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Let’s hear about Cambodia


I am an international student with a Cambodian background. I greet my family, friends and elderly in a different way to that of Australian people. Hence, I would like to share my tradition of greeting with palms together called 'Som Pas', said with, "Jom Reab Sor"; it means "Hello". In addition, we lift our hands up to the chest level and bows slightly. The level of the hands reflects the more respectful you are to the other person. For example, to greet the king; we raise our hands up, close to our forehead, for the elderly, we raise our hands only up to our mouth level and for friends, we only put our hands close to our chest level.

As the GLP is a channel for students to cross cultures and traditions; I got the opportunity to learn and share knowledge and experiences throughout the program, further enhancing my studies and preparing me for the future. Globalisation, and it's many facets, are required knowledge for students who want to succeed in the world today. It is essential that we learn how to communicate between different countries. I believe that my experiences in GLP improved my ability to be more resilient and diversified my journey at the university.

Through a variety of Colloquia, I realised there are similar cultures and traditions as well as ones that are quite different. For example, I attended the Colloquium, 'Cross-Cultural Understanding', which was about how to cross cultural differences between countries. One of the topics explored in this session was, "Is polygamy legal in your country?" and "Do you think polygamy should be legal?". Truthfully, in Cambodia, polygamy is mostly happening in the rural areas and it is legal to having polygamy if the parties agree to do so. Polygamy also happened in ancient times in the royal family with the desire to increase the chances of securing the throne with the king's blood or biological kids, the King would marry more than one wife to ensure he was able to produce a heir for the throne.

In another Colloquium, 'Global Population Growth', we looked into world's population from ancient times until now and we have the chance to look at, "What happened in Cambodia in 1975-1979?" and "Why did their population decrease dramatically?" This period of time was the most painful in Cambodia and is referred to as the 'Khmer Rouge'. There were mass killings in the 20th century and the Cambodian people will never forget the brutal regime that claimed the lives of up to two million innocent people.

Through both of these Colloquia and the GLP, I was glad to share the story of Cambodia and proud of my nationality. I was able to help my peers in getting to know more about the story behind Cambodia, including both the happy and sad times that we have come across. The students and convenor of the workshops were able to get to know other things, outside the box, and I was able to expand upon the content in these sessions. We all got the time to express our feelings, ideas, tips and comments.

I also found that I was more emotionally attached to some Colloquia than I expected as I was able to connect to other peers by listening to their stories and encouraging them. Therefore, as I have the chance to recommend you join the GLP program, I would say do not miss this wonderful experience that the program provides for you. It is an open door for everyone from different places, backgrounds and status to be seated in one place for 2.5 hours just to talk and share their knowledge, experience and stories of inspiration.