Chem Srey Oeun has performed exceptionally in school since the first grade. She received high marks in high school and was awarded a full scholarship to study sociology at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), where she is finishing her final year.
At RUPP, she received financial sponsorship of US$120 annually from Texas Tech University in the United States. “I got this … because of good performance in class and a good attendance profile,”Chem Srey Oeun said.
Ever a diligent student, Chem Srey Oeun spends her evenings studying the Teaching of English as a Second Language at Norton University, where she has remained among the top three students since she began the program.
Chem Srey Oeun last year participated in the International Student Exchange Program, which comprises a network of 300 colleges and universities in 42 countries that cooperate to provide affordable access to international education for a diverse student population.
The program, offered to only one student each year and requiring a good command of English, gave her the opportunity to spend a year in Japan studying sociology at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. The student exchange also required some understanding of Japanese language and volunteer work with a Japanese organisation.
Chem Srey Oeun intends to form an association of fellow scholarship and fellowship winners in order to develop ideas to help other students who want to study abroad. She also volunteers with the Outstanding Youth Group, where she manages a forum on Youth & Opportunities. Her goal is to bring together hundreds of students from different universities in Phnom Penh so that they can interact with professionals among the private sector, with NGOs and with scholarship programmes.
“To be a good student, I recommend having commitment, effort and networking skills to pursue what we want to do,” Chem Srey Oeun said. “The word ‘defeat’ I not a barrier for us. Even if we are not as intelligent as other people, if we have commitment, effort and a strong network, we will win.”