KFAS Overseas Volunteers Program

My First Time Volunteering Abroad in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

No Electricity and No English. Though they doubled the number of teachers recently, there were only three teachers for more than a hundred students at Kulen Thmei Primary School, and hence, three classes. In each class, the range of their ages varied a lot; a teacher was babysitting one boy, and the oldest girl looked like she was about to reach puberty.

IMG_1909.JPGThis little girl was the one who clung to me the most, although I bet she did that to almost everyone in our group.

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I was astonished to see how superb they are at jumping rope.

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The bicycles were so much bigger than the kids. I was ashamed of myself for having complained about my bike in Denmark. They were the masters of biking!

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Mysterious chocolate-like candies or candy-like chocolates.

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They have brought good, positive energy into my life. The smiles I saw and gave to them brightened up everyday.

Beyond the volunteering activity itself, I learned a lot from other members who did their best in teaching, communicating, and making a genuine connection with the students. I would love to volunteer more in order to help those who are in need and to experience the world different with what I have been living in.

Some group photos:

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More photos available: https://goo.gl/photos/3bV8wenE9gpyg6EW8

Amsterdam, Again

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My second time in Amsterdam was more vivid, lively, and brighter than the first time. I started off the trip by walking around the city on Sunday night (which is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam). I was surprised that I could actually spot some of the places that I went two years ago. This stack of pancakes, however, I didn’t get an opportunity to have one at that time; it’s super yummy. You must try it!

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I was attending an international conference, and it was very nice of the program committee to hand out a free ticket of the canal cruise to all of its participants. Also, I sincerely thank all of the people I met at the conference. Besides inspiring keynotes and talks, I think the best part of attending a conference is to meet such awesome people face-to-face: no matter which positions they are at, such as professors, students, or people from industry, they are all willing to share their interests and opinions with their great sense of humor.

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This place has over 700 different kinds of beer as well as 30+ draft beer–AWESOME :) I had Blanche de Namur, and it was indeed a brilliant choice. For me, this night turned out to be the best time I had in Amsterdam thanks to these amazing people!

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On my last day in Amsterdam, I got a chance to go to A’DAM Lookout and there was the Europe’s highest swing called ‘Over the Edge’. Doesn’t it look so scary and thrilling?! I would definitely try it if I visit there again–would I? To be honest, I am not an eager tourist who plans to visit all the landmarks of a city, but there are some places that I want to (re)visit if I get to travel in Amsterdam again some day :) What a cool city!

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Overall, it was one of the most unique trips I’ve ever had; I went for a conference, presented my work, and discussed various interesting research topics, while having so much fun with other participants between and after the sessions. I really look forward to having many of this kind of moments in my life :) Cheers!

* More photos of Amsterdam: Google Photos

– Amsterdam, Netherlands
October 31-November 4, 2016

Amsterdam

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Captured a raindrop.

I cannot believe it has been already a year and half since I traveled Europe by myself. In the Netherlands, I stayed in Rotterdam for three nights and went to Amsterdam only to take a train to Cologne. Despite brief trip, to me, Amsterdam was all about rain and light.

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Bikes–they were everywhere, rain or shine; certainly same holds for Denmark.

Finally, colorful orange reflections of light on water ripples and little waves were so beautiful and calming. I would have walked along the way forever if I could.

– Amsterdam, Netherlands
December 18, 2014