Why should students join a CAA Challenge?
-Challenges your original perception of the world
-Changes the way you live out the rest of your life (hopefully…)
Hi, my name’s Crystal. I’m a student at Griffith University. In February 2016, I volunteered abroad in Cambodia Battambang (a small rural community) where I was able to teach children English as a second language and educate the rural community on First Aid and hygiene.
The team I was involved with consisted of nursing and pharmacy students and some of our tasks involved preparing lesson plans on content that needed to be taught to our respective classes (we were grouped into sub groups of 4-5 people). The main things we taught involved human anatomy, the senses and basic hygiene. It was a fantastic experience because we got to know our students really well! Some of them were so kind they bought us their local Cambodian slushies to try! The teachers at the CAD school were supportive of our efforts in engaging the students too. Our week’s routine also involved visiting the local health clinics so that we were able to observe their health care system. It was an extremely eye opening experience as I learned how to do a basic ultrasound on a pregnant mother using the resources that we had at the time.
I saw children, young women about the give birth and local people in Battambang visit the clinic’s only Doctor on duty. The clinic was very short on supplies and the maternity area had several women waiting to give birth.
On a personal level…thinking back to my trip to Cambodia, it expanded my world view on healthcare, society and the way of life that each culture/community adopts. The people of Cambodia have a lot of heart and soul despite their circumstances. Looking at their history, it has only been approx. 21 years since the Khmer Rouge ended and so the people of Cambodia are still recovering from the brutality of war that they had suffered. The devastating effects include poverty (no clean water and inefficient plumbing systems), damage to healthcare systems, and limited educational resources for their citizens.
From my understanding of what their history reveals…having educational rights, furthermore, basic human rights taken away from them has led to the sufferings that they are still enduring.
Cambodian culture is heavily influenced by the Chinese. They celebrate Chinese New Year with the symbolic red colour and hand out red packets. Wedding festivals involve enormous amounts of flower decorations and the ceremony can lead well overnight.
Most people in Cambodia are Buddhist and all their temples look extremely intricate and sacred. I have seen a few churches, although I don’t believe that it is widely accepted to identify one’s self as a Christian.
To be part of one community project organized by the FutureSense Foundation (Challenges Abroad) has heightened my sense of being a global citizen (there sure are lots to explore from a cultural point of view!). Challenges Abroad Australia gave me the opportunity to truly realise how important it is to appreciate what we have in Australia (first world countries in general) that a lot of times are taken for granted. I guess my own way of life and how I should live has also changed. I still reminisce about my time abroad…