BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
Meas Chhen, 20, one of The University of Cambodia’s Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarships 2008 students, was born in Tbeng Meanchey district, Preah Vihear province. He has four other brothers and two sisters in his family. He is now studying English Literature at The University of Cambodia (UC). He is the fourth brother to take the opportunity to embark on a course of further study.
Chhen studied at Chea Sim-Tbeng Meanchey High School in Preah Vihear Province, earning his Baccalaureate in 2008. He applied to study English Literature at UC following the introduction of the Samdech Techo Hun Sen Vision 100 scholarship and the Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarships in 2008.
“I am lucky as I passed The University of Cambodia scholarship exams. It has opened the door to a world of academic work with one of the most prestigious universities in the Kingdom; and thanks to the generosity of the scholarship providers, I get to study here for free,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly on July 14.
Chhen said he decided to study English Literature at The University of Cambodia, as he knew that UC’s education programs are the best in terms of flexibility, up-to-the-minute materials and the flexibility afforded by the modular system. He added that a UC qualification in English Literature would be the best way to get a foothold in the teaching or managerial field.
“I decided to study English Literature because I need to speak English well if I am to become an English Teacher or Program Manager with a private company or non-governmental organizations. I prefer to study with UC because this organization will help me realize my dreams,” he said.
Chhen pointed out that prior to study with the University of Cambodia, he studied English for several years at a private English Center located in Tbeng Mean District, Preah Vihear province. However, he added that since studying with UC, his reading, writing, speaking and listening skills have improved to the point where he feels just as confident communicating with native English speakers as he does conversing with his friends in Khmer.
“I am now happy because I have achieved initial success in my English studies. I hope that after the completion of my studies with UC, I will be able to describe myself as fluent in the language. I will then apply for work and make money to support family,” he said.
He said that to reach his Bachelor’s degree goal, he studies hard every day and reads as many books related to his studies as he can. He also takes advantage of the internet, foreign newspapers and magazines – all excellent sources of additional information in his area of study.
Kun Vireak, 20, a first-year economics student with Norton University in Phnom Penh, and Meas Chhen’s former classmate, said he could understand Chhen’s drive for success.
Vireak said that he has known Meas Chhen since they studies together at Tbeng Mean Chey High School in 2005. He added that apart from Chhen’s steely determination, he was a gentle, friendly and helpful person.
“I hope that he realizes his dream to become an English teacher. Future generations of Cambodian students have much to learn from his mindset,” he said. ////