My name is Lia. I am 21 years old. I come from Cork, Ireland. I’m currently going into my 4th and final year of studies in International Development and Food Policy, at University College Cork. Part of my 3rd year included a 5 month overseas placement, to a developing country. Having previously travelled to Vietnam, and Calcutta (India), while at school, I was struck by the challenges that these developing countries faced. As a result of this SCAO was the NGO that primarily stood out to me, when applying for my placement.
My time in Cambodia was spent in Som Roung Village, located just 18 kilometres north of Phnom Penh, volunteering at SCAO 2. My duties involved both teaching at SCAO and carrying out surveys, to those families who had previously received a water filter to their homes, from SCAO. The object of these surveys, would be to determine if there would be a positive impact on their lives, with regard to the status of their health in particular. Upon arrival, I was nervous, not having had any previous teaching skills, and also the language barrier; but soon realised neither mattered, as the children readily made it easy for us to integrate with them.
During my time at SCAO, I taught different levels, such as ABC beginner and ABC advanced. I really really enjoyed teaching the students, as they were always so enthusiastic, and their willingness to learn was clearly shown. Although the children didn’t have much, they always had a smile on their faces.
Five months seemed like a very long time, initially, to be away, but it flew by, watching the children grow, while furthering their education.
I also got the opportunity to meet other volunteers, from various parts of the World and the assistant Khmer teachers during my time at SCAO. The villagers of Som Roung were always so welcoming to us while we were there.
Since returning home, I have realised just how much this experience, and everyone involved, have contributed to my life.