PEPY is happy to announce that all Scholarship Program students have chosen what subjects they will study, and have started attending their respective universities or training schools. All of them are very excited and grateful for the opportunity to continue their education, and most mentioned that PEPY has supported them to fit into their schools’ social and academic settings. They have already happily started learning new things and making new friends!
But most importantly, they truly care about what they are studying. Each student has thought carefully about how s/he will use her/his studies in the future, and a majority of them made their decisions in order to give back to their community or country in some way. “I chose to study law because I want to have a broader understanding of what my purpose is to help people who have experienced injustice,’’ said PEPY student Reaksa. Makara, who is studying to become an English teacher, said that apart from English being an increasingly international language, “I want the children in my community to learn English and understand why it is important.’’ Some see higher education as an opportunity to bridge their own experiences to foreign countries and cultures. “I want to share the important parts of the Khmer story, and I also want to travel,’’ remarked Roth, a student specializing in Tourism. Sotheareak, studying International Relations, said: “I chose this subject because I saw that not many people in Cambodia study it. I love communicating and working with other people, and I am interested in partnerships and globalization. I also want to help develop my country and see the world.’’ He added: “I always enjoy my classes, it’s so happy every day.’’
Choosing their courses of study and starting classes has been a step up in realizing their potential. “We are very excited to be studying in university, because before, we didn’t think we would ever be able to,’’ said PEPY students Sokhom and Tola. The students have been faced with a variety of obstacles throughout their academic lives, such as living far away from their primary/secondary schools, a lack of financial or mental support from their families, or having teachers who did not motivate them. However, with their own outstanding determination and PEPY’s support, they have been able to overcome these obstacles, and many express deep pride in their status as university students. As Chanthach, an English student at the University of South-East Asia, expressed, “I’m very excited that I am able to continue my studies. I’m also very proud that I got a scholarship from PEPY because I am the first person in my village who went to university. There are many dropouts who go to work straight away.’’ Navy, who is studying Accounting, said “I think my studies will give me a job with a salary that can help me, my family, and the national economy. I think I want to have my own business one day.’’
The students are working very hard to successfully reach their objectives – from 8:30AM until 5PM they are at PEPY’s Learning Center to solidify their English, ICT, and soft skills (e.g. confidence, critical and creative thinking, job readiness). Then, from 6PM until 9PM, they are at university or vocational school. They are tired, but they are motivated by the idea that their studying will pay off. They are all very excited about the improvements that they have made to their work ethic, academic abilities, and communication skills in the past few months at PEPY. But what seems to motivate them the most is their genuine desire to succeed, despite the difficulties they have faced, and to improve economic and social conditions for Cambodian people. And now that they have begun their courses of study, they are one step closer to having the tools necessary to do so.