Rewarding curiosity By Serena Dugar Ioane

Getting rejected four times didn’t stop Ganchimeg Gantulga from pursuing her education at BYU–Hawaii

Photo by Mark Tabbilos

The journey to BYUH

Ganchimeg Gantulga, a sophomore from Mongolia majoring in hospitality and tourism management, said when she quit school in Mongolia in 2016 to go on a mission, her family was sad. “My parents feared that all of us were going to end up without higher education. I promised myself that I would go [back] to college and earn the highest degree I can.”

She said she tries to eagerly engage in her studies because, to her, education is the key to success. Gantulga said she believes education is a way to overcome both physical and mental poverty and has also learned that education is a reward for curiosity. “Be curious about everything and always ask questions,” she said.

Gantulga said she joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when she was 15 years old.

“I was baptized with my sister. A year later, my older sister and mother followed our example and got baptized. Since then, I had a burning desire to serve a mission,” she expressed.

Photo provided by Ganchimeg Gantulga

Gantulga grew up with five siblings but she was the only one able to go to college in Mongolia because of her family’s financial situation, she said. She knew her parents worked hard to pay off her Mongolian college tuition, she shared. So, she was nervous to tell them of her desire to serve a mission.

“Yet, after much prayer and fasting, they accepted me to go on a mission,” she said. Gantulga said she was shocked when she was called to serve in the England Manchester Mission. “But it was a fantastic mission, and I have learned a lot.”

Gantulga said losing oneself in a great cause brings rewards. “I offered my best in my mission, and as a reward, Heavenly Father blessed me to learn English.”

Otgontuya Tumursukh, a junior from Mongolia majoring in TESOL, said she met Gantulga a year ago when they became roommates.

“She is a hard worker and never gives up. We built a special connection and always help each other and share our happiness and hardships together,” Turmursukh added.

Photo by Mark Tabbilos

Gantulga said she is doing her best to fulfil the promise she made herself – to go back to school and earn a degree. “Soon after my mission, I took BYUH online classes and applied to BYUH. After being denied four times in a row, I finally got accepted in Fall 2019.”

Attending to BYUH would not have happened without the help of God, Gantulga said. “I am always thankful to my Heavenly Father for watching over me and my family.”

Photo provided by Ganchimeg Gantulga

Sincere study

Gantulga said she tries her best to do her assignments sincerely. Assignments are not only for school, but also an opportunity for self-improvement, she added. For her HTM 230 class, Gantulga said she used the giant textbook to find countries to visit one day. For this one credit class, she said she put in hours equivalent to a three-credit class.

Davaasuren Myagmarjav, a junior from Mongolia double majoring in accounting and marketing said Gantulga always seeks to improve herself and is open-minded for learning opportunities. “She has a good attitude towards everything, including her classes and relationships with others.

“She is very persistent with her goals and never gives up and keeps doing things that will help her to reach her goals,” Myagmarjav commented.

“We used to work out together and when I was about to give up, she motivated me and helped me to push forward. She is a very positive person.”

Photo by Mark Tabbilos

Overcoming stress

Gantulga said, during her second semester at BYUH, classes became remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, she said she grew a lot academically. She shared she is grateful to have assignments to keep her busy and help her avoid anxiety even though her mind may become exhausted from constant study.

She also started listening to podcasts, which she said is an entertaining way to educate herself on many different topics, such as politics, law, health, travel, education, business, world, self-improvement, relationship, and more.

So far, Gantulga said she has listened to over 90 podcasts. “There are still so many awesome podcasts, and I’m eagerly looking forward to them.”

Lynette Galuvao, a sophomore from Samoa majoring in hospitality and tourism management, said, “Gee is a very curious and outgoing person. She's not scared to try new things and asks many questions, especially when she is curious about something.”

Tumursukh said whenever Gantulga receives advice, she is patient, teachable and reflective. Galuvao said, “One thing that I really admire about Gee is that she makes friends with anyone, even with her professors. I also admire her confidence and honesty.”

Photo by Mark Tabbilos


Mark Tabbilos