My name is Ariunaa Enkhtur, a new Fulbright alumna. I completed my master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at Syracuse University, a very broad program where I learned about student development, college administration, public policy, legal and social aspect of higher education both in theory and in practice. Time flies fast—two years of surprises, challenges, and accomplishment has passed, and I am forever grateful for the opportunities the Fulbright program presented me.
Ever since I learned about the program, while working with Fulbright alumni to organize the first National Conference of U.S. Alumni of Mongolia in 2006, I wanted to be a Fulbrighter one day. So I applied to this rigorous program in summer 2010. I still remember the days I was preparing for GRE and waiting for the result, then waiting for the University and Fulbright decisions. The most difficult part was waiting for the final result. And the most exciting part was, of course, hearing that I had been selected for the program.
During the program, I grew both as a professional and an individual. I worked at International Student Services at Syracuse University and coordinated the international student orientation. Then in my last year I worked as an Academic Advisor at the College of Arts and Sciences, Syracuse University. Both internships were part of the program to gain a professional experience and I was thrilled to work with students guiding, supporting and advising them during their difficult times. I established great bonds with students with many of whom I still stay in touch.
The various Fulbright activities helped me enhance my leadership and public speaking skills. The enrichment conference in Sacramento, California, provided me a chance to meet brilliant individuals in all areas across the globe, build a network and mutual understanding. The Central New York Fulbright Chapter organized wonderful events many of which target at peace keeping. It’s amazing to think that in each of these countries around the world, someone is there to make a difference, and I might know that person. Being an ambassador of Mongolia to Syracuse University, to my program, to wherever I go was not a very easy task. I learned so much about myself, my culture, my values and beliefs that I had not realized before. When we meet people with different mindset, culture, and background, we start to see things from much more different angles. Americans are individualistic, active and competitive people who value time and organizational skills. Mongolians are rather collaborative, relaxed, and calm, and we value the presence and dedication rather than time. Both Americans and Mongolians are very adaptive whether it is food, culture or weather. Americans are such a diverse nation and they always welcome difference; Mongolians have the nomadic quality in themselves to move around, and adapt to the environment and situation instead of opposing it.
I love how Americans are empowered as individuals—they believe in their own power and they are always ready to change anything. They are empowered to question the authority, the government and demand what they believe is right. Today, Mongolia has many issues need to be addressed from human rights to quality of life. I want bright educated individuals be able to stand up for their rights. And I am happy to join the Mongolian Association of State Alumni, to meet and collaborate with open minded, energetic, empowered individuals to make a difference in our society.