Self Orienting in the Orient: Cambodia

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As part of a school program I set off for 6 weeks in Cambodia to volunteer with local NGOs over my summer break. IVHQ enabled me to do this by providing knowledgeable resources and prioritizing safety at an affordable price. I stayed in Phnom Penh, a fast growing city in the heart of Cambodia with an authentic feel and modern Western luxuries like a movie theatre and mall. The National Museum and Royal Palace are a must see while in town! I lived in a home-stay with a fantastic family and plenty of other volunteers from all over the world- kind of like a homestay/hostel mix with plenty of people but a homey feel. My NGO placement allowed me to help employees with their English skills through daily conversation and create several presentations for local volunteer training on project development and application. Outside of these immediate impacts, I was also able to help develop applications for three external grants including one for encouraging indigenous political involvement and governmental accountability and one for USAID water sanitation and safe hygiene practices. While I thoroughly enjoyed the work I had, it could be sporadic and I only wish I had more of it to do, but I understand I was placed at a new and growing NGO. My director and the other NGOs employees were a joy to work with, and encouraged me to leave early on Fridays for any weekend excursions I had planned. Having weekends off made for ample travel time with other volunteers (and solo trips) to incredible places like the temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, an Irrawaddy river dolphin seeing trip in the Kratie province, incredible ice cream in rainy French-colonial Kampot, and even a weekend in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. However, my favorite weekend by far was a solo excursion I took out to Koh Rong Samloem, a magical small island off the coast where the seas light up with bioluminescent phytoplankton at night. I had the opportunity to travel in ways (tuk-tuks) and places I had never experienced before, I got to meet people from all different places and walks of life and make some friends I have continued to keep in touch with. Thanks to IVHQ even my broke student lifestyle was able to take me far beyond my own city, growing, challenging, and rewarding me in ways I could never have imagined.

How can this program be improved?
Having more work to do would have improved my specific NGO, but I feel this is not a problem every NGO volunteer had.
Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed

Provider Response

Hi Tianna, Thanks for sharing this awesome review from your time in Cambodia. We are so glad to hear that you lived with a fantastic family, explored Cambodia comprehensively in your spare time, and enjoyed working at your NGO placement. Thank you for your feedback and for being an excellent volunteer, we would love to have you join us again in the future!
Sarah – IVHQ Cambodia Program Manager