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Climbing the ladder: Ung Kim Oan

Ung Kim Oan, 21, is from Kampong Thom province. After she finished high school in 2006, she passed a scholarship programme and got a place at the Department of Media and Communication, one of the rising departments of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. At the end of the second semester of her junior year, she got a scholarship from Erasmus Mundus Mobility with Asia scholarship (EMMA)*, run by the EMMA consortium of 18 universities in Europe and fully supported by the European Commission.

Why she won the journalism scholarship
Ung Kim Oan strongly believes that determination, perseverance and a bit of luck are key factors in receiving the scholarship. “In my opinion, I met the requirements of EMMA because I have experience related to the subject I chose, media. I used to work as a presenter at a Radio station and as a reporter for a popular magazine called Procheaprey.” Moreover, she had volunteered in some organisations working in fields related to media.

Why she wants to study abroad
Studying abroad has long been one of Ung Kim Oan’s big dreams. In the past, she was teased by her friends who said she was like a frog inside a well because she never left her house except to go to school. “I wanted to get out of the well. I wanted to know how big the world is; that’s why I decided to study abroad,” she says.

Vision towards being a Cambodian student in Romania
She can’t help but compare her time at DMC in Cambodia with her experience in Romania. She said that RUPP lecturers and administrators care far too much about attendance and making sure that the school uniforms are tucked into trousers or skirts properly, as well as respect that students must pay towards professors. Students in Romania are free to wear jeans, T-shirts or whatever they want to, she says. Teachers don’t even care that much about attendance. “I think wearing a uniform is good because then everyone wears the same clothes and there is not going to be a fashion show in the school. That makes everyone equal, but I think the school should make allowances for those who have to do some field work, especially in journalism. More than anything, the quality of the education is what matters.”

Future prospects upon returning to Cambodia
Ung Kim Oan hopes to fill the needs of her people after she finishes her programme in Romania. She told Lift through e-mail, “After finishing this exchange programme, I will come back to my country, Cambodia, and use what I have learned to serve the needs of people in terms of information, education and entertainment, as well as keeping them updated as the world changes”.

This way, I can contribute my skills to help communities and be a part of the country’s development process. Finally, by working as a professional journalist, I strongly believe that I can prove that female journalists can also make a valuable contribution to the country.

Besides the commitment she has made, Ung Kim Oan says, “I want to be a communication officer at an NGO. I hope I can work to help children in the countryside to have a better education, especially girls. I also want to work as a TV producer so that I can produce educational or entertainment programmes for my people.”



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