…entre nous soit dit…

between me you and the gatepost.

Volunteer Work and University

Well I haven’t written an update on herein ages and I figured it was about time I wrote of some news in my life (because I know how boring it totally is). Yesterday, I went to see an advisor for my faculty at University about getting Uni credit for the volunteer work that I’m planning on doing in Cambodia at the end of the year. I’m probably going to be able to count it as a second year unit, which is pretty awesome considering I’m currently still in my first year of my course. I’m also considering taking a second level unit (for second year students) this semester as well. I’m not sure of that one yet though and I have to seek approval from two people, although I should be able to do get that. My dilemma is then deciding what subject to drop instead. However that means by the the time I start at Uni again next year, I will be behind by one level one unit, but up by two level two units if I do that.

I’m also looking into changing my degree so that I’m doing three majors, not the normal two majors within my course. It’s only an extra two units that I would have to study which means overloading. The volunteer work will take up one of those units which means I will only have to overload for one more semester if all goes according to plan. It just means that I’m going to have to work my ass off next semester because if I want to do the other extra unit next year instead of in my third and final year (and I don’t know if I even can) then I’m going to do two 3rd year units in the second semester next year. In order to do that before completing all my 2nd year units (because I’ll still be finishing two of them as well as a first year unit at the same time as starting the two third year units), I’m going to have to seek special permission again, and to have that granted I’m going to have to have some brainiac marks in the first semester of next year. All in all, I have some hard yards set out for me now by my own choice.

Now I just have to choose my majors and my units to continue with. Obviously my first major will be communications seeing as that’s why I’m in this specific course. My second major should probably be english to tie in with that. Considering I want to be a foreign affairs journalist/correspondent politics was my other natural choice (we don’t have a specific International Relations). That ruled out Philosophy which was my original choice and my favourite subject. It also rules out French which I’m doing begrudgingly because I know how good that would look on the resume of a journalist, plus it would be handy seeing as it is a fairly common language in parts of Africa, unlike English, and that’s where I want to be a journalist. So it makes sense to continue with French. So what do I do?

I have a choice of doing two things for the Volunteer work – either I can make the work specific to one area (ie teaching English to the kids) and then count it as an ‘Arts Practicum 2’ specific for my English major; or I can work in all areas (ie building things, making food, teaching english or french etc) and count it as an ‘Arts Practicum 1’ which is more generalised (although I’m pretty sure English will count that towards my major anyway, because English is slack. Either way I will have to do 100 hours of work, which shouldn’t be a problem seeing as hopefully I’ll be there for around a month, and then I just have to get someone to sign off on it.

I’m getting really excited about volunteer work though. I was reading some of the stuff they sent Mum and it’s pretty cool. Here’s what they said about the little village that the orphanage is located in, 2 hours from Phnom Penh:

“Takeo is a small town and you can get around by walking, on bike or by moto.  

Takeo is a market town and the provincial capital of Takeo Province.  It is 70km south of Phnom Penh and 49Kn from the border with Vietnam.  There are few tourist attractions in Takeo, so it doesn’t receive many foreign visitors.  However, there are a few tour buses and independent travellers who come through town each week, usually on their way to seaside towns of Kep and Kampot.  Of those tourists who do come to Takeo, many have come to see Angkor Borei and Phnom Da, ancient sites of one of the earliest Angkor kingdoms.

In addition, there is a slowly growing population of foreign residents in Takeo, who are either long-term volunteers or employees with local and international NGOs, such as OXFAM, Peace Corps and Medicin San Frontieres.

The centre of town life is the local marketplace.  You can get most things here, its just a question of locating them, and this can be great fun, as most local people do not speak much english.  Those things that you cannot get at the market or elsewhere in town, can usually be found in Phnom Penh.  You can buy a whole range of Cambodian food at the market, The rice/banana balls sold at the stall near the entrance have proved very popular with our volunteers.”

Later on in the booklet, it goes on to say that:

“Local villages have no electricity or running water, and run their lights and televisions from 12 volt car batteries.  The most common form of long distance transport for passengers is the back (or the top) of a truck.”

Personally I find that awesome. Although I guess there will be no ipods or modern world reminders there. I don’t know how I will charge my laptop and camera there because they most definitely be coming with me regardless. No two ways about that. I think it will help if I stick with french this semester ad don’t drop it as I was planning on doing, even if only because some of these kids will know a bit of french because it’s the third language they learn after Khmer (their naive language) and English. Although they only pick up French from the people they have traveling through the area and helping at the orphanage. I would love to try and speak in two languages with the kids. It’s just a pity I suck at french. I haven’t been to a single one of the 5 french classes I should have been to so far this semester and it’s only week two!!

