Class Year: 2015
What’s going on? We’d love to hear how your internship is going! What a wild ride the last few weeks have been! As I write this virtual postcard, I am unable to encapsulate all of the experiences that I have had since traveling to Cambodia at the end of June. For now, a brief overview will have to do.
About two weeks ago, I started the Junior Resident Fellowship Program with the Center for Khmer Studies in Siem Reap with fourteen scholars from the United States, France, and Cambodia. With this program, I am able to study and research alongside undergraduates of different backgrounds who have an interest in Southeast Asia or Cambodia in particular. With my interest in medical anthropology and the health of Khmer refugees in the United States, my personal research in Cambodia will consist of researching public health initiatives before the Civil War and Khmer Rouge eras to explore the potential influence upon adherence to biomedicine in the United States. As such, the bulk of my research has not occurred yet as I have only started my fellowship recently, but as I write this post, I am preparing to depart for Phnom Penh, the country’s capital, to search the National Archives of Cambodia for the appropriate sources. With the four weeks that I have remai ning in the program, I will juggle Khmer language classes to improve my Khmer (and hopefully learn the script), a course in contemporary Southeast Asian culture, as well as my personal research.
Other than my academic endeavors, my trip to Cambodia has allowed me to meet family members for the first time in Battambang Province, explore all of the wonders of the Angkor Archaeological Park (its most famous complex is Angkor Wat); see Phare (in the picture above, I am fourth from the left), an NGO-supported Cambodian circus that provides economic opportunities and skills to otherwise disadvantaged individuals, have English conversation classes with local Khmer students, and discover the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the Cambodia. I cannot wait to see what the next four weeks will have in store for me!
How I heard about my internship: I discovered the Center for Khmer Studies while searching for an opportunity to conduct research in Cambodia…on Google, of course!
Why I applied for my internship: Beyond the reasons that I mentioned above, I applied for the Center for Khmer Studies’ program because Cambodia is a country that is continuing to rebuild itself from the atrocities of the 1970s. It is in need of scholars whose research is pertinent to the area or its descendents. Also, it enables me to go abroad since I was not able to spend a semester abroad my junior year. Finally, I wanted to discover for myself the country from which my parents fled almost thirty years ago as refugees and to get in touch with one part of my identity.