Friends, Supporters, and Students of Global Children Cambodia,
A few months ago, Global Children student Theavy Chhun was given a rare opportunity: she was accepted into a prestigious and competitive program at the Dong-A University in Busan, Korea to study Korean Literature. Global Children’s supporters rallied around Theavy and answered our call for funds to make sure she could take advantage of the ten-month exchange. We raised enough to pay Theavy’s airfare, room and board, books, food, and visa application — and we even exceeded our goal by $50.
As a way of saying thank you, and to show you just how far your donation of even a small amount can go towards making an impact, we promised to keep you updated as to what Theavy has been up to while studying. Theavy wrote to us in late May, and we are happy to share with our supporters and friends what we learned! We are also so excited to share with our friends some of the information our volunteer Jiye learned when she traveled to South Korea and had the chance to interview Theavy.
She has progressed to the fourth level of her program, and is third in her class of sixty students. She takes Korean Language and Korean Culture courses, and has the chance to study alongside foreigners and native Koreans alike. Theavy mentioned to Jiye that she especially enjoys her speaking classes, as they allow her to learn more about foreign cultures and communities — though she said that her teacher speaks very quickly! In her limited downtown, Theavy enjoys exploring cultural sites with her friends, going downtown, and singing karaoke.
As a reward for her academic performance, she spent her break traveling to Seoul, which is about five hours each way from Busan by train, with several Cambodian friends. While there, Theavy and her friends visited the Kyeongbokgung palace (경복궁), Gwanghwamun (광화), the Seoul tower, and Myungdong(명동.) She was especially impressed by the enormous grounds of the palace, as well as her time at Seoul University, where she visited a friend enrolled in a Master’s Program! Theavy was inspired by the sprawling campus, which is atop a mountain, and of course by the library, which she described as “Crazily big!”
On her final day in Seoul, Theavy visited Seoul Park, where she went to the zoo, the garden, and even had the chance to ride several roller coasters.
Theavy told Jiye she has had to adjust to a few “culture shocks” since arriving in Korea: for one, she was surprised at how much makeup is worn by the women in Korea. Though Theavy prefers a natural look, she says that in Korea, makeup is almost a part of etiquette. She was also surprised by how much people were constantly on their phones –though we may be used to this in NYC, it’s not the norm in Cambodia. The final culture shock? The speed and enormous crowds on the bus and public transportation! Her first time, Theavy nearly fell, but she’s learned how to balance and hang on. The thing Theavy misses most in Cambodia? The food, especially mangoes!
Theavy’s mother is extremely proud and supportive of Theavy’s accomplishments, and has instructed her to study hard. Though she sometimes worries about her daughter, like any parent would, Theavy’s mother can’t wait to hear even more about what Theavy is accomplishing abroad. Theavy suggested that her Global Children friends and colleagues look into studying abroad, and mentioned to Jiye that Korea and Cambodia have much to learn from each other.
We are so proud of Theavy’s outstanding and cultural achievements, and are thrilled she has immersed herself in the academic communities of both Seoul and Busan. We wonder: after seeing such a spectacular library, will Theavy be able to resist the pull of a Master’s Program?
Stay tuned for more updates about Theavy and all of our amazing students at Global Children.