Over the winter semester, I had the opportunity of studying abroad in Cambodia. Cambodia’s rich history and culture originally inspired me to apply for the City University of New York - Brooklyn College faculty-led study abroad program in Human Rights and Transitional Justice in Post Genocide Cambodia. With the assistance of CUNY College of Staten Island Senior Study Abroad Advisor Russell Davis, I was able to use the e-permit privilege to participate in a course that ended up counting towards my minor requirement
The course was fantastic, we learned a lot about Cambodia’s political history, and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The ECCC, a hybrid court established by the Cambodian government and the United Nations to prosecute people most responsible for the Cambodian genocide. The incredible features of the course were that we had the privilege of visiting the ECCC and interviewing employees of the court. Conducting interview-based research was a tremendous learning opportunity for me, and I felt extremely fortunate for having the opportunity to learn about the country’s history through books and publications, but also hearing from survivors about their experience during the genocide was very inspiring.
Studying abroad was the perfect opportunity for me to explore new places, make new friends, try different southeast Asian cuisine, and experience different other personal milestones. The whole study abroad group was incredible, and the weather was great in Cambodia! It was terrific to have a tight group of colleagues to celebrate the NEW YEAR and experience all the fantastic excursions that the program had to offer
One of my favorite places we visited was Angkor Wat! It was incredible to hear the history of the temple, how they sustained it during the genocide, the dedication, time and resources it took to build such a historic site. While conducting interview-based research about the genocide, we spent some time in Phnom Penh the capital, Kampong Chhnang, Anlong Veng (former Khmer Rouge stronghold), and Siem Reap. Overall, this winter study abroad is one of the highlights of my college career, and I hope to participate in another study abroad before I graduate. I also would highly recommend any student to consider studying abroad because it is such a tremendous experience full of immense growth.