Payap University and EAN Visit UC

By Dr. Virak Prum

On March 29, 2010, a video crew representing Payap University and the Education Abroad Network (EAN) did a series of interviews with the management as well as members of the faculty and students at the University of Cambodia (UC). The purpose of the filmed interviews was to gather some useful oral facts on Cambodia as a country, on the daily life of university students and on what Western residents feel about living in the country. Such first-hand facts will be presented to potential students in the United States who are considering joining a program called South East Asia Comparative Semester this fall 2010, a popular and successful program at Payap University. This year, following the official signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with UC, Payap decided to include Cambodia in their program. Dr Kao, UC President, made it clear in his statements that Cambodia has become a very welcoming place for Westerners
and other visitors and is often described as a true place for discoveries, either in terms of cultures and civilizations or in terms of socio-economic development. He went further to categorize Cambodia as a center of ASEAN.

Such sentiment is fully shared by students too. Indeed, four members of the UC Student Senate who participated in separate interviews endorsed Phnom Penh City (and Cambodia at large) as a great place for students to experience new adventures, and noted the fun sports activities on and off campus as well. When asked about the “must-do” things in Phnom Penh, the Senate members agreed that visitors should check out traditional and modern markets, visit the museums and pubs, and talk to Khmer people so they can see things from a Cambodian’s point of view. They specifically stressed that unlike what some critics may say about traveling in Cambodia, the truth is that it is safe to travel around the country and foreigners are welcomed anywhere they go. Given their various backgrounds and interests (one Senate member is studying international relations, while another is pursuing a law degree), their common opinion helps to strengthen the belief that coming to Cambodia for a short term study under the proposed program would be a life-changing experience for any Western students.

Aside from their filming in and around Phnom Penh, the video crew visited Siem Reap a few days earlier for more footage on popular ancient sites. They also paid a courteous visit to SEATV and toured UC’s new campus, which is currently under construction.

EAN is an education network organization that specializes in arranging semester programs in Australia, Asia and New Zealand. Participants in the program will spend the first half of it taking courses on Buddhism and Thai Society; Sustainable Development, Environmental Justice and Ethnic Minorities; and Thai Language at Payap University in Chiang Mai. Afterward, they will study Contemporary Cambodia; Hinduism and Khmer Civilization; and Khmer Language in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The UC looks forward to receiving these students in the fall.