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Five years ago Song Chorvoin was so overwhelmed by her studies at the Royal University of Law and Economics and the Institute of Foreign Languages that she was prepared to drop one of the programmes.
“When exam day came around I thought I would have to suspend my studies at one of the schools,” she said. However, after a few conversations with family, friends and professors, who all encouraged her to push through the difficult time and stay on at both schools, she decided to change her attitude and turn up her work ethic.
Since she made the decision in 2005 to embrace the challenges of academia, Song Chorvoin has received multiple awards, distinctions and trips to study abroad. She was named the outstanding student at RULE for three years in a row. Eventually, she adapted so well to studying at two schools that she began to make time for extracurricular and volunteering activities.
In order to put her law degree to the test, Song Chorvoin represented RULE in the second mock trial competition in Cambodia, where aspiring lawyers from six universities faced off in a competition sponsored by USAID.
She volunteered with the community service learning programme at Pannasastra University in 2009 and was the president of PUC’s Toastmasters Club – the first student-run public-speaking club in Cambodia. In order to get real-world experience, she interned with the Kampong Cham provincial court.
At the age of 24 the days of self-doubting are long gone as Song Chorvoin pursues her master’s degree in land law and patrimony at the Royal Academy for Judicial Professions.
Most recently, she joined a study tour to Germany and Netherlands for two weeks in June through the Khmer Rouge Tribunal fellowship programme, an experience that she said has “opened doors and allowed me to see the outside world clearly”.
She added that these trips have also made her realise how little she knows about the world. “My trips abroad have taught me to be more accepting and open-minded,” she said.
Song Chorvoin said that her achievements hinge on three values: effective communication, networking and knowledge, mixed with a little bit of luck. She said that she plans to be an upstanding judge who will set an example for others in Cambodia’s legal system.
In order to achieve their goals, she said, student should “make a good plan and follow it with passion”, she said. Her goal now is to ascend to Cambodia’s Supreme Court or an international court within the next 15 years.