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February 2, 2010

Visiting Angkor Wat

One of the highlights of the SST Cambodia experience is visiting the ancient temples of the Angkor Wat temple complex, the subject of much academic study and the backdrop for many Hollywood Films (e.g., “Lara Craft: Tomb Raider” and “Two Brothers”). We spent all day there Friday, with all but a few of the students rising at 4 a.m. for a 4:30 departure for the Angkor Wat complex, with the hope of seeing the sun rise over the best-known Angkor temple, Angkor Wat itself. Although the sunrise was a little disappointing, the overall experience was excellent, with students exploring in…

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February 2, 2010

Skuon and Siem Reap

Given the zestiness of the Siem Reap field trip, we’ll post three different blogs about that experience. This first blog includes photos of Skuon, the spider village where we stopped on the way to Siem Reap; images from lounging at the hotel pool and dining at the Dead Fish Tower; and photos from the Landmine Museum, which part of the group visited on Sunday morning. Subsequent blogs will focus on the temples at Angkor Wat and on our day trip to the stilt-village of Kampong Phluck.

February 1, 2010

Day-to-Day Life in Phnom Penh

This is the first of four blogs we’ll post in the next 24 hours, so please watch for additional updates related to our weekend trip to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. Some of the photos here are from before and some are from after the Siem Reap adventure. Lectures continue to be pretty remarkable, in terms of the calibre of people speaking to the group and their honesty about Cambodian politics, history, and social issues. Our third full week of class included a lecture by parliamentarian Mu Sochua, a controversial figure who is quoted almost daily in the Cambodian and…

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January 26, 2010

Khmer Rouge Week

This is the fifth of five catch-up blogs, and the last blog we will post until next week. We leave for Siem Reap and Angkor Wat Thursday morning, so early next week we’ll report on that major field trip. Between January 20 and January 27 we celebrated three birthdays — Julian and Phil’s 21st birthdays, which were a day apart, and Austin’s 20th birthday. We also spent much of that time period focusing on the horrific Khmer Rouge period in Cambodia.

January 26, 2010

This is the fourth of five catch-up posts after the crash of the GC website two weeks ago. One more yet to come this evening. Our second full week in Cambodia included lectures by David Ketchum of Mennonite Central Committee on Cambodian Families and Women’s Peacemaking, as well as input by Ouk Serei Sopheak on Cambodian Politics and Economics in the Southeast Asian Context. As pictured here, Ketchum had the group engage in a drawing exercise related to direct, structural, and cultural violence, particular as these related to domestic violence in the Cambodia context.

January 26, 2010

This is the third of four SST Cambodia catch-up blogs following the crash of the GC website two weeks ago. One more will come Tuesday evening (in Indiana). One week after students arrived in Cambodia, we purchased a first round of bicycles for 10 students who felt confident with traffic patterns and their biking skills. Jake and Chloe had been biking since their first day in the country since their families provided bicycles to them, so they had a jumpstart on the rest of the group.

January 26, 2010

This is the second of four new blog entries (being posted over a 24-hour period), catching up chronologically with the intial days of the SST Cambodia group. On Tuesday of their first week in the country, students enjoyed a field trip to the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and National Museum. We took our first group photo on the steps of one of the building at the National Palace. Lectures in that first week included input from Heng Monychenda on Angkor Culture and from Neb Sinthay on Contemporary Cambodian Politics.

January 26, 2010

After being offline for more than two weeks, the SST Cambodia is back online now. We’ll be posting several posts within the next 24 hours, so feel free to keep checking back in. We’ll post these chronologically, beginning with photos and a few words about the first week on campus, a blog that was up for about an hour before the GC website crashed. The original version of that blog was lost in the crash. Students headed right into their first week in the capital, beginning Khmer language testing and then class on Monday immediately after their arrival.

January 8, 2010

All in the Families

By 6:30 p.m. this evening (Friday evening for us, Friday morning in the U.S.), all 19 students had gone home with their host families. It was a whirlwind day, first with orientation at the hotel, a driving tour of the city, and then meeting the parents and siblings. Ann and Keith tend to practice the “soft landing” approach to SST, especially given the arduous 29-hour flights/travel and the reversal of body clocks. Given that, the Colonial Mansion was a fitting and comfortable place for our first night, allowing us to relax on our balconies (Charlie, Austin, and Seth), swim and…

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January 7, 2010

Settled into Phnom Penh!

Nineteen healthy and happy Cambodia SSTers arrived at the Phnom Penh Airport two hours ago. After about an hour of moving through the visa, immigration, and customs process, we were on our way to the Colonial Mansion, where we’re all settled in now. Students send their warm greetings back home to Moms and Dads, siblings, friends, and others they love. The goal for tonight (now 1 a.m.) is sleep, with breakfast in our rooms (grocery items brought in this evening by the Graber Millers). We’ll start orientation at 9 a.m. Friday (9 p.m. Thursday, Indiana time) and continue throughout the…

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