The best thing about being a part of Global Children is getting the chance to know our students and to celebrate their accomplishments. This month, we want to introduce you to Theavy Chhun, a Korean major at RUPP’s Institute of Foreign Language who first learned about Global Children while living in the Kampong Cham Orphanage Center.
Theavy says that she “didn’t hate” living in the Orphanage because it made her “a stronger person” who “knew how to survive alone, without my family.” While she knew she wanted to attend college, she stressed that her village was “a peaceful place” without the pollution or traffic of Phnom Penh. Growing up in a community that “shared what we could with each other and helped each other when we had any problems” taught Theavy early on of the importance of both giving back and asking for help. Theavy’s mother, who works in a garment factory, her grandmother, and her sister, who hopes to soon be able to enroll in trade school while pursuing her interests in music, all support her decision to enroll in college. Her mother has visited her at the University, and Theavy goes home to visit as often as her rigorous schedule will allow.
Growing up, Theavy always had an interest in the global community, which she nurtured by reading novels from across the globe and by befriending as many different types of people as possible. She said that she picked up a love of foreign languages from the “many foreigners and tourists who came to my orphanage center.” While she loved French, she realized that “many Korean people came to the orphanage center.” Wanting to better communicate with those around her, Theavy chose to learn Korean in addition to French. Theavy says of her love for language “I feel like I can communicate with the world.”
She first heard about Global Children from another student, Peng Y, who asked her if she was interested in studying at a University. He encouraged her to apply to Global Children, so Theavy completed her application and passed her Bacc II examination. She was accepted shortly afterwards, and decided to focus on Korean over English, knowing she would receive more specialized attention and, potentially more offers in the future, if she chose to complete a more distinctive major. Her favorite classes are grammar and conversation — fields Theavy is especially strong in thanks to her love of literature. By reading novels like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Dickens’ Oliver Twist, and Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, which she counts among her favorites, Theavy serves as a role model for students both in and outside of the Global Children home. A typical evening for Theavy consists of dinner with our Global Children students, and, of course, piles of homework — with a little Facebook thrown in when she needs a break. In terms of Global Children’s specialized curriculum for the students at our house, Theavy’s favorite is our English class. She says the atmosphere at our house is friendly and, like her village, one where everyone supports and helps one another to succeed.
Theavy has big plans for the future: she hopes to live in Siem Reap as “it will be like living with nature,” and wants to work as a tour guide or as interpreter. With her skill set, grasp of multiple languages, and her ability to connect with people from across the globe, we’re confident that Theavy will be an even bigger success than she is already.
To watch a longer interview with Theavy, please click here!