By: Ms. Ty Channlyna, UC Student, College of Law
My name is Ty Channlyna, a SHARE scholarship awardee from batch 4 from The University of Cambodia, who studied for one semester as an exchange student at University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. Before I start sharing about my experiences as an exchange student, I would like to tell briefly background about SHARE. SHARE is a program by the EU and ASEAN to strengthen regional cooperation and enhance the quality of ASEAN higher education institutions and students, and it offers a fully-funded one semester exchange for undergraduate students with credit transfer recognition.
Since I received an opportunity to pursue my academic life abroad, my life has completely changed. I am the kind of person who is unsociable and afraid to take risks. It is not easy for me to communicate with others even with my own language due to my introverted personality; therefore, I decided to catch that opportunity to change myself.
The first challenge for me was to travel alone. I was nervous because I have never been abroad, but I managed to do it well. In addition, during my mobility period I found that though Cambodia and the Philippines are members of ASEAN, we share a different kind of culture. For example, about food; Filipinos prefer strong tastes in their food, but they do not like spicy food. Moreover, they are very confident, especially when they are talking. Furthermore, schoollife here is also different from my country because students spend the full day to study at school while students in my country spend three or four hours for school and then they volunteer or work part-time to get experience. However, the most challenging part for me was the teaching style as my major is Legal Management; I was required to do recitation in which a person was randomly selected to answer questions. This style of recitation is used every session which is different from my home university that uses a traditional lecturer to explain information to students rather than asking them a lot of questions. At first, it was difficult for me to adjust but I managed to overcome it. Owing to my introverted personality, I could not make a lot of friends but I got some and they helped me a lot with my studies.
I had experienced a lot during my mobility period which changed the way I live and think, especially how to work under pressure and overcome it. As my country is under the Civil Law system, I found it interesting that I studied the Common Law system at University of Santo Tomas. I have acquired more knowledge about different kinds of law systems.
To sum up, if you want to experience a different culture, how it is like to be out of you comfort zone, depend on yourself, and adjust to a new environment, you should apply for exchange program, especially the SHARE scholarship. It will change your life!