By AUW Program Assistant: Judy Tauv
On August 14th, having sadly said goodbye to their family and the country where they have been living since they were born, the five AUW Scholars (Duong Leakena, Oy Sreymom, So Rattanak Thida, Chat Vylyny and Keang Saren) headed for Chittagong, Bangladesh, feeling full of expectation, excitement and curiosity about their new home and school.
After 7 hours on the plane and a 6 hour-long train ride, they finally made it to the university on August 15th with the assistance of Jill Davis, an AUW teacher, who met them at the train station. From the first moment they were in Dhaka, they were shocked at how poor Bangladesh was and how much different Bangladeshi and Cambodian culture were, especially when they were surrounded by a group of people staring at them when they were waiting for the train at the local train station (it is very common here to get stared at if you are a foreigner). With all these first impressions of Bangladesh, the students were even more curious about what the university would be like.
Arriving at AUW’s newly renovated building in Chittagong, they were all welcomed by AUW Access Academy staff and were led to their assigned dorms. With this warm welcome, they felt more at home.The next day was registration day. It was quick and easy. Then students had time to spend as they wished settling in for the first few days before the student orientation started on the 19th. This year, Cambodian students were the first ones to arrive. Therefore, they were free to explore the building and even Chittagong, spending time in the IT lab sending emails or chatting with friends online or calling home, reading in the library, meeting other new students etc. What they are most excited about is making new friends who are from all over Asia. Students never forgot to introduce themselves to other students as they met in the elevator or on the stairs. Apart from that, the 5 girls spent much of their free time with their 8 Cambodian peers in Year 2 of AUW’s program , learning more about the courses that they were going to take and how to prepare themselves for the upcoming challenges in their Access Academy year. Thankfully, all 13 Cambodian students get along with each other very well. Although they are settling in easily, the girls haven’t really got used to the food yet. Hopefully, they will adapt to it soon.
To sum up, although life can be very different from the one in their own home country, all the girls have settled in well since their first day at AUW. They can’t wait for classes to start so that they can meet all their classmates as well as their multinational teachers. Congratulations to all of them, on their achievement to obtain this scholarship.
To learn more about AUW visit www.asian-university.org