Voice of Cambodian Youths

Most of the Cambodian youths have had experiences with learning from foreign volunteers. Since all the schools are closed in Cambodia because of Coronavirus (COVID-19), I invited some youths to write something for me. I’d like to hear the voice of Cambodian youths – what they think about foreign volunteers.

This week, I invited my student from the first village I worked in. I have mentioned her in my previous blog, C’est la Vie, too.

Let’s hear the Voice of Cambodian Youth now! 😊


Topic: What do you think about learning from a foreign volunteer English teacher?

Written by: Na Vy Sim (19 years old)

From: Cham Lak, Cambodia

Dream: to be a teacher

I know a volunteer English teacher. She comes from Hong Kong. She is a foreign volunteer English teacher. She came to Cambodia to teach the students. She taught students in the center. When I heard this, I felt excited because it was my first time that I learned with a foreign volunteer English teacher and she can’t speak Khmer so, it was difficult for me because my English was not good.

Some of my friends couldn’t join the class because in grade 12, we have an exam at the end of the year (bacc II exam) and it was only three months away. So, students must try to study all subjects and learn by themselves at night after class at their home. English class started at night also. For me, I think it was good. Just spend 1 hour to study. I still had time to study all subjects. It is my special opportunity to improve my English. It is good that we learned with foreign volunteer English teacher. So, I didn’t hold back. I think you should not hold back either.

Learn more, know more.

Na Vy Sim

It is good for me and the others. I can say, I really like to learn with foreign volunteer English teacher because: the first thing is, I can develop my listening and my speaking skill. She always told me when I was wrong.

The second is, I can gain knowledge from the lesson. I learned the pronunciation in English. It is hard for me but I would like to learn it because I am a student from the countryside and the lesson in the country side don’t focus on pronunciation like in the city. It doesn’t mean the teacher in the countryside are not good teachers, they just don’t focus on pronunciation.

The third is, I can have good relationship with foreign volunteer English teachers and have a lot of good memories that I can’t forget. In my life, I always respect all my teacher. These are some point that I gain from foreign volunteer English teachers.

Oh! We had a lot of nice time with each other, I and other students had lunch and dinner with her every day from Monday to Friday in the center. We always say goodnight to each other every night after class.

She is lovely. I love her smile. She cares about all students. Sometime, she was also funny, I laughed when I recalled that time.

If there is another foreign volunteer English teacher, I would like to learn with them because endless learning for all person is important. So, if we have time, we have to learn for our development and can help other persons or the younger generations as much as we can.

Today, I am a trainee teacher and 2 years later I will become a teacher. So, I will have an opportunity to become a volunteer teacher in Cambodia like them.

Why I would like to become a volunteer teacher is because volunteer teacher can help so much in society. Especially, I can help a lot of children to gain knowledge and they don’t need to pay. Other than this, I can help poor students.

I think volunteer teachers need to have experience in teaching, go through the materials well and clearly. One more thing, they need to have general knowledge, be patient, not to be scared to get tired, be persistent in teaching.

Finally, I would like to tell all of you that, learning from volunteer teacher is very good, I had tried it. And how about you? Don’t hold back! 


When I read this article, I had mixed feelings. I was happy and at the same time, I was touched by what she said about me.  It brought back so many memories.

I liked to play pranks on my students. 😜 That’s probably why she said I was funny. 😄 Na Vy was, of course, inevitably, one of the victims. 😄

I remember in one of our lessons, I taught them the word, ‘tattoo’. They didn’t understand what it was so I asked Na Vy to give me her hand and then I started drawing on her hand with a pen. ‘Now, that’s a tattoo.’ 😀 Poor her, she was rubbing her hand afterwards. I consoled her by saying, ‘don’t worry. You can easily get rid of it. Just wash your hands with water.’ 😜

I don’t know if it was fortunate for them to have me as their teacher. 😜

It looks like they enjoyed my pranks though. 😜

This article touched me because I had never thought that minute gestures like saying ‘goodnight’ every night to the students would be remembered.

She also reminded me of one episode when she said I cared about all the students. She and another student were not feeling well one day. Na Vy had a headache and the other one had a stomachache. When I heard that, I remembered we had some lemongrass grown in the yard so I asked other healthy students to cut some and I made lemongrass water for them. I asked them to add some sugar when they drank it. They didn’t like the taste (it tasted very ‘grassy’ I can tell you. I tried it too) but Na Vy drank it all.

Lemongrass is good for relieving stomach pain and some other pains. If you Google the benefits of lemongrass, you will see a list of them.

You may also ask why my English class started at night. Well, ask the management. But the management only listened to one of the students there. That student suggested night time so everyone had to follow (check my blog Good or Bad News?). I didn’t want to teach at night too – insects flying in and crawling on my shirt and pants. It wasn’t pleasant at all but I had to follow the management’s decision. <shrug>

Na Vy asked me to correct this article for her.  I tried not to change too much when I reviewed it cos I wanted to keep it as original as possible.  Only a few sentences were deleted and/or edited because they were either redundant or the sentence structure was a bit odd but I didn’t change the meaning.  

As I said in my previous blog, C’est la Vie, she is a bright student and she has potential. I can tell from this article that her attitude towards learning is different from my other students from the same village (check my other blog Good or Bad News?).

I wish her success in her future endeavours.

And don’t forget about me when you become successful, Na Vy. 😄😄

I am proud of you, Na Vy. 😊

Want to learn more about what it is truly like to be a volunteer? Don’t miss out on our Guide to Becoming a Volunteer.

Before you leave, check out the video of my unconventional online English class that I had with my students. 

Contact us for an unconventional online class! 😊

Check out what other Cambodian youths say about their experiences with foreign volunteer English teachers:

Samnang Sok

Tam Breng

Sovann Pech

Voice of Cambodian Youth. My student took this photo at St. Paul Institute - a college in Cambodia.
I remember the stairs! This photo was taken in St. Paul Institute.
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