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Eight young people bound for Swedish experience

Eight young people bound for Swedish experience

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 world.

"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

times."

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