Solidarity Trips: Cultural Exchange with France

During July and August 2016, Phare Ponleu Selpak hosted two solidarity trips with partners from France: CCAS and Apprentis d’Auteuil.IMG_3261

What Are Solidarity Trips?

Solitary trips are our name for cultural exchange trips. Groups of young French people fly all the way to Cambodia and join with Phare Ponleu Selpak teachers and students for two weeks of workshops, activities, learning, and friendship. These trips foster international ties, and allow our students to learn about French culture and form friendships with young people from another part of the world.

In order to create these exchange trips, the development team here at Phare Ponleu Selpak works tirelessly for weeks. A huge amount of planning and logistics go into making these exchange trips a reality. Leaders are chosen, activities are booked, and meetings are held with leaders from France. All to make sure these trips are a success.

Cultural Exchange with CCAS

CCAS and Phare studentsThe first exchange trip of the year saw a group of students from CCAS visit Cambodia for two weeks in July. These students spent time in Phnom Penh, Battambang, and Siem Reap.

In Battambang, the CCAS students helped make classroom tools for our kindergarten, stayed in a homestay with Pteah Tak Dong, and took circus workshops with our circus students. They finished with a small circus show, performing juggling and tumbling tricks after only two weeks of lessons.

Cultural Exchange with AA

IMG_3363After the students from CCAS left us, we had a few days to rest and then a second group of young French boys from Apprentis d’Auteuil arrived to stay in Battambang for two weeks.

This group came to help with a service project here on our campus. They spent hours every day under the hot sun helping our technicians to build a wall around our campus. And in their free time, they took workshops and put together a circus performance with some of our students.

Why Cultural Exchange Trips?

One of the great benefits of these exchange trips is that they give our students the chance to learn new skills and gain confidence. During the workshops with the French visitors, our circus students learn music, our music students learn dance, and everyone gets to learn something new.

Cultural Exchange 2Additionally, our students gain confidence in their own skills. Though professional teachers oversee the workshops, it is our students who do most of the instruction, guiding the French students on basic circus and dance techniques. The French students feel excited to juggle and tumble, and our students feel empowered by teaching.

In the end, it was a very busy few months here at Phare Ponleu Selpak. We have a new wall, new friendships, and closer ties with our partners in France.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in these great experiences!

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