Another one of the ‘Our World’ experiences through Global Politics in Year 11 is the trip to Cambodia. Here is an outline of typical locations visited and different experiences in which students are immersed.
Students gain an insight to the nation’s bloody history during the second half of the 20th century and explore examples of global cooperation in a range of different settings within the country that aim to improve the living standards of the Khmer people.
They visit Phnom Penh where they catch a glimpse of why Cambodia is one of the least developed countries in the world. The impact of the Khmer Rouge is still being felt today, and a visit to Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields exposes them to the atrocities of the past under Pol Pot’s horrific regime.
Students also visit an eco-tourism venture in the nearby village of Chambok where they stay and enjoy the generous hospitality of host families. Staying here makes an important contribution to reducing the rate of deforestation in the area, as the income provided to local families eliminates the need for them to illegally harvest wood from the forest.
A visit to Battambang is another highlight, where students stay at Ptea Teuk Dong (PTD), an NGO the College community supports. Here, they have the opportunity to visit the kindergarten and interact with the children, including activities such as teaching English and running craft sessions.
Siem Reap is another destination, including a visit to the ancient city of Angkor and the surrounding countryside. Here students also have the opportunity to witness rural life on a cycling tour.
Some Reflections on the Our World trip to Cambodia
“Whilst we had some amazing experiences exploring significant places of Cambodia, the most memorable element of this trip was seeing the students relate to one another and the people we met along the way. Essentially, this is what these trips are about – people connecting with people in a genuine, empathetic and compassionate way; seeking to better understand one another so that we may help make the world a more harmonious place. It was incredible to witness our students connect so positively with their peers and with the people of Cambodia. They returned richer for these connections, and so did I.”
Mr Damian Stephenson – CCG staff member
“The biggest change in me from visiting Cambodia was in my appreciation for the opportunity I have to go to such an amazing school. The trip helped me to understand that this is a privilege that allows me to do anything I want in the future. I was able to see first-hand how a lack of education and lack of opportunity to an education is limiting for the people of Cambodia. But it was also inspiring to see how, despite the challenges they face, teachers in schools were still so passionate and the children were still so willing and eager to learn.” Caelli Wood
“This experience has changed how I look at the problems we have in Australia and makes me better appreciate the incredible opportunities and freedoms that I enjoy. The thing that affected me the most was not only the determination of the Khmer people to improve their lives and the nation as a whole, but also the friendliness, generosity and willingness they showed in inviting us into their lives. This connection with the locals really made the trip for me, and I can’t wait to return!” Angus Cormick
“The simplicity of life in Cambodia really stood out to me. In Chambok the people would rise with the sun and rest with the setting of it. I loved the way in which they used natural resources in their everyday life; rain was their water source, food from the surrounding community sustained them. I admired it so much, it makes me want to live that way.