Global Service Scholar: Hanna Mirshojae
Country: Cambodia

My service trip to Cambodia with Global Service Scholars and all the accompanying service programs was very eye opening. It helped me appreciate the things I have at home and allowed my understanding to grow. On this trip, I learned about their struggles throughout history. It inspired me to do my own research and watch First They Killed My Father. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the film is about the Khmer Rouge’s effects on one family’s life in 1975. During this four year reign, three million people were killed in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge was pushed to the north of Cambodia when the Vietnamese invaded, and the group still exists today.

Temples were everywhere, but Angkor Wat was the most amazing collection of temples and is said to be the largest religious monument in the world. To fully see the whole temple complex, we would need a week dedicated to it. After about ten hours being there, we were exhausted and had managed to see about three temples.

As for the service we provided at the school, I wasn’t a fan. Most of the time, we would hang out with the children and help the teachers in their classrooms, which I now know I never want to do ever again. The children were hard to manage and talk to, and I am definitely not suited to be around them. They were fun, but had too much energy, and I am way too much of an introvert to come and interact with them everyday. So I traded that experience with more computer work. What I did was make worksheets and write paragraphs for the children to learn English.

There were some interesting people we were able to meet in and outside of the school. I learned a lot about how the Cambodians lived and raised animals. They never stole and had good morals and values. They also never suspected us to steal and whenever I paid for something, they barely counted the money I gave them; they just assumed I was honest.

I came back to the states with hope for the people in the world. I came back with the want to help Cambodia and to learn more from them and how they treat the people around them. It’s sad that they cannot live in safer conditions, though, as laws are vague, ambulances are slow to arrive, and hygiene is not a common practice. I hope to see the country improve and grow. I felt this trip was necessary to renew my appreciation towards what I have available to me because of where I was born.