Some people think that getting the chance to go abroad is difficult. But Oeun Sam Art, the deputy head of the Office of Admin and Finance at Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University, believes such opportunities are easy to come by, mainly through community work and by having good communication skills.
“I’ve been to countries in Asia and Europe,” Sam Art says. “In Asia I’ve been to Singapore, South Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, East Timor, Vietnam and Laos. In Europe I’ve been to countries such as the Netherlands and Germany, and recently I’ve been to Turkey.”
Sam Art places a big emphasis on helping communities, and most of his trips abroad are related to community service.
During an interview in his office, Sam Art tells LIFT about the work he has done during his stays in different countries. “We visited communities to see how people live, study and work.” Sam Art sees travel as not just a hobby but a big benefit in terms of encouraging people to get a higher education and strengthening their communication skills.
Like many travellers, Sam Art says that food is usually the first problem he encounters on an overseas trip. However, getting used to new things is an important life lesson. “In Cambodia we eat rice, but in other countries, mostly in Europe, they eat bread and so we have to eat bread too. If you eat it day after day, you get a taste for it.”
By learning from his experiences abroad, Sam Art has done a lot of good, such as planting trees, providing books to schools and motivating high school students to study hard.
Sam Art encourages Cambodian youths who want to go abroad to not be scared of new challenges. “People who want to stay in their comfort zone will not go beyond their home borders. Those who go beyond these borders can move further and go farther,” he says. “Nothing falls from the sky. Everything happens because of your action and participation.”