ICES Cambodia’s Exchange Student Rathreacheany Speaks on American Experience
ICES Cambodia: It’s been six months since you left Cambodia. How would you describe your exchange year and experiences so far?
Rathreacheany: My experience has been amazing so far. It’s really worth all of the time and money spent on working on the process of application. I get to see stuff that I would’ve never been able to see back at home. I have no regret going on this exchange program.
ICES Cambodia: Up till now, what are some of your favorite memories of staying and studying in the US?
Rathreacheany: My favorite memory is going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Orlando during Christmas and New Year’s week. I felt like I was dreaming because it was all too good to be true.
ICES Cambodia: What about the exchange program do you like the most?
Rathreacheany: My favorite part of the program is being able to experience what it’s truly like to be a teenager in America. I get to live with an American host family, make friends with people who speak different languages, and see snow for the first time in my life.
ICES Cambodia: What has been the most difficult challenge you have run into during your stay in the US? How did you overcome it?
Rathreacheany: One difficulty that I faced in the US is making friends. At first, I was shy because I didn’t know anybody and I felt different. After a while, I came to learn that American people are actually very friendly and welcoming, so I ended up making more friends than I thought I’d be able to.
ICES Cambodia: What do you miss most about home? What do you do when you get homesick?
Rathreacheany: What I miss most about home is probably the food and snacks, because the food and diets here are very different from Cambodia. Thankfully, I have a wonderful host family who would take me to the local Asian supermarkets at least twice a month to get food and snacks that I normally eat back at home. It’s also a good chance for me to introduce them to what I, along with other Cambodians in general, like to munch on.
ICES Cambodia: How do you compare your life in the US right now with your life in Cambodia?
Rathreacheany: Personally, I have experienced more freedom here than I have in Cambodia. I get to go out with friends, hang out with people after school, travel to different states and explore, and become more independent and confident in myself.
ICES Cambodia: Do you have any comments or advice for the next generation of ICES Cambodia exchange students?
Rathreacheany: Good luck! Remember to have fun, and be smart. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so give it all you got or you’ll end up regretting it afterwards.
You don’t come across these kinds of opportunities every day, so while you have the chance, take it. Give it your best shot, or you’re going to spend the rest of your life wondering what it would’ve been like if you’d just grabbed the chance and gone to experience what it’s like to be studying in a whole new country with a whole different culture. It’ll be fun, exciting, and adventurous, I promise!
Rathreacheany’s exchange year will be over in less than six months, but the experiences and knowledge she has gained from it will remain with her forever. And you can also be the next ones! Don’t wait until college to go study abroad. ICES Cambodia can show you the way.
For more information on how you can join ICES Cambodia, as well as the program fees and application process, please contact 098 686 901 or 061 924 141. 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