At Phare Ponleu Selpak, we are fortunate to work with volunteers and interns from across Cambodia and around the world. It’s one of the best parts of being on our team – you get to form friendships and meet people from everywhere!

This week we’re proud to interview Olivia AUDO from France and who recently completed her internship with the Communications and Marketing team here at Phare. Olivia helped with everything from blog posts and press releases to editing videos and posting to social media. She did a bit of everything and learned a lot along the way! Let’s talk to her about her experience of volunteering at Phare.

Can you introduce yourself?

Hello, I’m Olivia; I’m French. I’m 20 years old and I’ve just finished a volunteer internship in communication and marketing at Phare Ponleu Selpak, as part of my university studies. In fact, I’m currently studying Political Sciences at the Institute of Political Studies in Toulouse. Next year, I plan to do a master’s degree in journalism or international relations.

Did you come as an intern on your own or through a volunteering organization? Give us some details. 

During the third year of my university courses, all students are required to study abroad. I chose to split my year with an internship during the first semester, and then I will do the spring semester at Inha University of Incheon in South Korea. So it was my choice, but my university gave me this opportunity.  

I had already known about Phare Ponleu Selpak because I was working with a humanitarian student association in France that worked in partnership with Phare. So, I contacted them, and now I’m here! 

Olivia Audo on a Cambodia volunteering opportunity with Phare Ponleu Selpak

What made you want to volunteer as part of the Phare family?  

As a student, and a bit confused about my plans, I wanted to have a professional experience at an NGO helping people through education and social support. Phare Ponleu Selpak was a great opportunity because doing an internship here permitted me to bring together all my interests as arts, culture, journalism, and humanitarian actions. 

Also, the fact that Phare was a small-sized organization made me think that it was going to be like a family. In fact, the organization is bigger than I thought and has an even bigger impact on the community than I expected first, but it’s still a big family. 

Honestly, I chose the NGO before the country and the continent. I first wanted to work in an association that had a number of projects where I could actively contribute. I also wanted to find an organization with a structure led by locals and for locals. I didn’t want to be part of an organization with a white-savior complex, and I wanted to avoid that.  

Of course, once I came to Phare, I obviously fell in love with Battambang and the rest of Cambodia. 

Olivia Audo during a communications internship opportunity in Battambang, Cambodia

What was your role at Phare? 

At Phare I did a lot of things as an intern on the Communications and Marketing team. I wrote text for blog articles, events, and other signage. I took pictures and videos and then edited them afterwards. I responded to various client and partners through chat and email. I created web pages and updated old ones.  

I also did a lot of translations from English to French since French is my first language. I worked on both the English and French websites for Phare Ponleu Selpak. But I also could do French tours of the campus or help for some events in the campus. 

Olivia AUDO with 2 other volunteers from Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang, Cambodia

Photo credit: CHAN Rattanakoudom

What do you like most doing an internship at Phare Ponleu Selpak? 

My first answer is the team, in fact. Working in a place full of happiness, laughter, and sharing made my experience even better. I’m close to my co-workers and most of them are my friends, even close friends, now.  

Then I really loved to work in this beautiful green and colorful campus where you can always hear music. It’s full of life and kindness. 

Also, I’m interested in all the types of art, so I was in the perfect place to learn more about artistic life in Cambodia, and about local and traditional arts such as the apsara dance and local Khmer music instruments.  

Finally, volunteering is a great experience to develop professional skills in a safe place such as Phare. 

Lyka and Olivia doing a communications internship in Battambang, Cambodia

In your opinion, what makes Phare special or unique? 

Phare is the perfect blend of family, friendship, the arts, education, and professionalism. There is a place for everyone, a place that we choose and that we build. It’s the perfect place to get to know yourself, to assert your identity, and to develop your skills both as a student or as an employee. 

Phare is unique in Cambodia because it was one of the first professional art schools in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge period. This place really is like one big family, and that’s what makes it so special. 

Learn more about volunteering at Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang, Cambodia with intern Olivia Audo

What advice would you give to someone else who is thinking about volunteering or interning at Phare? 

Go for it! My advice is to give it a go. There will be moments of doubt linked to the fact that it’s an unknown country and language, but the experience is crazy and softened by the environment of Phare and the people you meet. It’s time for some soul-searching on a hammock in the middle of the rice fields.  

And above all you have to say yes to everything, accept all opportunities and talk, share, laugh and laugh again, and above all try out the famous karaoke in Cambodia! 


Want to help change lives through the arts? Join Phare Ponleu Selpak as a volunteer and use your skills and expertise in transforming the lives of children and youth in Battambang, Cambodia. 


Chiern Piseth Samphallyka, Communications Assistant at Phare Ponleu Selpak
CHIERN Piseth Samphallyka
Chiern Piseth Samphallyka works as the Communications Assistant at Phare Ponleu Selpak. She believes life is like the beauty of art. Currently she is a university student and wants to develop her SEO skills. She loves to read novels and listen to music in her free time.