We all know that when Global UGRAD alumni from the same cohort gather together in their home country after returning from the U.S., it is absolutely fun. Yet, when two cohorts meet, that is even more amazing. The Global UGRAD alumni in Cambodia from cohorts 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 met together for a dinner in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The alumni of 2016-2017 are doing very well in both their academic and professional lives. Mr. Lalin Duch, who went to University of Mississippi, had recently graduated his degree in International Relations from the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Ms. Sorita Heng, who went to Ball State University, had also graduated with her degree in Media Management from the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Moreover, Ms. Sievlan Len, who went to American University, had also graduated her degree in Global Affairs from American University of Phnom Penh. She is now in the U.S. attending the Harpswell Fellowship Program at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia. Last but not least, Mr. Sopheak Tum, who went to University of Tennessee – Knoxville, is now pursuing his Master degree in Biotechnology at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia. The 2017-2018 alumni are also very enthusiastic in achieving their academic and professional goals. Mr. Maneth Nay, who went to Carroll College, had also graduated his degree in International Relations from the same home university as Lalin. Ms. Sokpisey Song, who went to Nazareth College, is now studying her last year in university majoring in Teaching English as Foreign Language (TEFL) at the same school as Maneth. Also, Ms. Socheata Chun, who went to Portland State University, is now studying Global Affairs at the same university as Sievlan. Ms. Sonen Soth, who went to University of Missouri – Columbia, is now studying Media and Communication at Royal University of Phnom Penh. Last but not least, Mr. Madinay Chhuon, who went to University of Utah, is now studying in his last year in university majoring in International Relations at Royal University of Phnom Penh.
All of these alumni have been working to organize projects to make an impact in their communities. Moreover, they have shared with other Cambodian students about their Global UGRAD experiences and how to apply for the program in many scholarship sharing sessions.
Regarding our reunion, it was very exciting! We were able to meet face-to-face as well as through a Skype call with Sievlan and Sopheak (who were abroad) and talked about our times in America. While we were sharing our experiences, the foods and soup arrived, and we started eating. However, the conversation did not stop while we were eating. The sounds of talking and laughing were still filling the room and we could even hear the noise even from outside. With this, you can tell how noisy we were, but also how fun the meeting was. The plates and pots got emptied really fast – this showed how good we were in multi-tasking. We could eat and talk at the same time without lowering the speed of any activity. Once there was no food left on the table and everyone was full, the next activity we did was karaoke. We sang a lot of songs, including everyone’s exchange program song, and of course, “Party in the USA”. We were singing until around 10 PM when we decided to return home. We promise to make this happen again and again, and we are waiting for the future cohorts to join us and have more fun together.
We would like to thank Global UGRAD, our advisors, and the U.S. State Department for making this happen.
Written by Maneth Nay, 2017-2018 Global UGRAD student from Cambodia at Carroll College