VOLUNTERING IN CAMBODIA - by Charlotte Salf | Hope Agency

VOLUNTERING IN CAMBODIA – by Charlotte Salf

VOLUNTERING IN CAMBODIA

Volunteering abroad is something I’ve been interested in since I was about 12, I wanted to help those less privileged whilst becoming immersed in a culture different to that of western societies. Travelling from to the UK to Cambodia (the longest flight I’ve ever been on, and the first time travelling alone) was so daunting, but it was worth it! From the first steps of applying, right through to arriving back in the UK I was supported by everyone involved in the project, it was by far one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Arriving in rural Cambodia was quite a shock for me, witnessing first-hand how Cambodian people lived was incredible, definitely an eye opener. The project accommodation was basic but comfortable and you soon forget about everything that appears important back at home, your appearance is the last thing you’ll think about and the children will become a priority. The accommodation is located within the school grounds which means no extra travelling, however I was placed at the new school, which was a short tuk tuk ride away. The children at the school are the best I’ve ever known, they accept you completely and make you feel right at home. They have so little and turn up by choice, yet they put so much effort and enthusiasm into their work and make the most of what they have.

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Teaching in hot, humid conditions was so difficult but I would do it all over again just to see the children’s happy smiley faces! It makes you feel so satisfied and you really are making a difference to their future, regardless of how long you stay for.

The orphanage is also amazing, the children there are wonderful and could become amazing hairdressers back in the UK ? – we also helped improve the school physically with morning chores, such as building, litter picking etc.

The people I met on my journey are so special to me, hopefully we will stay friends forever. The school is like a big family, you may have only known someone for 2 days, but it will feel like a lifetime.

On weekends you are free to travel and this was definitely one of the highlights for me.

Getting to know a country and culture that you are actively trying to improve for local people. I wouldn’t hesitate to come back again and I would recommend if you are interested in helping out abroad, definitely sign up, you won’t regret it!

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