Through the eyes of the world, Cambodia is a country with ancient ruins, jungle temples, robed monks and a struggling developing country. However, the country of Cambodia is full of contrasting stories, from colonization to Khmer culture, but it is now a society working toward industrialization and globalization. Study abroad programs in Cambodia will open students’ eyes and allow them to learn about and experience Cambodia’s past, present, and future.
There are several types of study abroad programs in Cambodia, provided by a variety of institutions and organizations. Many study abroad programs entail travel to more than one location in Cambodia, which allows students to experience the culture more fully and gain a well-rounded perspective of the country. However, there are also opportunities to study abroad in Cambodia in one location, which can provide numerous benefits as well.
Siem Reap is the most touristy city in Cambodia, as it is home to the famous ancient ruins of Angkor Wat. The city may be the most expensive city in the country but it is still considered quaint in many ways. Small restaurants line every street, along with posh coffee shops, resorts, and spas. There are still a large number of students that choose to study abroad in Siem Reap as the cost of living is still generally affordable and daily life is fairly convenient.
Phnom Penh. The capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh has a large business district that is home to several types of institutions and businesses. Although it is a growing metropolis, there are many suburban areas and small villages on the outskirts of the city. Phnom Penh is particularly popular for studying international business, thanks to its increasing importance in Southeast Asia’s business world. The cost of living in Phnom Penh is slightly cheaper than Siem Reap, and the city still offers a variety of activities to enjoy outside the classroom.
Battambang. Battambang is the capital city of the Battambang province and known for being the leading rice-producing province of the country. Students will have the opportunity to explore the villages in Battambang as well as its picturesque scenery which includes (surprise!) a number of incredible rice paddies. Studying abroad in Battambang will be quite different than studying in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, but most definitely in a good way.
Studying Abroad in Cambodia
The wide array of opportunities to study abroad in Cambodia cater to students with a variety of majors and interest areas. From the business districts of the nation’s bigger cities to the untouched countryside of its rural villages, students will be able to explore the country and learn about life in Cambodia as well as its underlying history that has carved its future. Most study abroad programs in Cambodia include some element of immersion, such as participation in field studies or homestay accommodation.
History & Asian Studies. Study abroad programs in Cambodia focused on exploring history and Asian studies will focus on the ancient history of Khmer and its nearby Kingdoms, as well as the colonial occupation of Cambodia and the overall culture and history of the country and its people. There is no better way to learn about and understand the history and future of Cambodia than by studying and living in it.
International Business programs will cater to international students interested in learning and gaining insight into both the local culture and business market as well as its relationship to the larger international business world. Students will also have the chance to explore the business ideals of the region, including in Southeast Asia and, on a larger scale, in Asia.
Environment & Development Studies. Students who study abroad in Cambodia and focus their coursework on environmental studies or development studies will increase their understanding of the issues and challenges faced by communities that are undergoing rapid development. Courses may explore issues such as access to water, climate change, food production, land use, and protection of biodiversity.
Costs & Affordability
Study abroad programs in Cambodia range in cost, depending on inclusions and length of stay, among other things. Most programs will include the basics in upfront costs, such as tuition, books, housing, and airport transfers. However, each program is different, so students should check with their program provider prior to departure to ensure they are prepared and financially ready to study abroad in Cambodia. In general, a two week study abroad program in Cambodia may cost around $400, while a full term program could cost up to $15,000, but include up to 18 academic credits.
Living in Cambodia is rather affordable, but it does depend on the way you decide to live. Since most study abroad programs in Cambodia include accommodation, most expenses will come from day to day spending. Generally, local venders will try to increase prices for foreigners, so knowing the local prices will most definitely save you some money on everyday purchases. An average meal in a local restaurant could cost around $3, but more formal, upscale restaurants might cost up to $15 per person.
Accommodation & Visas
There are a number of accommodation options available to students who decide to study abroad in Cambodia. Most study abroad programs in Cambodia include assistance in finding accommodation or fully provide students who housing. Students may be provided with housing in a provider-specific complex or house, or receive assistance in obtaining flats or apartments in safe, reliable neighborhoods.
The type of visa required to study abroad in Cambodia is dependent on your length of stay. For students studying in Cambodia for less than one month, a visa on arrival is most appropriate; this visa can be obtained for $30 and can be extended for one month, one time. For easier visa processing, you can also apply for an e-visa thru an online application form and then present it at the immigration counter upon arrival. For more details on visa policies, visit a Cambodian embassy in your home country (find one nearest to you in GoAbroad’s Cambodian Embassy Directory).
Benefits & Challenges
Language. Khmer, or Cambodian, is the language spoken throughout Cambodia. However, people living in Siem Reap typically speak English fluently, because of the large presence of tourists in the city throughout the year. But, not all Khmers speak English, so students should do their best to learn some of the local language upon arrival, especially if they are studying in a more rural area.
Society. Cambodia is a country with extreme contrasts. Poverty is visible on the streets of most cities alongside posh luxury resorts. Students traveling to Cambodia, or a developing country, for the first time may need a few days to adjust to these extremes and accept the situation that many Cambodians are living in daily.
Climate. Cambodia has two seasons, and Siem Reap is quite a bit hotter than Phnom Penh and most other provinces. Summer starts in late March and ends in late May, and the highest influx of travelers is between December and March. Students should keep in mind their ability to endure long bouts of hot, humid weather before deciding to study abroad in Cambodia.