Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Student gets scholarship hat-trick

Student gets scholarship hat-trick

Student gets scholarship hat-trick


Keo Bonoeun says he feels lucky to have received so many awards, but choosing the right programme was difficult

Scholarships are difficult to come by for students in Cambodia, where school officials say competition remains fierce. However, one enterprising young scholar has managed to win three awards – two from Cambodian universities and a third from the Laotian government.

Keo Bonoeun, 21, a freshman from Takeo province studying at Kosomak Polytechnic Institute, said he won sponsorship from the government to cover the costs of his student fees for four years of study. But this year, he decided to submit applications for additional scholarships, at Mekong University in Cambodia and Veang Chan City University in Laos.

“I was excited to see if I could win more scholarships, but I didn’t think I would be lucky enough to win,” he said, adding that he knew the odds were against him because of the sheer numbers of students seeking financial aid for their studies.

Keo Bonoeun was one of 90 students out of about 2,000 applicants awarded a scholarship from Mekong University, he said. The award covers all school fees for four years of study.

But he also applied, and won, one of six scholarships granted this year by the Laotian government, which provides a more comprehensive award package that includes school fees, accommodation, food and miscellaneous expenses, Keo Bonoeun said.

Continuing his studies in Cambodia poses several challenges, Keo Bonoeun said, because despite the scholarship, he would still be responsible for paying his living expenses in Phnom Penh. So, the choice of which scholarship to accept proved difficult.

“If I take one, I have to give up the rest. It was hard to decide.”

But decide he did, and the lucrative nature of the Laotian award tipped the balance, though the required course of study at Veang Chan City University is not exactly to his liking.

In his first year, he is required to study the Laotian language – something he looks forward to. But in successive years, he must pursue a degree in information technology.

“Actually, I didn’t want to study IT, but I had already chosen it when I applied for the scholarship. I think after I complete the one year of language study, I will ask the university to change my major to agriculture and rural development,” he said, adding that he is interested in pursing a range of subjects that will offer him better job prospects in the future.

As for the one-year language requirement, Keo Bonoeun said it might eventually help him secure a job at the Cambodian embassy in Laos – one of many career paths the young scholar said he is considering.

Keo Boneoun also takes pride in his proficiency in mathematics and social morality, which he says figures heavily in the scholarship application process, in Cambodia, as well as neighbouring countries.

“Actually, all Cambodian applicants are able to score well in mathematics, but many have difficulty with their social morality exams,” he said, adding that preparation for such tests require a deep commitment of time and focus.

“I know how to meditate well,” he said, describing his methods of approach to examinations. “Before I start to take a test or study by myself, I have to do meditation in order to bring my mind back into focus and to concentrate on what I am about to do.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon

  • Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia. A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will