Students Perspective: Traveling to Cambodia on a Custom Service Program With ARCC
By ARCC Group Program Alumna
“Overall, the Cambodia trip greatly influenced the way my peers and I view the world and understand how people all around the Earth live their lives, even in situations much different from those we know.”
My name is Jane, and I’m a 15-year-old from California, near San Francisco. I go to a school called the Khan Lab School (KLS for short) which was founded by Sal Khan who is simultaneously CEO and founder of Khan Academy, a free, online education program aimed to reach everyone, everywhere. Our school is unique in many ways, not the least of which being that we’re not separated by grades, but rather by “independence,” meaning that a student challenged in a certain topic can stay back and review that concept while a student the same age can jump ahead if they’re ready. A student who needs more guidance from a teacher can stay in a lower independence level, while a student who is ready for more independence can move up.
Another goal of our school is to spread our global awareness and help us learn what it means to be a global citizen. KLS does this partly by having any student who is interested take a two-week-long international or domestic trip to participate in service and learn about the lives of people around the world. These trips have always and continue to be, led by ARCC, whose custom group and school trips meet all of our school’s needs and interests.
Just before our spring break in 2018 (around late March and early April), 11 students from KLS, including myself, spent about two weeks exploring Cambodia with each other and ARCC. Our trip was greatly centered around service, as well as tourism and more general exploration. Cambodia also has a rich, dark history, much of which we spent time before and during our trip learning about. Overall, the Cambodia trip greatly influenced the way my peers and I view the world and understand how people all around the Earth live their lives, even in situations much different from those we know.
Our main community service project was to construct bio-sand water filters for families in the poorest province in Cambodia, Kampong Speu. Not only was providing communities with 40 years worth of fresh water a meaningful experience which none of us will soon forget, but we also spent three days building the filters in a local children’s home. The children who lived there had lived much harder lives than any of us can imagine, many of them did not even own shoes. However, it was interesting to us how blind they seemed to their struggles, as they played with us just as any kid would have back home.
Cambodia was not my first time participating on an ARCC program, and every time I’ve returned I’ve felt that I learned more about how the world works and who lives in it, and I’ve grown more empathetic towards people across the planet. Our school continues to maintain our partnership with ARCC, and hopefully, we will continue our annual international and domestic trips for a while. I can’t wait to see what new place next year will bring!