As a reward for Dream Class students whose attendance rate averages 80% or more over the course of the academic year, they get to go on a PEPY Study Tour and visit different higher educational institutions in Siem Reap. The Study Tour motivates students to think practically about the next steps they must take towards higher education, and exposes them to urban life (as for many of them, this is their first time to visit the city!). Its aim is to help students learn about possible majors, scholarship opportunities, terms of enrollment, and skills they need to foster after high school.
92 students from Srei Snam and and 170 from Kralanh had the chance to participate in these events. Savoeng and I, along with a few high school teachers, took them to PEPY Learning Center to observe some of the classes and to ask questions to teachers and current students. Students also visited universities and vocational schools throughout the city, such as the Provincial Teacher Training College and Build Bright University, where they were able to see presentations on academic programs, speak with directors and faculty, as well as explore the facilities and lifestyle.
After these visits, we went to Angkor Wat for a picnic lunch, and for most students this was their first time to see the ancient temples. Next, we did a study tour reflection at Baray (an historical reservoir with lots of space for activities). We learned that students are even more motivated to apply for a PEPY Scholarship and attending the Learning Center. They were impressed with the leadership and organization of many of the institutions they visited, and were so excited to see facilities like libraries, quality computer rooms, and engineering spaces. One student, Mean Savy, said, “I found that it was very useful because I was exposed to information about higher education from the speakers. Now I know more about different subjects at university and job availabilities. More importantly, I was oriented to how I should be prepared in order to reach these opportunities.”