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Student of the week: Leang Sovannarith

Our student of the week will receive a $50 voucher from Boston Books. If you want to nominate a student or friend, email

Leang Sovannarith made the move from Siem Riep to Phnom Penh four years ago to get an education that would lead to a great job, and he hasn’t looked back since. Like many students at Cambodia’s universities, Leang Sovannarith hopes to use the skills he aquires at university to make life easier for his family. “My family is not rich so I want to get an education and find a job that pays well to support my family,” he said.

When Leang Sovannarith graduated from high school in 2006 he had already established himself as a serious and motivated student. His grades were consistently the best at his school, and in 12th grade he was chosen to go on a trip to study in Singapore.

Thanks to his efforts in high school, Leang Sovannarith won a full scholarship to enroll at the Royal University of Law and Economics as an information economics major. He is also finishing up his second year in the International Study Program at the Institute of Foreign languages.

Over the past four years at RULE Leang Sovannarith has maintained his work ethic, and this year he was selected to be part of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (UGRAD) to study Sustainable Development in the United States. He also won scholarships to study in China and India, but he decided to pass on them so he could go to the US.

Although Leang Sovannarith spends the majority of his time keeping up with his studies, he has also begun to build up his professional resume. He is a volunteeer with the Fulbright Alumni Association of Cambodia (FAAC), a group of students who have returned from their studies on the Fulbright scholarship programme in the US, and thanks to his excellent English he has been promoted to assistant of public communications for FAAC. He even teaches orphans at New Day Cambodia, an NGO near the Stung Meanchey dump which provides education, housing and food to over 150 orphans.

“Seeing poor people’s difficulties is an impetus for me to study,” he said. With this in mind, Leang Sovannarith will take off for the United States in July and return with new ideas and knowledge that he can use in his efforts to contribute to the positive development of Cambodia. “Studying abroad in America has been a dream of mine since I was young”, he said with a smile.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to study in the United States and I will take this chance to share my knowledge and learn as much as I can”, he said. In the future, he wants to be an official in the charge of international relations with other ASEAN countries.



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