Ayush Enkhtaivan, an MBA candidate at Gannon, has lived all over the world – Mongolia, China, Japan and now Erie, Pennsylvania. In honor of International Education Week, we sat down with Ayush to discuss cultural differences, on-campus involvement and the value of traveling abroad.

1. What is the difference between American and Chinese schooling?

Classes [in China] have over 100 students. Four or five cameras are watching you so you don’t cheat. Eight to 10 teachers walk around checking you. Teachers in America are much more relaxed. Teachers still walk around, but nobody is cheating. Over in China you sit there shaking, writing for exams night and day.

2. You’ve lived in Erie for a while, so you’re used to the weather. How does it compare to the weather in other places you’ve lived?

Mongolia gets much colder than Erie in the winter.  Snow stays on the ground the whole way through winter. The snow starts in September and there can be snow in June. At least the snow melts here.My sister lives in Hawaii, but I like the snow. I couldn’t stay in the same weather all the time.

3. How many languages do you speak?

I speak Mongolian, English and Chinese. Also Russia and Japanese – I can understand those two but can’t really speak them. Mongolian is closer to Russian than Chinese. It has the same alphabet as Russia. Mongolian script writing is closer to Arabic. We write from top to bottom.

4. What kinds of clubs and organizations are you involved with on campus?

I’m in Women of the World; I’m the vice president. I’m also in the Organization for Women Leadership and have a work study position in the International Student Office. I’m there most of the time.

At WOW our purpose is to globalize the Gannon community. We’re trying to get more American girls to help with the globalization. We have girls in the group from Russia, Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Syria and Japan – over 10 countries. We have a few American girls, who have been a great addition. The group has a lot planned. We are trying to make more happen. We have a lot happening next year and the year after.”

5. You’re involved with a lot of women’s groups. Is that something that’s especially important to you?

I’m in involved in a lot of women’s groups, not as a woman, but because of the person I am. My parents raised me saying, “Just because you are a girl, that doesn’t stop you from doing anything. You can do anything or you can go anywhere you want.”

6. How do you like to spend your free time?

I love outdoor activities, like swimming, hiking, climbing. I don’t like to just sit back at home. I like to be more active and busy.

7. Why do you think travel is so valuable?

From my point of view it’s important to go out and explore and try new things. I’ve been to different places and I’ve learned different cultures and I’m very open to new things. The more you experience, the more your mind opens up. If you want to study abroad, just go for it.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I want to have my own business. I’m not sure what field it’ll be in, but I want to make it happen. If not, maybe I’ll go back for my Ph.D. at a college or university here or study in Europe.