6 months at Chulalongkorn: The tale of a Cambodian exchange student

In January this year, Oeung Hangbou, a junior at the Department of Media and Conversation (DMC), Royal University of Phnom Penh, received off a plane in Bangkok, Thailand, with his coronary heart total of excitement.

He had visited Thailand after in advance of during a holiday break, but now he was likely to examine at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University as an exchange college student. He prepared to get the most out of it in the following 6 months.

“Every 12 months, Chulalongkorn University supplies an exchange programme scholarship to DMC,” Hangbou, 21, instructed Khmer Instances about the general public college renowned for its autonomous research.

“When it was declared that I was to be 1 of the recipients in November 2018, I was very excited. It is my dream to encounter learning in a foreign country,” he said.

Oeung Hangbou at Chulalongkorn College earlier this yr. Provided

Hangbou was surprised by the measurement of the university campus, which was initially founded in 1899 for the duration of King Chulalongkorn’s reign as a university for teaching royal pages and civil servants at the Grand Palace of Thailand.

“Chulalongkorn is so substantially even bigger than my college in Phnom Penh, with far more than 10 schools and a exploration centre,” he stated.

The 2nd thing that amazed Hangbou was the curricula, in particular the stage of freedom which college students have concerning their schooling.

“At Chulalongkorn, college students can pick the subjects which lets me to study my favourite subjects this kind of as filmmaking and so on,” Hangbou said. “A vast array of services these kinds of as studios on the significant campus also aids us master better and strengthen our abilities.”

Irrespective of not speaking Thai, Hanbou could go to lectures since he was in the intercontinental programme, which indicates that the classes are carried out in English. At the exact same time, he also befriended Thai students as very well as learners from other nations around the world, which lets them to study about their nations around the world and lifestyle, some thing which he describes as a priceless encounter.

In the meantime, he also received the prospect to share the insights about Cambodia and its cultures with them.

“During my discussions with Thai classmates, I uncovered they have been shocked when I informed them about some section of Cambodian lifestyle,” Hanbou said. “I, myself, was also amazed by this given that our nations are neighbours and share so a lot of similarities.”

“It was at that time that I realised there are so quite a few factors that we have to understand from a single yet another,” he stated.

The semester which Hangbou put in at Chulalongkorn College also trained him to be much more independent and communicative and he was in a position to learn some Thai.

Hangbou with his classmates at Chulalongkorn. Supplied

Dwelling in a dormitory in close proximity to the campus, he obtained an vital lesson of dollars administration, as he was dealing with his scholarship allowance.

Ingesting was not challenging since Thai foods is incredibly equivalent to that from his household country. However, the most memorable thing was the time he used with his multi-countrywide buddies there.

“When the pandemic struck in March, all classes ended up moved on line, and I was investing most of my time with [friends] in my dorm room,” he explained. “My mates ended up terrific ethical assistance for me through this challenging time.”

Right after his return to Cambodia in July, Hangbou has been trying to keep in contact with all those individuals, who have provided him one particular of the finest periods in his lifetime.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Chulalongkorn College for supplying me this option,” Hangbou explained. “If I have this prospect once again, I want  to go after my scientific studies or perform in Thailand.”