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ICES Exchange Students hold forth Athletics in American Schools

ICES Exchange Students hold forth Athletics in American Schools

Over one year ago, Chihok Guay, a student from Aii Language Center and American Intercon School, still had a physique of a young boy. Back then, no one could have expected that 10 months in the US would have such an impact on the 16-year-old’s growth. 

After going on an exchange year in the US through ICES Cambodia, during which he was attending Deer Creek High School, a public school in Oklahoma well known for its sports program, Chihok was first introduced to American high school Athletics. 

At first, Chihok was surprised at how significant sport is to most Americans, but it was not long before sports became part of his life.

“Athletics in America is treated like academics in Cambodia,” he says. 

“Everyone values sport, loves sport and they are proud of it. The most famous are American football and baseball.” 

When Chihok returned to Cambodia upon the completion of his exchange year, he was almost unrecognizable to many who has known him, being much taller and of course, much more muscular. 

Sports are always encouraged among teenagers in the US, and being good at it can even them a full-ride scholarship to play sports in college. In fact, according to data from the National Federation of State High School Associations, about 8 million high school students, more than half of the States’ total number, took part in interscholastic sports. 

Dr. Meng J. Quach, a well-known Cambodian educator and health expert who were been educated in the US, says apart from an opportunity to expend energy and learn the values of fair play and achieve goals, high school athletics in American schools also keep teenagers healthy and urge them to develop a habit which keeps themselves fit their entire lives. 

“Regular participation in sports and being active are good for your health by reducing the risk of obesity, increasing cardiovascular fitness, and result in healthy growth of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and so on,” he says.  

“It also promotes good mental health through improving your mood, enhancing your sense of well-being, reducing anxiety, combating negative emotions, and protecting against depression.”

Meanwhile, Amra Chamroeun, another exchange student from Cambodia who has just started her exchange year at Foyil High School Claremore, Oklahoma, has already found herself attending many sports events. 

“Almost everyone in America plays sport which is very different from Cambodia; some students play more than one sport because different sports are offered by season,” Amra says. 

Amra has witnessed how high school sports games can get really intense as well as the high level of competitiveness the players.

“Students wear T-shirts with the panther mascot and cheer for their team; people get really hyped up for the games,” she added. “It’s exhilarating to watch. Teachers and everyone are supportive.”


Athletics is just one of the new experiences to explore during the thrilling overseas adventure. And it is time for you to go for it too by signing up for an exchange program with ICES! 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.