Think about the first time you heard the word “ambitious”.
Depending on how you think, you might not have a high opinion of ambitious people. They might even appear greedy to you. But thought about in another way, ambition can be a powerful tool to help people overcome adversity and reach their goals.
Do you have the ambition to study abroad and learn skills that can help develop Cambodia? An increasing number of overseas universities offer Cambodians the chance to study in a different environment.
Sreng Mao, country director at the Australian Centre of Education said, “I want to make it clear that scholarship opportunities to study abroad are challenging. Besides the language barrier, there are important factors such the choice of subjects, a person’s educational background, their goals and their capacity to learn.”
Mao says there are many factors to consider before applying for a scholarship.
“First of all, you have to know the language. Second, it will depend on whether the subject you apply for is relevant to the course you are studying at university.
“Third, the scholarship provider will assess you on your suitability and competence.
“The interview process is important, too. You have to live up to what you have written in your application and make a good impression on the interviewer.”
Yong Sokonthy, who has a scholarship to the Tokyo Shoukagakuin Specialised Training School, studying business management, said, “When I applied, I wasn’t confident that my performance in the paper exam [mathematics, English and Japanese], the interview, and my application form were good enough to be selected.”
However, she won a scholarship by first taking an examination conducted by the Japanese Embassy. Then she impressed them at the interview stage.
After the interview, Sokonthy had to send an application to the Ministry of Education in Japan.
Six months later, she was told she had been successful. Studying abroad has given Sokonthy the opportunity to experience a different culture, and she enjoys the feeling of independence.
Taing You, director of international relations at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said, “Don’t hesitate to seize the opportunity... Don’t lose your confidence.”
He added that there are many ways students can gain scholarships. Proficiency in English is often a requirement, but some scholarships focus on a particular skill.
Chean Chan Socheata, a student in accounting, said, “I’m really interested in applying to study abroad. I have applied once already, but failed.
“At the time, I felt ashamed. I vowed never to apply again, because I thought I wasn’t good enough and I couldn’t stand the feeling of failure.”
Socheata said her family and friends had encouraged her to study harder and try again. She is now preparing to re-apply.
Even though you, like Socheata, will likely be facing stiff competition, you might have a chance to be selected if you can illustrate your commitment.
Men Sarom, a lecturer at the Royal University of Agriculture, said, “Students should make sure they are proficient in their major at university and have good general knowledge. They also need to be confident and willing to learn.”
Sarom said most donors provide scholarships for Cambodian students because they want to contribute to the development of the country.
The opportunity to study abroad will never come if you merely sit and wait for it. Remember that if you fail, at least you can learn from your attempt, put it down to experience and keep trying to achieve your goal.