Today’s volunteer post is about Eileen from SCAO 1. Let’s have a look what she wants to share with us. Enjoy!
My name is Eileen, I am 23 years old and I come from Germany. I grew up in the north of the country, in Norderstedt which is close to the city of Hamburg. But since 2 years now, I live in the south of Germany, near Stuttgart. There I study Culture and Media Education at the University of Ludwigsburg. My studies focus on parts of learning how to impart cultural education concerning theatre and film to people of all ages. In the 3rd year of my studies, I have the opportunity to do a project. I really wanted to take this chance to volunteer abroad. A friend of my family told me about S.C.A.O. and her great experiences with the people from the organization. So my friend Julia and me thought the students from S.C.A.O. would like to get some new perspectives and do a movie and theatre project. Now we are in Cambodia three months and I am really enjoying my time here. In my afternoon class I teach the students in a young age how to write and pronounce new vocabulary like animals, fruits, days and school things. My students from the evening class are much older, so we review all grammar rules from their Pre-Intermediate book.
In addition I did a movie project with the Intermediate class from Jako every creative Friday. It‘s great to see how the students get a better comprehension of media and how they have a lot of fun with acting in front of the camera. I am very proud of all of them and it was so much fun to shoot this movie with them!
To be honest I don‘t prefer to teach a certain level, because I like to have some challenges. The classes with younger students are of course noisier and sometimes more exhausting, but when they look at you with their big dark eyes, give you a high five and say: “See you tomorrow teacher”, then I just feel happy and drive home with a big smile on my face. The evening class with older students needs to be more structured and prepared. The young people have a lot of questions and I always try to explain the grammar as easy as possible. When everyone in class understands what I talked about at the end of the lesson, I am just really happy. My students also taught me a lot over my stay. Especially in the Conversation Classes I learned very much about Cambodia, the culture and the people. The point which inspires me the most are the awesome future wishes of all the young people I met here.
Apart from my school time I live in the Volunteer House with the two Red Cross Volunteers Jako and Inka, and my friend from home Julia. We don‘t only share the flat, also our time, our thoughts and our favorite activities. Like a little family we buy food at the market, cook, eat, clean, play cards and watch movies together. To get closer with the family of Mr. Sameth we had the idea to cook and eat together every Friday. It is just awesome. Everyone from the Centre is so friendly, obliging and so grateful. I really felt like being part of a big and loving family.
This is my first time traveling to Cambodia and I am really enjoying my time here. For me Cambodia is a country of opposites: stunning landscapes vs. stinky rubbish everywhere, big hotels and advertisement screens vs. poor begging people who sleep on the street, old people with a horrible past in the Khmer Rouge time vs. people who are proud of their traditions and culture. Every day when I take my bike to school, I am just astonished at all the things I see. Little children just playing in the sand, people helping each other, loving families, students waving and shouting “teacher“ which just sounds like “schaaa” – and just a lot of smiles. There is a reason why Cambodia is called the country of smile. Even if it‘s raining like hell for 3 hours, the people smile and the children have fun staying in puddles. In the meantime I got used to the heat and to the unexpected showers of rain (especially nice when you are doing a lesson and nobody understands a word of what you are saying). The cambodian food took me some time to get used to it, but now I am in love with fried bananas and the sweet ice coffee!
After my volunteer time at S.C.A.O I will go back to University. In Summer 2016 I will get my Bachelor degree and start to study a master program in Culture and Media Management.
While my stay at S.C.A.O. I was able to make a lot of new experiences, I met new people and got to know their country and culture. Furthermore I learned a lot about myself, my abilities and my limits. That‘s why I would recommend to every young adult in the world to do some volunteer work and of course S.C.A.O. is a really nice place for that. I wish all the students at S.C.A.O. that they will keep their intention to be educated, their curiosity, their love for life and the belief in their biggest future wishes.”
EIleen leaves SCAO at the 30th of November. All we can say is THANK YOU EILEEN for your amazing support during the last three month.