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03
From the Desk of Summer Intern Morgan Haefner
June 3, 2014

Dear FELC,

Hello from Siem Reap, Cambodia! This is a letter from Morgan Haefner, one of your 2014 summer communications interns. Part of my goal abroad is to connect church members and ministries to my experiences here, across the ocean. One way members can follow my service work and daily experiences is by visiting my blog here. There you can find pictures, stories, current events in Cambodia and critical analysis of my experience. Another is by reading these weekly letters.

I’m not sure where to begin, but there is one constant here in Cambodia: sweat, and more sweat. The temperature is always around 100 degrees, with intense humidity. Cambodians customarily do not where tank tops, shorts or short skirts, so I am tackling the heat in pants and long sleeves, with the occasional t-shirt. However my body is growing accustomed to the atmosphere here, and lending my mind to focus on my two goals: service learning and Buddhism class.

My service learning is centered around ESL [English as a Second Language] teaching. I’m volunteering at Pouk Technical School, where college students, age 18 – 25, learn English, sewing skills and computer skills. The current lesson is focused on describing houses and apartments. Many of my students will integrate into the tourism economy here in Siem Reap, thus learning English is essential. Today (Tuesday, June 3) my students began acting out scenarios in English. They learn every day, and I’m also learning teaching is a beautifully challenging experience.   

The second aspect of my trip, learning about socially engaged Buddhism, takes places in the afternoon after my service learning. I learn about socially engaged Buddhism through dining at nonprofit restaurants, lectures and meditation led by a monk.

I’m realizing how important it is for one to immerse him or herself in a culture to learn something from it. The tourists here come and go, sporting racy clothes and uneducated talk. But the Cambodians stay here. Tourists do not understand the impact they have here once they leave. I appreciate my immersion beyond words because of this. To learn is to understand. To understand is to help.

Blessings,

Morgan Haefner

Filed under: Follow the Interns!

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