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Cambodia with Maleeka

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

I would like to highlight some of the amazing things people around me are doing to get us all inspired to think, to live and to laugh. 

Volunteers Around the World:

Cambodia with Maleeka

Maleeka is a senior at Stony Brook University. She will obtain her Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences this upcoming May. She loves to bowl and eat ice cream. I interviewed her during and after her recent trip to Cambodia with her university. 

1. Where are you and what are you doing there?

I am in Siem Reap, Cambodia for a Medical Outreach Program with Volunteers Around the World. More specifically, I assisted in setting up mobile clinics anywhere and everywhere around the villages. I also had the opportunity to calculate drug dosages and dispense them; shadow doctors, intake patients and take vitals. 

2. What inspired you to go?

Besides my love for traveling and curiosity about what the other side of the world looks like, I wanted to “volunteer my time & donate my energy”. I wanted to go to the countryside of Siem Reap to provide the villagers some form of relief and at the same time learn about their culture and speak their language.


3.What has been your favorite part? What have you learned?

HA! So much! From being able to visit the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat, to climbing up the steps to see the MASSIVE “Reclining Buddha”, to working with some phenomenal people from Australia, to bargaining with a tuktuk driver because who wants to pay 2$ for 5 people lol! And to seeing giant cattle cross the roads and monks getting water from a well. It was all just amazing. Let me put it like this, anything I can’t find in my magical city of New York was my favorite part.

I’ve learned more about Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge that destroyed Cambodia ended only about 20 years ago but luckily the country is rebuilding itself rapidly. There are still hundreds of landmines throughout the country and many people have lost limbs or died because of them. Child prostitution and child exploitation is huge in Cambodia. Children are sent out by their parents to sell goods to tourists from sunrise to sunset and even after hours on Pub Street. Also, there was a sign on our bathroom door stating it is illegal to have sex with anyone under the age of 18. It is so prevalent that there was a bold sign about it.

4.How has this trip changed you?


Of course, the obvious is that is gives you a reality check. A few times while I was abroad, I thought about my “first world problems” like “ugh I have school on Monday”, while children my nieces age can’t go to school and sell fans outside the temples. Or “I hope my siblings didn’t break my car”,  people don’t even have shoes on their feet! Yes, I know America has its own problems but I could not imagine living without proper sanitation or clean running water, and access to some form of health care. Like, no one should have to live without those basic needs. I’m blessed!

5.Words of advice for other college students considering traveling?

GO! GO! GO! It may be a 20+-hour flight and it may consist of squatter toilets and geckos but GO! It is a whole new world. You never know what you’re going to see, who you’re going to meet. Embrace the culture, try the few words you learned on google translate, get a currency app, pack you book bag and Go! Li-Hi លាហើយ {thanks}


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