To Whom It May Concern:
As a non-heritage learner the intensive Advanced Study of Khmer (ASK) summer course helped me understand and learn Khmer language and culture on many different levels. The class room study with the caring, highly qualified Khmer teachers reinforced my reading, writing and speaking abilities. The homework assignments further reinforced the assignments in class. The afternoon research trips and visits with different organizations gave us students a sense of the breadth of activities happening in Phnom Penh. Teachers and administrators were all very sensitive in addressing and adjusting to heritage students and non-heritage students' learning needs as well as cultural adjustments. As a result of the program, I was able to read and speak much more proficiently. Before the summer, I had difficulty reading and writing simple phrases. After the course, I was able to scan newspapers with greater ease. As a result of our final research project, I learned how to speak and write about my dissertation research in Khmer with confidence.
Living and studying with other Khmer language students helped us form friendships and networks that will last a lifetime. Countryside home stays were another highlight of the program and gave us a view into rural living. My home stay family was tremendously generous; we still keep in touch. The trips to Siem Reap and other field trips offered a multifaceted perspective of Cambodia's rich history, cultures and development.
My experience with the ASK summer program is both a cherished memory and an invaluable aid in honing my language skills. I am deeply grateful for the friendships, insights and connections made possible by this program. I hope that this program will be able to continue to build bridges between Cambodia and the U.S. for a long time.
University of Southern California