- Where did you go and what was your experience like?
I spent nine months in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which is a country about the size of North Dakota located between Vietnam and Thailand. Very confidently I can say this was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. While it pushed me to my extreme physical, mental, and emotional limits but it also showed me what I could take and keep moving which.
- What was your fondest memory of your time as a Minerva Fellow?
My fondest memory would have to be when Maggie (the other Minerva Fellow in Cambodia) and I went on our school’s yearly trip to Ratanakiri Province, which is a very poor but beautiful part of Cambodia, with the whole school. It was amazing to travel with all of our students to places where the people there have never seen westerns before. We got to swim in lakes and near waterfalls that most would consider hidden gems because of the location’s isolation in the jungle and the distance from real development.
- What did you do during your time? What does the fellowship entail?
Minerva Fellows that get placed in Cambodia are English teachers at a school called The Global Child (TGC). TGC takes in formally street-working kids from very unfortunate financial and social situations and gives them one-dollar everyday they come to class. So in short Maggie and I were English teachers for 32 students but we also spent most of our time just being with the kids as much as possible because most have very chaotic and unstable circumstances at home.
- How has the trip changed you?
This trip has been absolutely life changing. Spending nine months being with the locals of a country that has as many social problems like Cambodia shows you that things that you previously thought were very important may not be as deserving of your time as you thought. I am more motivated now than ever to use my relatively elevated position in the world to help those who were born into situation where the deck is stacked against them.