Arrival to the Kingdom

I don’t know what’s harder: leaving home for 27 months or making a new country/culture/language your home for over 2 years when you don’t speak an ounce of the language.

Either way, here I am in Cambodia: the Kingdom of Wonder! My fellow Peace Corps trainees and I have been here for two weeks now. These two weeks has come and gone rather quickly, but it somehow feels like we have been here 2 months already.

Even though I just left USG, it seems that my student life isn’t over just yet! We learn and study a lot each day. This is what a typical day looks like during the Pre-Service Training (and for the next 7 weeks):

  • 6am: Wake Up
  • 7am: Head to café next to school for breakfast + study
  • 8am: Khmer Language Training
  • 12pm: Head home to have lunch with my host family
  • 1:15pm: Head back to school
  • 1:30pm: Technical Training about Cambodian’s health system
  • 3:30pm: Khmer Language Training
  • 5:30pm: Go home, spend time with host family, do homework
  • 6:45pm: Dinner
  • 8:00pm: Head to room
  • 9:00pm: Bed time

Our days feel long at times because we:

  • are gaining so much knowledge in one day
  • not used to the typical Cambodian heat and humidity yet
  • have training 6 days a week (and even go to school to study on Sundays)
  • don’t have much/any free time or alone time

However, it’s been an exciting roller coaster ride for sure!

Along with my peers, I have already visited a local Health Center and spoke to the staff with what little Khmer we know. We had the opportunity to learn about how healthcare is delivered there. We even met a very nice patient who was kind enough to show us what her insurance card looks like.

We just taught our first class in Khmer yesterday too. Of course, our language skills are not even at the level of “novice high” yet, but I’m so amazed by how focused training in 2 weeks can make such a big difference in our lives. We taught the high school students how to use “community mapping” as a tool to find out likes and dislikes of the community. It was exciting to see that they’re so excited to have us there!

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The view we get to see at our Training Site (School) every day! 

My health has been better than ever too since we bike everywhere to commute and have fresh vegetables with every meal. I get to eat exotic tropical fruits for breakfast or dinner too. I’ve also become somewhat used to squat toilets, although I still don’t find it sanitary or comfortable.

Hanna (my fellow Peace Corps trainee and friend) and I rocking our Samputs

Learning Khmer is hard but I love it because my teacher makes everything easier to comprehend. I also love being able to wear samputs (Cambodian traditional skirts that females wear). I love my host family too: they’re so sweet to me! The only thing I don’t love is the heat…

Til next time!

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Disclaimer: The content of this page is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the Cambodian Government.
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About Christine

I am a MPH student with UMCP at USG. Come along with me on my journey of going from an undergrad student to a grad student, making the most of college, being involved on both campuses, sharing interesting tidbits, exploring new found treasures, and being on this rollercoaster ride called life.
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