West Point Cadets Volunteer AIAD experience in Siem Reap – Jackie

July 23, 2008

Honestly, my trip to Cambodia would have never happened if it weren’t for Angelina Jolie. I have been her biggest fan for as long as I can remember and learned of her many trips to the country. I made my first trip to Cambodia a volunteer vacation through JWOC and absolutely loved every part of the trip. I couldn’t believe just how beautiful the people and the country were.

I would have to say the best part of my trip was having the opportunity to be fully immersed in the Cambodian lifestyle. For three days and two nights, I lived with a single mother and her two daughters in a poor village. Besides immediately becoming attached to the family, I also fell in love with the rest of the community. Every single person was welcoming and their actions during my stay were all so genuine. Starting from five in the morning, everybody was awake and smiling; children were running around ready to get on with their daily lives. It was such an interesting glimpse of how different their lives were compared to my own and I was completely shocked to see the degree of motivation and dignity within each family. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

The numerous activities JWOC arranged ranged from visiting the infamous Angkor Wat to teaching English classes. Although living with Cambodians who were just struggling to get by day-by-day was only a minor part of my travel, it had the biggest impact on me. This trip made me realize just how big of an impact little actions can make on people’s lives. Overall, my travel to Cambodia is definitely one of the few trips that I would like to experience again. I love it!

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