Everywhere But Home

News and musings from wherever my crazy life takes me. My body may be back in Illinois, but at least for now, my mind is still in Mongolia.


My name is Katelin Burke, and I spent the last year+ living in Erdenet, Mongolia on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. I graduated from Miami University (Miami of Ohio to most folks) with a degree in linguistics. I’m an aspiring polyglot (I’ve studied French, Irish, American Sign Language, and now Mongolian, though the first is the only one in which I can claim any degree of fluency) and writer. I’m also a swing dancer, a retired gymnast, a Boy Scout, and a Girl Scout. My previous adventures, which include my time at Miami University, study abroad in Dijon and Galway, and my summers working at MaKaJaWan Scout Reservation in northern Wisconsin, have been successfully migrated from Tumblr, so feel free to peruse!

Header photo taken by Jonathan Tavennec Renich.

11 thoughts on “About

  1. Loved your guest post over at Polly’s, and your blog is gorgeous, I cannot wait to read more!

  2. Hi, I chanced upon your blog while searching for anything that might help me learn Mongolian. My husband is from the Inner Mongolian grasslands while I am from Singapore. I am a language teacher myself, specialising in English and Chinese, and I really want to learn Mongolian so I can communicate with his folks when we visit. I’m also hoping my kids will speak the language fluently eventually. I cannot seem to find a teacher or a course to help me in this endeavour, so your blog will have to do for now. Any recommendations? I am even seriously thinking about spending some time in Mongolia to learn the language, my husband is no good at teaching it to me though we’ve really tried.

    By the way, I love the different topics you write about!

    • As I understand it, the dialect they speak in Inner Mongolia is different than Khalkha, which I what I learned. And the writing system is definitely different – Mongolia adopted Cyrillic for most purposes, while in Inner Mongolia they still use Mongol bichig.

      That being said, I’ll try my best to answer your questions in an upcoming post!

    • There is now an extensive post on this topic! Do you know specifically what dialect your husband speaks? Apparently there is a lot more dialectal variation in Inner Mongolia.

      • Yes, it’s wonderful help! I’ve read it and will bookmark it for reference. My husband speaks the chakhar dialect. He has Outer Mongolia friends and they have no problem communicating, but he mentioned they speak with a different accent. To me, his friends sound more Russian while his accent is probably also influenced by Mandarin. Also, in Inner they borrow some words from Mandarin.

  3. Hi Katelin! I stumbled on your blog doing a bit of internet crawling. Lots of great info on here and I’ll definitely be using your links on where to learn some basic Mongolian.

    I’m a travel and lifestyle photographer and will be headed to Mongolian in Aug-Oct to live with a group of nomadic families and document their lives for a photo book. I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign on it, and thought you might find some interest in it. Feel free to check it out at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mattdutile/nomads-of-the-blue-skies-a-mongolian-photo-book

    If it interests you, I’d love if you might help spreading the word on it. Whether through this blog, friends who might be interested in Mongolia, etc. The more the word gets out the better. Thanks and feel free to email me anytime with questions.

  4. Hi! I’m heading off to Mongolia for my masters fieldwork and i have a few questions that I would like to ask you. Would be better if i can email you instead of posting my chunk of questions on this page. Let me know!

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

  5. Hi Kaitlin, I am trying to obtain a bottle of whisky from Mongolia for a friend of mine in the UK.
    Do you know anyone who would accept the purchase price and post it to the UK?
    If so, do you have a contact method I can “PM” you or them on? Many thanks, Ben

  6. Hey Katelin,
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and seeing a bit of Mongolia that I had no idea existed! I am writing because I am developing a show about American, Brit, and/or Ozzie expats who are in the far flung corners of the world and engaged in some sort of exciting business endeavour. Wondering if you’ve met any colourful characters in Mongolia who are there to make their “fortune”?

    Thanks and if you have any questions please ask away!

    All the best,

    • I have indeed, and they were not always colorful in a good way. There’s a strong–and violent–nationalist movement popular among the young men of UB. They often sport swastikas and are the reason that staying out after midnight is not a wise idea in the capital. The anti-foreigner sentiment comes from a (largely correct) impression that most foreigners, especially those involved in mining, are carpetbaggers.

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