Arts & Humanities College Welcomes First International Grad Student

As a native English speaker who decided to study English at a The University of Cambodia, Suzanne Gillespy made a unique decision that marks a first in UC history. The new face in the College of Arts and Humanities accepted the enrollment as the university's first international graduate student. 

From the United States, where she received her Bachelor's degree in French Language and Literature with a minor in Earth Science at the University of Central Missouri, she plans to use her degree to teach and do research at the university level as well as pursue her doctorate and perhaps do some writing on the side. 

"My experience at UC should grant me a unique, outside-the-box perspective in regards to my field of study," Gillespy said. 

Gillespy made the decision to attend UC with ease. UC's English-led instruction played a major role in her selection, she said. Plus she found the curriculum to rank higher compared to other local universities. 

''UC's Master's program offered a variety of courses that fit my interests and the staff and instructors were knowledgeable and friendly," Gillespy said. "When you factor in a conveniently located campus, UC became an easy choice."

Beginning her studies with Foundation Year courses in research paper writing -- a requirement for all Master's students -- and proposal and grant proposal writing, she has found her classmates to be major influences in shaping her experience. They bring a sense of humor and positive attitude to the classroom. They are also curious about her situation, she said, and are willing to help her adjust to life at UC and in Cambodia. 

"Cambodia is a crossroads of many different cultures. Phnom Penh is no exception -- there's an eclectic meeting of both East and West here. It's a great environment to study in," she said. 

According to the college's Associate Dean Chris Smith, Gillespy's enrollment at UC underlines the international standards set by the university.

"If as an American she is happy with UC, it speaks volumes for the university," he said.

However, being the first international graduate student does not come without its challenges. Her expressed interest in Literature Transformation and Fan Literature and the advanced level of her degree has set out uncharted territory for the college. Smith has had to pull on different resources to acquire the needed texts for her studies, but the quest has surely put the college on the map.