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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia's finest secure chance to study at European universities in new program

Cambodia's finest secure chance to study at European universities in new program

Cambodia's finest secure chance to study at European universities in new program

Cambodian students from a variety of backgrounds are to leave to study at universities in eight European countries in August this year.

The 34 students are the first to be offered the chance to study abroad through the European Union's Erasmus Mundus Mobility with Asia programme (EMMA).

According to Phal Des, EMMA coordinator in Asia and IT dean at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), the programme aims to strengthen and bridge the knowledge gap between Europe and Asia.

"Europe is full of old wise people; Cambodia full of young but inexperienced people, so they need to go and learn from them," Phal Des said.

"This is part of globalisation - we want to learn from the developed countries a lot.
"These students will come back and become human resources for our country."

Phal Des added that in Europe, students who qualified for the EMMA program were admired and sought after by many employers.

Looking to the future
Chanthy Somela, 22, is a junior of agriculture at the Royal University of Agriculture and in his third year of Information Technology at RUPP. He finished his bachelor's degree in forestry in 2008.

He said he found out about the program through friends, Internet and brochures, and felt proud to be one of the Cambodians selected for the program.

"I'm very happy and feel very proud of myself,"Chanthy Somela said.
"I will try more to get my master's degree in forestry in Europe in a year.

"I am sure I will encounter new experience, thinking, new concepts, and a new environment.
"When I come back, I will help develop my country in the sector of forestry."

Chan Boramey, 20, will go abroad to study journalism and communication in Romania for one year.
She said she was leaving with a big hope in her heart.

"This is a great chance for Cambodian students to get exposed to a civilised culture, and it will open again for any student who is interested," she said.

"I am going to make the best out of every moment I have being there."
Addressing disadvantage

The other international EU scholarship programme was highly prestigious, said Phal Des, and was aimed specifically at Asian students from a disadvantaged but academic background.

The first phase of the program was finished early this year when 112 students from Cambodia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Philippines were accepted.

The number of students from Cambodia made up almost one-third of the students from the five countries in the programme.

The students will study in Romania, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Turkey and the Netherlands.

"I am very proud that a lot of Cambodian students have been selected, and this precious opportunity will keep their lives well-equipped," said Phal Des.

EMMA offers scholarships on undergraduate studies, graduate studies of master's and doctorate degrees, post-doctorate and research, Phal Des added.

The second phase will happen again in October this year in five different countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Mongolia and Myanmar.

EMMA's contact in Cambodia is Phal Des at RUPP.

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