“an unforgettable experience”

General Impression

Overall Rating:    8 / 10

Overall it was an unforgettable experience, I was placed on a Trauma unit at the local hospital. the nurse to patient ratio is crazy, at night time it was 2:85. they even have 24hr shifts so say no unless you want to. I got to learn so many knew skills I haven't been taught back at home. Due to not having much supervision or a coordinator giving you any specific tasks, it is really your job to take initiative and put your self in there. It will be difficult at first, but everyone was absolutely wonderful and they are all willing to help you learn and grow!

The nurse whom I supposedly was given didn't know how to speak english at all. It was very difficult to communicate, most of the time having to use hand gestures or google translate (google translate doesn't work well with khmer language..) but he always demonstrated before I did anything. There were times where i didn't feel confident because the skills i was performing were very invasive and I hadn't been taught back home. I failed numerous times but never once did my nurse make me feel discouraged and kept telling me to do more.
I've got to follow around surgeons whom allowed me to watch a small procedure and even asked me if i wanted to stitch the patient (I refused.. lol) there are so many opportunities like this if you just seek and be proactive! so don't feel discouraged if you are left alone, find a doctor/nurse, introduce yourself and ask if they need help or just shadow them.


Phnom Penh is a busy city, lots of motorbikes and traffic. The area i stayed felt safe, there are lots of other foreigners in that town either there to volunteer, work or backpack, so safety wasn't a big issue. The locals are probably the highlight of my experience, everyone is so kind and welcoming. They always have a smile and a warm heart, Ive never had a problem with any locals when asking for help, just always show them the same respect and you'll meet many wonderful people!

Project & Staff

The volunteer house was cozy and clean, theres always a guard at night time and during the day a manager at the front desk. the only downside to the building was all the stairs i had to walk up to get to my room so, pray that you get a room on 2nd or 3rd! Also AC is extra which i never used because they give you individual fans and during the day people are not usually at the house. The staff at the volunteer house are all super helpful, don't ever be hesitant to ask questions. I remember I had forgotten my Scrubs and they gave me ones from previous students.

I went during low season, so there wasn't too many people volunteering. it was great meeting people from all different parts of the world like and dislike from where i come from. there will be times of argument but i must say at the end it felt like a big family. I was welcomed when i arrived and we continued to do the same when new people arrived. Having everyone get along, they definitely were a big support to me during my stay there and one of the highlights of this experience.


Tips for hospital:
- very hot, no AC bring very thin scrubs, expect to sweat alot
- learn a few medical terms in khmer
Tips for living in phnom penh:
- when taking cash out of ATM go to only BIG branch or ones attached to bank, there were couple incidents of giving out fake 100$ bills also take out smaller bills 10s, 20s.
- Becareful of street food for first couple days until you adjust, HIGH chance of food poisoning even from water. (drink bottle and dont take ice from restaurants)
- Watch your purse, hand bag when your on tuktuk or walking on street robbers on motorbikes will snatch it away. carry them faced away from street.

overall, if you stay open minded you'll experience so much more, best of luck!!