Ujee”) joined the English class at BOOKBRIDGE learning center in Arvaikheer, Mongolia. 7 years later, she is not only fluent in English but has also strongly improved her life skills due to the innovative learning approach of the learning center. Today, Ujee studies medical science in Ulaanbaatar and feels gifted by the skills she learnt at BOOKBRIDGE.
Ujee (right) learnt far more than just English skills lot from her teacher Uuganaa (left)
Munkh-Ujin, Ujee for short, wears her BOOKBRIDGE T-shirt for the virtual interview, and she is excited. Ujee studied at “Arvaikheer Bookbridge”, one of the learning centers in Mongolia, for almost 7 years, she began when she was in fourth grade. Now she is a second-year student of Medical Science at the Mongolian National University.
“I have learnt not only English but also life skills. I am a scout, and Uuganaa is also a scout teacher”. Uuganaa is the social entrepreneur in charge of the learning center, and Ujee has high esteem for her.
Ujee considers the learning center as an important part of her life. “BOOKBRIDGE has helped me with so many things…it is a place that changed my life, that helped me to find myself. I am still in relationship with BOOKBRIDGE, teaching some things I have learned to the younger generations, I want to help others to find themselves”.
“We have always done some community work, and there's always small or big activities in every month”, Ujee remembers and recognizes a challenge brought by the current global context: “Because of Covid-19 that has stopped, but we are still connecting with each other by zoom call”.
She believes the help and financial aid for the children is very important for the community. “scholarship for kids who cannot pay, or who do not have parents, the teachers always try to help them”.
Ujee learned more than English in BOOKBRIDGE. “I was so shy and quite in the beginning. During the first month there I can barely remember talking to others despite the teacher, so BOOKBRIDGE changed my whole character, improved my English, and allowed me to have so many friends. I cannot imagine myself without BOOKBRIDGE, it is part of my life”.
Among so many memories, there is one that came to Ujee’s mind. “When I was at 7th grade, I was in my teacher's book opening ceremony, and that was my 1st time talking in front of so many people. I was so shy, my hands were shaking, but afterwards my teacher inspired me, everyone said "your student was so good", and that was my biggest inspiration”. Ujee still remembers her opening line: “’Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming today to our opening ceremony’. The book was called ‘you need to know about it’. I still remember…”.
This was an important moment for her: “After that I learned to talk in front of many people. Since then I presented as a speaker of TEDx and other ceremonies”.
Ujee looks up to Uuganaa, the social entrepreneur in charge of the learning center. “She is the perfect teacher. Most teachers tend to help only good students, but she is different, she tries to focus on everyone, and tries to talk to everyone, she is so warm-hearted, she always tries to help kids”.
Looking at the future, Ujee plans to keep working with BOOKBRIDGE. “I will become a doctor, so I want the BOOKBRIDGE children to have medical education, that is what I can do. I dream BOOKBRIDGE in the future is really big, so many kids gathering together, and they can do whatever they want”.
Ujee is grateful for what BOOKBRIDGE has done for her and her community: “If it were not there, not only me, but hundreds of students’ lives, mindsets and English skills would not have changed. Just keep it on and try to help more kids. Thank you!”
Thank you Ujee for sharing your experience and your learnings with us. We are proud that you are part of our BOOKBRIDGE Family!