Former Colorado Kids Reporter Bridget Galaty has just returned from a trip that was halfway around the world!
Former Colorado Kids Reporter Bridget Galaty has just returned from a trip that was halfway around the world! Through these student exchange programs, Denver Sister Cities and the Luby Jenkins Foundation, she traveled to Mongolia with one boy and another girl from her school, Denver School of the Arts (DSA), and a few high school students from Tuba City, AZ.
While in Mongolia, Bridget worked on a documentary video about the culture, customs, and the overall experience of Mongolia. In April 2015, the students that took part in the student exchange program from Mongolia will travel to the United States to visit Denver and Tuba City. When they arrive, Bridget will begin shooting a new documentary that will tag on to her trip to Mongolia so she can document the round-trip.
The culture changes in Mongolia are “interesting” and “different, but similar to our culture,” she says. This is due to Mongolia going through a lot of cultural changes within the country itself. It was behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, so the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, looks very Russian, but the new buildings going up look more Western, like the United States or Europe.
Once you leave the city, she said, the culture is “vastly different.” The group that Bridget traveled with lived with a nomadic family who raise sheep and travel throughout the year to different places. The countryside was beautiful, she reports, with no air pollution, and the group was “welcomed into the Mongolian culture” as they traveled from temples to monasteries and learned more about the Mongolian history and culture.
The programs that helped Bridget travel to Mongolia are Denver Sister Cities and the Luby Jenkins Foundation. Although it was not focused on community services, she enjoyed living with a host family and experiencing life in Mongolia from the perspective of locals.
Denver Sister Cities started exchanging students with Mongolia because Denver has one of the US’s biggest Mongolian population. The US and Mongolia want a “shared identity” where both sides of the student exchange program can obtain more knowledge, and students in Mongolian clubs are interviewed to travel to Mongolia. Both girls and boys from the ages of about 14 -17 or high school students from Denver and Tuba City partake in the student exchange. The programs exchange not only with Mongolia, but also with France, Israel, Kenya, Costa Rica, China, Japan, Africa, and India. If the opportunity was offered for Bridget to travel overseas again she would take it. She says she would prefer to travel to another country, and after college go back to Mongolia.
Bridget says that she was always drawn to filmmaking. She made fictional movies in elementary school and started making documentaries at the Denver School for the Arts. She began with historic videos but soon started shooting documentaries on cities and theirs cultural experiences. This year Bridget will be working on documentaries about people.
Her closing words were, “more people should experience traveling internationally since it is truly a great experience!”