According to data published last week by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 4,221 Cambodian university-level students are studying outside the country.
The data set, titled “Global Flow of Tertiary-level Students”, made public on Wednesday, measures “internationally mobile students”, defined as those who have “physically crossed an international border” to pursue studies in a country that is not “their country of origin”.
For Cambodia, 1.9 per cent of the student population falls into this category, in line with the global average of 1.8 per cent.
The top 10 destination countries for Cambodian students are Thailand (955 students), Australia (602), Vietnam and France (443), the United States (376), Saudi Arabia (350), Japan (297), South Korea (273), New Zealand (82) and the United Kingdom (66).
The remaining 334 or so students are variably spread out in over 110 other countries, including Iran, Finland, the Congo, Tajikistan and the Seychelles.
Soriya Hoeur, a 26-year-old Cambodian master’s student studying Industrial Engineering in Thailand, said in an interview yesterday that he left the Kingdom to be able to have access to a research university equipped for his field of study.
“In Cambodia we don’t really have the heavy industry to study my specialty,” he said.
However, the desire to go abroad was also to expand Hoeur’s horizons. “I wanted to see if I could have the possibility and experience of a new place,” he said.