I want to start this chapter of my blog by saying that, It is indeed an interesting choice for me to intern and travel in Cambodia. I was born in China, and have spent 15 years growing up, learning and cultivating in China. However, the conclusion of my freshman year in Michigan also marks the fifth year of my journey in the United States. Sometimes, I do have somewhat identity confusion because western and eastern cultures and core values both guide my choices of life. Interning in Cambodia, I do feel like home because local around me are all Asians and we never complain about eating chicken and rice all days, but their lifestyles and ideologies are also so different from my experiences of maturity. In my daily life here, Cambodian people will sometimes see my as a local and speak Khmer to me, while my western friends are busy responding to “Tuk Tuk” all day long on the street.
I have talked with so many volunteers here about their experiences at work, and many have told me people here always treat each other with respect and kindness, and we all agree that we have come to know more about Cambodian communities in these few weeks. For me, working in Youth Education for Development and Peace really encourages me to connect with Cambodian staff and communities. Other than learning about the brutality of history, I have found myself trying to overlook the differences and embrace the similarities between my identities and Cambodian identity. Right now, I am working on two pieces of grant proposals for increased peaceful co-existence project in my NGO, and the advocacy of democracy and the emphasis of freedom echo with my lessons learned in American classes. I am celebrating the diversity of cultures within me because I am able to reflect on politics in America and China to better understand the mission of our NGO in Cambodia.
This internship is different from my previous experiences because I end up thinking more about my identities and goals of life than any other before as a freshman in college. But as usual, I will continue, as I always do in other internships, to hold myself passionate, humble and open-minded for new cultural challenges at work. Currently, I am arranging an informative interview with a intra-NGOs expert from India, and hopefully learn more from his experiences in social work. Attached are some of my photos from Angkor Wat and Pub Street in Siem Reap and my internship, hope you will all enjoy them.