Exchange Program Concord River Summer 2017

Friday, August 2017
by Channa Kev

IMG_4685At PEPY Empowering Youth, we believe that sharing is one of the most powerful keys to connecting with one another. This year at PEPY, we were honored to welcome a group from America, from the Concord River Institute in Massachusetts. Three teachers and four students came to Cambodia to take part in an exchange program with 4 PEPY students from 8 – 10th of August. Four students from PEPY promotion 4 were also involved in great program.

The main purposes of this exchange were to share about PEPY’s work, enable students to work together to inform each other about life in Cambodia and America, learn about Cambodian history and the lifestyle of PEPY scholars.

IMG_4216On the first day, Concord had an introduction to PEPY from the staff and students. They then went to Wat Thmey to learn about the Khmer Rouge and the Buddhist religion. Following this, they visited one of the PEPY student houses to make Ansom Cake (Sticky rice) together. Even after such a short time together, the students already seemed to be getting on really well. The students also took part in a food challenge: in pairs, they went to Psa Chas Market and each team had only $2 dollars to buy as much as they could. The aim of this activity was to let students manage their money effectively.

On August 9th, Concord students, staff and PEPY went to Kralanh to learn about life in a Cambodian rural area. They visited the homes of two PEPY students, as well as a brick factory where a PEPY student used to work, where they met students’ families and communities. In the afternoon, two of the Concord teachers went to Toek Chom in Batey Meanchey to learn about the challenges faced by the local high school students; PEPY hopes to expand the High School English project there. IMG_6529Students worked in Dream Class to learn about the Dream Management Project, to share their own dreams and learn about traditional Khmer Dancing. They also went to fishing and tried their hand at using traditional finishing nets.

The next morning, PEPY and Concord River worked together. The main activity was giving the Cambodian students a taste of European food: they went to supermarket together to buy more typical Western products and then took part in a tasting session. Students worked in pairs to document the activity in photographs and then to select 10 photos to share with their friends as a whole group.

IMG_4506The program was a great success but of course, there were a few challenges. Both PEPY and Concord students were not able to communicate fully in the foreign language, so they sometimes needed PEPY staff to translate for them. Furthermore, the trip to Kralanh in the PEPY truck was not very smooth as there were many people in the car.
All the students involved benefitted greatly from this exchange and learnt a lot from one another. PEPY hopes to welcome them again next year.