“Mongolia”: What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Genghis Khan? The Gobi Desert? Mandukhai Alimaa? Mandukhai is most likely your first thought if you’ve already met her. If not, hopefully, you will meet her soon, and she will be your first thought the next time you hear the name of this East Asian country. A freshman who arrived last August, she is now accustomed to being asked if she lives in a yurt and has horses. Stereotypes like these initially surprised her, but she is now amused when asked if Mongolians have cars and know anything about fashion. Her easygoing nature is evident as she enjoys even the winter here; it’s -35°F (without wind-chill) in Ulan Bator, her hometown and the capital city. She appreciates the opportunity to study at SMU saying that being here is better than she imagined. When making the decision to study in the U.S., photos of our campus’s natural beauty first attracted her. Safety, rankings, class size, and scholarships also affected her decision to come here to pursue degrees in business intelligence and finance. After graduating, she plans to attend graduate school at Princeton, gain work experience, and then return home to start her own business establishing trade relations between Mongolia and the U.S. in the fashion industry. In the meantime, she’s beginning to get that work experience as the International Center’s newest student worker.

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