Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is a scenically beautiful country with a tumultuous past. Over the past century it has undergone colonization, independence, revolution, war, genocide, name a trial and the Cambodians have endured it. Yet today, in spite of these historical plot twists and turns, the strength of its people and culture continue to shine on. High school programs in Cambodia will introduce students to a resilient national character that is all at once eye-opening, educational, and downright inspiring.
Cambodia is a fairly small country, with a population of just over 15 million citizens. Its capital and largest city, Phnom Penh, is typically the point of entry for the country, and also a popular location for high school programs in Cambodia. Having been a regional center for trade and politics for centuries, Phnom Penh is infamous for both its ancient Cambodian and French colonial architecture.
Siem Reap, though much smaller than Phnom Penh, is another popular destination for high school programs in Cambodia. Siem Reap is the point of access for the infamous Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument. Built nearly 1,000 years ago, Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular historical attractions in all of Southeast Asia.
High school programs in Cambodia are also available in various rural areas, where students can gain intimate insight into the village and agricultural life of the Cambodian people. A significant majority of the Cambodian population resides in rural areas, so studying, volunteering or exploring projects and programs in a village can be a very authentic and immersive experience.
Some high school programs in Cambodia will also take students to various locations throughout the country, so they will not have to stay grounded in one location for the duration of their program. These cultural exploration programs are a good way to get a taste of the great diversity of the Cambodian people and countryside.
High School Programs in Cambodia
High school programs in Cambodia are usually either volunteer, travel, or academically focused. The Cambodian population suffers from high levels of poverty and a lack of access to valuable resources, such as education and healthcare, so volunteer programs are quite popular for students who want to help make a positive impact during their time in Cambodia. Teaching English, working with children, and promoting sustainability are a few examples of the types of projects students can undertake by choosing to volunteer in Cambodia.
Adventure travel programs typically last for a few weeks and take students through several locations across the country. From wandering around Angkor Wat and other temples to taking traditional cultural classes in cooking and dance to helping out through a variety of community service projects, a travel-focused program in Cambodia is a great way to experience many different facets of the country.
Study abroad programs in Cambodia will typically offer students the chance to take courses for academic credit, on the language, history, and culture of the region. These high school programs generally last from two weeks to two months, but it is also possible to study abroad in Cambodia for a whole semester or academic year if students are particularly ambitious.
Scholarships & Costs
Since it is a developing country, Cambodia is a very affordable destination for students from highly industrialized countries. On the ground costs need not be of too much concern; however, program expenses (including transportation, housing, tuition, etc.) for high school programs in Cambodia can be a bit pricey. If program affordability is a concern, then students should look into all the great scholarship opportunities available for high school students.
Accommodation & Visas
The accommodations offered will depend on the type of program, and also whether the program is located in an urban or rural area. In any case, homestays are typically the most popular option for high school programs in Cambodia, and can be a great experience as well as the perfect way to get to know a local family. Students shouldn’t expect any housing to be luxurious; air conditioning and internet connection are examples of two luxuries students might often have to deal without.
Students can usually get the appropriate visa upon arrival in Cambodia, and extend as needed in country. But, every student should discuss visa requirements with their program provider so they are aware of the nation’s policies. Students can also check out GoAbroad’s Cambodian Embassy Directory to find contact information for Cambodian consulates or embassies worldwide.
Benefits and Challenges
Expand Your Comfort Zone. Cambodia is a developing country, due in part to the many atrocious acts of violence that have plagued its recent history. Though safe and stable for travelers today, there are things that will both shock and inspire high school students who choose programs in Cambodia.
Explore Ancient History. Before colonization and the tumultuous 20th century, Cambodia had a long history of regional prominence. The great Khmer empire reigned for 600 years, and there are many beautiful temples and monuments which remain standing and worth visiting from this period.
Have an Adventure. As if it needs being said, high school programs in Cambodia will be a terrific adventure. At an early age, students will begin to realize that education is something that can be taken far beyond the classroom.