Peruvian YouTuber, interpreter Andrea Alessandra Daza La Rosa, known as Andi, gave the following interview to talk about her stay in Mongolia, her lifestyle and her point of view. She is studying in Seoul, South Korea to become a Korean language teacher but is also learning Mongolian on her own and making vlogs in Mongolian on her YouTube channel, Andi’s Diary.
How long do you plan to stay in Mongolia?
At first, I planned to stay in the country for a month but I like this place so I think I will be here for two months.
How was your first impression of Mongolia? Was it different from your expectations?
Even though I have many Mongolian friends in South Korea, I didn’t know much about the country. When I started learning Mongolian, I really enjoyed Mongolian songs. I used to watch a lot of music videos. From those videos, I could see some parts of Ulaanbaatar or the country. Before coming here, I got a small image of this country through these things. When I decided to come here, I told some of my Mongolian friends, “I will go to your country soon.” They said, “No way, why? It’s a dangerous place!” and advised me to be careful, not to walk alone on the street or talk to strangers. Therefore, I was so afraid. In the beginning, to be honest, I was also a little worried because it was my first time going to such an unfamiliar place by myself. I used to live in China to study. But when I went to China for the first time, I could already speak Chinese. When I was studying there, I traveled to South Korea with my Korean friends. Hence, before I moved to South Korea, I already knew what the country would be like.
I thought about what would happen in Mongolia while waiting for the plane at the airport because my Mongolian friends warned me that this place is very dangerous. But when I came here, my first impression of the city was like, “This country looks like my country.” I did not think that this place would be so similar to my country, especially the streets and buildings. Since we live in South Korea, my friends probably gave me those warnings and maybe they think it might be a dangerous place for me compared to South Korea. But I found Mongolia identical to my country. I don’t think it’s a dangerous place because I know that some South American countries are more dangerous. There were drunken people on the streets of Ulaanbaatar, but I didn’t feel any danger here. But of course, if I ignore them, everything will be fine. Mongolians are very friendly. This place is better than I thought.
When you came here, you went to the Playtime Festival and traveled to some places near Ulaanbaatar, right? Can you share your best memories from these travels?
I went to a concert by Ice Top boy band the first week I got here. My friend bought me a ticket for this concert, but I went by myself. I had no idea how concerts were held in Mongolia. According to the ticket information, the concert was supposed to start at noon. However, I went there at 2:00 p.m. thinking that it might not start at that time. When I got there, people were waiting outside the Central Stadium where the concert was held. It was really hot that day. I was wearing a jacket but it suddenly started raining. I guess the concert was stopped twice due to hail and heavy rain. People started running to cover themselves from the rain. I was like, “What’s going on?” and ran after the others. Then, the rain stopped and people came back to the stage. I was very close to the stage. It started raining again, but people didn’t care anymore. They were just jumping, singing and dancing. I thought I should go home because I got all wet and it was a cold night. But then, I realized that there were a lot of people behind me. Since there was no way out, I stayed there. Then, my cell phone died because water got into it. The two girls in front of me asked for my Instagram account and we had a great time together. It was my first concert experience.
I also went to the Playtime Festival. I had so much fun. I somehow lost my money there. So I only had money left for half the ticket. When I gave half of the ticket, I was nervous and didn’t know what to do and the girl selling the ticket paid for the rest of the ticket. She was so kind.
You can speak many languages, namely Spanish, English, Chinese, Korean and Portuguese. Why did you decide to learn Mongolian?
I am interested in learning difficult languages in general. So I learned Chinese. It is said that Mongolian is also a difficult language to learn. Since I started learning Mongolian later, my Mongolian is still a little poor. In particular, I first prepare and memorize what I will talk about and make my YouTube videos. I want to learn Russian in the future.
I found it interesting that you make YouTube videos in Mongolian. Why do you make your videos in Mongolian?
I thought Mongolian food was really delicious, so I immediately tried making khuushuur. Mongolian food is very similar to Peruvian food. So, for the first time, I made a video of myself making khuushuur and uploaded it on YouTube. The khuushuurs I made were very tasty. Then, Mongolians saw my video and left a lot of positive comments. They said, “Good luck, beautiful girl”, “You speak Mongolian well”, and “Make more interesting videos”. Therefore, I started making the next videos in Mongolian.
In general, how are people’s comments on YouTube? How do Mongolians react to your videos?
Mongolians are very friendly and kind. People always try to help me learn things I don’t understand. I read a lot of comments from Mongolian people. Some people say, “You have to be careful in Mongolia. They are mean. You shouldn’t trust people.” But I think that’s not true. Of course, in every country, there are all kinds of people. As a foreigner, I see that in general, Mongolian people behave properly. There are a lot of nice people.
You said you liked Mongolian food a lot. What is your favorite Mongolian dish?
Yes, I love Mongolian food, especially khuushuur and buuz. I have tried making many Mongolian dishes on my own. The most difficult dish to make was buuz because I couldn’t fold them. I don’t understand how people can wrap it so quickly. I also love banshtai tsai (milk tea with dumplings). I love eating it on a cold day.
You have lived in many countries. Have you ever thought of living in Mongolia? Do you see it as an affordable place to live in?
To be honest, groceries and consumer goods seemed more expensive than I expected.
Besides learning languages, what else do you like to do?
I like playing the piano and traveling. I am also interested in making YouTube videos and trying different cuisines.
What is your favorite Mongolian artist?
I like many singers. The first Mongolian singer I started listening to was Uka. My friend showed me her songs and I thought her style was really cool. The artists I listen to the most are Roockie, Vandebo, AM-C, The Wasabies band and NMN. I like most of their songs. I would say my favorite singer is AM-C because I think he is very cute and handsome. He used to be my crush.
Do you plan to make other types of YouTube videos in the future?
Yes, I will make more interesting travel videos in Mongolia. I also want to make some videos, asking questions from random people.