2016 Scholarship Students’ Integration Week

Friday, November 2016
by Romina Olmoguez

img_5157Our Promotion 5 Scholarship Students’ first week in Siem Reap was spent on team building activities and training that will prepare them for their stay in Siem Reap and their life together in the first year of their scholarship. The activities were planned and led by our Scholarship Program Officers, Channa and Kim Ann, who they themselves were scholars of PEPY and have the perfect experience to share and teach.

The Integration Week is an integral part of the welcome program designed to guide our new students in their first days in a new town. All PEPY scholars are from the rural communities of Kralanh and Srey Snom and most of them have not been to Siem Reap even once even if their communities are just an hour away from the bustling tourist town. This is not the only change that the new scholars are facing; they will also be away from their families for the first time in their lives for a long period of time. Being PEPY Scholars in a new town also means sharing a house with their new peers which is a test of their sense of responsibility, discipline, and independence from their family. img_4432

The week started with their introduction to and warm welcome from the PEPY staff and Learning Center Officers. They also received their individual bicycles which they are going to use on their daily commute from home to the Learning Center, PEPY’s Core Values were also discussed and the rules for the week laid down. On the second day, representatives from ACLEDA Bank came over to help the students set up their own Savings Account followed by a brief training from our Finance Office, Konnitha, on how to manage their finances. PEPY’s Executive Director, Sarakk, also met with the students to talk about the changes that the students can positively into their lives. The training at Possibilities World on self-confidence and empathy was on the third day, where the students joined other organisations in learning about self-awareness, proper use of energy and how to handle difficult situations.

The most exciting part of the week was their move to the scholars’ houses on the fourth day. As an introduction to leadership and independence as young adults, the students were encouraged to work together in creating house rules and choosing their house leaders. This step may seem small now, but as the scholars stay longer together, the rules and the leaders will be tested and the students will learn how to organize and discipline each other in order to maintain a harmonious relationship in the house, a learning that they will also be able to apply in the outside world. Once settled, the last day of Integration Week was spent exploring the city of Siem Reap, playing mini golf, wall climbing and a welcome party from the senior students!

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The new students are nervous and excited about their new journey. They are excited about all the learning opportunities and growth that have been presented to them since their move to Siem Reap, but at the same time, they are still nervous about their ability to handle this much responsibility on their own.  The activities during the Integration Week helped ease their nerves as they are slowly introduced to a new environment and their peers.

PEPY is excited to continue this journey with these promising individuals and share with you the stories as we go along! Thank you for making it all possible.