Location
  • Cambodia
Length
4 - 26 weeks
Need-based funding, General grants/scholarships, 529 Plan eligibility, BIPOC funding
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Provider
Timeframe
Summer
Housing
Host Family
Language
Khmer
Age Min.
16
Age Max
18

Pricing

Starting Price
7550
Price Details
The land cost for Cambodia: Peace-Building and Conservation is $7,550 for 4 weeks. Need-based scholarships are available!
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Oct 23, 2023
Oct 11, 2023
6 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Learn about human rights and international development while explore the natural beauty of Cambodia. Wake up early to catch the sunrise over the overgrown temples of Angkor Wat, and learn about the ecological and architectural wonders of the Angkor civilization. You'll unpack the legacy of the Khmer Rouge and also gain insight into Theraveda Buddhism.

Visit the floating villages of Lake Tonle Sap, as you dive into the effects of upriver dams and discuss environmental issues that are critical to food security in Cambodia. Meet with NGO representatives working on education, child rights, and anti-orphanage initiatives in the city of Battambang.

Explore Phnom Penh, an emerging city home to artists and activists, where you'll learn more about the impacts of the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia's current political landscape. End your trip with a trip to Kampot, a costal village to celebrate your time together and reflect on all you learned.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

Unfortunately, discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, and skin tone exists in different forms all over the world. In some destinations, especially rural or ethnically homogenous areas, people may not have had much exposure to racial diversity. As such, people with certain physical characteristics may experience unwanted attention. Most commonly, this might include staring, insensitive comments, people taking your photo (with or without asking), or attempts to touch your skin or hair. Black students traveling in parts of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa have often reported higher levels of unwanted attention than their peers. White students traveling in parts of Asia and Africa have also reported receiving unwanted attention. Students are encouraged to communicate with staff if they feel their personal boundaries are being violated or if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable in any situation. We encourage you to believe your peers if/when they share experiences like this with you.

LGBTQIA+ Support

Social, cultural, religious, political, and legal attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community vary around the world. According to the Global Acceptance Index, average levels of acceptance for LGBTQ+ people around the world have been increasing since 1981. However, many countries where Dragons operates programs may have social discrimination or even laws against being LGBTQ+. We have safely supported LGBTQ+ students in all of our program areas, and provide specific cultural and geographic advice to help students stay safe on course.

In some cases, students may be advised not to speak about their sexual orientations and/or gender identities with local contacts (such as homestay families, ISP mentors, language teachers, and guest speakers) due to safety concerns. Likewise, transgender and non-binary students may have to choose to present outwardly as male or female in certain contexts during the program. In other cases, “coming out” to some or all host community members may be a safe choice.

Neurodivergent Support

For students with neuro-differences (such as dyslexia, ADHD, ASD, TS, and dyspraxia), it is important to be aware that neurodiversity is likely viewed differently abroad than at home. People might not be familiar with labels or terms that are very common where you come from. If you struggle with lots of external stimuli, you should be prepared that you will be in some environments that are louder and busier than what you are used to.

Accessibility Support

If you are a student with a physical disability, you might encounter challenges around accessibility than you have at home. Many of the places we travel at Dragons don’t have building codes or other regulations in place to support people with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments. You may need accommodations or support that you don’t usually require in your life at home.

Impact

Sustainability

Dragons defines responsible travel as travel that is culturally conscious, environmentally responsible, and focused on developing meaningful connections and mutual respect in the communities to which we travel. Over the course of Dragons 25+ year history, we have cultivated long-standing relationships with respected community leaders, academics, social entrepreneurs and professionals involved in environmental and cultural preservation. In the more than 20 countries in which Dragons has operated, we have steadfastly adhered to minimum impact travel, an accurate and informed understanding of place, and the realization of maximum benefit for the communities we visit.

Ethical Impact

Dragons believes that we need to shift the way we think of volunteer travel. Instead of focusing on “service work”—on the idea that short-term volunteers can contribute to communities abroad—we advocate a paradigm shift: we choose, instead, to focus on “learning service.”

Learning Service is a holistic experience that combines an intimate and authentic engagement with the local community, the study of effective development, and the contribution to an established community-driven project. It is the process of living, working alongside, and humbly absorbing the culture of those being served while coordinating closely with project managers to understand the trajectory of the project, from inception to completion and beyond. It is an acknowledgment that often it is the volunteer who stands to gain as much or more from the work. And it is a commitment to making contributions that create positive impacts in the communities coupled with the humility to always listen and learn first.

Program Highlights

  • Catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat before cycling around the temple complex with a guide contemplating ancient Angkorian history.
  • Speak with local and international NGO representatives in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to learn about contemporary issues ranging from: land rights abuses, women’s rights issues, the garment industry, access to education, WASH initiatives, LGBTQIA+ movement,
  • Be welcomed into a lively rural homestay community and spend a week immersing yourself in the daily life and rhythm of your host family
  • Swim in the Andaman Sea while unpacking the grim realities of marine conservation in Southeast Asia.
  • Sit with a panel of monks in Battambang to understand the realities of Theravada Buddhism and learn simple insight meditation techniques to bring you to the present moment.

