School in Mongolia (ELLLO 1009)

Heidi talks about what school is like for all ages in her home country of Mongolia.

Heidi (Mongolia)
Todd (USA)

Todd: So Heidi, you are from Mongolia. Could you talk a little bit about what high school is like in Mongolia?

Heidi: Oh sure. In Mongolia, we don’t have elementary school, secondary school, or high school divided into three parts, but we have from 1st grade until 12th grade in one school so we don’t really call them like high school or secondary school or elementary school. And for the high school, like, from the 8th grade until 12th grade, well, they study what other students study in different countries but nowadays they are focusing on more, like, English studies or different language studies.

Todd: How long is a typical class? Do you have, let’s say, six classes a day, each class is one hour?

Heidi: We start school at 8:00 in the morning until 1:00 in the [after] noon and we have about six classes a day. Each class has like 45 minutes. So we finish at 1:00.

Todd: And then, what do you do in the afternoon?

Heidi: We go back.

Todd: You go home?

Heidi: Yes, ‘cause in Mongolia we have two parts. In the morning, the high school students go to the school and from 1:30 the elementary school students go to the school so we share one class [between] two classes.

Todd: Oh, so you split the school?

Heidi: Yes.

Todd: So do teachers sometimes have to teach both levels?

Heidi: Yes.

Todd: Wow! That’s tough.

Heidi: Yeah.

Todd: So when you go home, do you usually...do have family there waiting or do usually both parents work?

Heidi: In Mongolia, the mother and father they usually work and when I finish my school I just go back and make my own food, because in Mongolia mothers’ work is not to, like, stay at home or do housework. Kids are taught to clean up the home and cook their food and wash their clothes and that’s your work and usually the mothers don’t do that kind of thing.

Todd: Oh, so the children have to do all that work?

Heidi: Yes.

Todd: Actually it’s quite similar I think in the US pretty much. So what about your study load? Do you have a really heavy study load? Like, do you have two hours of homework a night or...?

Heidi: It really depends on the school but for me, like, I was studying in an international school so I had to study quite hard to get the level still. So for me, I studied after school...I’d rather study at night, so I studied like 3 or 4 hours at night. So that’s my study habit.

Todd: That’s a lot.

Heidi: Not really compared to other students.



How long is a typical class?

Typical means “normal” or “average”. If something is surprising or unusual then it would not be typical. Notice the following examples:

  1. Children typically start to walk when they are about 1 years old.
  2. In math class, it is typical to have 30 minutes of homework.

let’s say

Do you have, let’s say, six classes a day?

Let’s say is an informal way to say “for example” or “let’s imagine”. Sometimes people also shorten “let’s say” to just “say”. Here are some sample sentences:

  1. Let’s say you would like to make a fire. You are going to need wood and matches.
  2. I have 2 pizzas and, say, 10 children come to the party. Will we have enough pizzas?


So you split the school?

When you spilt something you “divide” it into two parts. Look at the following examples:

  1. The group was too large so we split them into two groups.
  2. We split the pizza between four people.

study load

You have a heavy study load.

A study load is the amount of classes or courses a student has to study. If a student has many difficult classes, then they have a heavy study load. If they have an easy schedule at school, then they have a light study load. Notice the following:

  1. I have a light study load this term, so I plan to work part-time.
  2. If you have a heavy study load, you need good study habits.

study habit

That's my study habit.

A habit is something one does again and again often without thinking. Therefore, a study habit is one's habit about studying. A student with good study habits probably studies the same about of time every day. A student with poor study habits probably only studies at the last minute before tests or assignments. Notice the following:

  1. If you have good study habits, you will go far in life.
  2. In high school, I had poor study habits.

Source: elllo #1009 School in Mongolia
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