Brief History on the Life of a Mongolian Student in Slovakia
I am Demberelnyam Batjargal. I am from Mongolia. I am currently in the fourth year of my bachelor degree as an archivist in the Faculty of Philosophy at Comenius University in Bratislava.
I came to Slovakia without any special reason for so doing, except for the fact that I had to study here. Before this, I had never been to Slovakia and knew nothing about the country. In my mind, Slovakia was really just a noun.
But the life of a student is, as well as studies and discipline, also fun, and the best part of one’s life.
Since I came here in October 2009, Slovakia has become like a second home for me. Here my new life spreads out in front of me and, in terms of how my time here has changed me; I would say I have been affected mainly in three ways:
And what of my new life? Yes, it is paradise. I have started to feel that I am already not a child. I have to think about cooking, money, shopping, studying, laundry etc... Everything is on me now, without any help from my family. For me this was really nice. But I nevertheless always agree that the happiest moments of our lives are when we are with our family and friends, especially in our own country, when we are children..
The first problem after I came was that I could not communicate in Slovak, because I came to Slovakia later than other students. From October, we have started a language course which, along with other subjects in which we have to prepare for an entrance exam into university.
The first day I stepped onto the language school, the teachers in the main subjects also introduced themselves in Slovak. So it meant that everybody could soon understand at least basic speech.
But nine months later, my family and I got news that I have passed my two entrance exam in the universities. When I heard the news, it was one of my happiest moments. There were two options for me to study: the first one was “European Studies” and the other one was “Archiving”. If I chose the first option, after studying, it could be difficult to find a job, but the advantage is that the degree was in English. The second one's advantage was the increased possibility of finding a job, but the degree was in Slovak. I decided to choose the second one.
The studying was always going to be hard for me from the beginning. All of my classmates are Slovak students. Of course they help me, but the problem is I could not ask them to help me - it is one of the traits of my personality. When we communicate in the Slovak language it is fine because it is a speaking language, but for studying the language is absolutely different. The frequency of my exams is every 2 or 3 days. Sometimes it is normal in one day for me to have 2 or 3 exams. Most of my time is spent translating the notes from Slovak to Mongolian.
I always try to be an optimistic person, but sometimes I feel lost and desperate. I think that is not only me, it happens almost to everyone who studies in another country, in another language, with another people. During my studying, I do not know how many times I have cried, got nervous. But I knew that eventually I would get my master degree as an archivist.
I want to share with you one history of my first exam in university. It was an oral exam. After three or four days of my reading notes, the time of our exam came. After a few other students, I had my turn. When I came into the room I was shaking with fear. My professor started to ask me questions, but nothing I remember.
He told me then: OK, so tell me what kind of questions do you want?
Me: Silence ….
Then he told me: Tell me whatever you know!
Me: Silence again … actually by now my brain has stopped working.
And then of course I had to go back there another day.
Another problem I am having until now is communication between me and my classmates. When I entered the school I had a language problem, even if I understood about 30 percent of their speaking. So if you can't understand other people, you start to hesitate to communicate and develop a fear of something. This is exactly how it was with me. I am not a very talkative person, but i can usually open up enough with other people. But it does not really work with my colleagues. When we are together, there is nothing we can talk about except for school. Yet at the same time, when I am with them, although we are not close, I feel they are very special people for me. But I can't explain why.
From the beginning until now people I meet are very friendly and they do everything from bottom of their heart. Also I want to write here that I am so proud of my professors. They are some of the most talented professors in Slovakia and they do their best to help develop Slovak archiving.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity you have given me to share my thoughts with you. I am very glad to write about the experience of my studying.
Also I would like to take this opportunity to thank my professors and classmates of Department of Archiving and Auxiliary Sciences in History, Faculty of Philosophy, Comenius University in Bratislava for your support, guidance and encouragement, and for the opportunities provided to me during my stay in Slovakia. Maybe I couldn't be as good a student as they expected but I always try to be as good a person as I can.
Thanks again for everything
Written by: Demberelnyam Batjargal
Edited by: Luke Waterson
The article has been written with support of the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union and the International Visegrad Fund. The article reflects the views only of the author, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.