For those looking to expand their horizons or simply acquire a new hobby, Phnom Penh may finally offer a solution: community college classes.
The “school”, known as the Phnom Penh Community College (PPCC), has been set up by Gabriel Helmy, chief executive of the training and consulting firm The Capacity Specialists, and his business partner Robert Perry in an effort to provide a place “where people can do workshops and classes outside the normal curriculum”.
Community colleges in the US and Australia, unlike regular colleges or universities, offer a chance for continuing one’s education through vocational training or to simply learn a new hobby.
PPCC’s first class, this Saturday, is on Creative Expression Through Movement and will be taught by Gillian Rhodes.
It’s the first of a series of classes that Helmy and Perry aim to hold every week or every second week.
Two weeks later, a beginners’ photography class is scheduled, although the pair are still finalising the program.
“Some other possibilities [for classes] include something to do with film, music, crafts, sewing or even wine and beer appreciation,” Helmy says.
“There are also social sciences, such as a particular aspect of history or philosophy that could become a class.”
Helmy and Perry came up with the concept of a community college after recognising the difficulty many expats face in finding alternative activities in Phnom Penh to drinking and partying.
Although the classes and workshops are likely to always be held in English and are aimed at Western expats, Cambodians will be welcome.
“We’re not looking to exclude Cambodians,” Perry says, adding that he would welcome anyone to the college – even to teach.
“We’re looking for people who want to be involved, not just attend the classes but run them – even if you’re not a professional but have a great interest in a particular subject or hobby,” Helmy says.
“The keyword is passion,” adds Perry, highlighting their own interest in having more to do in Phnom Penh when they could simply keep The Capacity Specialists’ office closed at weekends.
Centrally located in BKK1 on the corner of Street 63 and Street 294, the PPCC is primed to attract the slew of expats who inhabit the surrounding districts and aspire to do something different on the weekends.
Creative Expression Through Movement will focus on the use of modern dance techniques to create original pieces of self-expression as taught by Gillian Rhodes, who holds a BA in Dance from Columbia University in New York.
The workshop will take place all day on Saturday and will include refreshments and a DVD of the final session.
Everyone is welcome, including those with no dance experience and two left feet, although loose clothing is suggested. To find out more information on attending a class or hosting a workshop, simply look for the Phnom Penh Community College on Facebook or call 089 882 756. The Capacity Specialists and the Phnom Penh Community College can be found on the third floor of house #182, Street 63 in Boeng Keng Kang 1.
To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Pellechi at [email protected]