By Chrin Samvisal
Two more University of Cambodia (UC) students, Say Jeudi and Cheng Reaksmey, were selected to join the study abroad program between UC and Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where they will learn alongside international and Thai students. The exchange program is a result of an on-going partnership between UC and Payap and aims to strengthen academic cooperation between the two universities and promote international understanding. The scholarship covers full tuition, room and board, travel, and a small stipend.
The two students competed for the exchange program scholarships and were selected by a committee after they completed a rigorous application and interview process. Jeudi left for the study abroad program in late June and will return to Cambodia in December, while Reaksmey will join the program in October and return in December.
Say Jeudi, 28, a Term-VI student majoring in Law, said it was a “golden opportunity” for him, and that he was very excited to learn how to live in a multicultural environment.
He plans on taking courses in Payap’s South East Asian Institute of Global Studies (SEAIGs), a research institute that provides programs focused on human rights and politics, economic development and business, and cultures and societies in Southeast Asia. He said he believes this will be a valuable learning experience and that he will be able to learn about many regional issues.
“From the exchange program, I expect to develop three skills, such as learning how to study and live in a multicultural environment, improving [my] English and Thai, and. . .[having]. . .more experience in life,” he said.
He continued to say that he is not afraid of going to Thailand, even with the border tension surrounding Preah Vihear.
“Many students are scared to study in Thailand. It is not a problem for me as long as I do not talk about the politics. We [Thailand and Cambodia] are friends and we want peace,” he emphasized.
Living in a new environment may be tough the first time, he said, but he wants to experience unfamiliarity and struggle a bit so he can grow and help make positive changes.
Cheng Reaksmey, 24, a Term-V student majoring in International Relations, plans to join the Payap exchange program in October and take courses in Hospitality Management. He said he would like to learn from international students who will bring different ideas about hospitality knowledge from their home countries.
“I want to [gain] experience and have extra knowledge about courses in a foreign university. Simultaneously, it is also a training session to boost my capacity for learning, which means that the harder I train myself, the more. . .[qualified and competent]. . .I can become,” he said.
From this experience, he hopes to learn how to interact with foreign students in Thailand and to improve his communication skills.
“I am starting to learn basic Thai language and to surf the Internet to further research. . .Thailand and Payap University,” he said. “In addition, I am reading more regarding Cambodia history, culture, traditional music and dance so that I can introduce Cambodian culture to foreign students.”
He considers himself to be an optimistic person, so the recent conflict between Cambodia and Thailand does not bother him. He added that he will avoid talking about political issues because he is there to learn and share knowledge with other students.
This will be the second time Reaksmey has interacted with foreign students. He said that he feels delighted to have this opportunity and that he is ready to experience culture shock, learn how to adapt in a new environment, and explore the lifestyle in Thailand.
Say Jeudi and Cheng Reaksmey are the second set of UC students selected to study abroad at Payap. Chhun Seakkeav and Lim Nguon were the first two recipients of this scholarship program and studied at Payap from October 2010 to March 2011. After returning to Cambodia, both students said they had a very enriching experience studying abroad and were very appreciative of having the opportunity to do so.
Source: UC Bulletin June 2011, Page 21