"If you would like to see two very different aspects of Cambodia then I would highly recommend doing both projects"
British volunteer Beth Pedersen completed a stint at two Globalteer projects in Cambodia. She started with 2 weeks at the Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary in undeveloped Northeastern Cambodia, followed by 8 weeks in a school at the Cambodia Community Project in Siem Reap.
Despite being used to London life Beth adapted instantly to both projects, making great friends to travel with between the two projects and getting enough local knowledge to explore even more of Cambodia once her placements ended.
When questioned on her experience after volunteering at two projects Beth said,
“They were so different to each other that I got to explore two completely varied ways of life in Cambodia. It also made the trip seem longer (in a good way) due to the contrast between them. I feel so privileged that I got to experience both.”
Getting from A to B
The projects are located in two different parts of the country but Beth explained how simple transport arrangements were:
“I hadn’t sorted how I was going to get from one project to the other until I arrived, but it was pretty easy. The elephant project provides a bus back to Phnom Penh so I took that and then booked a bus onto Siem Reap. I had a couple of days between the two projects so I stayed in Phnom Penh and visited the Killing Fields and the old Khmer Rouge Prison, S21 – which certainly added another dimension to the trip.”
Beth says that comparing the two projects was difficult as they were both so unique, “Being out in the middle of nowhere at the Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary, experiencing the rural side to Cambodia was a real highlight; and of course being with the elephants. It was fantastic to watch them day to day and the absolute highlight was bathing them – I never tired of that.
At the Cambodia Community Project, getting to know the locals – both the children and teachers - was a real privilege and an insight. Also, learning to communicate with the students, who did not speak great English, and still being able to engage with them and help them learn – in fact more than that, helping the to enjoy learning - was another real highlight.”
And as for advice for potential volunteers unsure about which projects to go with, Beth says
“If you would like to see two very different aspects of Cambodia then I would highly recommend doing both projects. I felt I experienced two great perspectives of this fascinating country.”
For more information on volunteer opportunities at the Cambodia elephant sanctuary please go to our Volunteer Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary pages