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Ivanhoe Grammar School Cambodia Service Project 2023 – Day One Students’ Reflections

Cambodia School Service Project Trip

In following up from the first blogging about the school trip itinerary of Ivanhoe Grammar School Cambodia Service Project 2023, this article reposting the reflections from the assigned students on their Day One experience and impressions:

Amelie Cutinelli Day 1 Reflection

Today we arrived in Phnom Phen and it was amazing to drive through the local streets to our hotel and recognise the different ways of living. We went for a walk to a local dance studio and got to collaboratively work with our team as well as the students to embrace the ways they dance in the Cambodian culture. After being involved in the dancing, our team went for a walk to the Royal Palace where we saw the amazing architecture and buildings of the Mosques here in Cambodia. Day 1 was definitely a good start and it was a great day to begin being involved in the culture.

Team One, day one reflection

Today team 1 visited Neak Krawan school in Phnom Penh. Over the course of two hours, Group One worked with over 200 students to build on their knowledge of English comprehension and numeracy. The school was located in a poverty stricken area, and allowed us to recognise the immense privilege with which we operate in our daily lives. We built particularly strong connections with all those we interacted with throughout the day. Although aware of the opportunities and resources at our disposal, we are rarely visually and emotionally confronted with the disparity between the standards of Australian and Cambodian education. Our greatest takeaway was the gratitude expressed by the children, despite the reality of their situation. The children’s unwavering happiness truly demonstrated the impacts of our time. However what many of the Ivanhoe students didn’t expect was to be so affected by the joy of the students. While the purpose of this trip is predominantly to aid the Cambodian students many of us felt our own perspective shift based on the limited experiences of today.

By Ada, Jacob and Zac.

Simona Bove Day 1 Reflection – Team 4

The first day in Cambodia was better than i could have imagined. Although i was extremely tired as i had only slept for 2 hours on the plane, the new experiences and activities we undertook counteracted my low energy levels. Following our arrival at the hotel we attended a traditional Cambodian dance class; the students ages ranged from 5-25 years old. The dancers showed us 3 of their traditional dances and then taught us how to do them. The female dancers had very flexible arms and hands and thus were extremely angelic in their movements. Our next stop was the Royal Palace, it was absolutely gorgeous and was a distinct demonstration of the importance of culture in Cambodia – especially as compared to Australia. Moreover, today was quite eye opening – the difference in lifestyle between Cambodia and Australia was distinct. Even with their lack of resources, the local residents looked nothing but happy; this observation signified to me not only how lucky I am but also that material goods are not a determination of happiness.

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