Enter your keyword

Latest ICES Cambodia’s Exchange Student on Spends Birthday with Host Family

Latest ICES Cambodia’s Exchange Student on Spends Birthday with Host Family

In the past fourteen years, Rathreacheany Samat, a student from new Generation School Preah Sisowath, has always celebrated her birthday with her beloved family. 

ButS this year will be a disparate year for her. Just two days before she turned 15, Rathreacheany had to say goodbye to her family and board a plane for Wisconsin, the America’s Dairyland. There, she will be attending Fennimore High School, one of the best schools in the state, as an ICES Cambodia exchange student.    

Tired and jet-lagged from the long-flight, Rathreacheany almost fell asleep immediately when her host family the Reynolds showed her the room they prepared for her. But simultaneously, her heart was full of excitement because she would be celebrating her special day with her host family, nearly 9,000 miles from her home country. To make it even more special, her host dad would share the same birthday with her.  

“On the morning of my birthday, I woke up, got ready and went upstairs to help my host mom with the cake that she baked for me,” Rathreacheany said. “My host sister and I decorated the chocolate cake together.” 

She could never imagine simply making a home-made cake look good can be so much fun. Rathreacheany had ever done that in Cambodia, where one usually goes to a bakery to buy a birthday cake. 

When the cake is ready, Rathreacheany received the first guests, the Reynolds’s friendly neighbors who live next door. 

“They wished me a happy birthday and we had a kind conversation,” she said.  “Shortly after, my host family’s relatives started showing up to celebrate my and my host dad’s birthday.”



Even before she arrived in the US, Rathreacheany was making plans to promote the Cambodian cultures and identities with the people she would meet in the US, and she wanted to do that as soon as possible. Thus, when everyone made it to the birthday party, she showed them the snacks and sweets she brought from them. As they were enjoying the treats, she gave them a brief description of Cambodian cultures, history and traditions. 

“They liked the snack very much and were all very interested in what I had to share. They were the perfect audience,” Rathreacheany said. “As we talked more, I felt more welcomed and appreciated.”

In the afternoon, the new girl in town gathered around with her host family to open birthday gifts. She was really thankful for the presents, which include a “cute” beanie and a cozy sweatshirt, two items she will definitely need for the upcoming winter in Wisconsin.

“I’m already very thankful for the host family that I got and I really look forward to my exchange year,” she said.  

Dararath Thy, Rathreacheany’s mother, is already missing her daughter, but she is also glad that she is now in good hands and more than ready to start her exchange year. 

 “I am happy to see that Rathreacheany’s host family loves her so much,” Dararath said. “I would like to see more young generations to go study abroad and explore the world, and by seeing many happy photos of Reacheany. Many parents and students will be more confident in sending their children there through ICES.”

Spending her birthday with the host family in the US will be one of her countless lovely memories throughout her exchange year in the US. And you can also undergo the pleasant experiences by signing up for a High School Exchange Program with ICES Cambodia. Enjoy special early bird promotion of $9,900 simply by making deposit before the end of this month!

To be eligible, you must pass the English Proficiency Test provided by ICES Cambodia and have a good academic record (Average “C” in main subjects for the past 3 years). Register now to take the English Test: https://forms.gle/3qifKLu79f4hx5uB7.