Julia, Germany

Thank you Julia, for your big support during the last 3 month!! Everyone, please enjoy what Julia wants us to know about her time at SCAO 1.

My name is Julia, I am 24 years old and I live in Stuttgart, in the south of Germany. Next to Stuttgart is a city called Ludwigsburg where I study culture and media education. In our fifth semester at university we can decide either to do a project in Germany, study abroad, or do a project abroad. First I wanted to study abroad but then my friend told me about this wonderful organization, and the idea of a project abroad started to grow. Finally, after many hours of discussion and thinking about pros and cons, we decided to do a movie and theatre project. Which fits just perfectly, because Eileen and I have the same main courses (theatre and movie) so we can help each other the whole time. At the end we figured out that Eileen would do the movie part and I would take care of the theatre group.

Why Cambodia? To be honest I have never heard anything about this country before. I didn’t even know where it is. I thought maybe somewhere in Africa. Now after three months I am totally in love with Cambodia and especially with the people. They are the kindest and nicest people I have ever met and back in Germany I will continue to always keep smiling at the people around me, even at strangers.

We chose SCAO, because of a friend of Eileen’s family. She was here a few years ago and she told us a lot of positive and nice things about the organization and the people who work there. And of course we needed to find an organization where we could realize our project. SCAO was just perfect, because we got the freedom to organize and do our project just in our own rhythm and everyone was enthusiastic and wanted to help us.

I worked for SCAO exactly three months. Started at the 1st of September and finished at the 30th of November. I had one Beginner, one ABC and two computer classes. I think it is much easier to teach a Beginner class than to teach an ABC class without speaking the mother tongue of the children. Of course I taught the children English but in addition I tried to teach them to be kind and respectful to each other. At the beginning they were always hitting each other and sometimes they were very rude. So I tried to teach them to respect not only their teacher but also their classmates, and I am proud to say they stopped hitting each other. In exchange the children taught me to be more patient which of course will help me so much in Germany.

Cambodia is a wonderful and incredibly beautiful country. However, Cambodia is also quite ambivalent: beautiful green landscapes on the one hand and enormous amounts of waste everywhere on the other hand. Its people are the kindest I ever had the chance to get to know and at the same time, they are the poorest people I have ever seen. Cambodia reminds me of what really matters in life and how fortunate we are with our living standards in Germany. Still, I think that the people here in Cambodia are a lot more balanced and warm-hearted than in Germany, even though or maybe because, they have less than we have. Every stranger you meet on the street smiles at you, while in Germany everyone runs from one appointment to the next always keeping the severe face. Of course, it is sad to see how many people have to beg and sleep outside and how many stray animals there are wandering around. I feel like I need to help everybody, even though that is impossible of course. However, one recognizes that our worries are „luxury problems“ compared to those, which khmer people have to deal with. If you would ask a Cambodian child about its favourite day, it will tell you that it is Monday, because on Mondays school starts again. In Germany most children would answer with a weekend day, most of them are tired of studying. The opposite with the children at SCAO: They seem like they won’t ever get tired of studying and improving their skills. It is so beautiful to see.

For me, Cambodia was without exceptions a positive experience. I learnt a lot about myself and the important things in life. To live here is an experience, that challenges and changes you. An experience I would strongly recommend everybody to make.