American Oakland High School Students in Cambodia

In August 2013, a small group of 12 American students traveled around Cambodia during a program supported by the Learning Afar program. Students from a variety of American backgrounds joined volunteer activities, sightseeing tours, and research on Cambodia. In 12 days they visited capital Phnom Penh, Angkorian base Siem Reap, beach resort Kep and a CBT in Chi Pat.

Institution              Coliseum College Prep Acadamy, Oakland CA, United States of America via Global Explorers

Education               High School

Group                    10 students, 1 educator, 1 supervisor

Purpose of Visit     Volunteering, cross cultural exchange and learning about Asia

Travel Dates           2-13 August 2013

Travel Route          Siem Reap – Phnom Penh – Kep – Chi Pat in 12 days

Khiri Travel Cambodia was the host for some American high school students. Due to a relatively short travel window and their desire to experience lots of activities, the itinerary was planned exactly for the group’s tight schedule. They asked to experience volunteer opportunities in Siem Reap. Khiri Travel Cambodia team investigated projects in about six months between the first contact and arrival of the group. Repairing bikes in Siem Reap and helping construct a toilet building in Kep were two examples of the volunteering activities in which the students participated.

The students visited the following projects:

Sala Bai Hotel & Restaurant School

This is a school where young Cambodians coming from underprivileged families are trained to work in the hotel and tourism industry. Sala Bai is a French initiative and was founded in 2002. The group was introduced to the various departments in the school.

990 Cycle with local student

New Hope Cambodia Organization

New Hope is an NGO run by a Khmer man who focuses on providing free education to help break the cycle of poverty. The Oakland students visited the school and together with the local students helped repair bicycles.

990 - Khmer traditional dance

Apsara Art Association

The American students visited the Apsara Art dance school in Phnom Penh and learned a few steps of Khmer traditional dance. They played some games together with the Cambodian students and both the Khmer children and the foreign visitors performed a cultural show on stage.

Equitable Cambodia (EC)

This organization carries on the work of BABC (Bridges Across Borders Cambodia) since 2012 and works to support actions for social justice and human rights. American students visited a school run by the organization and helped villagers construct a toilet building.

Tonle Sap and Chi Pat Communities (CBT)

In both Tonle Sap and Chi Pat districts, there are CBT’s (Community Based Tourism) centers. The high school group visited both communities and learned about local Khmer life. They planted trees, engaged with local children visiting schools and playing fun games, ate typical Khmer food during a picnic lunch in the community’s restaurant, and did kayaking and boat trips.

Summary of the travel itinerary:

Day 1 | Arrival in Siem Reap

Students where welcomed at the airport and brought to their hotel in downtown Siem Reap.

Day 2 | Siem Reap

In the morning the students enjoyed leisure time or paid a visit to Artisans d’Angkor. After lunch they were taken to visit Sala Bai hospitality school for interaction with the local students and an introduction to the school’s activities.

Day 3 | Siem Reap

Our guide showed the students some of the impressive Angkor temple ruins. We saw Ta Phrom, Angkor Wat and arranged for tuk-tuks to visit Bayon Temple.

Day 4 | Siem Reap: Tonle Sap

In the early morning the group took off for Tonle Sap Lake. To break the driving time a little, we stopped at Mechrey and Prek Toal floating villages. We visited New Hope Cambodia Organization and enjoyed lunch at the Tonle Sap community.

Day 5 | Siem Reap – Phnom Penh

In about 4.5 hours the group reached Phnom Penh where they enjoyed a bit of exercise by practicing aerobics with local Cambodians long the Mekong River.

Day 6 | Phnom Penh

The group enjoyed a leisurely visit to the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. Lunch was enjoyed at Friends Restaurant run by the charity Mith Samlanh.

Day 7 | Phnom Penh

In the morning the students learned about the history of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime by visiting the Choeng Ek and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museums. The afternoon was an interactive visit to the Aspara Art Association to practice traditional Khmer dance.

Day 8 | Phnom Penh – Kep: Rabbit Island

We drove to Kep on the Gulf of Thailand and took a 30-minute boat ride to reach Rabbit Island (Koh Tonsay) for a relaxing afternoon on the beach.

Day 9 | Kep

Kep is small and quiet town where the students bicycled an easy and fun route to visit an EC/BABC school for a full day of tutoring and cross-cultural exchange.

990- boat at Chi Pat

Day 10 | Kep – Chi Pat

Khiri Travel Cambodia organized boats to travel to Chi Pat village and it’s community based tourism initiative. The group slept in a guesthouse and enjoyed leisure time in the village.

Day 11 | Chi Pat

Today the students explored Chi Pat and its surroundings. A kayaking trip led them to Southoun Lodge. They visited a beautiful waterfall, enjoyed lunch at the CBT restaurant and, together with local students, helped the community with light work.

Day 12 | Chi Pat – Phnom Penh – departure

The group enjoyed breakfast at the CBT and drove back to Phnom Penh to visit a market before flying back to the United States.

990 Chi Pat

Oakland High School student at CBD

For more information on this student group or other educational travel options, please contact sales.cambodia@khiri.com.