Posted: February 11, 2019
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First Impressions of Cambodia


As the Spring 2019 SFS students begin to settle into their new homes around the world, we asked them to share their impressions of the experience so far. Jennifer Maiorana had this to say about SFS Cambodia:

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
I was looking for a study abroad program that was immersive and exhilarating. I wanted to get outside my comfort zone and expand my horizons by exploring a new area with a more hands-on approach rather than a traditional classroom setting; SFS seemed to be the perfect blend of adventure and learning. I also admired how engaged SFS programs are with local communities.

What are your first impressions of the country?
Cambodia is absolutely breathtaking. I am mesmerized by the urban and natural beauties we are constantly surrounded by; it feels surreal. The Buddhist influence also adds a comfort and friendliness to the area and the temples give me a feeling of rootedness and trust.

The temples at Angkor Thom

What are your first impressions of the field station?
The Center is a perfect home base. We have everything we need: hammocks to relax, a pool to refresh, yoga mats to recharge, and amazing food to fuel us for the day! I also love that we are a quick tuk tuk ride from downtown Siem Reap where there are endless food options, shops, and cultural experiences.

Pub Street in Siem Reap. Photo courtesy of Hanna Rush

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester, both academically and culturally?
Academically, staying focused and keeping up while travelling so much will be a challenge. And culturally, a challenge will be mastering Khmer pronunciations. Khmer people are impressively good at English, but I want to be able to communicate with locals in their native tongue as well.

What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
I am looking forward to learning, exploring, immersing, and growing with a wonderful group of like-minded, yet unique peers! I am also excited to see more of Cambodia’s diverse landscape in addition to experiencing Vietnam for the first time.

Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Inspired, Awestruck, Vibrant


Jen at Angkor Wat. Photo courtesy of Hanna Rush

→ Conservation and Development Studies in Cambodia

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