GSC Travelogue: Executive Director’s Trip to Cambodia and Program Updates (Part 4/5)

[Last September, Global Service Corps’ (GSC) Executive Director traveled to Cambodia to work on expanding GSC’s service-learning programs. In January, he will return to Cambodia with some GSC staff members to expand upon these developments (expect updates around February!). For now, the following travelogue presents the recent developments with GSC’s programs and introduces GSC’s partner organizations and the individuals who are working to improve the lives of Cambodians. This post highlights the Buddhist Immersion Program.]

Yesterdays post outlined the Teach English Abroad Program. This post will discuss an exciting update with one of GSC’s most popular programs, the Buddhist Immersion Program.

With the help of our partners in Wat Prang and Wat Koltorteung, GSC is now expanding the Buddhist Immersion Program to provide a meditative monastery immersion experience at Wat Koltorteung, along with helping develop a Buddhism introduction and leadership training program at Wat Prang. Both programs include a service component of teaching English to monks and local school children.

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Rick and Maxine Lathrop with Wat Prang head monk Venerable Duong and English teaching program coordinator and homestay host, Mr. Sokhon

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Meeting space at Wat Prang

After spending much of the first week of their program in orientation, volunteers in the Buddhist Immersion Program have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the peaceful ways of a traditional Khmer monastery in two placement options:

At Wat Koltorteung, VPs will enjoy a relaxing and meditative program. This placement offers ample opportunity to enjoy the serenity of Cambodian monastery life in a rural, scenic setting. The Wat is a large, well-developed facility located about 30 minutes outside of Phnom Penh. VPs teach English in the evenings but spend the majority of the day participating in the Wat’s daily activities, including plenty of time for personal reflection and/or meditation.

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Venerable Duong and Rick sharing experiences

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Rick with GSC supporter and program consultant Venerable Dr. Yon Seng Yeath: Vice Rector, Preak Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University; Professor, Paññᾱsᾱstra University, Second Vice-President; Secretariat of Cambodian Sangha Council; Personal Secretary, H.H. Tep Vong, The Great Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia

At Wat Prang, volunteers will be more actively involved in their English teaching service role. After orientation participants move to the rural province of Udong, located about 90 minutes north of Phnom Penh. Volunteers divide their time between three locations, including Wat Prang, Universal Education School (UES) and a nearby primary school, allowing them to share their knowledge with a wide variety of students including both young and older Buddhist monks. Wat Prang, a local monastery, is a peaceful haven located right outside of a busy market. UES, an English language school and the primary school are composed of students aged 8-20, of all English levels.

At Udong, volunteers will teach several different classes for the duration of their program with subjects ranging from pronunciation of vocabulary to conversational English. The more creative volunteers can be in developing their lessons, the more both volunteers and students will gain. However, the greatest need of these students is to practice English with a native English speaker, so this should be the emphasis of the classroom activities.

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Venerable Metta (second from left) with assistants and Rick at his radio show studio. Ven. Metta is now developing a Buddhism and Leadership Training Center at Wat Prang with the assistance of GSC.

One of the great things about the expansion of the Buddhist Immersion Program is that this program can be short or long term, giving volunteers with a desire to give back and varying time availability a viable service opportunity. If you want to learn more about this program or GSC’s other programs, click here

Check back on Tuesday for the final installment of this blog series to read about the Global Public Health Program!

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One response to “GSC Travelogue: Executive Director’s Trip to Cambodia and Program Updates (Part 4/5)

  1. Pingback: GSC Travelogue: Executive Director’s Trip to Cambodia and Program Updates (Part 5/5) | Global Service Corps·

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