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.85
  • Support 4.7
  • Fun 4.5
  • Housing 4.85
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Default avatar
Kathryn
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Eye-opening, transcending, and most of all unforgettable

There are no words in the English dictionary that can describe this odyssey. It was the most amazing experience in my entire life. I tried new foods I never thought I would love, learned things I was never particularly intrigued by, met people I never thought would leave such an impression, discovered things about myself I never knew, and was led by four incredible instructors who guided me on my journey. I never thought that one trip to Cambodia could drastically impact my life for the better.

30 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Mia
5/5
No, I don't recommend this program

Cambodia- best experience of my life!

Before going on my dragons trip I knew nothing about Cambodia, and if I’m being honest not much about myself either. The instructors for this program were top tier and I found myself learning about cambodia through many different lenses- each which taught me something about myself and the world along the way- this experience encouraged me to open my eyes to parts of the world and life experiences that differ from my own. I learned so much about myself and left the trip a new person. I fully recommend dragons to anyone and everyone, and encourage you to go in with an open mind and open heart.

Pros
  • Fun and engage
  • Diverse opportunities within Cambodia
  • Moments for self reflection and growth
Cons
  • Expensive
  • 5 weeks goes by fast!
  • Small group
52 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Alexa
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Eye opening

I have done two programs with Where There Be Dragons, and both were incredible. This program is definitely not for the weak of heart, but it taught me so much about ethical travel and how to be a responsible global citizen. I have never felt so comprehensively immersed in a culture so different from my own. A combination of rugged travel, home stay, cultural immersion and historical education made the trip truly informative, exciting and productive. Expedition phase, in which students plan a small portion of the trip, is also useful for cultivating life skills in travel.

55 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Jameson
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Experience Ever

Going to Cambodia with Where There Be Dragons was one of the most transformative experiences of my life thus far. The group leaders were all better than I could have imagined (A norm for Dragons), and their knowledge and thoughtfulness was incredible. I've been on study abroad programs prior, and I can say with pretty much absolute certainty that Dragons is the best organization out there. I literally have no cons to talk about, it was amazing.

However, if you are not someone who is adventurous and willing to "rough it" a little bit (ex. Bucket showers and limited electricity), this program might be more challenging for you.

56 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Alexis
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable

My experience in Cambodia was incredibly meaningful and eye-opening. Cambodia is built on peaceful Buddhist values that produce a laid back culture. At the same time, a large majority of the population lives in poverty without access to clean water, electricity, and plumbing. The combination of these two factors is interesting, because although people live difficult lives, I found that they made the most of their circumstances and did not resent that which they don’t have. For example, my homestay consisted of an outdoor kitchen, small bathroom where I used a squat toilet and took bucket showers, and communal outdoor space with tables and hammocks. Essentially, they were living a minimalistic life and I was inspired by their ability to separate the link between happiness and material possessions. It was refreshing to be a part of a community where people’s happiness was instead determined by their relationships with family and friends. Additionally, in adapting to a new culture, I practiced mindfulness. In applying deeper thought to my routines and actions, I was able to take advantage of each opportunity to learn and grow. In Cambodia, I constantly shifted my perspective on life at home, realizing that the important things in life are often taken for granted. My increased mindfulness allowed me to return home with greater appreciation and respect for the people around me and my time spent with them. Overall, traveling to Cambodia was an incredibly formative experience that showed me the value of stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

86 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Grace
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Authentic Discovery of Self and Country

Whether you are called by the vibrant green rice paddies of Southeast Asia or the warm plains of West Africa, travelling with Where There Be Dragons is an inspiring and formative experience. In the summer of 2012 I went to Cambodia with a group of eleven other high school students and a team of three remarkable instructors who each possessed expertise about Cambodia’s culture, history, and development. Four years later, my best friend-whom I met on this trip—and I still speak with our instructors, now mentors, on a variety of topics. There is a sense of community cultivated on Dragon’s courses, which affords a lot of room for personal growth and self-discovery. I can so vividly remember the sparking light cascading though the cracks in my homestay family’s home positioned in a village near Penom Penh. I recall swinging awkwardly in the hammock on the first day, but laughing and cooking with this family by the end of the short week-long stay. Learning to dissolve cultural misunderstanding and see one another was a lesson in perspective that I continue to work on today. This course revealed to me ways of life that are much different from my own, comfortable midwestern lifestyle, but simultaneously, this course impressed upon me that we all share the same world. Cambodia is especially beautiful, fully of rice, iced coffee, wrinkled beetlenut stained smiles, incense, and saffron robes. However, it is also plagues with political vice, human rights violations, limited access to education, and a cruel past. The spirit of Cambodia is infectious—full of determination, kindness and potential. What I learned in and about Cambodia continue to translate into many aspects of my life.

In effort to mirror the lifestyle of Khmer people and fully delve into the beauty of Cambodia, this course is defined as rugged travel. There are times we see unparalleled beauty, but we also stay in modest accommodations. The 5/10 rating is not to deter one from travel, but only to convey a realistic picture of the journey.

83 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers