NGL Cambodia

Location

NGL Cambodia will be situated in two main locations. Our primary base, and the jumping-off point for the programme will be Siem Reap. Most of our students will be in and around this location.  We have a number of partner organisations operating in villages outside of Siem Reap so a portion of our participants will likely be spending their weekdays living on-site at their schools and have the option of spending weekends in Siem Reap with the larger group. We will have a satellite location in a town called Kuhn Saen Dei, located about two hours outside of Phnom Penh.

Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a heavily touristed area- there are plenty of conveniences- restaurants, shops with foreign goods, tourist attractions, etc.  In this location we have some placements that are in-town, where volunteers will be living in a local hotel and other placements out-of-town where volunteers will spend the week in a village living at their school. Although we will be visiting in the off-season, participants who stay in-town will likely have a less immersive cultural experience, whereas those who live in the areas outside of Siem Reap should expect to experience a true taste of local culture.  All locations outside of Siem Reap are not places that normally see foreigners- there will be few food options other than Khmer cuisine and the local populations will likely not speak much English.

Kuhn Saen Dei

This town is about 2 hours outside of Phnom Penh. The partner organisation is a Hong Kong charity that does missionary work in the area.  All volunteers in this area will live together in a dorm and travel to nearby government schools to teach. There will likely also be after-school classes arranged. On weekends volunteers will be able to visit Phnom Penh.

Weather

As the programme takes place in the middle of the rainy season participants in Cambodia can expect much of what we get at most NGL locations- frequently rain and hot temperatures.  The rain will likely come on an almost daily basis.

Health

NGL participants must take full responsibility for health cover and health insurance throughout the duration of the programme.  Although all participants are covered by a basic health package purchased through the programme you should read the terms carefully and determine whether you wish to purchase additional insurance.  The programme takes place in a malarial zone during the rainy season and there is some risk of both malaria and dengue fever. All participants must consult a doctor well prior to joining the NGL programme and must follow the medical advice they are given. In Siem Reap and Phnom Penh there are good hospitals that can be accessed on a self-paying basis.

Accommodation

All accommodation costs must be borne by the participants themselves. The rough costs of accommodation in Siem Reap is about $12 per day for a shared (double) room for those staying for 8 weeks.   Students staying at their host school are expected to make a reasonable donation to cover their costs of accommodation and any food expenses.

Personal Safety

Cambodia is not particularly dangerous, however, participants must always remain situationally aware and cautious. Cities such as Siem Reap have some nightlife- participants are encouraged to be responsible and ensure that if you are out at night that you remain in groups and return to your hotel at a reasonable hour. Always be aware of your personal belongings and keep a low profile.

Currency

US Dollars are widely used in Cambodia and most ATMs distribute both US Dollars and the Cambodian Riel. Normally these currencies are used interchangeably, with one USD being equal to 4,000 riel. It is common for riel to be used for small amounts instead of coins.

Visa

Applicants will receive confirmation at least one month before the programme commences and further instructions regarding the visa application process will be distributed to participants in due course. In the past it has been required to apply for a visa extension from within Cambodia and we anticipate that this will again be the case in 2019.

Cost

For NGL Cambodia one of the main costs will be transportation to the site and accommodation. Depending upon your location there may also be daily commuting expenses. A rough estimate of costs is given below, however, these costs can fluctuate based on where you are posted and the extent to which you manage your finances carefully.

ItemHKD
Accommodation3000
Food and beverage2500
Transportation including return flights from HK4000
Cultural visits1500
Miscellaneous (e.g. teaching materials, insurance, visa)1500
TOTAL12500

I

Holidays

  • Jan 1 – New Year’s Day
  • Jan 7 – Victory over Genocide Day
  • Feb – Meak Bochea
  • Mar. 8 – International Women’s Day
  • 
Apr. 14-16 – Khmer New Year
  • Apr. or May. Visak Bochea
  • May 1 – Labor Day
May – Royal Ploughing Ceremony
  • May 13-15 King Norodom Sihamoni’s Birthday
  • 
May 20 – National Day of Remembrance
  • Jun. 1 – International Children’s Day
  • Jun. 18 – Queen Mother’s Birthday
  • Sep. 24 – Constitution Day
  • Sep. or Oct. – Pchum Ben
  • 
Oct. 15 – Commemoration Day of King’s Father
  • 
Oct. 23 – Paris Peace Agreement Day
  • Oct. 29 – Coronation Day of King Sihamoni
  • Nov. 9 – Independence Day
  • Oct. or Nov. – Water Festival
  • 
Dec. 10 – Human Rights Day

Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_holidays_in_Cambodia

Tourism

The largest tourist site in Cambodia is Angkor Wat. This is located in the Siem Reap area and there are many local drivers offering tours. You must purchase a park pass and these are only available at the official ticket office at the park. You can purchase a pass that is valid for 1, 3 or 7 days. Do not purchase a pass outside the park.

There are many other interesting sites around the country. Many of these deal with the dark period in Cambodia’s past under Pol Pot- particularly there are prisons and killing fields with deep historical significance.

Context

In the 1970’s under the Khmer Rouge nearly all of the teachers in Cambodia were killed or fled. Recovering from this tragedy is a slow process for a country as poor as Cambodia.  Schools in Cambodia normally operate either in the morning (from 7:00 to 11:00) and in the afternoon (13:00 to 17:00).  Students attend only one of these two sessions and are therefore free most of the day.  The government schools are very poorly funded and often have difficulty finding enough teachers.  Although English is part of the formal curriculum from grade 4 on, many schools are unable to find qualified teachers.

NGL volunteers assist by working with either local government schools or at free schools that have emerged throughout the country to meet the needs of students during the periods when they are not in the government school.

Learners in Cambodia are eager to learn and receptive to lessons, but they are accustomed to rote learning. Younger learners, particularly in more remote areas, are unlikely to speak much English and volunteers should be focused on creating simple games and using songs to teach. In areas such as Siem Reap, English is an important skill for local people to be able to work with tourists, and for this reason older learners will be highly motivated to learn to use English for these situations.