From the slums of Phnom Penh to possibly studying in the US… Empowering Youth Cambodia

EYC Star Students

“I would do the preparation class anyway”, said Keo Yary, an EYC student in 11th grade, when asked if she would attend this class even if there was no lure of a possible scholarship to the US. Yary is one of five lucky EYC students who have been selected for an excellent program created by EducationUSA Advising Center under the United States Embassy. The program is called the Opportunity Fund, and it aims to prepare youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to be able to access higher education in the United States.

The five students are Keo Yary, Ho Andy, Chon Sreyroth, Luck Chamnab and Ear Serivichara, and they are from Aziza School, Impact School, and Youth School, respectively. Now seven months into the program, the students were not at all “randomly selected”. There was a rigorous testing and interviewing process where the students had to demonstrate not only good English skills, but also strong academic skills, general knowledge, and leadership skills. And it is with good reason that the students are carefully chosen – the program invests a lot in them.

Three times a week the students attend class for two hours, where they learn advanced English and also learn about culture, food, and general knowledge. In addition, the students meet every Sunday morning to discuss the book that was assigned for that week’s reading.  Later in the program they will learn about scholarship applications, how to write an essay for college applications, get help with the passport application, and more. The program aims to fully prepare the students to apply for college and scholarships to study in the US.

But there is no guarantee of admission to a US college. And each student not only needs to be admitted, they also need to find a way to fund the studying.  But as Keo Yary said, she is happy to do this class no matter what – nobody can take away the knowledge she gets from the program.

Good luck to them! (by Annette Jensen)

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