Bikes, Steppes, Inner Mongolia, and Insurance

A few hours ago, I was sitting around brainstorming for this post and my mind quickly wandered to my college years and some of the crazier trips I’ve made.  A few of them were interesting, to say the least, so I was more than happy to take over the Adventures Abroad thread while Andy is away.

At this time several years ago I was applying to summer internships abroad programs in China.  Most summer programs have deadlines in February and March so this time of year is crucial if you’re looking to go abroad.  Anyway, having studied in China the summer before and wanted to return, I figured a little bit of work would truly immerse me in a way that classes never could.

Vast and Beautiful (minus the town)

Vast and Beautiful (minus the town)

One weekend, some friends and I decided to visit to Inner Mongolia and meet up with a group that takes biking tours of the steppe.  The overnight train deposited the group in Hohhot, the capital of the region, and we all took a bus out to the lodge.   While my friends found breakfast – a traditional meal of goat cheese and organ stew – to be pretty repulsive, I love eating local fare and was quite pleased.  In fact, I love sampling foods so much I never say that I have “visited” a locale – I say that I’ve “eaten through.”

After breakfast we started the bike journey and made our way through the countryside.  In the afternoon, we encountered a problem.  My friend Will had fallen off his bike and cut his cheek on a rock.  First aid kits were pulled

Cows and livestock everywhere

Cows and livestock everywhere

out  and he was patched up, but everyone seemed to forget where we were: the Inner Mongolian Steppe.  The ground was littered with more manure than the local dog park.  To be safe, we put our trip on hold and headed back to the city so Will could be checked out at the hospital.  Any possible infection in his cheek was annihilated by a dose of antibiotics, and his study abroad health insurance covered it.

Our Yurt

Our Yurt

I guess the moral of the story is to be sure that you have health insurance when you’re studying abroad.  Students are adventurous; it’s what makes our experiences in Inner Mongolia and Papua New Guinea that much more interesting and memorable.  But you never know when you might inadvertently fall off your bike and cut your cheek on a manure-covered rock in the rolling steppes of Inner Mongolia.  For those and other crazy events – serious and not-so-serious – it’s great to have backup on hand.

1 Response to “Bikes, Steppes, Inner Mongolia, and Insurance”

  1. 1 jennavandenberg May 12, 2011 at 5:12 am

    I’m doing the 1/2 marathon there this summer. Note to self: Do not fall down in Inner Mongolia. Was the yurt cheesy, fun, or worth it?

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Gulliver helps students Study Abroad. Our blog covers: current issues in Study Abroad; featured posts by Study Abroad students; and Gulliver updates, news, and behind-the-scenes peaks. Thanks for reading!

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