Being the only Cambodian of the eight successful applicants of the Assistantship Programme of the Ohio University in the US, Yang Monyoudom surely has a solid achievement under his belt. He’s just 20.
After getting a Grade A in Bac II examination in 2013, Mr Oudom was accepted as a scholar of the Department of International Studies at the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL) and the American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP).
With the scholarships and remarkable grades he have earned, it’s easy to assume that Mr Oudom has his life well planned out.
“In fact, it was a real struggle. During my foundation year, I was not sure which skill I was really good at. I did well in general subjects. But I didn’t know which field shall I give focus to or which skill I can show my best abilities,” he said.
By the end of his second year at AUPP, Mr Oudom realised that he wanted to pursue a major that would best fit his knowledge and character – Economics.
Mr Oudom said that he’s used to dreaming big things ever since he was a child. Thanks to his father, the 20-year-old achiever, also took big actions for the fulfillment of his big dreams.
“My father is an architect who erects comfortable homes for everyone. For me, I want to build a good society for the Cambodian people.”
To achieve this, Mr Oudom applied for the Assistantship for Master Programme in Applied Economics at the US university. He was determined to be a well-known economist in the kingdom.
“I love doing something that could assist majority of the population. I want to make a vast impact,” he explained. “As a future economic expert, I will be able to create a policy and use economic model to help the poor while also addressing unemployment and poverty issues in my country as well as the world.”
Despite his hard work and perseverance, Mr Oudom found it hard to juggle his time and energy between two schools – AUPP and IFL. He didn’t do well on some of his subjects and admitted that his shyness and pessimism have gotten the best of him. But his determination to continue his studies in the US pushed him forward. He got back to his feet, joined social work, kept himself surrounded with positive people, read motivational books and watched inspiring movies.
Mr Oudom shared that every university in the US always sets aside budget to assist foreign students to pursue higher education.
“You can check the schools’ websites and find the word Assistantship,” he said, noting that students will have the opportunity to study and have a paid job at the same time.
He said that students interested in taking courses abroad should do extensive research on programmes that would best work for their capabilities and passion. After getting the necessary information about the scholarship programmes, students will need to connect their own goals to the programmes’ objectives so they won’t get lost in the process. Aside from making sure that you’re standing out academically, students should also spend time doing volunteer works and summer internships to accumulate experiences and knowledge.
“Try your very best. Our grades do not necessarily define who we are, but they are essential. Study hard because it will benefit you in the end. Be confident, and never be afraid to ask for help if you’re having problems or confusions,” he said.
Mr Oudom assures students that if they just put their minds and hearts in their dreams, they will definitely reach them. He, for one, is a proof.