Eight Cambodian youths have been selected for a third international youth exchange
program for 2004 with Sweden.
They will live with host families for three months in each other's country, experiencing
different cultures, communities and society. The exchange is organized by the Khmer
Youth Association (KYA) and the Swedish Center for International Youth Exchange,
and is financially supported by the Swedish Forum.
Youth Partners in Development is an education program created to give young people
a chance to learn through participation in development work in a different part of
"The development of the participants is the main objective," said Chiv
You Meng, deputy president of KYA and the program coordinator. "It is intended
to give more opportunities for the youth in the provinces, in particular those who
are facing difficulties finding jobs."
The program will last six months: three months in Cambodia from July 5 to September
28, and the other three months in Sweden from September 28 to December 16. In Cambodia
the participants will be assigned to live and work with families in Siem Reap, Svay
Rieng, Takeo and Kampong Cham. They will help in community work, local civil society,
school as well as mix with local youth.
The aim of the program is to build confidence and potential, to develop the characters
of young people to become good members of society, and to learn and exchange culture
experiences, lifestyles and social issues.
The first two youth exchanges produced remarkable results in terms of the participants
gaining new experience and knowledge in learning how to live and work together, Meng
said. Among those selected to live in Sweden this year is An Sophorn, 23, a teacher
at Saang high school in Kandal province who has never been out of Cambodia and has
been preparing by studying with foreign teachers.
Another is Soth Nimol, 21, a fourth-year chemistry student at the Royal University
of Phnom Penh. Nimol said: "At the beginning I expect to have some trouble with
the food and weather. There could also be some problems with cultural differences,
but it is not a big issue for me because I have stayed out in the provinces many