By Tim Vutha
Lip Sourmolivann, 20, a scholarship student at the University of Cambodia (UC)majoring in International Relations in Term-VI, won the Sarus Exchange Program. This exchange program was a study tour focused on cultural exchange and gave Sourmolivannan opportunity to compare life experiences in Cambodia and Vietnam. Sourmolivann won the program after submitting an application form and being interviewed by a selection committee.
Twelve Cambodian students, including Sourmolivann, were selected as successful candidates; similarly, 10 Vietnamese students were selected in Vietnam to participate in the program.
|Lip Sourmolivan won the Sarus Exchange Program and had an opportunity to learn about life in Vietnam and share his knowledge about life in Cambodia|
“[When]. . .the exchange. . .[occurred]. ..in Cambodia, I introduced the Vietnamese friends. . .to. . .Khmer diverse culture,” he said.
Several projects, including visits to an orphanage and construction plants, were integrated in the exchange tour to help the program recipients acquire a deeper understanding of Cambodian livelihood.
“[When the program was in Vietnam]. . .we visited Ho Chi Minh City and Dalat, with a great deal of knowledge gained [about] Vietnamese culture there,” he said.
Since the program highlighted the exchange of culture, it did not include any intensive courses at any of the universities.
Nonetheless, Sourmolivann said he believed that the students “learned a great deal from real life experiences” and that the exchange program was helpful as it offered him a different view of his home country and Vietnam.
Sourmolivann also said that he has gained much from the experience. For example, he has improved his cultural understanding and communication skills, and has new relationships with friends outside of Cambodia. He believes that he can help society while learning from it and can learn how to adapt to ongoing social changes.
Moreover, he believes that people can find good solutions to problems by sharing and learning from foreigners.
During the program, a wide range of activities were organized. Students visited villages with no electricity and toilets, explored the forests, and tried different types of food. Sourmolivann said he was not shocked, but rather “really happy to learn those things.”
The Cambodian students in the exchange program had to prepare from January to June 2011. Sourmolivann participated in many activities during this period, such as going on monthly field trips, writing research papers, and learning traditional art performances like the Trolaok Folk Dance (a traditional dance in Cambodia). The Vietnamese students also had to prepare for the program.
The exchange program lasted for one month and was kicked off when Vietnamese students arrived in Cambodia on July 2. The students worked closely together for 15 days in Cambodia and another 15 days in Vietnam.
Source: UC Bulletin June 2011, Page 26