Cambodia

Peace-Building & Conservation

A 4-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
30 Days
Description

Examine issues of human rights and international development: engage with young Cambodian social entrepreneurs, find yourself crawling through a ruined temple, deconstruct the legacy of the Khmer Rouge and explore Buddhism firsthand.

Dates

Jun 28 - Jul 28, 2018


Suggested Ages

16-18

Number of Participants

12


Availability

five spaces

Begins In

23 Weeks

Land Cost

$7,175


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,105

Siem Reap

Battambang

Phnom Penh

Kep

Program Overview

Known for the incomparable ruins of Angkor Wat, Cambodia is a country that evokes images of overgrown jungle temples, robed monks and lush rice fields.


Our journey begins in jungle-encrusted temples of the ancient Angkor capital, where we immerse ourselves in the culture and history of northern Cambodia.  Here we climb thousand-year old ruins to witness sunrise over the canopy and spend our days meeting with local activists and villagers who are striving to preserve culture while meeting the needs of an increasingly growing tourism industry. Angkor holds lessons about ecological, historical and economic wonders that will form the foundation for our explorations to follow.

Near the temple complex lies Tonle Sap and a loosely tethered web of the floating villages on the massive lake. Here we gain insight into the effects of upriver dams on the ecology of Cambodia’s largest body of fresh water, from which the majority of the Cambodia’s fish reserves are harvested. We weave around the banks of the lake, that swells to six times its size during the post-monsoon months, toward the artistic capital of Cambodia, Battambang. Our travels take…

Our journey begins in jungle-encrusted temples of the ancient Angkor capital, where we immerse ourselves in the culture and history of northern Cambodia.  Here we climb thousand-year old ruins to witness sunrise over the canopy and spend our days meeting with local activists and villagers who are striving to preserve culture while meeting the needs of an increasingly growing tourism industry. Angkor holds lessons about ecological, historical and economic wonders that will form the foundation for our explorations to follow.

Near the temple complex lies Tonle Sap and a loosely tethered web of the floating villages on the massive lake. Here we gain insight into the effects of upriver dams on the ecology of Cambodia’s largest body of fresh water, from which the majority of the Cambodia’s fish reserves are harvested. We weave around the banks of the lake, that swells to six times its size during the post-monsoon months, toward the artistic capital of Cambodia, Battambang. Our travels take us to Phare Ponleu Selpak, a local circus troupe, whose work is meant to highlight artistic expression and social progress, blending traditional and modern dance with education and inclusion. We also take time to slow down and visit Buddhist monasteries, gaining audience with monks who teach us the basics of mindfulness and meditation.

Our course continues onto the bustling capital of Phnom Penh, where we come face to face with the the drive toward economic advancement, urban development, globalism and prosperity. Phnom Penh is attracting foreign investment so rapidly that the city feels like it’s being transformed before your eyes.  The capital is a cultural treasure, but one that compels students to confront the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge genocide while building empathy for the Cambodian people and gaining context around Cambodia’s present-day political landscape. While in Phnom Penh, we prioritize meetings with young social activists, entrepreneurs and artists who call one of Asia’s hippest cities home.

Finally, we make our way to Koah Ksach Tonlea and our homestay. Here the realities of rural life come into focus as students live one-on-one with families  for a week, embracing the rhythms of life while learning about agricultural systems and helping  out in the fields. Language, cuisine, Buddhism and independent studies are featured during this time, and students balance time spent with the group and as an individual. Our final destination is the coastal village of Kampot, where we engage in a community-run mangrove restoration project and delve into colonial history. Upon arriving at the Gulf of Thailand, we take time to reflect and celebrate the journey on the white sand beaches of Rabbit Island.

 

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Program Components

3/5
Comparative Religion

Gain insight into the tenets of Theravada Buddhism, mindfulness and meditation. Visit temples, speak with monks, cultivate personal daily practice.

5/5
Development Studies

Learn about local human rights issues, political representation, international aid, sustainable development, foreign investment and local initiatives.

4/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Examine history, politics and peace & conflict studies in a country undergoing extreme transformation. Analyze orphanage tourism, human trafficking, ecological preservation, and political agency.

5/5
Home Stay

Live with local Khmer families in Kaoh Ksach Tonlea in the middle of a tributary of the Mekong River. Experience what authentic Cambodia culture is really like.

3/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Conduct your own mentored study project in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or Battambang. Projects often revolve around photojournalism, comparative analyses, personal experience and interviews

2/5
Language Study

Study Khmer through frequent classes and active language immersion with locals and instructors.

3/5
Learning Service

Embrace several opportunities for community-led service projects in your homestay. Work with Cham muslim families on a mangrove restoration project. Examine service through a critical lens.

3/5
Rugged Travel

Travel through Cambodia by bus, boat and tuk-tuk. Expect bumpy roads and simple living.

2/5
Trekking

Trek through national parks in the county's southwest on a moderately challenging paths in the jungle.

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