Vision 100 Scholar Study Economics

Top “Vision 100” Scholar Leaves Provincial Life to Study Economics

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4-10 January 2009 (Phnom Penh) - It was a dream for 18-year-old Meak Chanleakena, to get the highest score in the examinations for  The University of Cambodia’s Samdech Techo Hun Sen “Vision 100” Scholarships. However, the dream became reality with a little hard work and application. Now the enthusiastic student has been placed first out of a field of about 3,000 candidates for the scholarship. 

Chanleakena, from Kampong Thom province, about 168 kilometers from Phnom Penh, arrived in the capital a month before the scholarship announcements on September 2008.

Shy and quiet-spoken, Chanleakena said that it was her ambition to make the most of the opportunity offered by the UC scholarship program and eventually occupy a position with high responsibilities in Cambodian society. She hopes to specialize in Finance and Economics.  

Dressed informally but with a neatness associated with the ranks of female UC students, Chanleakena said, “I hope to use my qualifications to bring greater prosperity to my home town. I will be ashamed if I return with nothing to show for my studies.”

The young student starts a new life of study at UC while living with her mother’s cousin in Phnom Penh. She said that she is now a scholarship student with UC’s Samdech Techo Hun Sen “Vision 100,” with sponsorship generously provided the Thakral Group.  The Thakral Group is an organization operating at the cutting edge of Information Technology in the region.

She remembered that during the exam, she saw no evidence of cheating and that it was conducted under the strictest of circumstances. As a result of her study, she said, “I achieved the best results in my life and I am still coming to terms with it. I really do not know what my numerical score was because UC did not show it to me. They simply told me that I came top of the class. I am very proud of myself.”

She added that the exam was conducted in English, which made her achievements all the more commendable.

Chanleakena, said that when she arrived in Phnom Penh she looked forward to a new life and taking steps to make her dream come true. “Now I am studying the
FastTrax English course at UC before I study a four-year Economics BA.”“The score encouraged me to keep studying even harder. I have to overcome all kinds of any obstacles in Phnom Penh even though I am a new comer from a provincial town,” said Chanleakena, whose mother passed away when she was 6 years old. “Everything is new for me.”

Chanleakena’s friend Sreng Poly, who is from Kampong Thom, said that Chanleakena is a hard-working and patient person.

Poly, who is now taking a pre course for Royal University of Medicine in Phnom Penh, said that her relationship with Chanleakena for about eight years. They studied at the same primary school.

She said that Chanleakena’s family was not rich and therefore appreciated the UC scholarship programs. She said she admires Chanleakena for her ability to use English to further her ambitions.

“As for me, I could not survive in an English-speaking academic environment,” she said. “I wish her good luck and hope her dreams come true.”

This story by reporter Soy Sophea was published in the January 4-10, 2009 edition of The Cambodia Weekly.

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