In 2012 GCP expanded its cultural immersion program to the Singha Village. Students from Augsburg College, Stritch University and community volunteers journeyed with GCP. The team partnered with Sing Me A Story organization to capture the stories of the children at NCLO and middle school in Singha Village.
I awoke to the sounds of the monks’ chant echoing through the air. Houa, Jay and I decided to take a walk searching for the source. It’s peaceful walk – men bonding time. I wish I could say that we saw something adventurous, exciting but we didn’t. But I believe that’s the best parts about this walk — peace, the morning calm. As vendors set up shop for the day’s business they glance at us, smile and greet us as we walk pass. Jay had his camera out recording – a few of the locals give him a curious glance and chuckle. Jay’s in own world – that’s also a good thing. The morning walk was good :-)
Just the other day I read and watched a news section on CNN. They were talking about a young teenage girl named; Svay Pak. When she was only 5 years old she was forced into prostitution. A village just outside of Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh is known as a place where little girls are openly sold to foreign predators looking for sex. I know the story of Svay Pak is not a particularly uniqu…e one in certain parts of Cambodia. I can only imagine what we will see and hear about during our time in Cambodia. Stories like these, like Svay Pak’s is honestly what drives me to not just be complacent in this world, to learn about the injustices that happen in this world, and WHY they happen so I can take steps and learn ways in which I can stop them.
Mai Zoua Vang
What comes to mind when I think of the Global Connections Project? The amazing stories I will hear and encounter when I interact with someone like me. By like me, I mean someone whose struggled to get to where they are today. To encounter the harsh reality of possibly never seeing tomorrow, but still capable of offering someone a hand in need of help and a smile to help brighten up others’ days. To build that connection that no one else ever thought possible. But more importantly, the thought of getting to meet and mentor someone to have goals and ambitions for tomorrow.
Tasha Soundara and Alex Pongmany
The experience today teaching the students was a very humbling moment for me because it made me reflect how different my life could of been if my parents hadn’t come to America. I could of been any of those students sitting there and all the things that we take for granted in America become insignificant when you see how far the students travel to come to school and how little supplies they need to learn. We get consumed with so much materialistic needs that we forget that an eager mind is all that is needed to learn.~
Teaching in Cambodia has been a magnificent experience. It was also a huge culture shock because whenever I entered the room all the students stood up, they never sat down until I told them they were able to, and they had a real eagerness t…o learn. This is something you definitely don’t see in the U.S. every day. Teaching was also a challenge because there was a language barrier. Often times the students didn’t understand what I was trying to get them to do. Instead of getting frusterated, I found myself quickly thinking of ways that I could re-teach the material. Whether it meant re-wording, gesturing, or acting. Teaching has definitely taught me a lot of patience, and I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to be here and experience this.
Mai Yer Vang
Being here has helped reminded me of how privileged I am. I have an education, a home, running water, and food. But when I look at these kids, they are lucky if they even have any of what I have. It makes me feel all sort of emotions. It he…lps me to learn to appreciate what I have. And I know that I cannot change anything here for those who I have encountered on this trip, but the least I can do for them is to be of help in any way I can. Therefore today, the group and I were paired of into two where each pair taught a classroom conversational English. I would have to say that by far, this is probably the most challenging for me. It brings me out of my comfort zone. It pushes me to think beyond what I know and for me to bring out my creativity because what I know may not be what others know. At first, I did not know how to communicate at all with the students because I didn’t know how much English they knew. But after a few trial and error, I was able to get the hang of it and come out of my comfort zone. Teaching these kids were pretty fun. They were filled with laughters and sometimes giggled at the silly drawings I did or the gestures I showed them. I laughed too, because this was something I was not use to. We will be here for a couple more days, and I look forward to teaching these students more. It is the least that I can do for them and I know that it will go a long way for them. Even though it is small, it impacts them greatly to have this opportunity. And I am more than thankful to be a part of this great opportunity for them, as it is a great opportunity for myself as well.
Travel with meaning… our group has crossed paths with many travelers along our journey. Each person(s) unique, traveling for various reasons. Our group chose to “travel with meaning” to the Kingdom of Cambodia and discovered its hidden be…auty wasn’t hidden. We just had to see it, appreciate it and let its magic leave an Travel with meaning… our group has crossed paths with many travelers along our journey. Each person(s) unique, traveling for various reasons. Our group chose to “travel with meaning” to the Kingdom of Cambodia and discovered its hidden beauty wasn’t hidden. We just had to see it, appreciate it and let its magic leave an everlasting imprint in our hearts…
Cambodia has taught me that history does repeat itself if the world turns a blind eye. A slight shift in history impacts a society psychologically and things are the way they are because of it. Leaving Cambodia, I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is to be generous. Yes, there are a lot of problems in the world – but if we shut ourselves out, become ignorant to the problems in our world, then history would and could possibly repeat itself. I will not forget to be generous. When you can do things without expecting anything in return, that is the ultimate meaning of life. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity, chance, and choice to be generous. Thanks GCP – Travel with Meaning