Cambodia

Cambodia
PROGRAM DATES 
Jul 20 to Aug 9
$4950
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION 

Teens on the VISIONS Cambodia summer service program will experience a society that is in the state of rebuilding. High school students earn 80 service hours doing projects abroad including masonry, construction, and building school infrastructure. Teen volunteers will build additions to schools and lead classes for children at a summer camp that will soon benefit from those structures. While not working, you will be able to take in the beautiful war memorials, colorful food and art markets of Phnom Penh, and the ancient temples of Angkor Wat—one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

  • the street scenes of southeast asia are bustling and fun environment
  • meaningful summer camp experience for teenagers provides unique travel opportunities
  • immerse in the local culture and traditions with service learning organization
  • Teens have the chance to immerse in local culture and try new things abroad
  • earn service hours for school credit with VISIONS service adventures
  • live, work, and play with the locals who become our friends and family
  • teens learn to navigate cultural and language barriers while traveling
  • unique surroundings and buildings provide a beautiful backdrop to summer travel
  • Participate in meaningful service projects supervised by well qualified summer staff leaders
  • learn new construction skills and enjoy earning service hours while abroad
  • Be a part of daily life and a chance to unplug from your everyday life at home
  • the construction sites of cambodia are diverse and fun for everyone
  • unique programs are offered by VISIONS, a highly rated service learning organization
  • during free time, high school students explore the streets and local markets

Welcomed Service

Projects mix construction and social service with our partner organization, SALT Academy (Sports and Leadership Training). SALT runs youth soccer leagues throughout Cambodia, and takes a subset of exceptional teens and pre-teens in Battambang for more focused vocational training and education classes. We work with SALT’s “Mighty Girls” program to improve public soccer fields, bleachers and other infrastructure of this popular but spare local gathering place. VISIONS teen volunteers also help with SALT’s youth summer camp, getting to know the kids, teaching arts and crafts, playing games, and teaching basic English.

Full Immersion

We interact continuously with Cambodian friends, from small children to college students, teachers and farmers to engineers, shopkeepers and craftspeople. You will get to know the “Mighty Girls” and summer camp students, our neighbors and project partners. We shop at local food markets and visit French-influenced cafés, learn Khmer-language basics, participate in artisan workshops, visit farms and rice paddies, and take bike rides in the countryside. You also will learn the history of Cambodia from people who lived through some of the horrors of war but now see hopeful futures for younger generations. Return home with friendships gained through shared work and fun.

"Traveling so far away from home really opened my eyes to new cultures and ways of living."

Elizabeth McAneny – Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
Our Home Base 
Battambang
The charming northern city of Battambang is renowned for delicious food, friendly people and a beautiful surrounding landscape. Battambang features charming colonial architecture and a relaxed pace. Its location makes it ideally situated for exploring traditional Cambodia.
Cambodia is one of VISIONS newest program sites, where we have lived and worked since 2012. The idea was first presented by a veteran summer director, Wesley Hedden, who was living in Cambodia as a Princeton-in-Asia Scholar. With more nonprofits per capita than any other country in the world, Cambodia was a good fit for VISIONS, and Wes introduced us to terrific partners in Battambang. This Southeast Asia destination has proven well worth the travel and tremendously popular for our adventurous youth.
Explore Cambodia

We take a weekend to explore Angkor Wat, one of the “Wonders of the World,” and spend another day visiting the main attractions of Phnom Penh. The Bamboo Railroad, bike riding along rice paddies, and a famous dance performance are among other favorites while in Cambodia. We visit a silkworm farm and learn to weave strands of silk, we make rice paper with rural farmers, stroll along the Mekong River, and take in the unique offerings of Cambodia on a daily basis.

Daily Life

A large house in one of Battambang’s central neighborhoods is where we call home during our time in Cambodia. We live together as a group, with ample space that includes a kitchen, showers and bathrooms, separate rooms for boys and girls, and beds provided for each person.

Service projects start after breakfast and end by mid-afternoon. We work five days per week, and you typically get to choose between three different worksites each day. Once a week, you will be on “homebase crew” with a few other participants and a leader. The crew helps to make meals, goes to colorful markets to buy food for the next meals, does laundry, and takes in a “day in the life of Battambang.”

After work there is time to get to know our surroundings and learn more about the culture. Whether playing games with local kids, attending a rice paper workshop, visiting local parks and outdoor markets, or simply chatting with neighbors on the patio, there are a lot of activities that fill our days. Weekends and a few other days are set aside for our exciting travel and excursions.

Meals are a blend of local cuisine and Western fare, with variety and abundance for everyone’s liking. We provide meat and vegetarian options, and healthy snacks are available through the day.

A few evenings a week, we have meetings to talk through the summer experience as a group. Other nights we’ll go to events in town, hang out as a group, or prepare for the next day’s projects.

VISIONS is not a teen tour with a day-to-day travel itinerary. Instead we settle in to our home base and are part of daily life at the program site. The itinerary provides highlights of some of our activities in Cambodia.

Itinerary

First Day
Last Day
Arrivals to Phnom Penh
Royal Palace & Welcome Dinner
Killing Fields Tour & Tuol Sleng Prison
Drive to Battambang & Settle In
Bamboo Railroad
Angkor Wat & Siem Reap
Rural Bike Tour
Family & Neighbors Day
Battambang Community Goodbyes
Departures from Phnom Penh
  • Explore a new culture very different from your own, surrounded by amazing sights
  • students travel to see the ancient city with all of its breathtaking beauty and history
  • VISIONS allows teens to learn about Buddhist history in asia
  • make new friends and learn about the local culture and religion
  • one of the seven wonders of the world is among the excursions with VISIONS cambodia
  • summer camp program for teens provides unique and memorable experiences
  • Excursions provide the opportunity for high school students to volunteer abroad
  • VISIONS students travel abroad and immerse in local culture
  • view the beautiful and lush landscape during the rainy season of cambodia

More Details

The summer program begins in Phnom Penh, where leaders pick up each participant at the airport. After two days in Phnom Penh, we travel by bus to our home in Battambang.
Parents receive a phone call or email once their child is met by VISIONS leaders at the airport. After that, phone calls home are generally limited to once a week.
Teen volunteers and their leaders live in a rented home in one of Battambang’s neighborhoods. There are bathrooms, showers, and gender-separate bedrooms for students and leaders. VISIONS provides mattresses and teens bring their own sheets and pillow.
VISIONS has a 1 to 4 or 5 leader to student ratio, one of the best ratios among summer programs. The maximum group size is 25, and programs are gender-balanced. Most participants attend alone, and no more than two friends may attend a program together.
We emphasize an inclusive group dynamic. Things like age and grade become less important on a VISIONS program. We eat most meals and do most activities as a large group, and we break into small rotating groups for workdays.
Details such as a packing list, travel notes, and health forms are provided upon enrollment through login web pages. The process is straightforward and we are here to help. VISIONS travel agent books flights, which are not included with tuition.
Teen volunteers receive 70 community service hours. Youth summer camp program for ages 14 – 18.
Program Director
Cambodia

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