This blog entry is by Erin Chapman a Human Development and Family Sciences major at Oregon State University. She is an IE3 Global returnee.
In Fall 2014 I had the amazing opportunity of spending 3 months in Cambodia working as an intern for a non-profit NGO called Cambodian Organization for Children and Development. This is a blog entry taken from Day 49 of my trip in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
I have reached and passed the halfway point for this amazing adventure and the first thing that comes to mind…I am not ready to leave. So much has happened in just 6 and half weeks. I have learned so much about Cambodia, about this beautiful culture, about working and living abroad, about COCD and working in a non-profit organization, and about myself. This experience is changing my life.
This is not a countdown though. I’m not thinking how many days I have left but instead I am going to think about now and what I can do to make the most of every moment. When it comes to my internship with COCD, up to this point I have been easing into the office culture and finding my place. Now I am going to use this time to focus and contribute as much as I can to support the staff and the clients. Also, I have two big goals I need to cover: 1.) Learn as much of the Khmai language as I can, 2.) learn how to cook some Khmai food. I’m sharing these goals with you all so you can hold me accountable! I can do this!
There is one very personal thing I want to share about what this trip has meant to me so far. My home back in Oregon is wonderful and I love and miss all my friends and family so dearly. At the same time, I have never felt more accepted and happy in my life then how I feel here on this adventure. I have met some wonderful people who have made me feel incredibly loved and fulfilled. Some things in life are meant to be and I KNOW I am meant to be here. I feel as though I have found a place where I belong and this trip is definitely going to have a huge influence on what happens next in my life after I graduate from Oregon State. I still don’t have any idea what those plans will be though. I’m just going to have to wait and see!
So as usual, lots of exciting things have happened in the past week. Within the past 8 days I have:
– Dressed up as a lion for Halloween dodgeball (rawr!)
– Joined some of the staff from COCD on a full day visit to the Pursat Province to observe a meeting and discussion about a new project proposal
– Ate some fried crickets, worms, frogs, AND TARANTULA!
– Hiked 7 kilometers around the Anloung Chen Island with a group of 60 people
– Went on a 3 day trip to the beautiful beaches of Sihanoukville
– Joined a van full of teachers to the beach, and on the way, got stuck in the most ridiculous 40 kilometer (24 mile) traffic jam you can imagine. Somehow we managed to get out of it in about 4 hours (it doesn’t sound all that bad, but there was definitely potential for us to be stuck there for days)
– Spent a couple nights in a hostel literally ten steps away from the Gulf of Thailand waters
– Made some new friends with people from all across the world (Spain, England, Cambodia, US)
Throughout my trip, the adventures were endless.
To read Erin’s full blog, follow this link!