“It was a fantastic experience”

General Impression

Overall Rating:    10 / 10

My name is Ben, I'm a 22-year-old Australian, and I volunteered in Cambodia with Love Volunteers in January 2011 for three weeks. It was a fantastic experience, and I'd definitely encourage anyone to thinking about volunteering to go ahead and do it!

I volunteered with three friends at a Vocational Training Centre and an orphanage in Battambang. The VTC was run by an old couple who help give disadvantaged kids a future. They have taken in about 20 teenage boys, and teach them wood carving - they make these magnificent sculptures and furniture to sell - so they'll have a marketable skill for life. They also pay for a teacher to come and teach them English two hours each day. We took over teaching those classes while we were there - as English is our first language we could help with some of the finer points. When word spread around the neighbourhood that there were native English speakers teaching a class, all the schoolkids would come by to get some extra English tuition - we ended up having 50 kids some days! The boys and the family were so nice and so friendly and so happy, and it was an amazing experience.

We also taught at an orphanage across the other side of town. There were about 30 kids there, half of whom would only have school in the mornings, so we would teach them and play with them in the afternoons. Again, they were so nice and happy and fun to be around. We took over lots of pens and exercise books and other little presents to give to the kids, and held a little sports carnival day where we ran egg-and-spoon races and sack races and those sorts of things. They all wrote us lovely letters when we left and we've got millions of photos of all the fun we had!

We stayed at the VTC in very nice accommodation - we had beds and showers and western toilets, and were fed very well each day.

The native language in Cambodia is Khmer, but most people know at least some English. Both US dollars and Cambodian Riel are acceptable currency. The weather in January was warm and sunny. All the locals are exceptionally friendly and Cambodia is very safe.

I'd definitely recommend Cambodia as a volunteering destination, and Love Volunteers as a volunteering organisation. I'll try to check back to this forum to answer any questions any of you may have. Hope this was helpful to anyone considering volunteering in Cambodia!

Cheers, Ben