A Journey of a Thousand Miles – Reflections from a Student Traveler

Today is my last day in Cambodia. I made it. As I sit here in this cafe reminiscing I can’t help but become overwhelmed with all of the emotions I’ve experienced over these past four remarkable months. When I first landed in Phnom Penh, and got to my hotel, I was terrified. Way more terrified than I had expected to be. I was barely nervous on the flight, mostly excited but sure enough after my first night in the city I didn’t want to go outside on my own. Now, I can dodge traffic like a semi-pro and eat with a spoon like it’s my job.

So my journey, where to begin. Well I came to Cambodia recovering from a pretty rough summer. I barely knew who I was then, and was starting to loose sight of what I wanted. I was lost inside myself. Maybe it was the Buddhism and meditation, maybe it was making new friends or maybe it was just waking up everyday in a foreign place but after a while I started to rediscover the little things about life that make me passionate. I could appreciate sunsets and smiles again. I don’t know when this happened but being here has made me realize I’m too young, too alive, and too lucky to spend any extended amount of time being unhappy.

I have had some of the best four months of my life here, and no it’s not because I was always happy, or partying, or stuffing my face. Cambodia challenged me, pushed me about 9,000 miles away from my comfort zone, and exposed me to lifestyles that no human beings should have to live. But, because of all this, I grew. I danced in the middle of Siem Reap’s Pub Street by myself with not a care in the world, I have been chased by monkeys, driven to tears from criticism, meditated with monks, and laughed 1000x more than I cried.

Francine W. Service-Learning Semester in Cambodia

Learn more about Global Service Corp’s Service Learning Programs here or read more about Francine’s thoughts and experiences while participating in GSC’s Cambodia Semester Program here.


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