In the previous issue, we brought up the problem of the fourth year International Relations (IR) student Kong Chhaly. He mentioned that the knowledge he has gained at university is not quite practical, and that it may not help him land a good job at an NGO or in the foreign ministry, which is what most IR students want.
Chin Malin, who teaches Social Science and IR at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, has provided his view on the problem.
“The International Relations major is a part of Social Science. This major is a new major that is different from other majors, and it is not meant to train the students to become specialists in any technical field, like accounting or IT. This major aims to develop the students’ critical thinking skills, the ability to see things through the big picture and the capacity to learn new things faster, the way a leader should. The knowledge gained at school might not bring quick results, but it will help the students in the long run.”
For the problem of this student, Malin suggested that he start an internship while studying in the field that he wants to work. If he waits till graduation, the work might be too new to him, and it might take more time to adapt and adjust himself. He needs time to test himself in the new work field. Malin said that what students study at school cannot be exactly the same as what they will practice at work, and the major of IR consists of the theories needed to train students in the leadership skills they will need in the future.