49 Voices: Tsolmon Damba of Anchorage

Tsolmon Damba of Anchorage (Photo by Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

This week we’re hearing from Tsolmon Damba in Anchorage. Demba is a nursing student from Mongolia who arrived in Alaska nearly seven years ago to attend UAA. She says the city is not what she expected.

Listen now

DAMBA: When I first came to the U.S., the first city I went to was Anchorage, so I was expecting really tall buildings like in the movies (laughs). I felt like I was in the countryside. It was totally different from what I imagined at the time.

I thought I was pretty good at English, but when I came here, my listening was not so good. “Cause in Mongolia, I didn’t really have anybody to talk to in English but I was pretty good at writing and other stuff.

Also the culture of course. In Mongolia, for example we don’t really smile at each other when you pass through somebody and say hi but here it was really different. People passing by me were saying hi and smiling at me. It was not really comfortable, but I adjusted to it, you know? Now I say hi and smile.

Now I feel like Anchorage is my hometown. I’m really excited to graduate, but I’m scared. Honestly, I’m scared and I’m excited at the same time ’cause I’m an international student So I think people want, they prefer residents, citizens when it comes to the jobs.

Anne Hillman is the healthy communities editor at Alaska Public Media and a host of Hometown, Alaska. Reach her at ahillman@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Anne here.

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