Shaylee So we leave for Cambodia in just a few days. I'm feeling extremely excited about going and exploring and learning many new things however some anxiety has started to set in in regards to flying (I don't like flying), leaving Australia for the first time and just about going in general.
While we are in Cambodia we will be meeting with NGO's and learning about what work they do in Cambodia. From this I believe I will be able to narrow down exactly what field I would like to work within when I have completed my degree. I believe that I will learn a lot about the culture of Cambodia, a more in depth learning and understanding in regards to the past of Cambodians and I also believe that I will learn a lot about myself. I believe that I will gain new values, insights into another culture other than my own and I believe that I will learn the path that I would like to take to further my education and one day to work within.
Inika 2 weeks out from our trip and I am starting to get serious about organising myself. Forms are being signed left right and centre and after doing an initial pack of my bag I feel much more prepared. I am immensely excited about the placement coming up! I am excited to be going with such an intimate group of people – 8 of us who all share a similar passion. I cannot wait to be fully immersed in a new culture and surrounded by different people, customs and values and a different way of life. Meeting with different NGOs will be equally as exciting and valuable, giving us a chance to network with organisations and get a better understanding of working with an NGO.
We are both excited to be going to Cambodia and we cannot wait to experience all the new adventures we will go on and make many new memories with the group of people we are completing our degree with. We are also excited to meet with NGO's to see what work they conduct and to learn many new things regarding development from them. All in all we are excited about the new experiences we are about to undertake and our nerves are starting to set in now that the date is coming up fast.
During the Trip
It's the second last day of our trip and we have been enjoying ourselves so much that we have not found time to write this blog earlier. Cambodia is incredible. We have been exposed to various aspects of developmental work that have challenged our opinions and helped us to understand what areas of development we are interested in.
We have travelled across the country visiting numerous NGOs and social enterprises. We have immersed ourselves in the culture through learning the local language, participating in homestays and eating rice with EVERY meal. We have spoken to foreigners working in organisations and found that there are many different paths that lead to working in development and we have also spoken to individuals about their experience of the Pol Pot regime.
We have been exposed to many amazing experiences but some of our favourites include the homestay, where we lived with a khmer family that spoke next to no English and lived a simple and traditional Khmer life without power and running water. Here we had to rely on our basic Khmer skills and lots of sign language to communicate.
Another highlight has been speaking to locals about their experiences of life, growing up and education. The day to day educational activities we have participated in since we arrived have been thoroughly enjoyable as have the times we have been able to relax (go swimming), reflect and spend time with each other.
Overall our Immersion Experience Program has been a very useful resource in understanding development in a developing country. It has been educational, inspiring and FUN!
As we endeavour to squash everything into our bags for the final time we reflect on our experiences, how they have changed us, given us insight into a life other than our own and a better understanding of a profession that interests us. Even though we have loved experiencing new things in Cambodia, we are excited to go home and pass on what we have learned.