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Elective Competition Winner 2017

Meet Amy Lee, a medical  student from Queen Mary, University of London and one of the winners of our Wesleyan Elective Competition 2017.  Here she shares with us her elective experience in Cambodia!

Here's Amy's fourth  update on her elective trip in Cambodia.

The Kingdom of Walks 
Amy-Angkor-Bar-250One of the doctors I befriended at the hospital used to joke about how Cambodia was called the "Kingdom of Wonders"-indeed amidst its crazy traffic, one often wonders at the miracle of still being alive.

Jokes aside, Cambodia's wonders come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from the tiny silkworms in the silk farm which make cocoons of silk that are painstakingly spun into silk thread, to the heights of the thundering waterfall of Khulen Mountains, a heavenly cooling escapade from the brutal weather of the dry season.

There is a chance for each personality to come alive at the Angkor temples, be it the archaeological explorer climbing stone steps and running hands over the cool, smooth sandstone carvings pondering the ancient messages of old spoken through them; to the action movie fan weaving through the corridors of the temple complex tracing the steps of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider across the ruins of the courtyard.Amy-temple-250

At night, the boisterous, festive scene of Pub Street comes to life with a dizzying array of bars, restaurants and shops, each having a bit of the essence of Cambodia to tempt you with, be it a bottle of Angkor beer, a bowl of amok curry or the dozen or so different designs of cotton pants and t-shirts spread out across the stalls with its quirky quotes.

Live English song performances fade into the calming strains of the traditional musical instruments played by landmine survivors as one wanders the different streets.

Masseuses have chairs opened out ready for you to lie back in and let your aching feet rest in their capable hands. No corner is left empty for the opportunity to make business with mobile carts selling edible worms, scorpions and snakes interspersed with less adventurous stalls selling drinks and desserts.

In the morning, as the blazing heat sends tourists scuttling for shelter, tuck in little nooks and crannies are cosy little cafes, several offering selections of books to browse from while soaking in the peaceful atmosphere.

Amy-joe-to-go-250It is difficult to separate all the beauty and vibrancy Cambodia has to offer from the poverty that grinds beneath the surface to maintain the former.

In an attempt to be helpful, passive giving by tourists to orphanages and beggars has unintentionally impeded socioeconomic progress in this country.

Perhaps, the best wonder, saved to the last, is the invitation to help support the fight against poverty, a fight hand-in-hand with Cambodia's own inspirational people who through numerous social projects, set up restaurants and tourist activities to offer jobs and an education to locals who can't afford it.

Whether it be marveling at the craftsmanship of Khmer art pieces or enjoying a meal flavored with local herbs and spices at these social projects, this is such a wonderful way to experience how people are being empowered to make a living, and our tiny part in making it happen.

Watch out for more updates from Amy on her elective adventures! 

Are you going on an elective? Head off on your travels safe in the knowledge that we've got you covered for problems such as cancellations for exam re-sit cancellations, HIV needle-stick injuries or unforeseen medical expenses with elective insurance from Wesleyan.

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