Owell. I’ll leave more updates for another night. It’s now 5.34 am and I need to get some sleep before going to see my Boss again about the payment debacle which still hasn’t been solved. Good night and wish me luck.

Au revoir x


July 28, 2009 Posted by | Africa, ambitions, just a quick note, life, school, Travel, university | Leave a comment

Summer Holidays 2009/2010

So it may be a little bit early to be thinking about the Summer holidays seeing as they’re still a whole 5 months away, but I’m thinking that mine are already starting to shape up pretty nicely. Seeing as my plans to travel to Japan these holidays fell through sadly, I’m instead making a million and one plans for the Summer ones instead. So far I’m looking at going to:

  • Cambodia – possibly around a month on a volunteer program building community schools etc and teaching English. Mum found this organisation and has been in talk with them  about coming over early next year.
  • Veitnam – a Kumuka tour (we used them when we went to Thailand last time). This would be after Cambodia
  • Japan – Already half way there if we’re in Vietnam, so I could go and see Dom there and go snowboarding!!
  • Bali – more likely at the very end of the holidays to farewell my manager whose Visa was rejected due to the Recession. This one is the most chancy and unsure though because we would only do this if there was a group of us, and of course most of us won’t be able to afford it.
  • ISV Programs – I’ve been looking at them lately and I’d love to either do the Costa Rica or South Africa program. Best part i that not only is it a 2 week volunteer and 3 week tour program, but I’d also be able to get 12 credited points for my university course which would mean I wouldn’t need to overload this coming semester.

Of all of those, the first three are probably the most likely and the last two not so likely, but I’m still looking into my options. The ISV programs would be awesome because I’d get to be with people my age on the program, but of course if I went on one of them I would have to pay for it and I’d miss out on Vietnam, Cambodia and Japan which are possibly my last chance to cash in on Mum taking me places without having to pay for it myself. Cha-ching.

I could always do the ISV tour another time but of course I’ve already planned things (ideally) for every summer holidays after these ones:

  • 2009/2010: These travels that I have already mentioned
  • 2010/2011: Work like crazy the whole time and go nowhere so that I will have enough money to go traveling for hopefully the rest of the year through europe (backpacking of course, because I want to go as many places as possible and I’m willing to work for it!) and maybe studying in the first half of the year. Then ending in…
  • 2011/2012: Our summer holidays = ski season in the Northern Hemisphere!!! YAY! so hopefully I can end my year abroad by getting a job somewhere in Europe, or failing that then America, for the Ski Season – even if it means working as a cleaning maid – I don’t care!! This will probably mean having my 21st birthday there as well 😀 
  • 2012/2013: Hopefully I will have finished my current course by this stage (and worked for another half a year or not depending on whether I studied abroad). These summer holidays will be traveling to America to visit New York and, Chicago, Las Vegas and Colorado (to visit family) at least. A friend and I want to be in Las Vegas for her birthday in December 2012. She’ll be turning 21 and it will be close enough to my 22, so we’ll just pretend it’s my 21st again. We’ll be playing 21 as she turns 21, buy 21 things, get 21 guys numbers, etc. Have a boozy time in general and party!
  • After that I will probably either do post-graduate studies at University, or I will take a job somewhere to earn as much money and reputation as I can in the space of one or two years, and then take off to Africa or the Middle East (hopefully both of them in the long run) to do investigative journalism – even if it has to be freelance.

So really, I’m probably a just a little overly ambitious, but that’s the ideas and dreams I have at the moment. I’m all about the traveling and seeing as much of the world as I can while I’m still young. The only problem is having the money (and paperwork *sigh*) to do it all. It would be nothing short of absolutely amazing if I could do it all… but somehow I doubt all of that will happen. Things in life never go according to plan, and in my plan I don’t factor in anything else such as finding a guy that I will end up wanting to stay with instead of traveling, or family members being elsewhere, or money going down the drain, or investments, etc.

But it would be awesome, would it not?

June 24, 2009 Posted by | Africa, ambitions, experiences, fun, life, lists, Travel | Leave a comment

The Invisible Children

Watch this for the real deal

Be there to support the end of a horrifying war 
and the abduction of innocent people

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Africa, experiences, Invisible Children, life, people | Leave a comment