Ashleigh talks about her time at World of Hope School Cambodia.
I volunteered at the World of Hope School in Siem Reap, Cambodia between 25/11/2015 - 20/12/2015. This experience required me to work in the classroom teaching (English, Math and Music), as well as lending a hand with more hands-on work such as painting/building.
The experience I had at this school was excellent - the staff are friendly and approachable and made our stay in Cambodia much more enjoyable. Even with a considerable language barrier they were exceptionally helpful with anything we needed: lesson plans, transport, general knowledge of the city etc.
The school itself is situated not far from the main city in Siem Reap, and is easily accessible via Tuk Tuk. In a more rural area, the children at the school are generally poorer and in more need of an education than those brought up in the city. This demand for education can easily be seen through the students eagerness to learn.
Upon arrival at school each morning the children would always be waiting to see us, play games and start to learn. Sometimes, the children are so excited that getting them to sit down and work can be a challenge - but my coinciding volunteers: Felix King, Bayley Moroney and myself were constantly trying to create new ideas and ways of incorporating fun and games into the educational learning of the children.
Our jobs were made easy by the welcoming and caring nature of the staff and students at the school. At one point in the trip I became ill and the Managing Director Rey sat at my bedside and took care of me without hesitation.
It is this sort of caring nature that I believe should be implemented within every organisation.
Leading up to the volunteer trip, Leanne Sheen provided us with excellent communication, constantly updating us with information and steps we needed to take in order to plan the trip effectively.
The World of Hope School Organisation helped us find discounted accommodation for volunteers at the Rithy Rine Angkor Hotel. Our accommodation was very good value for money, providing us with free breakfast every morning and free maid services on a daily basis - not to mention free wifi for whenever we wanted to contact home! Most of our time at the hotel was spent eating from a discounted menu at the hotel's restaurant and sitting by the pool in between our morning and afternoon classes at the school. The staff here were very happy and friendly, always making conversation with us over meals and greeting us hello and goodbye each time we saw them. The staff at Rithy Rine were also very helpful in situations where a doctor needed to be called and they contacted a 24/7 doctor immediately.
Although my trip to Cambodia was marginally based on volunteer work at the World of Hope School, that is not to say that that is all we were limited to doing. On weekends, Felix, Bayley and myself were able to enjoy the popular tourist destinations and nightlife throughout Siem Reap, such as: Temples, including Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Bayon; the Floating Villages, the War Museum; Cultural Village and much more. In experiencing typical tourist attractions in Siem Reap this trip felt equally as much a holiday as a volunteer trip. Rey assisted us in booking transport and tickets to all of these places and helped make the process much easier. What a champ!
Overall, I found this to be an incredible experience and would recommend it to anybody who is interested in participating in international volunteer work - it is truly rewarding and you will make life long friends in the process! The children are always waiting to make new friends and your help could change the lives of so many and provide them with opportunities which they otherwise may never have had.
A big thank you to the team at World of Hope School for taking myself and the boys on board - I will be returning soon and wish the team all the best for the future.