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ICES’s Amra Chamroeun found her place at an American School

ICES’s Amra Chamroeun found her place at an American School

Not everyone can remember their first day at school- let alone the mixed feeling felt by their young selves when they took their first step into the classroom and were greeted by their teacher and new friends.

Yet, Amra Chamroen, an 11th grader from Cambodia who is now attending a high school exchange program in the United States, says at least she will always remember her first day at Foyil High School Claremore, Oklahoma.

Like most exchange students from Cambodia, who have not even boarded a plane alone before signing up for a thrilling overseas adventure with ICES, Amra had been nervous about her new school. She had kept asking herself whether she could vie with American students. More importantly, would she fit in with her new classmates who come from a completely different culture.

However, her worry disappeared almost immediately not long after her host parents dropped her at the school gate.

“Everyone at school is nice including all the students and teachers,” Amra said. “Everyone is so welcoming. I have made friends since the first day of school.”

At Foyil, Amra met several other ICES exchange students from countries such as Maria from Spain and Filipo from Italy. It did not take long for the three to become good friends, probably for life.  

“I am happy that I can learn about other cultures while living in America,” she added. “We also go to church together on the weekends, and I enjoy that very much.”

Making new, multinational friends, nevertheless, was not the only experience that brought the new girl in town excitement. Whereas Cambodian schools require their students to follow strictly a single curriculum, Amra is excited about the flexibility of American high schools as well as their efforts to drive students to explore their own learning.

“I chose to take Environmental Science, Algebra, Digital Media, Computer, US History, English and Athletic, and so far, I enjoy every class,” she said.  “All of my teachers are nice and supportive in their own way.”

Although it has been only less than a month since Amra started her academic year in the U.S., she has already found herself attending many sport matches. That is not unusual since she had realized about the importance of athletics in American schools even before arriving here.

“I’m also in the athletic class and tried cross country running for the first time,” Amra said. “It’s physically challenging for me because I’m not used to playing sports and it gets sweltering during practice.”

“After the first try-out I thought of switching to another class but my coach encouraged me to try another week.”

Life in the U.S. so far has been full of fun and thrills for Amra, but she is also learning as much as she can during this academic year so that she can become a better and more independent person.

“What inspired me to sign up with ICES Cambodia is my desire to learn from other cultures and new technologies, the stuff which I believe I can use to improve myself and maybe in the future, my country.”

Amra has the opportunity to go on a life-changing adventure and share the experience with others. And it is time for you to do the same! For more information on how you can join the High School Student Exchange Program with ICES Cambodia, as well as the program fees and application process, please contact 077 777 244 or 098 686 901.  

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 .