Life changing-experience after a year of studying in the U.S. through ICES!
Sonalen Saing and Rathreacheany Samat started their abroad journey through ICES high school exchange program last year August, finally returned to Cambodia with amazing and meaningful experience as they completed a successful academic year in the world’s third largest country, the United States.
By spending a short but wonderful time there, two young ladies brought plenty of various stories back home and they could not be prouder than having their life profoundly and positively changed.
According to personal experience of Sonalen who attended Santa Fe High School in Oklahoma, an exchange program in the U.S. was very different and interesting. She became more mature and confident.
She said, “I used to be very shy and awkward, and now I’m not afraid to strike a conversation or have small talks with strangers. I gained a lot of confidence and I’m more open-minded and knowledgeable with current affairs and anything in general. I also got more involved in the community and got to know the people who I will forever and always keep in contact with.”
Likewise, Rathreacheany, another ICES exchange student who studied at Fennimore School in Wisconsin, she, too, has experienced many changes. The returnee said, “I’ve become more independent, open-minded, and mature. I feel like I know more about what’s going on the other side of the world now, so it’s comforting.”
Intellectual knowledge and improvement of language skills are also what they have earned, as well as exciting adventures which is one of the best parts and memorable moments throughout their exchange year.
“Every part of my experience was unforgettable, but my most memorable one was when I went to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida during New Year. My host family took me to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Christmas, and I was so happy I felt like all my dreams came true at that moment.” Rathreacheany shared with a bright smile on her face.
Sonalen’s most memorable experience was visiting Washington D.C. and many other places with her host family. She contentedly added, “I got to fully experience the capital of the United States, saw a lot of government buildings and national monuments, and witness the America that I only saw on TV.”
Although it was a sad moment to leave the U.S. and their host families, still they brought home experiences about the American education system, the food, and the lifestyle which were different from their home country, Cambodia.
Along with their attainments, the two ICES Cambodia students took the time to share an important message for the next generation.
Rathreacheany said, “Studying abroad is a giant step and it’s going to leave a huge impact in your life. It might seem hard or frustrating at times, but I promise you it’s going to be worth it. While you’re there, enjoy every moment and do not take anything for granted, because when you leave, you’re going to miss everything and everyone, whether you want to or not’.
Meanwhile, Sonalen advised, “Don’t take all the time you have for granted. It will be one of the most memorable times of your life!”
Leaving home to study in a foreign country can be a scary thought, but the life-changing experiences, friendships and memories will leave a lasting impact in your life. Don’t miss the opportunity to join the ICES Cambodia high school exchange program. If not now, maybe never!
For more information on how you can join the ICES Cambodia high school study abroad program with ICES Cambodia, as well as the program fees and application process, contact 061 924 141 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 via: https://forms.gle/kssVi53beRzEQYmY6.