Last summer, three American teenagers‹Mayra, Austin, and Zach; an American ten-year-old-Joe; and two Mongolian teenagers-Naraa and Sundui‹took part in a Kids Studying Eurasian Nomads expedition to the Altai Mountains of Mongolia. Their mission was to gather information on the nomads living in the region through photography, videography, interviews, and binaural recordings. At the same time and place, the KSEN parent organization, CSEN (Center for the Study of Eurasian Nomads) was hosting an excavation, which these kids also took part in. For approximately six weeks, the KSEN team lived the life of a nomad. They lived in nomadic gers or homes; rode horses and camels; participated in cultural events; and ate nomadic foods. By experiencing these things first hand, the students were given an incomparable view of another culture.

Most days, the team excavated a few hours; visited, observed, and interviewed nomads; wrote journal entries about things they were learning; explored the Mongolian steppes; had a Mongolian language lesson and an art class. The students were encouraged to investigate topics about the nomads that interested them. They were given guidance in technology, interviewing skills, cultural ways, and scientific methods. In the end, they were all capable of independently operating the digital cameras, laptop computer and binaural recorder; writing interview questions, conducting and recording interviews, and speaking important words in Mongolian. Also, their aesthetic skills in photography and video work as well as their writing abilities improved remarkably.

Check out the KSEN Nomads, Art Gallery, andBehind the Scenes sections of this website to see what the 1999 team was up to and what they produced.