By Kong Vong Seith Sothy
Two Japanese graduates, Yuko Naka and Keiko Saito, won Handa Scholarships to visit the University of Cambodia (UC) in March and April 2011. The Handa Scholarships provided the students an opportunity to conduct research in Cambodia and aimed to promote international cultural understanding.
Yuko Naka, who majored in Linguistics and Education and graduated from Ryukyu University, said that she applied for this scholarship because she wanted to study the Cambodian education system, especially in regard to the disparity between the rich and poor. She enjoys doing community service and strives to do work that can help improve the lives of those living in poverty. Her prior experiences include volunteering as an English teacher in Thailand and the Philippines. While in the Philippines, she and 15 other Japanese volunteers worked on a project in which they built a well for villagers, mentored underserved children, and visited domestic violence victims. Miss Naka said she is particularly interested in helping others create positive change for the sake of society.
Keiko Saito, a graduate of Fukuoka Dental College, came to Cambodia to collect and gather information about the dental field in Cambodia. She visited several dental clinics here and said that she was impressed by many of the Cambodian dental students, as they were not afraid to use their own hands to examine patients’ teeth and mouth. Japanese dental students primarily depend on instruments, according to Miss Saito. In addition to visiting UC, she visited a local orphanage center to teach orphans how to properly clean and protect their teeth, and to deliver English and Japanese language lessons to the children. This is the third time she has been in Cambodia, where she now has many friends.
Both of the Handa Scholarship recipients expressed a shared commitment to helping the disadvantaged in developing countries.
The University was pleased and honored to host the two outstanding scholarship recipients, and to facilitate the academic and cultural exchange.
Source: UC Bulletin June 2011, Page 8