A volunteer’s story – Daisy’s Cambodian summer!

Hi guys, I travelled to Cambodia, here’s a review!

My name is Daisy and I travelled to Cambodia with Original Volunteers this summer; and I can honestly say it was the best decision I’ve ever made! I will never forget the fantastic, life changing trip I had.

When we first arrived it was quite a shock as me and my friend Tabby sat in silence as the taxi driver drove us to the project; he drove like a mad man! We later realised that this is how everyone drives in Cambodia!

We were greeted by so many friendly children and volunteers that we felt instantly comfortable. We were given a tour by one of the volunteers and chose a sleeping spot. Our first meal in Cambodia that night was a traditional Khmer curry made by the locals, it was delicious!

The project is tucked away in the countryside amongst rice fields. The sleeping is basic but exciting with all the volunteers in hammocks and mosquito nets. The toilet and shower is, erm… very interesting! ahaha… but all these are worth the experience of teaching and travelling here.

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We visited children at a neighbouring project.

My freetime from the capital to the coast

We travelled to the capital Phnom Penh and checked out traditional cuisine and visited the museums and important historical attractions such as the killing fields and S21. This was deeply moving but essential for a trip to Cambodia and I left with respect and more love for the country. To lighten the mood we also got manicures in one of the capital’s many spa’s!

Another incredible city was Siem Reap… I spent all my money here! With markets that seem never ending and beautiful temples Siem Reap was fascinating. We sat eating corn on the cob from a stall watching the monks in their vibrant yellow, orange and red robes gliding the streets. The places to eat, temples to visit, markets to get lost in, streets to wander and so many lovely people to chat to made Siem Reap a highlight of the trip… just overwhelming!

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Hanging out at the coast in Cambodia.

We also visited incredible tropical islands, with beach huts and hammocks to sleep in, local children cooking and showing you around, beautiful lanterns and fireflies lighting the shore. These beautiful deserted tropical beaches were completely empty, we ran to the sea from our little beach huts and swam for hours. This whole little world was our own. We would venture to a little cafe to buy food whilst watching the sun set. Experiencing this all with new volunteering friends was a completely breath taking adventure. We travelled by tuk tuk, taxi, and boat… which one volunteer; Lauren screamed the whole way and was the only one to wear a life jacket!- very amusing.

We decided we wanted to live there and work in Cambodia forever!

(For other volunteer destinations with great beaches, see more).

Teaching the main attraction

But of course, the main attraction of the trip was the teaching!

No previous teaching experience was required and it was not at all scary like I expected! The people and children are so friendly that I felt so comfortable. We taught everyday for a couple hours each, with three volunteers in each class. One of my classes was of twenty five 8yr olds and the other was twelve 17yr olds. We taught them things to find in the classroom and how to write a postcard.

The younger ones become so attached and wanted to constantly play games and jump on your back or be spinned around until they are dizzy! And the older ones wanted to feel my curly blonde hair and ask about the UK. They are the most friendly people!

(New to English teaching abroad? Check out the Original Volunteers quick guide).

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One little group of local children called, Bao, Leam, Rosa, Sreymean and Sreymoi came to find me everyday to play games or draw pictures. I’m studying art and so I drew them pictures and wrote their names out in pretty fonts… they loved this. The girls made me crowns and bracelets of flowers. While the boys made paper aeroplanes. I’ve kept all their drawings they did for me, because they are adorable! They have written ‘Rosa <3 Daisy’ and drawn flowers and hearts. Rosa took me to meet her family and see her house. Her parents were happy to meet me and I played skipping rope games with her little sisters. I will never forget how happy they all looked as we sang and counted their jumps. I always returned to the hope agency with flowers they put in my hair!

A new love of Cambodian cuisine

Since I have returned I really miss all the lovely children, the fantastic volunteers who inspired me and definitely the food! CAMBODIAN FOOD TASTES SO GOOD! I am constantly cooking noodles and rice and curries now, but nothing lives up to proper Khmer cuisine.

Travel bug now caught!

It was certainly an inspiring and incredible trip, I’ve made new friends, tried new foods, been pushed outside my comfort zone, witnessed some incredible views, such as, magnificent temples, glorious beaches, luminous rice fields, massive rivers, amazing houses and beach huts, and so much more that I can think of, the list is endless.

The future…

I have the travelling bug now, and want to go with original volunteers around the world! Tabby and I began planning next years adventure on the plane home!

I cannot describe in words how unbelievable our trip was as it truly exceeded all expectation. I want to spread the word and push everyone to do trips like this, because it is an eye opening and life changing experience. Go! Apply now!

Thanks,

Daisy… writing this really made me excited haha! Gotta plan my next trip quickly! Thank you so much for the experience Original Volunteers!

If you would like to get involved with the Cambodia volunteer programme, click here for details.

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