Tear seems drop down unconsciously while I was reading this article. My life has come through what those individuals in the interview are breaking-through. The belief in higher education and persistent struggle for it is really honorable. Each time, when I looked at the great ruins and sandstone structures, it reminds me of education and ingenuity of Khmer ancestors to master on those architectures. Somdech Song Pang-Khat preached that if you look at the stones of Angkor Wat and other temples, you must communicate with the stones!
Published: January 24, 2012
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA — Millions of tourists come here every year to visit the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, an influx that has helped transform what once resembled a small, laid-back village into a thriving and cosmopolitan town with thumping nightlife and more than 10,000 hotel rooms.
Adam Ferguson for The International Herald Tribune
Students at Build Bright University in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
But the explosion of the tourism industry here has also done something less predictable. Siem Reap, which had no universities a decade ago, is now Cambodia’s second-largest hub for higher education, after the capital, Phnom Penh.
The sons and daughters of impoverished rice farmers flock here to work as tour guides, receptionists, bartenders and waitresses. When their shifts are over, they study finance, English and accounting.
“I never imagined that I could go to university,” said Hem Sophoan, a 31-year-old tour guide who is now studying for his second master’s degree. “There’s been so much change and opportunities for young people.”