Two Cambodian nationals were among twelve volunteers from South Korea that were sent to Cambodia last month via the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to contribute to teaching the Korean language in the Kingdom. They were each offered a chance to teach for one year in Phnom Penh.
Phauk Rathana and Lee Jiyu are both Cambodian nationals who left Cambodia and have been living in Korea and have been granted Korean citizenship, but are keen to return to their motherland and give back to Cambodia. The initiative was a great opportunity for them to visit and get in touch with Cambodia after so long away.
Born in Kandal province, Phauk Rathana says, she is excited to be a volunteer Korean language teacher in Cambodia. Saying, she has always dreamed of becoming a special connector between Cambodia and Korea since she was young. Thanks to her father who is a Korean citizen, Rathana moved to Korea in 2008 to pursue her high school and university education.
“I am very happy but also slightly worried about coming back to Cambodia this time. Since I left Cambodia more than 12 years ago, my understanding of the country is minimal. But I hope to be able to complete my job and contribute to the local youth,” she said.
However, this is not Rathana’s first time volunteering. She has previously applied for volunteering roles many times before in Korea, believing that everybody has the power to help each other in their own way.
“Everyone can contribute to the world and we can all share love for one another,” said Rathana.
Another Cambodian that has volunteered is Lee Jiyu, who married a Korean man 10 years ago and moved there to live with him. Saying, I have always wanted to return home and make a contribution to my country. Jiyu hopes that she can share her knowledge of the Korean language to the Cambodian people.
“I really want to share what I have learnt during my time in Korea and my life experiences to the Cambodia people. As I can speak Khmer and understand the Cambodian culture well, I believe I will be well equipped to share my knowledge with the local Cambodians,” Jiyu said.
“I am so happy to return to Cambodia and I am really excited to be a volunteer too. I hope that from seeing us volunteer, other people in our country will be interested in volunteering more too,” she added.
The KOICA has dispatched its volunteers with two nationalities in 2019 to allow them to return to their home country and support their motherland and improve themselves and their community. The agency initiated this programme with the belief that the volunteers can make a good impact on Cambodia and build a stronger relationship between both countries.