Engage with Cambodia’s culture, challenging and history. Attend a circus, learn to cook Cambodian food, explore the countryside on a bamboo train and be awestruck at Angkor Wat, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Improve primary schools and empower kids.
Many schools in Cambodia lack the basic infrastructure needed to care for and educate children. Working with community partners, VISIONS high school volunteers have built bathrooms and hand-washing stations at primary schools, and renovated classrooms and libraries in disrepair. Hands-on work is mostly cinder block and mortar construction, with local builders teaching you the necessary skills. When you’re not hauling cinder blocks, you’ll help with teaching English, leading arts and crafts, and some sports and recreation at these very same schools.
In addition, VISIONS has partnered with SALT (Sports and Leadership Training) Academy, which has developed youth soccer leagues around the country as a way to prepare and empower young people. A favorite for VISIONS teens is helping with SALT’s girl-focused program known as “Mighty Girls.” Working on and in the schools provides a double benefit that is rewarding for all, particularly local youth who spend time with our teens at the worksites and day camps.
VISIONS started working in Cambodia in 2012, building on pre-existing partnerships with a cross-cultural nonprofit and a program that helps put Cambodian street kids through school. The VISIONS leader team always includes a native of Cambodia, who shows us the ins and outs of the country and brings in other Cambodians who work and hang out with us. (Read about our current leader Sav Yuth below.) “Mum” is our dinner cook and house mom. She owns and runs a restaurant in town, but spends the summer with us, taking us in like family and teaching us how to make some traditional dishes. We socialize with people from other countries who are working at local NGOs (non-governmental organizations), with shopkeepers, with Yuth and Mum’s relatives and friends, and our neighbors. (Expect to learn some Khmer language basics while you’re here.) Most of all, the local children are the country’s greatest ambassadors—they delight in any chance to play with and get to know VISIONS teens, and inspire us return.
Cost and Session Information
June 29 - July 19, 2019
70 Service Hours
3 Participant ReviewsWrite a Review
It was a good start, for my VISIONS trip, for my southeast Asia travel and my community service experience. With an excellent leader who was brought up in Cambodia, an inornate pure Cambodia was revealed upon our faces. We appreciated the significance of Angkor Wat, but also had a taste of the sad Khmer Rouge history; we experienced the refreshing countryside view on the bamboo train, but also the smelly landfill where nobody was willing to go. No matter it was good or bad, impressive or obnoxious, we felt a full, vivid Cambodia through our own eyes. Besides, I am really proud to share that we built a brick wall within only a month from scratch. Labor was hard and tiring, not to mention that we were working under the scorching Khmer sun, but as we saw the smiling face of schoolkids around us, all pain was healed. They would give us a helping hand during their break time, or pick flowers for us sweaty nasty workers, despite the existence of language boundary. They lit up our summer and our community service experience. I had few experiences of community service, the only activity I did was to send living supplements to needy countryside families. However, through this trip, I truly understood the meaning of community service. Maybe it is about teaching adolescents how to help others, whereas no matter it is donating a couple of money or building as a brick wall, it won't do much to the community, it can't change the way locals live or the future that they'll have. It is more about finding yourself in the community. Find your value, find your connection, find out how much you're needed, and find out why you're needed. Find what you can do and what you can't. Find your character and your mission. It was my beginning, but it could never be the end. I am still on the way to my journey, and what about yours?
VISIONS is a fun, simple way to enjoy your summer while impacting the world around you. This summer I attended the Cambodian program and am so glad I did. While it took me months to decide which program I would choose, my heart called for Cambodia. It was truly amazing to be incorporated into the Cambodian lifestyle and culture. The Cambodian are happy, generous, and greedy for knowledge! While teaching summer school classes at a school in our hometown Battambang, I discovered first hand just how smart and willing to learn the children are. Working projects may be scary at first but do not worry if you have never cemented anything in your life. After VISIONS you will be able to build yourself a house! Trust me! Participants, staff, and community members are always willing to teach you how to perform different jobs at the work site. Soon enough working becomes fun and you forget about the sweat and sun. VISIONS allowed me to meet people from all across the world which is something I will always cherish. This summer I meant something. I became someone. I challenge you to become someone too!
Our 17 year old went on this program last summer and came home a changed young woman. She loved it! So much of her time is spent on a phone or computer, we welcomed the chance to send her somewhere to gain some world experience and unplug from daily life. I feel like she returned with a new found understanding of community service, empathy for others, and love for a culture totally unique from everything she has known. She still talks to some of the friends she made on the trip. We hope to send our son on a program as soon as he is old enough.