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Personal Statement

Six years ago, my mother asked me, “What university do you want to go to? And what do you want to do after you
graduate?” I just smiled and stayed quiet. I had no idea. I always tried to avoid discussing post-secondary education
with parents. I thought having a goal in life was too big a burden for a teenager like myself. However, it has been a
different story since then. The opposite holds true: life is unbearable without a goal. And I am content that I, among the
fortunate ones, for the past several years have set up a goal and devised a pathway to attain that goal.

As one expects, life at the university is no bed of roses. Students’ commitment, endurance, self-reliance, dependability,
and hard work are tested. Those who could not keep up get sorted out, whereas those who turn challenges into
opportunities for growth prosper. It is from these challenges that I have found the motivation to stay forward,
determined to become an achiever. As a student at the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL), I thrived to excel in all the
subjects, hoping that the knowledge I gained from the study would prepare me for my social life. Indeed, I have learned
a lot. It is IFL that helps me start my journey toward realizing my goal. And then, when I started the other major at
Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC) in mid-2003, my goal got sharpened and my pathway more visualized. By
then, I already knew what I wanted to do.

While IFL gives me a chance to build a solid foundation for my future academic endeavor, PUC helps me put my
academia into real practice. At PUC, I have been exposed to various extracurricular activities that to some extent enable
me to build a stronger portfolio and streamline my goal. It is true I thrive to be an achiever, but an achiever in what?
After being involved in many environmental projects, I have the answer: an achiever in environmental advocacy. One
might wonders how such goal could be fulfilled by a student who majors in English at IFL and International Relations
at PUC.

Three different ingredients are mixed together to help me conjure the answer to the aforementioned question, with a
fourth one in sight to add the final touch. The first encompasses my excellent command of English – partial thanks to
my hard-working lecturers at IFL – which allows me to easily communicate with people across the globe. The second
entails my knowledge of political and economic behaviors of world leaders in making policies, shaping international
diplomacy and advocating social changes – compliments go to my study of International Relations at PUC. The third
involves my passion for green livelihood – I have always been interested in environment-related topics since the first
time I took Introduction to Environmental Science with
Dr. Anita Pattnaik at PUC.

I got the chance to try out my “trio” formula when I was on a conference trip to China in December 2006 to join the
East Asian Seas Youth Forum, and later on another trip to Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007 to participate in the 3rd
TUNZA-Southeast Asian Youth Environmental Network Conference. I was praised for my English, my understanding
of regional trends in political economy, and most importantly, my initiatives in advocating environmental awareness in
Southeast Asia through youth activities and projects. That was a good sign already. At the same time, I was also filled
with tremendous amount of information on what I as a young individual could do to better the environment of my
country. It was all much worth. Realizing that I could put what I had learned at IFL and PUC into actual practice to help
develop Cambodia was a sensation beyond
description.

In Cambodia, as an active youth advocating green consumerism and the sub-coordinator of the Cambodian Youth
Environmental Network (CamYEN), I have been involved in various projects dedicated to raising environmental
consciousness among Cambodian people from all walks of life. I joined the Environmental Debate Forum hosted by the
Ministry of Environment and led the PUC Debate Team to victory twice. I contributed an article to a Japanese magazine
discussing water issues in East Asia and Southeast Asia. And I recently helped manage a tree-planting event to
commemorate the World Environment Day. None of these activities bear financial incentives, but they are valuable in
that they serve as reminders that, yes, I can contribute to positive change in my society, that I can do something to make
my society environmentally friendly.

With more education, exposure, and opportunities, I certainly can do more. Indeed, I want to become an environmental
advocate, and I believe I possess the basic qualifications to be one. What I lack is the opportunity to further my
understanding of the environmental issues that pose challenges to the political, economic and cultural development of
my country, thus my applying for a Master of Environmental Studies in the United States through the Fulbright
Fellowship Program. Rich in human capital, cultural diversity, and environmental initiatives, the U.S. provides one of
the best grounds for the study of advocacy, public policy and, ultimately, environmental diplomacy. Who could ask for
more?

As a lecturer of Global Studies at IFL, I am certain that the knowledge and experience that I will have gained from the
Master of Environmental Studies will enable me to diversify my teaching and instill in my students a sense of care for
the environment and the community. Such gain will also give me rock-solid base to create numerous extracurricular
activities and projects for my students and IFL as a whole. Such student-based initiatives will definitely enhance
students’ understanding of their surroundings and appreciation of their environment, and eventually prove the quality
education that IFL can provide. Everyone in the English Language Teaching (ELT) community agrees that learning
should be both serious and fun. IFL has been working very hard to ensure the former; and with my outgoing
personalities, professionalism, and broad knowledge from the Master of Environmental Studies, I am confident that I
can ensure both the former and the latter. This combination will hopefully contribute to IFL’s success in producing some
of the best, well-rounded
IFL graduates who will join hands in developing Cambodia and safeguard the country’s bright future.

With good regional networks, qualified environmental education, and strong commitment for the betterment of both the
lives of the Cambodian people and the green environment, I strongly believe that my goal can be achieved. And I am
even more honored to know that IFL, PUC, and hopefully Fulbright have shared this accomplishment with me. I am
content that I finally have the answer to my mother’s question, and I am determined to stay true to that answer to the
best of my potential.