Integration Week

Wednesday, December 2014
by Colm Byrne

PEPY has recently welcomed fifteen scholarship students to Siem Reap. These students come from Kralanh, Cambodia and have all received PEPY Scholarships. They are the third group of students to receive a PEPY scholarship. In addition four other students from Kralanh who have not received scholarships but are living  in Siem Reap will be attending the Learning Center. These four students are either studying or working in Siem Reap and will benefit from the extra classes provided by PEPY.

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For many of the new Scholarship students, this is their first time away from home and living in a city. To help ease their transition, we held Integration Week. During this week we sought to familiarize the students with PEPY and Siem Reap. Additionally we aimed to facilitate bonding, and address their questions and concerns.

At the start of the Integration Week the students were all welcomed to Siem Reap by PEPY Staff. We held a special team meeting and all students and staff introduced themselves. Crazy golf, rock climbing and cooperative team games were held. Each of these activities allowed the students to get to know one another better.  The students all moved into their new houses, established house rules and elected a house leader. Shared dinners and house warming parties helped to turn these houses into homes.

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A cycle around Siem Reap introduced the students to their new surroundings. They stopped off at houses, markets, guest centers and key places for educational resources. Whole group discussions focused on concerns and anxieties which the students had. Among the issues spoken about were academic pressures, friendships and homesickness. The students looked at dealing with undesirable emotions and the students were made aware of the support systems which are in place and what to do in a time of need.

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The ICT, Youth Empowerment and English teachers at the PEPY Learning Center made a presentation which outlined the curriculum content covered in their respective subjects. Four of the year two scholarship students made a presentation on their time in Siem Reap and were on hand to answer questions from the new students. This session was particularly useful for the new scholarship intake. The second year students will act as leaders and mentors for their first year counterparts.
Integration week concluded with an inspirational talk from guest lecturer Chamroen. Chamroen is a soft skills trainer and went to University in England. Inner invisible assets and goal setting were among the topics covered. His talk was very well received by students and staff alike

The Integration Week was highly successful and certainly provides a good foundation from which to build. PEPY looks forward to working with the students not only this year but throughout their studies in Siem Reap