Voice of Cambodian Youths

This week, I have invited another Cambodian youth to write a post for me but this time, it’s a bit different. He is not a full-time student. He is studying at a university but at the same time, he is working. But he said both are his full-time commitments. Hm… I still don’t quite understand. Now that his university is not open because of COVID-19, I invited him to write this.  Let’s hear the Voice of Cambodian Youth.  😊


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

Hello!  my name PECH Sovann (中文名: 张 明耀). I am 22 years old. I am a senior student study at National University of Management, majoring in Tourism and Hospitality. Currently, I am a Head of Property Management of a company in Phnom Penh.

When I was young, there were not many English schools. There were only few schools and there were so expensive. My mom and I decided to study English with foreign volunteer English teacher. Well, at the beginning we not get along with each other because we had different nationalities, culture, point of view and education systems. Few months later, I found out that study with a foreign volunteer English teacher worth than I expected. Here are the several reasons why you should learn English with foreign volunteer teacher.

Firstly, teaching methods. Foreign English teachers have their own and unique teaching skills. My experience of learning English with foreign volunteer teacher the way they explain clearly and it’s easy to understand. Learning English there are three main importance points that you need to focus on. They are speaking, writing and listing. Speaking is extremely important way of communication and interact with each other. I studied English with native speaker or foreigner internationally recognized, so when you communicate with foreigners or English user they completely understand what I  mean. I had been learning English with Cambodian teachers. They pronoun some words wrong and the English user understand what I were try to say. While I studied my English with foreign volunteer, my English improved very fast. The one method that I love the most is encouragement. When I did something wrong my teacher came close to me and said “you did such a great job but it just a little mistake, don’t worry, you try your best already, keep going”. That kind of encouragement keep me going, instand of blaming and punishment  write down a hundred words, that is make me disappointed and give up.

Secondly, Sharing. You might think that learning English with volunteer just learn only English, but for me I don’t. Beside learning English we are sharing some English lesson is talk about culture, festival and lifestyle. Foreign culture is very different form our. We  love sharing about culture with each other. I still remember at that time we talked about Halloween, my teacher shared about history of Halloween, how people in his country celebrate. That is a good opportunity to learn new culture, and some English words are link to culture. I also shared the same celebration in Khmer culture to him also. It is called Phum Ben. That is very good example how teacher interact with students and it is a good time for practicing our English also. In additions I learn about is lifestyle. My foreign volunteer teacher loved doing excises, I can’t forget the words he told me “you do excises not only to have a good body but also, to give yourself sometimes to relax, meditate and reduce stress, it is good for your mental health”. I become a person love doing excises.

Thirdly, Changing me. If I compare myself today with myself six years ago, I turned into the new person. Before I were introvert person, didn’t like to talk, were a narrow-minded. The foreigner teacher was changing me little by little in the class by asking me “what is your idea”, “Could you teach your classmate” “Can you share your ideas with us” and “Can you help each other”.

In my journey learning English with foreign volunteer English teacher, I learnt English efficient and professional, I also learnt to sharing culture, lifestyle and changed myself. I hope you all enjoy reading this article. Thank you!


Sovann is learning Mandarin. He has a Chinese name so he put it in this post. I asked him to write the article in both Chinese and English but he said his Chinese wasn’t good enough, so, there you go.

I didn’t edit his article much so this is the original piece of writing.

How did I meet Sovann? I met him through an Indian volunteer.  When I was in Phnom Penh, the Indian volunteer took me to a farewell party organised by the students to farewell their high school teacher.  Those students were all staying at the same dormitory so we went to their dormitory and had dinner there. Sovann used to stay in that dormitory and he knew that teacher so he came to the party.

It was a barbecue dinner.  They barbecued frogs, beef and some vegetables. The students bought two bottles of red wine for their teacher.  The teacher shared one bottle with us. Having no corkscrew, we YouTubed how to open the wine bottle without one:

Finally! After several attempts, we successfully opened the wine bottle!!!

The teacher offered us the other bottle but we unanimously decided, ‘please keep it and drink it with your wife.’ We had a hidden agenda: we didn’t want to open another wine bottle without a corkscrew again! 😀

After that farewell party, Sovann and I kept in touch. He also came to see me to say goodbye before I headed to the airport in Phnom Penh on my last day in Cambodia.

I am glad to know that he learnt so many different things other than the language from a foreign volunteer.  If the volunteer could find this article, I am sure he’d be very happy. 😊

If you’d also like to become a volunteer, check out my Guide to Becoming a Volunteer series. It has all the practical information you need to know.

Want to explore volunteering opportunities in Cambodia? Contact me. 🙂 Other than teaching English, I can also give you some suggestions on volunteering. 😊

Before you leave, check out what other Cambodian youths say about their experiences with foreign volunteers:

Na Vy Sim (my student) 😊

Samnang Sok

Tam Breng

This Cambodian youth looks very confident. :)
Sovann looks very confident in this photo. 🙂

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